Pocket Poetry: Poetry Books for Poem in Your Pocket Day

Originally started in 2002, Poem in Your Pocket Day occurs every year during April, which is National Poetry Month. This year Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 18 (today!), and participants are encouraged to carry a poem with them all day to share with others.

Here are some great poetry books at the Sewickley Public Library in which to find your poem for Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Cover ImageEgghead, Or, You Can’t Survive on Ideas Alone by Bo Burnham
For comedy fans, Bo Burnham probably isn’t an unfamiliar name. His success as a stand-up, writer, and actor is all at least in part due to his brand of introspection that is just as deep and beautiful as it is hilarious and crude. In Egghead, Burnham uses his sharp wit and brilliant mind to create a collection of poems like no other. Going from wacky to crude to heartbreaking with no warning, prepare for some of the best type of emotional whiplash.

Cover Imagethe sun and her flowers by rupi kaur
Rupi Kauroften stylized as “rupi kaur,” gained international acclaim with her first poetry collection, milk and honey, which spent over a year on the New York Times bestseller list. Here, she shares her much-awaited second collection of poetry, focusing on subjects like love, healing, and reconnecting to your roots. Kaur’s poetry is emotional and raw, and the short lengths of some of the poems make them perfect for Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Cover Imagethe princess saves herself in this one by amanda lovelace
Amanda Lovelace, also stylized as “amanda lovelace,” begins her critically acclaimed “women are some kind of magic” poetry series with this book. The book is separated into four parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, and you. In each poem, Lovelace examines what it is like to be a woman today, and the many ways in which we are both restricted by and break free from society’s rules. Full of empowering, emotional, and touching poems, this poetry book is a must-read.

A Vibrant Awakening of Memories by Pittsburgh area long term care residents and resident poet, John Conte
Inside this poetry anthology you will find a beautiful collection of poems written by the long term care residents of Western Pennsylvania. The poems come from a workshop run by poet Jon Conte as part of Progressive Home Health’s Be Well Program. The program originally aimed to improve the memory of the residents, but soon grew to be known as a fun, social event for relaxation and reminiscing.

Cover ImageWhat Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire by Charles Bukowski
In 1986, Time Magazine called Charles Bukowski a “laureate of American lowlife.” With over sixty published works, Bukowski cemented himself in the history of American poetry. Here, in his second posthumous collection, poems are included that span nearly twenty years, including some of the last poems he wrote before his death in 1994. Though at times a controversial figure, Bukowski’s jarring imagery and emotional depth shine through in his poetry.

Cover ImageTaking the Arrow Out of the Heart : Poems by Alice Walker
Alice Walker became a cultural icon as the visionary author behind the novel The Color Purple, and she uses her incredibly writing skills once again in Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart, a collection of poems in which she reflects on her life, from love to activism to self-doubt. Written in both English and Spanish, Walker artfully emboldens her readers to appreciate the beautiful things in life, and to preserve the things that matter to us most.

They Rule the World by [Hazo, Samuel]They Rule the World by Samuel Hazo
Pittsburgh native Samuel Hazo has been writing poetry for over fifty years, and has put out dozens of poetry collections. In They Rule the World, Hazo uses his strong poetic voice to ponder the concept of time and the importance of the present. Through his poetry, Hazo searches for wisdom and connection, all through the art of expression. Whether you’re a poetry pro or a newcomer to the genre, this book is guaranteed to have something for you inside.

Cover ImageThe Performance of Becoming Human by Daniel Borzutzky
In The Performance of Becoming Human, Daniel Borzutsky writes about the many ways governments and bureaucracies affect the lower class in both Chile and Chicago, two places immensely important to the poet. By looking at the borders we see in life—physical, political, and personal—Borzutsky outlines the painful process of learning to survive in such a world, or, as he calls it, “becoming human.” Borzutsky shows us our dark side, and he doesn’t hold anything back.

Cover ImageAdultolescence by Gabbie Hanna
Gabbie Hanna is a popular internet celebrity, with significant followings of YouTube, Twitter, and the now defunct Vine. In addition to her online content, she is also an actress and a musician, and has accomplished a great deal at just 28 years old. In Adultolescence, Gabbie examines the awkward experience of coming of age in today’s society, and how sometimes your twenties can feel just as adolescent as your teen years.

