Must-Read Books of Contemporary Poetry

Must-Read Books of Contemporary Poetry

It's official, poetry is having a renaissance. Here are 6 poetry books you need to add to your collection.

It's official, poetry is having a renaissance. Here are 6 poetry books you need to add to your collection.

Text: Madison Breaux

Summer is the perfect time to catch up on your reading list, but rather than sticking to the typical dystopian or mystery novel, try something different and delve into the world of contemporary poetry. What does modern poetry bring to the table? Provocative commentaries and revelations on love, heartbreak, and most importantly, the issues surrounding society today. Forget the poetry that you were forced to read in high school and pick up one of these books written by contemporary poets.

the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace

Amanda Lovelace presents her debut collection in four parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, and you. In the first three sections, Lovelace describes her own raw experiences with love, grief, and healing; while the last section reads as a personal note to her readers. As a whole, the collection acts as a tribute to all women who have ever needed a boost of empowerment and inspiration.

Coeur de Lion by Ariana Reines

In her frank and exposing series, Reines writes in a very honest and witty tone that reads more like a blog than a poetry book. In one book-length poem, she uses an intense monologue to tell the story of the love between a speaker and the object of her passions (including thinking and writing).

Whiskey Words & a Shovel I by r.h. Sin

After first releasing Whiskey Words & a Shovel in 2015, r.h. Sin decided to rerelease his work, revamping his collection to make it more relatable to his audience. Through his painfully honest poems, r.h. Sin introduces the reader to his muse and partner, Samantha King, who is the “she” throughout the book. He explores feelings of inadequacy and the struggle of finding fulfilling love.

Nature Poem by Tommy Pico

Another book-length poem, Nature Poem follows Teebs, a young homosexual Native American who has trouble writing about nature. As a lover of urban environments, Teebs hates everything about nature, but throughout the poem, he is forced to face his own identity and finds faith in his own voice. In this work, Pico challenges colonial-white stereotypes and manifest destiny.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Released in 2015, Milk and Honey quickly became the book to have on your Instagram page. Also divided into four very different chapters, Kaur’s collection outlines the journey of life, both the bitter and sweet parts. She adds illustrations throughout the book to complement her poems of love, trauma, and of course, femininity.

Citizen by Claudia Rankine

Citizen, Rankine's follow-up to her debut book Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric, provides groundbreaking commentary on racial aggressions in 21st-century life, particularly in the media. Rankine wrote Citizen as a testament to the widespread and often unnoticed effect that racist comments and encounters have on our society.


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