National Poetry Month | A Call For Reading Suggestions

Hey, everyone! I need your help. A while ago I got the idea to read one poem per day as part of National Poetry Month in April because… well, because I’m just an insufferable English major, I guess. It’s still several months away but I know that both my life and your own are incredibly busy, so I thought I’d introduce this project now, rather than later, so that I’m not scrambling to put the finishing touches on my reading list at the very last minute.

I’d like your suggestions of what to read, please.

Here are some guidelines to make this whole thing easier for both of us, because there are certain things I’m looking for and I’d hate for you to waste your time providing suggestions that aren’t helpful:

Long, short, and in between = ALL GOOD. I would like to read at least one ridiculously long (book-length?!) poem and one ridiculously short poem for National Poetry Month. Just because.

I want diversity. Of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, country of origin, and more! It’s fine to recommend poetry by rich old white guys who have been dead for hundreds of years… just don’t suggestย too much of it, ha ha. I want a variety of perspectives on the world!

All subjects, styles, formats, genres, et cetera are welcome. Again, diversity is key here. Blank verse, sonnets, concrete poetry, anything and everything! Poetry written for kids and poetry written for adults. Any topic! (I’d appreciate it if you included trigger warnings if/when necessary, but I don’t really foresee that being a problem.)

Recommend as many poems as you’d like! Whether that’s one, two, or fifty. I know I won’t be able to read all of them because I simply won’t have enough time, but I’ll get around to as many as I am able. Iย will stick to reading just one per day, though, so you may want to keep that in mind if you’re thinking about reccing a linked series of poems or even an entire book of poems. (A book-length poem is a different thing entirely, though. See above comment regarding long and short poems.) If I do tackle something bigger like that, it’ll be on a weekend and I’ll still choose one poem as my focus because THAT’S JUST HOW I ROLL.

No self-promos. If I get a lot of these, I’d have to play favorites when choosing what to read in April… and I don’t want to do that. Plus, what if I don’t like your poem? I’m not trying to be rude here, just realistic: If you suggest something by someone else and I end up being not a huge fan of it, then it’s no big deal because that happens all the time with the books I read. But if it’s your own poem, it’s suddenly a lot more personal. And potentially awkward. I want to avoid that! Thanks for understanding.

I’m looking for poems I haven’tย read yet, but don’t feel bad if you recommend something I’m already familiar with. It’s not your fault you didn’t know! Hey, this is just an incentive to recommend lots and lots, right? There are some pretty famous poets/poems I’ve never read, so feel free to make even the most obvious of suggestions.


I have a special series of blog posts scheduled throughout the entire month of February, so I’ll post an update sometime in late March with my complete reading list. I don’t expect to find thirty days’ worth of poetry suggestions from this post alone, although it would be wonderful if that did happen. I do have a few ideas to fill in the gaps including poetry I faked my way through in high school but I wanted to offer you the chance to give some input on this project of mine.

Thank you all so much!

Will you be celebrating National Poetry Month this April?

P.S. Stay tuned for updates on tiny fun tasks such as Poem in Your Pocket Day, what social media I will use to share my thoughts on what I read, and more!


About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
This entry was posted in Books and Reading!, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to National Poetry Month | A Call For Reading Suggestions

  1. Lucille says:

    I don’t read much poetry but I really liked The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace! I also follow her on twitter and she seems like a really kind person ๐Ÿ™‚ Pretty sure you can find a glimpse of how she writes on instagram, if was all over bookstagram a few months ago!

    • nevillegirl says:

      Eeee, thank you so much! (And kudos on being the first commenter on this post, since I hope to get a lot more!) The Princess Saves Herself In This One was already on my TBR, so your rec makes me even more excited to read it! ๐Ÿ˜Š I think I’ll add that to my reading list for April. Thanks again!

  2. themagicviolinist says:

    I don’t read a lot of poetry unless it’s for a class or something, but I really like Gifts by Juliana Horatia Ewing. Sweet and simple. I know I’ve read more that I enjoyed, but I can’t think of any at the moment. If I come up with any, I’ll send them your way!

  3. Miriam Joy says:

    I like Jorie Graham, whose poetry is super abstract and I don’t understand it but it’s beautiful. And I also enjoyed Kate Tempest’s Hold Your Own (which is about the Greek story of Tiresias so has some really interesting stuff about gender). For older, more mainstream stuff I’m a fan of TS Eliot and Christina Rossetti and Emily Brontรซ (who was totally ahead of her time in terms of poetic style), although you have to prepared for a lot of God-related stuff with older poetry. I studied Rapture by Carol Ann Duffy at school and while it wasn’t entirely my thing (too much about sex), it’s got some good bits. Oh and Dylan Thomas! And I love the poem “The Listeners” by Walter de la Mere. I’m sure I have more recs but they’re not coming to mind right now — I have a “poetry” shelf on Goodreads you could glance at. I recently reviewed “the princess saves herself in this one”: I had mixed feelings about it and found some of it too simplistic for my taste as I like abstract imagery. (I think when I’m writing poetry I’m a weird mix of the simple straightforward style of modern poetry like that and the weird af imagery of TS Eliot or something, though I’m not claiming to be as good as Eliot — maybe more like Kate Tempest in style. So that’s probably why I like that kind of thing.)