Cover ImageWade in the Water : Poems by Tracy K. Smith
Tracy K. Smith is the Poet Laureate of the United States, and with this book of poetry she proves why she received that title. Reconciling America today with its torrid past, Smith uses her poetry to discover what it means to be an American citizen today, along with other ideas like motherhood, artistry, and violence. Her lyrical voice shines through, and she completes her portrait of America with a variety of different types of poetic forms and styles.

Cover ImageVoices in the Air : Poems for Listeners by Naomi Shihab Nye
In this volume of nearly 100 original poems, award-winning poet Naomi Shihab Nye pays respect to the many people in her life who have inspired her, from other poets to historical figures to ordinary people. Again and again, Naomi Shihab Nye offers a peaceful tribute to the people who matter to us, and what about a person makes them inspirational. The book also includes short bios of each person written about in the collection, and a beautiful introduction written by the author herself.

Cover ImageAmerican Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes
This finalist for the National Book Award features seventy poems, all with the same title. In it, poet Terrance Hayes explores what it means to be an American under the current administration, along with concepts of assassins and love. What are the countries dreams? Its nightmares? Terrance Hayes elegantly grapples with the controversial, painful past of the United States and the potential for an equally painful future, and examines how these things affect us.

Cover ImageThe Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water by Cameron Barnett
This is the debut collection of Pittsburgh-poet Cameron Barnett, but you wouldn’t know from reading it. Barnett’s masterful poetry seems to come from someone with decades of experience, a testament to his talent. Through his poetry, Barnett examines the complexity and emotion that comes with being a black man in today’s America. This book is overflowing with raw emotion, truth, and self-reflection, and you won’t be able to put it down.

Cover ImageThe Carrying : Poems by Ada Limón
Ada Limón will break your heart and fix it with the salve of words in this stunning poetry book. In her poems, Limón explores the concept of carrying, from a woman grappling with her infertility to a daughter caring for her aging parents. Yet, despite all of the things that make us bleed, Limón reminds us of all the wonderful things about our imperfect world. If you’re looking for something just as emotional as it is beautiful, this is the poetry book for you.

Image result for leaves of grassLeaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Considered one of the greatest American poets, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass is a masterpiece, and his poem “Song of Myself” is called by many (including myself) his magnum opus. However, the entire collection is full of fantastic poetry, including the famous line “I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.” If you’ve never given Whitman a try, I highly recommend “Song of Myself” and “Out of the Crade Endlessly Rocking.”

Cover Image100 Love Sonnets = Cien Sonetos de Amor by by Pablo Neruda ; translated by Stephen Tapscott
Pablo Neruda is the master of the modern sonnet, having won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. Originally written in Spanish, here the sonnets are presented side-by-side in English and Spanish. If you speak any Spanish, it is astounding to read his work in the original language. If not, Stephen Tapscott has artfully translated Neruda’s work into beautiful English translations.

Cover ImageThe Weary Blues by Langston Hughes
One of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes is widely considered one of the best poets of all time. The Weary Blues, named after the award-winning poem of the same name, was the first book of poetry published by Langston Hughes in 1925, though it would certainly not be the last. With an unmatched talent and rhythm, Hughes is able to relate his experience of being black in twentieth century America to all audiences, regardless of time or place.

Selected PoemsSelected Poems by e. e. cummings
Edward Estlin Cummings, who wrote as “e. e. cummings,” was an incredibly influential American poet, and widely attributed to the modernist free-form poetry. If you’ve read e. e. cummings before, you know his distinct, almost nonsensical style of writing. If you’ve never read any of his work, prepare yourself for a wholly new poetry experience, one without capitalization, punctuation, and often without structure, but with an incredible amount of beauty and emotion.

Cover ImageDog Songs by Mary Oliver
If you’ve ever felt the urge to wax poetic about your four-legged canine friend, then you will be relieved to hear that Mary Oliver has written an entire collection of poetry about the wonderful ways our dogs add to our lives. From daily walks and silly antics to the deep, comforting presence of a loving companion, Oliver examines all the wonderful, heartbreaking, eye-rolling experiences that come with owning your very own dog.