Tag: Poetry Collection

5 Poetry Collections for People That Don’t Like Poetry

I’ll be the first to admit that I hated reading the classics in school. John Milton made me mad, Shakespeare was a snore and Robert Frost robbed me of years of my life I’ll never get back. And because I was only exposed to those books, for the longest time I thought that was all that poetry was. But there’s so much more to it than that. Poetry is an ever-expanding, ever-diversifying form that isn’t just limited to stuffy poems ‘comparing thee to a summer’s day.’ But don’t write off poetry just yet. Here’s five books that go above and beyond what you thought poetry could be.


1. Olio by Tyehimba jess


Olio by Tyehimba Jess

image via amazon


Olio is unlike any book of poetry you’ve read before. Named after the second part of a minstrel-show, Jess allows the title to inform the performance-like presentation of his poems. It’s like a seance, the way he’s able to capture up the very essence of history. The book is comprised of everything from interviews to songs to prose. Larger than the size of your average poetry book, Jess has pages that fold out to read, drawings, and even a cast of characters in this book. But the most unique poems are the ones that can be read in any direction. For these poems, Jess employs a particular style of writing that uses two columns to separate his words. The effect is that there’s a plethora of ways you can read the poem and amazingly whichever way you read it, it still makes sense! It’s an astonishing feat. This book is perfect for anyone looking for a book that expands the realm of what poems can do.


2. The Crown Ain’t Worth Much by hanif abdurraqib


The Crown Ain't Worth Much by Hanif Abdurraqib

Image via amazon


You might be familiar with the publisher of this book, Button Poetry, as they’re known for being the hub of posted slam poetry videos that have probably made their way onto your social media timeline at some point. Abdurraqib is possibly the coolest poet you’ll ever hear of. Not just a poet but also a pop culture critic, he’s written for the likes of MTV News, The Fader, and The New York Times. Abdurraqib uses his interest in pop culture, specifically music, to explore his own personal feelings and experiences through the lens of a Black man in America. What draws you in is the way these poems can be both read and performed. Many take on a certain rhythmic lyricism that those of us who’ve seen slam poetry might be familiar with. It’s both culturally relevant and completely accessible. For any lovers of music, you’ll enjoy trying to catch all the references from this relatable collection of poems.


3. Teaching my mother how to give birth by Warsan shire


Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth by Warsan Shire

Image via amazon


Just the title lets you know you’re in for some insight. Warsan Shire is a name you’ve likely heard as being the mastermind behind the poems in Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Because of that, there’s a good chance you’ve already heard or read some of her work and it’s definitely worth looking into more of it. Shire manages to be bold and straightforward in her writing while also still giving us deep metaphors and one-liners that make you savor these words with a reverential “mhhh.” And the metaphors never get so wordy or heavy that you get lost in them. This chapbook may be fairly short, but it’s food for the soul. This poetry book was practically hand-picked by Queen Bey herself.


4. Salt by nayyirah waheed


Salt by Nayyirah Waheed

Image via goodreads


The poems in this collection are short but pack a punch like nothing else. Waheed herself is one of the more famously-known instapoets whose poems often appear as screenshots on social media. Her poems are typically only a sentence or two long. But don’t let the length fool you. These poems still leave you with something to think about. This is another collection of poems that veers away from what the “traditional” style of poetry is. The language itself isn’t terribly fancy or overcomplicated but her writing still holds a complexity to it. And with only a couple lines and a title (usually at the bottom of the poem) that is not something easy to do. These poems are a lovely match for anyone with a short attention span, anyone who is too busy to delve into longer works, or anyone who just enjoys beauty in simplicity.



5. Registers of illuminated villages by Tarfia faizullah


Registers of Illuminated Villages by Tarfia Faizullah

Image via amazon


The first thing that captures you is the stunning book cover. From there, you’re drawn into Faizullah’s world wholeheartedly. She writes with such fantastical flare that the book itself truly feels like a journey. Not only that, but her book has a myriad of different forms of writing that all come together to paint a picture. She has a poem that slinks down the page, another that uses staccato writing to emphasize her words and another that addresses homework from her childhood. Her poems take us all around the world from Texas to Bangladesh to Turkey to Iraq. If you love writing that takes you places, you’re not gonna wanna miss the adventure of this collection of poems.


