5 books of poetry that’ll improve your bookshelf and your brain

If you’re trying to prove to future one night stand’s that you’re well versed in the art of poetry or want to enrich your mind during your summer vacay instead of just guzzling margaritas, we’ve got you. Here are some awesome poetry anthologies that you should check out stat!

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The Real Warnings – Rhett Iseman Trull

This collection is raw. At times it is uplifting, and at other times, quite dark. Her ability to tell a story is stunning and fierce. She walks us uncompromisingly through a stay at a mental health facility, leaving the reader unsettled. She uses minutia to explore beauty in damaged things. This is a great collection for those of us who have or do battle mental health conditions. It gives language to things we sometimes can’t explain.

The Andrew Poems – Shelly Wagner

If you’ve lost a loved one, you know that your identity changes from that point forward. Shelly Wagner’s work chronicles her journey through grief following the tragic death of her five-year-old son, Andrew. This collection is so powerful. She tears open the cookie-cutter myth of the stages of grief and shows the reader the vast and messy imperfections of loss and healing. Even if you haven’t lost someone or something close to you, I encourage everyone to read this one.

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Blood Dazzler – Patricia Smith

This work was created in response to Hurricane Katrina and its impact on New Orleans. It is outstanding. The way Ms. Smith personifies Katrina is haunting. It is brutal, beautiful and tragic. We hear or read things on the news about natural disasters and their impact, but Ms. Smith takes you there. She’s a powerhouse poet whose visceral work pulls you in and then spits you back out.

Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth – Warsan Shire

It’s possible that you have heard Warsan’s poetry before, as she contributed to Queen Beyonce’s outstanding album, Lemonade. She is one of those writers who write life into the things I wish I could say. In this work, she addresses identity, family, abuse, and intimate relationships. Her words are eloquent and sharp, so sharp that you can feel it in your gut.

Gurlesque – The New Grrly, Grotesque, Burlesque Poetics – Edited by Lara Glenum and Arielle Greenberg

The genre “Gurlesque” was coined by Arielle Greenburg between 1960 and 1982, comprised of Generation X and Riot Grrl poets. This collection is comprised of a variety of queer, female, feminist poets whose work is unorthodox and challenging but also intense and powerful. Through their work, we are allowed a glimpse into feminist punk rock culture, street life, and sex. Challenging? Yes. Worth it? Also Yes.

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