Celebrate poetry month with these contemporary titles
Poetry is a marvelous thing. Emotions that seem too complicated, too ecstatic or too painful to express normally, suddenly become accessible through poetry, in a similar way to music. Poetry gives us permission to feel things deeply in a world that often celebrates the shallow. There has been a resurgence in the popularity of this genre recently, and so, in honor of National Poetry Month this month, this review will cover a few of my favorite recent poetic works.
“Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life”
by Cleo Wade
“Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life” by Cleo Wade is a delightful anthology of poetic storytelling. Prose is mixed in with pages of short poems and miniature essays for a fun variety of insightful writing that hits the bullseye every time. From everyday wisdom to larger life lessons, Cleo Wade does not skimp on truth.
Her humorous tone often makes more serious topics bearable and many pages are completed by the addition of small notes in the margins or doodles between lines. This is the perfect book to underline, highlight and even tear up.
Read it straight through or skip to any page. Rip out a page to send to a friend. It is clear that Cleo Wade wrote this book to be shared. It would be a crime to deny such a beautiful piece of work its life.
“Yesterday I Was the Moon”
by Noor Unnahar
“Yesterday I was the Moon” by Noor Unnahar is an elegant and poignant take on poetry that touches on everything from art to travel and from culture to perseverance. My favorite poem in the book begins with, “falling in love with cities is risky.” So rarely does a single line capture my attention so immediately and fully.
Unnahar writes with a wisdom beyond her years, but with a familiarity that I think will speak to everyone. With lovely illustrations scattered throughout the book, any poetry devotee would be remiss to pass this one up, and a poetry novice will find this a welcome starting point. A deeply personal story is written in these pages, and it is worth every second to read.
“Milk and Honey” and “The Sun and Her Flowers”
by Rupi Kaur
Rupi Kaur’s poetry book “Milk and Honey” can be credited with bringing poetry back into the consciousness of the everyday reader. Her second publication “The Sun and her Flowers” is a more than worthy follow-up to a stunning debut. If you have not heard of either of her books, now is a perfect time to correct that rather egregious mistake.
If you have not read Kaur’s first collection, you must. It is a heart wrenching book born from pain and resolving in healing, that has sold millions of copies and spent dozens of weeks on bestseller lists. “The Sun and her Flowers” is an astonishing work, covering life during and after healing.
The ups and downs of everyday existence are brilliantly illuminated in her poems, and Kaur’s poetic take on both the mundane and miraculous will keep you reading well into the night. Mark your favorites, though you should prepare to mark every page. Pace yourself, otherwise you will find that you have finished far too soon.
Poetry is a celebration of humanity, and these contemporary poets are doing a fantastic job making their chosen medium accessible to everyone. Consider this your starter guide to this genre, then explore further into the world by browsing the poetry selection nearest you.
I hope you find as many gems as I did.
These titles are available at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore and Bud Werner Memorial Library.
Jenna Meier-Bilbo is a bookseller and barista at Off the Beaten Path.
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