So, let’s face it, poetry isn’t everyone’s favorite genre to read, and everyone has their own reasons for this. Which is why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to compile an introductory list of poetry collections to help you get your toes wet in the deep dark waters of verse.
We hope each of the five artists listed below serve as your gateway to the beloved genre.
1. D.H. Lawrence
Kicking off our list is classic poet, D.H. Lawrence, who once dabbled in every writing form, which might speak to why Lawrence’s poems don’t always have that perfume-y quality that is so often associated with the style.
“I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.”
— from the poem, Self Pity
2. Rupi Kaur
Rupi Kaur has been getting some buzz recently from her poetry collections which tackle everything from abuse to feminism to love. Kaur’s style is quick and short verse, but she utilizes every line to draw out emotion and thought in her reader.
“it is a blessing
to be the color of the earth
do you know how often
flowers confuse me for home”
— from the collection, The Sun and Her Flowers
3. JonArno Lawson
JonArno Lawson’s poetry is in the same vein of Maurice Sendak and Shel Silverstein; a little kooky, possibly meant for children but thoughtful and insightful nonetheless. His classic quirky rhymes and illustrations speak of the fragility and folly of life.
“No need to switch the towels
for the orchid.
Its bath is in the air
It dries there—
daring of higher powers
and faking its flowers.”
— from the poem, Orchid in the Window
4. Wendy Cope
Possibly the most conventional of the poets to make this list, do not let that stop you from picking up Wendy Cope. She uses the constructs of poetry—rhyme, meter, practical line breaks—and writes about what is real and relevant in her life and the world.
“He tells her that the Earth is flat—
He knows the facts, and that is that.
In altercations fierce and long
She tries her best to prove him wrong.
But he has learned to argue well.
He calls her arguments unsound
And often asks her not to yell.
She cannot win. He stands his ground.
The planet goes on being round.”
— from the poem, He Tells Her
5. Morgan Parker
Morgan Parker is almost a complete departure from the other poets on our list. Parker’s work straddles the line between verse and prose in its form, and the content is a perfect blend of personal and political. She’ll make you laugh, think, cry and scream “YAASSS!!” all at once with a shrewdness that is subtle but heavily detailed.
“Darren Wilson cannot find a job, twelve months after the shooting, which left his round cheeks pink with adrenaline. He lives a quiet life. His blue eyes sparkle. He is a man who shot a boy. No, a suspect. Boy. Rodney King became nationally known after he was beaten. Even angels want to live forever. Even angels want LA fame.”
— from the poem, A Brief History of the Present