An Ode to Poetry

by | Apr 2021

Poetry Books

Photo: Chris Emeott

April marks National Poetry Month.

Poetry has always been my favorite genre because of its ability to take memoir and literature and shake them until just their barest beauty remain. Whole lifetimes can be condensed into a few short lines of carefully chosen words. So, here are a few of my favorite poetry novels to celebrate during National Poetry Month.

Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey
This Pulitzer Prize winning collection from former United States Poet Laureate expertly blends historical research with personal loss. Trethewey starts by exploring her mother’s death and its resounding effects on her own life in swift, vivid verse. She follows with a series of poems inspired by research on Black soldiers’ experiences during the Civil War. Trethewey takes heart wrenching details pulled from her research and twists them into haunting stanzas of loss, cruelty and perseverance.

A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver
The late Oliver always had an ability to sweep me away from wherever I was and take me into whatever moments her poetry captured. Her poems often explore the relationship between people and nature and are the perfect escape from a hectic world. This collection is no different. Its poems sing with lyrical observations of animals, gardening and even words themselves.

The Tradition by Jericho Brown
Brown’s latest Pulitzer Prize winning collection has garnered well-deserved critical acclaim. He works through dark topics with both an intensity and lightness in his verse. There is unease, despair, longing and injustice coupled with love, resistance and hope.


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