Off the Shelf: Poetry

Posted April 12, 2021

By Sarah Myers
Mobile Library Services Librarian with the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library

April is National Poetry Month! Poetry is easy to enjoy and doesn’t have to be studied intensely like you did in high school or college. It just takes a minute or two to read a poem, and poetry books don’t even have to be read from cover to cover!

Here are five reasons you should give poetry a chance:

1. Poetry touches on a variety of themes and each poet brings a slightly different style and feel.

The Best American Poetry 2020 by Paisley Rekdal, editor; David Lehman, series editor
This collection showcases over 80 renowned American poets, each using a unique style and approach. Contributors include Janice Harrington (a children’s writer and former librarian), Ariana Reines (a playwright and translator), and John Yau (a professor at Rutgers University), just to name a few. There is sure to be a poem for everyone in this collection.

2. Poetry can showcase and celebrate voices that are traditionally oppressed.

African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song by Kevin Young
This book is organized in eight sections, each focusing on a specific time frame in the African American experience in the United States. From 1770 to today, this collection highlights the courageous Black poets and writers of America.

3. Poetry can be an outlet for artists who usually express themselves in other ways.

Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass by Lana Del Rey
The debut book by popular singer and songwriter Lana Del Rey, this collection includes over thirty poems, original manuscripts, and photographs. She writes her poems similar to her songs, so this collection is sure to please her current fans and even get attention from those who have yet to hear her music.

4. Poetry can be a tribute to the wisdom that comes with age and life experience.

Dearly: New Poems by Margaret Atwood presents poems on aging and womanhood, which are topics not commonly celebrated nor discussed. She is genuine and relevant while discussing the darker parts of life’s experiences. Plus, if you’re a fan of legendary Margaret Atwood this is a must-read!


5. Poetry can portray a strong sense of time and place which can help us to escape from our daily lives.

Love and Other Poems by Alex Dimitrov is a love letter to life and to his coming of age. Hopeful, energetic, and grateful for the simplicity of his daily rituals, his poetry will encourage readers to appreciate the beauty of the mundane. His love for his home, New York City, shines throughout this collection and creates a beautiful backdrop for regrets, heartbreak, and the exciting potential of new love and friendships. “My Secret” (page 37) and “The Weather of Our Lives” (page 89) are two great poems to start with.