Poetry Book Recommendations

Our staff put together a list of their favorite poetry books, perfect for anyone looking to start reading poetry.

Poetry Books

Many-Storied House by George Ella Lyon

“I love this collection. She is a Kentucky author and is from a part of the state and Appalachia not far from where I grew up. Her own personal journey can take me back home. Every time I read it, it brings up that emotional connection that we have to memories of the houses we grew up in. It also rings very familiar to me as we are from very similar places. Hearing about Appalachia is always meaningful to me, yet this book can evoke personal connections for anyone whether they have been to Appalachia or not. This book focuses on different parts of a home with poetry featuring Lyon’s memories and chronicles a 68-year history of this house from when her grandfather built it to when she said goodbye for the last time after her mother dies.”

-Morgan Lockard, Carrico/Fort Thomas Branch Adult/Teen Services Librarian

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Identical by Ellen Hopkins

“Ellen Hopkins writes young adult novels in free verse poetry about difficult topics teens face like drug addiction, psychological issues, trauma, etc. I love all of her books, but Identical is my favorite.”

– Molly Walker, Alexandria Branch Children’s Services Librarian

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The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace 

“I enjoyed this collection by Amanda Lovelace (she has many books out now, but this was the first one). In this collection of contemporary poetry the author focuses on female empowerment and mental healing. I loved the fairy tale theme throughout the book, and I thought the messages inside were very powerful!”

-Danielle Heiert, Cold Spring Branch Patron Services Assistant

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One Last Word by Nikki Grimes

“I really liked this collection of poems because Grimes uses poetry written by Harlem Renaissance poets to create something totally new through a unique poetic form called “The Golden Shovel.” She takes one small poem or a line from a poem, then each of those words become the last word of each line in the new poem – it’s a beautiful way of writing and really well done!”

-Stacey Venneman, Early Literacy Outreach Librarian

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The Poetry of Pablo Neruda Edited by Ilan Stavans

“One of my favorite poets is Pablo Neruda who is a Nobel Prize winning poet and former politician in Chile. His poetry incorporates surrealism, historical epics and even some politics. But, as with any poet, I enjoyed his love poems the most. There is some context lost in translation from Spanish to English, but his passion still finds a way to move people. Another one of his books, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, remains the best-selling Spanish poetry ever, even after almost 100 years.”

-Cody Elliott, Newport Branch Adult/Teen Services Programmer

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Citizen by Claudia Rankine

Citizen is about Black struggles from history to today. How the modern Black man wearing a hoodie puts him in a criminal category. It’s perfect for today and Black History Month.”

-Brittany Parr, Cold Spring Branch Children’s Services Programmer

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Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer

“I love that each poem can be read forward and in reverse. The reverse poem completely changes the meanings of both the poems and the fairy tales.”

-Jennifer Gooch, Carrico/Fort Thomas Branch Children’s Services Librarian

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