Collecting Poetry: Celebrating National Poetry Month | Wyatt’s World

Buying poetry is often a challenge: circulation figures don’t show well against the latest blockbuster, and the PR around poetry is rarely sufficient to drive reader demand. April, however, brings with it the reminder of all that poetry does in our lives—the way it prompts us to focus and to wonder how the perfect line can alter perceptions in the blink of an eye. Those accomplishments will forever be worth the shelf space. Here are five collections to consider adding to your collection.Mad Honey Symposium

  • Cadaver, Speak by Marianne Boruch (Copper Canyon).
    Based on a period of study in a cadaver lab and the discipline of life-study drawing, Boruch’s poems are created from deep observation, and she beholds the uncanny and the beautiful with equal clarity.
  • Mad Honey Symposium by Sally Wen Mao (Alice James).
    This buzzy debut trips from the seductions of a Venus flytrap to a swarm of horntails as language and image are transformed in rapier-smart and kaleidoscopic ways.
  • Headwaters: Poems by Ellen Bryant Voigt (Norton). Voigt’s strong verse is resonant and exacting. This collection invites readers into a world sans punctuation, where her technical and artistic mastery is on full display.
  • The Earth Avails: Poems by Mark Wunderlich (Graywolf).
    The heart of the Midwest and 19th-century prayers blend in Wunderlich’s quiet ode to ritual and wonder. The poet’s prose is rich and clear as he triggers a mood that is at once expansive and evocative.
  • Book of Hours by Kevin Young (Knopf).
    The death of his father and the birth of his son provide Young with his focus in these gorgeous poems of grief and renewal—filled with startling images and lovely sounds.
Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at

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