10 Gorgeous Poetry Collections to Celebrate National Poetry Month

    Deeply affecting, classic, and accessible.

    There has been a lot of discussion about poetry since the breakout success of Rupi Kaur's Milk and Honey: Are these "Instagram poets" killing the artform entirely, or ensuring its survival in the 21st century? Whichever side of the debate you fall on, we can probably all agree that poetry is important, and certainly something worth keeping alive. 

    But you don't have to rely solely on the Rupis of the world to find poems that are beautiful and accessible—in fact, you can turn to many of the greats, from the melancholic Anne Sexton to the always-snarky Dorothy Parker. In honor of National Poetry Month, we've listed ten collections by classic poets that any reader can enjoy and connect with. Check them out below!


    Buy Revolutionary Petunias at Amazon

    Revolutionary Petunias

    By Alice Walker

    Our Favorite: "The QPP"

    “The quietly pacifist peaceful
    always die
    to make room for men
    who shout.”

    Revolutionary Petunias

    By Alice Walker

    Buy The Complete Poems at Amazon

    The Complete Poems

    By Anne Sexton

    Poem: "Her Kind"

    I have gone out, a possessed witch,
    haunting the black air, braver at night;
    dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
    over the plain houses, light by light:
    lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
    A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
    I have been her kind.

    The Complete Poems

    By Anne Sexton

    Buy A Wave at Amazon

    A Wave

    By John Ashbery

    Poem: "More Pleasant Adventures"

    A sentimental journey—“gonna take a sentimental journey,”
    And we do, but you wake up under the table of a dream:
    You are that dream, and it is the seventh layer of you.
    We haven’t moved an inch, and everything has changed.

    Buy Love Alone at Amazon

    Love Alone

    By Paul Monette

    Our Favorite: "HERE"

    everything extraneous has burned away
    this is how burning feels in the fall
    of the final year not like leaves in a blue
    October but as if the skin were a paper lantern
    full of trapped moths beating their fired wings
    and yet I can lie on this hill just above you
    a foot beside where I will lie myself
    soon soon and for all the wrack and blubber
    feel still how we were warriors when the
    merest morning sun in the garden was a
    kingdom after Room 1010

    Love Alone

    By Paul Monette

    Buy Monster at Amazon

    Monster

    By Robin Morgan

    Our Favorite: "Monster"

    Sweet revolution, how I wish the female tears
    rolling silently down my face this second were each a bullet,
    each word I write, each character on my typewriter bullets
    to kill whatever it is in men that builds this empire,
    colonized my very body,
    then named the colony Monster.

    Buy Scattered Poems at Amazon

    Scattered Poems

    By Jack Kerouac

    Our Favorite: "PAX"

    I demand that the human race
    ceases multiplying its kind
    and bow out
    I advise it.

    Scattered Poems

    By Jack Kerouac

    Buy The Concrete River at Amazon

    The Concrete River

    By Luis J. Rodríguez

    Our Favorite: "The Concrete River"

    This river, this concrete river,
    Becomes a steaming, bubbling
    Snake of water, pouring over
    Nightmares of wakefulness;
    Pouring out a rush of birds;
    A flow of clear liquid
    On a cloudless day.
    Not like the black oil stains we lie in,
    Not like the factory air engulfing us;
    Not this plastic death in a can.

    The Concrete River

    By Luis J. Rodríguez

    Buy Becoming Light at Amazon

    Becoming Light

    By Erica Jong

    Our Favorite: "Lullaby for a Dybbuk"

    Pain
    is not love.
    Love flowers; love gives
    without taking;
    love is serene
    and calm.

    Becoming Light

    By Erica Jong

    Buy The Moon is Always Female at Amazon

    The Moon is Always Female

    By Marge Piercy

    From "The Moon is Always Female"

    The moon is always female and so
    am I although often in this vale
    of razorblades I have wished I could
    put on and take off my sex like a dress
    and why not? Do men always wear their sex
    always?

    The Moon is Always Female

    By Marge Piercy

    Buy The Portable Dorothy Parker at Amazon

    The Portable Dorothy Parker

    By Dorothy Parker

    Our Favorite: "A Certain Lady"

    Oh, I can smile for you, and tilt my head,
    And drink your rushing words with eager lips,
    And paint my mouth for you a fragrant red,
    And trace your brows with tutored finger-tips.
    When you rehearse your list of loves to me,
    Oh, I can laugh and marvel, rapturous-eyed.
    And you laugh back, nor can you ever see
    The thousand little deaths my heart has died.
    And you believe, so well I know my part,
    That I am gay as morning, light as snow,
    And all the straining things within my heart
    You’ll never know.

    The Portable Dorothy Parker

    By Dorothy Parker

    Featured photo of Dorothy Parker courtesy of Alchetron 

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