Featured image via Diversityis

Marie Ponsot, Famous Poet, Passes Away at 98

Sad news for the literary community. According to The New York Times Marie Pronsot, a prolific poet, has passed away at aged ninety-eight. During her lifetime, the poet embarked on a long and extraordinary writing career. By the time of her death, Pronsot had translated dozens of books, published seven volumes of poetry, and served as the chancellor at the Academy of American Poets from 2010 to 2014. She passed away with her husband in New York City. She began her carer in the 1950s, where she was first published by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, a native of Yonkers who championed the Beat poetry movement.


Image via the New York times

Ponsot’s first notable work was True Minds, was a collection of love poems for her husband. For nearly twenty-five years, this remained her only book, as Ponsot abandoned her poetry career in order to focus on her personal life. During this time, she had become divorced from her husband, leaving her in Manhattan with seven children to raise. But despite this, she continued writing, filling her notebooks with ideas, scribblings, and poems even in the midst of her personal exile from the poetry world.

In 1981, she resumed her career after ‘finding her feet’ and titled her second collection Admit Impediment. The opening poem of the collection was a direct response to her husband, to whom her last and first collection was dedicated. The poem goes:


Death is the price of life.

Lives change places.

Asked why

we ever married, I smile

and mention the arbitrary fierce

glance of the working artist

that blazed sometimes in your face

but can’t picture it.


Image via The New York times


The collection went on to earn praise for its elegance, intimacy, as well as its rawness and fragility. It was followed by two sequels, the first in 1988 titled The Green Dark and the second in 1998 titled The Bird Catcher. The final one brought her National Attention, as well as increased praise and several awards. She described her process as writing ten minutes per day, pouring her life into the words and said she would encourage anyone to give poetry a go.

“Anyone can write a line of poetry. Try. That’s my word: try.”

Rest in peace, Marie Pronsot. You brought true imagination and love to the world of poetry.


Featured Image Via The New York Times

Harry Krame in a chair, smiling in a library

Patron Returns 53-Year-Overdue Library Book

It’s 1966 (not really, but just go with it), Lyndon Johnson is president, Vietnam protests are in full swing, and you’re 13 years old. Walking into your local library, you scan your school’s book shelves until you eye Lewis Gannett’s The Family Book Of Verse.

Cover of Lewis Gannett's "The Family Book Of Verse"

Image Via Amazon

It’s a poetry collection, and in the introduction Lewis Gannett explains that the poems were selected based on how they enjoyable they were and how pleasing to the ear they were if read aloud. It’s a book any child could get into – and so you check it out.

Then life happens.

A Clock

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Now it’s 53 years later and you go downstairs to clean our your basement and—to your amazement—you find Lewis Gannett’s The Family Book Of Verse.

What do you do?

Harry Krame beside a cover of Lewis Gannet's "The Family Book Of Verse"

Image Via Daily News

This is the exact predicament New Jersey Fair Lawn resident Harry Krame found himself in. Guess when Kirkus Reviews said that Lewis Gannett’s The Family Book Of Verse had a selection of poets that “for the most part not only familiar but established favorites which should ensure the longevity of a collection such as this for home libraries” they were right on the money.

A stack of books

Image Via wusa9

65 years old, Mr. Krame knew he had three options: Forget about it, burn it, or return it.

Well, he couldn’t burn the book. That’s just plain evil, and if you burn a book then the book Gods will come after you—and that’s a fact.

So in reality he had two options: Forget about the book or return it, and at 19,345 days overdue the book’s $2,000 late fee was worth more than the $4.95 it cost when published in 1961.

Know which option he chose?

Child shrugging

Image Via Bing

Of course he returned the book, setting an example to his family, his town, and everyone else who learns about his story.

I mean, If he didn’t then this would be a really weird article.

Everyone was shocked. NY Daily News writes that Memorial Middle School Vice Principal Dominick Tarquinio “was stunned when the now-65-year-old adult entered the school with something to return”. Luckily he wasn’t speechless, because when he asked the 65-year-old man’s name, Harry Krame knew just what to say: “I told him I can’t give it to him because I was in the witness protection program.”

Dominick Tarquinio of Fair Lawn

Image Via North Jersey

Jokes aside, School librarian Susan Murray saw an opportunity. KLEW writes that Ms. Murray “plans to use the book for a display to teach students about returning books”.

Well, now the story has gone viral, let’s hope the whole country learns that lesson.

As for the $2,000 dollar fine? NBC Philadelphia writes that Principal Dominick Tarquinio told them, “the district will let it slide.”

Good things do happen in the world—you just have to make the right decision.


Featured Image Via WTOC