Poetry Facts

Top 20 Best Poetry Books That Make The Perfect Gift

Last Updated: November 1, 2022

Looking for the perfect gift for the poetry lover in your life? We’ve rounded up a list of our favorite poetry books that are sure to please any recipient. Whether they’re a fan of classic poets like T.S. Eliot or prefer more contemporary authors, there’s something for everyone on this list. So, without further ado, here’s the list of 20 best poetry books to buy as a gift.

1. The Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich

The first book on this list is a work of an American poet, essayist and feminist, Adrienne Cecile Rich. The Dream of a Common Language was the first book published after the author came out as a lesbian in 1976.

In the book, Rich explores the concept of a common language that can be achieved through poetry and art. She also wrote openly about sexuality, power and violence against women.

This book is an intimate collection of poetry that explores the feminine, and would serve as a wonderful gift.

2. Diving into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich

Another brilliant work by Adrienne Rich, Diving into the Wreck is a powerful book that speaks out against the norm. The author points her poetic finger at both men and women, who all have a part in the problem. These poems explore a variety of topics, such as ecological destruction, commodification, Vietnam, dreams and violence.

The poems aren’t just critical of men or women, but instead aim to make all readers uncomfortable and take a long look at themselves. These angry poems are a swarm of bees, written by an angry poet. They provide a much-needed wake-up call for everyone who reads them.

3. The Carrying by Ada Limon

This is a serious, honest, and brave collection of poems that explores the moment between youth and adulthood. A daughter deals with her parents aging, a woman who is struggling with infertility, and a nation in turmoil.

Even though these subjects are difficult, Limon shows us that there is still hunger, love, and joy in our lives. She bases her work on her own life experiences, which can be painful at times but are ultimately optimistic. The language in her poems is straightforward and easy to understand, making them accessible to a wide audience, even to those who typically don’t read poetry.

4. Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair is not just any book. This collection features some steamy love poetry by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, first published in 1924 when he was only 19 years old.

The public initially found this work controversial because it’s so erotic; however over time many have come to appreciate how passionate yet romanticized these feelings can be- especially considering his young age at publication (though most people don’t know that). It has since become one if NOT THE best known books written during our lifetime – having sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.

5. The Gift by Hafiz

Hafiz is one of the great mystical and healing voices of Persian literature. His poetry conveys a deep knowledge, wild generosity that can empower lives.

His collection, The Gift contains 250 intimate poems that capture not only his love for God but also wisdom and generosity unparalleled in world literature at large. It’s a great book to read, even for someone who is not a poetry lover.

6. Mother Tongue Apologize by Preeti Vangani

This is not just a book of poems, it’s an ode to life. It speaks about the pain we feel when everything that matters most ends up being taken from us one piece at time – but there are also moments where you find something beautiful or clever enough to make your day brighter again with its reminder in between pages.

Vangani tells the story of her life in a way that is both painful and beautiful. Losing everything we love is painful, but in this collection there’s also great humor that brings joy to readers’ souls as they navigate their own journey—a must read for everyone who wants good poetry!

7. Bright Dead Things by Ada Limon

One more time Ada Limon made it on our list. Bright Dead Things is a thought-provoking poetry collection that takes the reader on an entertaining journey through life and death, exploring what it means to be human in this chaotic world. It considers how we build our identities out of place as well as human contact with an emphasis on experiences that are both solitary yet shared by many others.

The poems of Limon are vast and full, a “beating genius machine” that strives to embrace the present moment. The author’s heart becomes an open book in these extraordinary works where each line wearily unfolds with love for life it contains while also being deathly aware of how short our time on earth can be.

8. The Moon is Always Female by Marge Piercy

The Moon Is Always Female is one of the most creative and insightful books written by American poet Martha Piercy. This collection shows her genius at its peak with poems that are both meditative yet fiery, refined but not without anger or passion.

The poems manage to create an excellent balance between rawness and refinement while exploring new topics such as faithfulness or identity with Judaism through rituals which are often related both physically and emotionally. This book is not too long, but it feels like more than enough time to connect with the author, her beliefs and feelings.

9. No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay

Sarah Kay’s first collection of poetry, No Matter the Wreckage showcases new and beloved work that shows off her knack for celebrating family, love, and many other things. Her writing makes you feel like a friend, another human being going through this funny thing called life.

The poems in this book are evocative and relatable without being too simple or candid about their message; it’s an amazing balance between those two things. To say that this book is beautiful is an understatement.

10. The Anatomy of Being by Shinji Moon

The Anatomy Of Being by Shinji Moon is a youthful and fragmented journey inward from the perspective of hopes and pains in adolescence. To best describe the tone of these poems, think of that sweet and shy high school girl that always sat by herself during lunch whom you always wondered why nobody ever approached her when you yourself never approached her.

This book is so raw and pure, and quite an emotional experience. The confessional style both hits home where its relatable, or bounces off base but the imagery in this piece make readers feel like they’re right there experiencing everything with her as she writes about it all.

