April Is National Poetry Month | Wyatt’s World

Poetry is enjoying a bit of an upswing with verse by Rupi Kaur (Milk and Honey), r.h. Sin (She Felt Like Feeling Nothing), and Cleo Wade (Heart Talk) capturing a new generation of readers, and original translations of canonical works such as Homer’s Odyssey generating plenty of buzz. Celebrate National Poetry month with these key collections that speak to broad experiences and viewpoints.

  • Ten Poems for Difficult Times by Roger Housden (New World Library).
    One of the reasons poetry is finding a new niche is that it helps express the moments when we are most inarticulate. Housden, who often gathers his work into brief collections addressing the various needs of his audience, here shares what fellow poets Ellen Bass, Conrad Aiken, and Wendell Berry (among others) have to say about enduring hardship.
  • Godsong: A Verse Translation of the Bhagavad-Gita, with commentary by Amit Majmudar (Knopf).
    Majmudar was so enthralled by this essential Hindu text that, according to the New York Times, he took a “crash course in Sanskrit” to craft this translation, dripping with evocative images and arresting phrases.
  • The Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath (Harper Perennial).
    Plath (1932–63) is once again of the moment, caught in a whirlwind of attention as her possessions net big money at auction and her letters enjoy noted literary fame. While best known for her novel The Bell Jar and poetry compilation Ariel, her work ranges beyond those important volumes as this reprint edition of her collected poems deftly proves.
  • Wade in the Water: Poems by Tracy K. Smith (Graywolf).
    U.S. Poet Laureate Smith, who was just appointed to a second term, is out with her newest collection. Boasting intimate, accessible, and immediate poems, it speaks to issues of memory, history, and the condition of the world today.
  • The BreakBeat Poets. Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic; ed. by Jamila Woods & others (Haymarket).
    A form devoted to lyric and rhythm, poetry is also about truth and self-expression, pattern and protest. These female authors powerfully explore those concepts as they comment on the state of the nation and their own position on hot-button topics.
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt is LJ's reader's advisory columnist. She writes The Reader's Shelf, RA Crossroads, Book Pulse, and Wyatt's World columns. She is currently revising The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction, 3d ed. (ALA Editions, 2018). Contact her at nwyatt@mediasourceinc.com.

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