- There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker
If you’re a strong believer in feminism, then There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé is the perfect read for you! In this book, Parker explores Black womanhood through various political issues and pop culture references in America. Speaking from a perspective of someone who’s read a few of the poems, the book has the power to make you feel empowered, especially if you’re a woman.
2. When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen
From the perspective of a queer American Asian immigrant, Chen dives into different forms of love and pain that he’s experienced in his life. Themes like a strained relationship between himself and his mother, the pain of cutting people off, and the path to finding yourself are common in Chen’s poetry. Although it isn’t soppy poetry, I think that if your going through a rough patch in your life, you’ll find Chen’s poetry very relatable.
3. salt. by Nayyirah Waheed
Waheed’s poetry is definitely a MUST this read. Waheed is a minimalist poet, meaning she says more by saying less, so she’s able to fit a million different emotions in just two lines. If you’re into poetry that delves straight into feelings without all the extra-ness of characters, setting, etc., then you’ll love Waheed’s book salt.!
4. Loose Woman by Sandra Cisneros
In Loose Woman, Cisneros definitely encourages you to roll in whatever makes you what you are. The poetry in the book focuses on love from a woman’s point of view, whether it’d be loving yourself or loving others. It’s definitely something that can be labeled as feministic work because it embraces the idea of being a woman.
5. Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire
Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth is a book that you come home to after a long day of suffering from emotional or spiritual pain. A good amount of the poetry in the book acknowledges pain, and then praises you after for getting through it. It’s a really great read, plus, who doesn’t like a little homage to self after going through something?
6. A Psalm for Us by Reyna Biddy
If you’re going through a tough heartbreak, A Psalm for Us is a great way to cope. Through her poetry, Biddy taps into the different feelings involved with heartbreak while also providing a space to heal. The poetry in this book has the ability to comfort you through any sadness you run into.
7. Homegirls & Handgrenades by Sonia Sanchez
Homegirls & Handgrenades is something more on the serious and eye-opening side of poetry. Sanchez, in a lot of her poems, presents the various fictional lives of poor Black people all while blending American politics. If you’re here for the idea of uplifting the Black community, then this book is a great choice for you.
8. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
Citizen: An American Lyric is filled with exceptional poetry, and you’ll love it if you like Afro-pessimistic poetry. All of Rankine’s poetry is in second person, so it’s easy to feel like you’re put right in the middle of each predicament in each poem. If you want to stay woke about political issues in the Black community, Citizen is all you.
9. The Big Book of Exit Strategies by Jamaal May
The poetry in The Big Book of Exit Strategies has a good way of inspecting American culture. May uses a lot of dark humor in his poetry to shine a light on things many of us go through such as letting go of your childhood when they mature and losing your imagination. I think this poetry in particular is perfect for those who want to see America from a different perspective.