11. Mixed Feelings by Avan Jogia

Mixed Feelings is a raw and moving collection of poetry, stories, and art about living as a mixed-race person in a world that is constantly trying to put everyone in a box.

The author of this book, actor Avan Jogia, also touched on topics such as religion, violence, and bullying. They are all difficult things that need to be discussed more than ever. Mixed Feelings is a beautiful book, both in its words and illustrations. The book is simply gorgeous in every sense of the word.

12. Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay

This book is an ode to the beauty found in nature and all its processes. It studies the wisdom of the garden and orchard, those places where death, sorrow or loss can be turned into something beautiful, with patience.

With short lines, each poem focuses on a different object or event which the author sees as being gratitude itself: a fig tree, drinking water, ants, etc. Ross Gay managed to convey such intense joy through just a small set of poems. His poems are like a taste of the perfect day, when fully aware that your life is not perfect all the time.

13. The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

One of the classics, The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot, is considered a central work of modernist poetry. In some ways, Eliot could be an intellectual difficult, but the man was brilliant. His works reflect that perfectly, as they are as beautiful as frustratingly difficult.

T.S. Eliot’s lamentation about the spiritual drought in our day, the wasteland of our Western society, lightened by a few fleeting glimpses of hope. It’s fragmented, haunting, laden with symbolism and allusions, difficult, and utterly brilliant.

14. If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho

Sappho was a famous poetess in ancient Greece who lived during the 5th century BC. She wrote mostly poetry but only several scraps survive, and these do not offer much insight into her life story or any details about it other than what we can tell from elsewhere sources such as historical records.

Listening to Sappho’s fragments brings a special sense of peace. It is humbling to think we are perusing the thoughts of someone who is thousands of years away from us. As Sappho wrote, “someone will remember us | I say | even in another time”. With this collection, we remember her.

If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho

15. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Marie Rilke

This book is not a collection of poems, but it is a great gift for poetry lovers nonetheless. In 1903, a student who attended a military academy sent some of his poems to a famous Austrian poet. The older artist, Rainer Maria Rilke, replied to the novice in this series of letters with amazing insights about the ideas behind his greatest poetry.

Letters to a Young Poet contains the ten letters that were written during an important stage in Rilke’s artistic development. Many of the themes later appearing in his best works can be seen in these letters, and this is essential reading for any poetry lover.

16. The Love Poems of Rumi

This book is one of the essential readings of Rumi, the great Persian poet. These poems are windows into the deep yearnings of human hearts, searching for something divine. They celebrate love with every poetic whisper that penetrates human relationships and inspires intimacy within ourselves.

This book captures the dreams, wishes, hopes, desires, and feelings of a Persian poet who continues to amaze, bewilder, confound, and teach, one thousand years after he walked on this earth.

17. Nine Horses by Billy Collins

Nine Horses is a collection of poems by Billy Collins, America’s Poet Laureate for 2001-2003. The author made a stunning return to the page with his trademark brilliance and delicate negotiation between clear thoughtfulness while still maintaining an airy sense of mystery.

These poems reach heights that are both dazzling in their complexity and at the same time grounded firmly on everyday life events. Collins’s poetic eye makes the seemingly ordinary activities of traveling by train, lying on a beach, and listening to jazz on the radio into brilliant feats of creative imagination. With clarity, precision, and enviable wit, Collins transforms those moments we too often take for granted into amazing pieces of writing.

18. Poems To Live Your Life By by Chris Riddell

In this book of classic and modern poems, Chris Riddell has selected his very favorites that are about life’s big questions: life, death, and everything in between. The forty-six poems in this gorgeous collection are brought to life by Chris Riddell’s exquisite artwork. He has created a beautiful and thoughtful gift for those who enjoy reading poetry with his intricate, vibrant paintings.

This book is a must-have for any lover of poetry. It features famous poems, old and new; some that you might know by heart while others will unexpectedly make their way into your heart like never before! From William Shakespeare to Leonard Cohen, there’s something here sure to please everyone who reads it.

19. The Norton Anthology of Poetry by Margaret Ferguson

The Norton Anthology of Poetry is considered by many to be the go-to resource for teaching and learning about poetry in English. Offering over one thousand years worth of verses from medieval times up until now, this book offers something that no other poetry book can match: variety. The Norton Anthology is an invaluable resource for readers of all ages, and it’s a great way to find new poetry.

20. Ariel by Sylvia Plath

When Sylvia Plath died, she left behind more than just her prolific life. She also left behind her unpublished literary masterpiece, Ariel. Her husband, Ted Hughes, brought the collection to life in 1966, and its publication garnered worldwide acclaim.

The beloved poetess’s work is always brilliant, provoking, and moving. This collection showcases her skillfully witty poems including “Ariel” which has made readers fall head over heels in love with the author’s words throughout generations.

Final thoughts

And that’s a wrap! We hope you found this list of poetry books to buy as a gift helpful. Poetry can be a great way to show your loved ones that you care about them and want to share something special with them. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know in the comments below. Happy reading and happy gifting!

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