Reading novels is not for everyone. It requires a lot of uninterrupted time that we don’t always have in the chaos of everyday life. For this reason, picking up a poetry collection may be a better option if you’re not ready to commit to the 300-page novel. You can read a poem at a time, or read the collection in its entirety–it all depends on your lifestyle and how much time you can commit to the poetic work. Since individual poems are often brief, it is much easier to pick up and put down the collection as you please, giving you much more flexibility than a novel.
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Leaves of Grass is a great American classic that explores the topics of nature, human relationships, intimacy, fluid identity, patriotism, and war. In the Preface to Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman invites his reader to “read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life”. In other words, he wants us to read and celebrate his poetic work while enjoying the great wonders nature has to offer us.
Walt Whitman is known for the connection he establishes with his reader. While this collection
is now 159 years old, Whitman’s transcendent voice allows us to feel close to him many years after his death. His poetry has a timeless quality as it explores the human experience in a very intimate way.
Delights & Shadows by Ted Kooser
Ted Kooser is a wonderful imagist who paints an elaborate picture in each of his poems. He writes about both the triumphs and letdowns of everyday life in a very approachable manner. Ted Kooser makes use of both enjambment and the free verse style, giving his poetry an organic quality. Throughout Delights & Shadows, Kooser adopts the voice of many different speakers and makes each sound entirely authentic. In this collection, Kooser writes about how our perspective changes with time, and how our past experiences shape who we are as people.
Body Compass by David Steingass
In college one of my professors told the class, “Sometimes you should pass on the beer, head over to the book store and buy a random book of poetry–it’s much more fulfilling. This statement led me to Body Compass by David Steingass–a very unique collection that connects the human experience to the land. This collection includes both free verse and fixed form poems, longer pieces and epigrams. For this reason, the collection is anything but predictable. Each poem is a captivating, authentic image of American life.