April is National Poetry Month so this month’s task for our 2021 Reading Challenge is to read a book of poetry. Below you’ll find a few recommendations to meet the task, but for even more suggestions, give us a call at 708-867-7828. Your librarians are here to help.
Download a printable form and keep track of your reading tasks throughout the year to earn a free book.
Dearly by Margaret Atwood
In Dearly, Margaret Atwood’s first collection of poetry in over a decade, Atwood addresses themes such as love, loss, the passage of time, the nature of nature and – zombies. Her new poetry is introspective and personal in tone, but wide-ranging in topic. In poem after poem, she casts her unique imagination and unyielding, observant eye over the landscape of a life carefully and intuitively lived.
While many are familiar with Margaret Atwood’s fiction—including her groundbreaking and bestselling novels The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments, Oryx and Crake, among others—she has, from the beginning of her career, been one of our most significant contemporary poets. And she is one of the very few writers equally accomplished in fiction and poetry. This collection is a stunning achievement that will be appreciated by fans of her novels and poetry readers alike.
All Along You Were Blooming by Morgan Harper Nichols
A celebration of hope. An encounter with grace. A restoration of the heart. A healing of wounds. An anthem of freedom. All Along You Were Blooming is the ultimate love letter from the pen of popular Instagram poet Morgan Harper Nichols to your mind, to your heart, to your soul, and to your body.
Nichols delivers a striking collection of illustrated poetry and prose, inviting you to “stumble into the sunlight” and delight in the wild and boundless grace you’ve been given. There is a purpose in every season, and no matter how you want to race through this day or run away from this place, rest assured that you are invited to live fully-right here, right now. Light will always find you, and even when the sun sets and you sit awaiting the dawn, know you are still blooming in the way you were meant to. And in each small moment, whether in the light or the dark, you can make room for becoming, for breathing, for stumbling, and for simply being-for there is Grace, today and every day.
Selected Poems by Langston Hughes
The poems Hughes wrote celebrated the experience of invisible men and women: of slaves who “rushed the boots of Washington”; of musicians on Lenox Avenue; of the poor and the lovesick; of losers in “the raffle of night.” They conveyed that experience in a voice that blended the spoken with the sung, that turned poetic lines into the phrases of jazz and blues, and that ripped through the curtain separating high from popular culture. They spanned the range from the lyric to the polemic, ringing out “wonder and pain and terror—and the marrow of the bone of life.”
The poems in this collection were chosen by Hughes himself shortly before his death in 1967 and represent work from his entire career.
Homie by Danez Smith
Homie is Danez Smith’s magnificent anthem about the saving grace of friendship. Rooted in the loss of one of Smith’s close friends, this book comes out of the search for joy and intimacy within a nation where both can seem scarce and getting scarcer. In poems of rare power and generosity, Smith acknowledges that in a country overrun by violence, xenophobia, and disparity, and in a body defined by race, queerness, and diagnosis, it can be hard to survive, even harder to remember reasons for living. But then the phone lights up, or a shout comes up to the window, and family—blood and chosen—arrives with just the right food and some redemption. Part friendship diary, part bright elegy, part war cry, Homie is the exuberant new book written for Danez and for Danez’s friends and for you and for yours.
Break Your Glass Slippers by Amanda Lovelace
Amanda Lovelace, the bestselling & award-winning author of the “women are some kind of magic” poetry series, presents a new companion series, “you are your own fairy tale” the first installment, Break Your Glass Slippers, is about overcoming those who don’t see your worth, even if that person is sometimes yourself. In the epic tale of your life, you are the most important character while everyone is but a forgotten footnote. Even the prince.
The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks
“If you wanted a poem,” wrote Gwendolyn Brooks, “you only had to look out of a window. There was material always, walking or running, fighting or screaming or singing.” From the life of Chicago’s South Side she made a forceful and passionate poetry that fused Modernist aesthetics with African-American cultural tradition, a poetry that registered the life of the streets and the upheavals of the 20th century. Starting with A Street in Bronzeville (1945), her epoch-making debut volume, The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks traces the full arc of her career in all its ambitious scope and unexpected stylistic shifts.
Cast Away by Naomi Shihab Nye
“How much have you thrown away in your lifetime already? Do you ever think about it? Where does this plethora of leavings come from? How long does it take you, even one little you, to fill the can by your desk?”
National Book Award Finalist, Young People’s Poet Laureate, and devoted trash-picker-upper Naomi Shihab Nye explores these questions and more in this original collection of poetry that features more than eighty new poems. “I couldn’t save the world, but I could pick up trash,” she says in her introduction to this stunning volume.
With poems about food wrappers, lost mittens, plastic straws, refugee children, trashy talk, the environment, connection, community, responsibility to the planet, politics, immigration, time, junk mail, trash collectors, garbage trucks, all that we carry and all that we discard, this is a rich, engaging, moving, and sometimes humorous collection for readers ages twelve to adult.
Home Body by Rupi Kaur
Rupi Kaur constantly embraces growth, and in home body, she walks readers through a reflective and intimate journey visiting the past, the present, and the potential of the self. home body is a collection of raw, honest conversations with oneself – reminding readers to fill up on love, acceptance, community, family, and embrace change. illustrated by the author, themes of nature and nurture, light and dark, rest here.