Readers in the 21st century have been given a wide variety of voices from poets from all walks of life.
Here at our little bookstore that’s bigger on the inside, we’d love to highlight some of our modern favorites so that you can share the gift of verse this holiday season.
HOMIE – poems by Danez Smith
Rooted in the loss of one of Danez Smith’s close friends, this book comes out of the search for joy and intimacy within a nation where both can seem scarce and getting scarcer. In poems of rare power and generosity, Smith acknowledges that in a country overrun by violence, xenophobia, and disparity, and in a body defined by race, queerness, and diagnosis, it can be hard to survive, even harder to remember reasons for living. But then the phone lights up, or a shout comes up to the window, and family—blood and chosen—arrives with just the right food and some redemption.
WINTER RECIPES FROM THE COLLECTIVE – poems by Louise Gluck
Winter Recipes from the Collective is chamber music, an invitation into that privileged realm small enough for the individual instrument to make itself heard, dolente, its line sustained, carried, and then taken up by the next instrument, spirited, animoso, while at the same time being large enough to contain a whole lifetime, the inconceivable gifts and losses of old age, the little princesses rattling in the back of a car, an abandoned passport, the ingredients of an invigorating winter sandwich, a sister’s death, the joyful presence of the sun, its brightness measured by the darkness it casts.
THE HURTING KIND – poems by Ada Limón
What does it mean to be the hurting kind? To be sensitive not only to the world’s pain and joys, but to the meanings that bend in the scrim between the natural world and the human world? To divine the relationships between us all? To perceive ourselves in other beings—and to know that those beings are resolutely their own, that they “do not / care to be seen as symbols”?
With Limón’s remarkable ability to trace thought, The Hurting Kind explores those questions—incorporating others’ stories and ways of knowing, making surprising turns, and always reaching a place of startling insight. These poems slip through the seasons, teeming with horses and kingfishers and the gleaming eyes of fish. And they honor parents, stepparents, and grandparents: the sacrifices made, the separate lives lived, the tendernesses extended to a hurting child; the abundance, in retrospect, of having two families.
DEVOTIONS: SELECTED POEMS by Mary Oliver
MY POET by Patricia MacLachlan
Patricia MacLachlan has written a lyrical ode to writing, to poetry, and to the celebrated American poet, Mary Oliver. In this mesmerizing picture book, a little girl wants to write, and one summer day she joins the poet who lives nearby to explore a town on Cape Cod. Together, they look. Together, they touch. Together, they find words. All things in the natural world, the girl discovers, bring words to the poet. Can the girl find the words to write her own poetry, too?
Glorious artwork by New York Times bestselling illustrator Jen Hill illuminates the text. Mary Oliver passed away in 2019, but her way of seeing the world inspired this book. Although not biographical, the story captures the author’s personal connection to the famous poet.
TIME IS A MOTHER – poems by Ocean Vuong
In this poetry collection, Ocean Vuong ruminates on time. It becomes a character of its own, both an obstacle and motherly, something that can nurture and hold. Written in the aftermath of his mother’s death, Vuong’s poems are raw with grief and darkness, but there are radical moments of joy and resilience even through that. Through these poems, Vuong sings loud and clear of everything worth living for and discovering.
We have even more collections of modern and classic poetry for you to wander through. Thanks, as always, for making our shelves your destination.