  4. Mahima says:

    I love poetry to bits. So brace yourself, because I’m writing down the longest list of poem recs I’ve ever had to write.

    **Insensibility by Wilfred Owen**
    It’s a war poem, but it’s really good at talking about people’s mindsets and reactions to the world’s horrific problems.
    **Taking Aim at a Macy’s Changing Room Mirror, I Blame Television by Marcus Wicker**
    Really good poem about how black people are portrayed as violent threats and how this psych kind of messes you up a little.
    **How to be Perfect by Ron Padgett**
    A funny, very long (not book-length though) poem with lots of life lessons, my favourite being “make eye contact with a tree”.
    **The Difference Between Pepsi and Coke by David Lehman**
    If only because finally there’s some written proof that there is a difference between the two drinks. Also, it’s such a good poem about loving someone who is so far from perfect, so dearly.
    **Impossible Friendships by Adam Zagajewski and Clare Cavanagh (translator)**
    Examples of impossible friendships – it’s kind of nostalgic, almost.
    **Pluto by Maggie Dietz**
    Of course I really love this! But it’s a really good poem about loneliness too, and about feeling insignificant.
    **When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be by John Keats**
    Because Keats wrote some trippy Romantic poetry and died really early and was really scared about dying.
    **The God Who Loves You by Carl Dennis**
    I think it’s a fun poem, especially as someone who believes in God. But you don’t have to (and in particular I think this is aimed for those who don’t believe in God?) because it’s a great poem about who you allow to almost control your life based on such a flimsy thing as the fact that they love you.
    **Domestic Violence by Eavan Boland**
    The last verse of this poem gives the entire poem a new and almost sinister meaning. It’s about relationships, it’s not graphic nor does it really feature violence – it’s more a set of reflections.
    **Dialogue with an Artist by Matthew Sweeney**
    I think it’ important to have reminders like this one. It’s about depression, and hope.
    **I Look at the World by Langston Hughes**
    Indignant in the face of oppression, my favourite aesthetic.
    **Dividend of the Social Opt Out by Jennifer Moxley**
    Explains introverted behaviours and the desire to not go out perfectly.
    **My Sad Captains by Thom Gunn**
    It’s about our heroes. How human they actually are.
    **The Golden Shovel by Terrance Hayes**
    The enjambment is a bit annoying, but I find it a great piece of African-American literature.
    **November, 1806 by William Wordsworth**
    It’s motivation to keep fighting in the face of a threatening world.
    **The Legend by Garrett Hongo**
    This poem made me so annoyed, which is why I like reading it so much. It’s a reflection about an innocent bystander who was murdered in cold blood, and the speaker is just there talking about how numb he felt thinking about what happened and how ashamed he was of feeling numb. I guess I feel annoyed simply because of how true it is? To feel such great empathy for someone, but to be too numb to be able to really, really feel it truly. (I don’t know how to explain this, clearly).
    **I Am Offering This Poem by Jimmy Santiago Baca**
    It’s someone telling you they love you. It’s a consolation type of poem.
    **Around Unmun Temple at Ch’eongdo by Ko Un, translated by Sunny Jung**
    I think it’s about loneliness.
    **Sleeping Trees by Fady Joudah**
    Fady is one of my favourite names, now. This is about the speaker’s father, and about escaping persecution.
    **What if you slept? by Samuel Taylor Coleridge**
    I’m studying him right now, so of course I’ll recommend a poem by him! It’s about the potency of dreams. It’s also really child-like and lovely.

  5. orphu44 says:

    Have you read The Pelican Chorus? If you haven’t then that’s my suggestion.

  6. ellenmrozek says:

    This is such a great idea! A few favorites of mine are:

    “Love is Not All” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
    “Dirge Without Music” by Edna St. Vincent Millay
    “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley
    “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen
    “Ozymandias” by Percy Shelley
    “The Nutritionist” by Andrea Gibson
    “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts if you read any of these.

    • nevillegirl says:

      “Invictus” and “Ozymandias” are two of my favorites, actually, but I’ve never read any of the others, so thank you for the recs! ๐Ÿ˜Š Andrea Gibson is LGBTQ+, right?

  7. M says:

    My suggestions would be:
    “In Response To Executive Order 9066” by Dwight Okita
    “Theme for English B” by Langston Hughes
    “Sonnets 18, 130, and 146” by Shakespeare
    “Alone” by Maya Angelou
    “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death” by William Butler Yeats
    I think this is a really cool idea, and I’m looking forward to reading your poetry posts! (I’m also excited I can get more poetry recommendations from this!) ๐Ÿ™‚

    • nevillegirl says:

      Thank you so much! “Executive Order 9066” refers to the Japanese internment camps, right? Because that would be an excellent poem to read considering all that’s happening in the world right now. ๐Ÿ˜” ALL of these poems sound interesting, though!

      • M says:

        You’re welcome! I’m happy I got to share some of my favorite poems with you! ๐Ÿ˜€
        Yes, it does refer, and unfortunately, “In Response To Executive Order 9066” is too relevant to what is happening right now, but I guess that is one of the many functions of poetry: to create social commentary. Hopefully, we learn from it…

  8. Pingback: National Poetry Month | Poems I’ll Be Reading + Activities I’m Doing | Musings From Neville's Navel

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