It’s always a good time to read poetry, if you ask me, but National Poetry Month is an especially good time. Whether it’s a collection of poetry about life, love, and smashing the patriarchy, or a novel in verse, we’ve got you covered with some wonderful modern works of poetry to enjoy during National Poetry Month.
Solo by Kwame Alexander
Seventeen-year-old Blade Morrison never wanted to be born into the world of the rich and famous. His dad, former rock star Rutherford Morrison, is constantly in tabloids for his addictions and delusions of a spectacular comeback. The only bright spot in Blade’s life is his girlfriend, Chapel, but her parents have forbidden their relationship because of the fear that Blade will turn out just like his father—even though the only thing he and his father have in common is music. When a deep family secret comes out, Blade travels across the world on a mission to find his roots in Solo, Kwame Alexander’s stunning novel in verse.
We Want Our Bodies Back by Jessica Care Moore
Jessica Care Moore is a cultural force. Over the last two decades, her work as a poet, performer, publisher, activist, and critic has been making waves. Moore brings all that together in We Want Our Bodies Back, writing about Black women’s creative and intellectual power, along with the negative side effects of existing in this world and being scrutinized for their gender and race. This collection of poetry is a fierce, passionate call to action. Moore wants Black women to build each other up and protect themselves from the attacks of misogyny, criminalization, objectification, and patriarchy. Amen.
All Along You Were Blooming by Morgan Harper Nichols
Instagram poet Morgan Harper Nichols’s collection of illustrated poetry and prose, All Along You Were Blooming, is a light of hope, grace, restoration, and healing. It is a balm to soothe whatever in your soul is aching. She urges you to “stumble into the sunlight” and live fully, no matter what. This collection is a delightful, inspirational friend to keep on your nightstand, for whenever you need a pick-me-up.
A Girl Named Mister by Nikki Grimes
In A Girl Named Mister, bestselling author Nikki Grimes weaves a free-verse tale of temptation, teenage pregnancy, and forgiveness from God. Mary Rudine, a.k.a. Mister, is a church girl. She’s attended faithfully and sung in the choir for her entire life. But then she meets Trey, a beautiful boy who throws everything she knows into chaos. One mistake leads to an enormous secret.
Meanwhile, another Mary is preparing for her wedding. She’s done everything right, according to Jewish law, but one night an angel appears to tell her she’ll give birth. But Mary is a virgin. She’s scared and confused.
Mister, feeling abandoned while she hides her growing secret, is drawn to Mary’s story. Together, they learn the depth of God’s love and plan.
She Must Be Mad by Charly Cox
She Must Be Mad is a collection of poetry all about coming of age. Pain, beauty, love, relief, agony, isolation. Changes in the body, changes in the heart, changes in the soul. Using wit and heartfelt verse, Charly Cox perfectly encapsulates the experience of transformation from girl to woman. This collection is a friend, a lighthouse, a reminder that you are not alone.
How to Fix a Broken Record by Amena Brown
While not a book of poetry, How to Fix a Broken Record is a marvelous collection of thoughts about vinyl records and the human experience. Amena Brown, poet and spoken word performer, uses her soulful style to bring together humor, story, and heart in this collection. Music and memories have so much in common: melodies and rhythms, dancing and haunting. Brown’s broken records told her she wasn’t worthy of love. But, of course, she is worthy. How to Fix a Broken Record is the story of her journey toward healing. Her honesty and realness offer stories anyone can relate to.
How will you be celebrating National Poetry Month? Tell us in the comments!
Ashley Holstrom is a book person, designing them and writing about them for Book Riot. She lives near Chicago with her cat named after Hemingway and her bookshelves organized by color.