It’s gift giving season, which means some of you are looking for suggestions on what to get people. You know poetry is one of the best gifts ever, right? I read poetry books here and there, but my favorites have stayed pretty much the same. Here are some of my favorite poetry books.
- The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou. I got this book for Christmas one year, and I have had many hours of enjoyment reading it. I love the soulfulness of Angelou’s poetry, and it’s one of the best presents I ever received.
- Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women. If you know of someone who isn’t into a large book of poetry, this mini-book is just the ticket. It contains four poems especially about women, including the title poem, which as you know is one of my favorites.
- I mentioned The Prophet the other day. Even though I just read it, it’s quickly become one of my favorites. I know you’ll love it too.
- The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. Okay, Emily Dickinson’s poems are just fun to read. They have fabulous metering, are about great subjects, and are so original even now all these years later that you’ll marvel at this talented lady!
- Ten Poems to Change Your Life. If you have someone that is new to poetry, this could be a good book for them. Roger Housden chose exactly the right collection of poems to highlight here. The other “10 Poems” books are excellent, also, but this one stands out.
- The Poetry of Robert Frost. A lot of people enjoy Robert Frost’s most famous poems (including me), but when you read his earlier work it shows a wonderful progression. Frost was really prolific, which for a fan of poetry is really a gift.
- Let’s face it, everything Mary Oliver writes is great, but I have two favorites of hers: Why I Wake Early and New and Selected Poems. Last year, I got her audio book from Santa, and hearing her read her works was really a treat.
- Okay, now for the very best gift I have ever received: Poetry Speaks. I got this for my birthday one year, and just sat and listened to it all day. My husband said it was the first time he had ever seen me just sit and relax. Some of the poets reading their work on these disks are:
- James Joyce reading “Anna Livia Plurabelle” from Finnegans Wake alongside the original text from the book
- T. S. Eliot reading “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
- Sylvia Plath reading “Daddy” and “Lady Lazarus”
- Jack Kerouac reading from “MacDougal Street Blues,” accompanied by Steve Allen on piano
- May Swenson rehearsing “The Watch” prior to a reading
- H. D. reading a part of “Helen in Egypt” from a rare recording made shortly before her death
- Ted Hughes reading “February 17” during a BBC interview
- A never-before-published recording of Alfred, Lord Tennyson reading “The Charge of the Light Brigade”
- W. B. Yeats explaining his reading style and why he chooses to read that way
- Robert Frost reading “The Road Not Taken” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”
Great stuff, right? So what are your favorite poetry books?