It’s the latest edition of me nerding out over literature (more than usual)…
Something I started doing last year in November was challenge myself to read a poem a day. I recorded the date, title, and author in a journal. I also decided to write down a quote that stuck out in order to help me remember the poem was about, since I’ve read a lot of poems over my lifetime but have had trouble recalling them.
So today, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite poems and lines that I’ve read doing this daily challenge! I’m honestly surprised I was able to keep up with this pretty regularly for over half a year (even though it’s morphed into “every other day” instead of “every day”), but it’s made me really happy and has become such a gentle and calming moment in each of my days. Poetry is so beautiful, and being able to make it a part of my daily routine makes me happy.
This is very different from what I usually post on here—even with what I typically read (novels), I’m terrible at recording and remembering quotes that jump out at me—but I hope it’s enjoyable for you all! I know poetry isn’t for everyone, but I think the beauty of poetry comes from how so much of what poets write about can be relatable to everyone. So hopefully you can find something that resonates with you in this post and keep it with you!
(I also wanted to do this because it’s an “easy” post to write, which is what I needed since I’m currently in Thailand!)
Here’s a list of my absolute favorite poems that I’ve read in the past few months, in case you’d like to check them out! I’ve included links to them as well so you can read them online, if I could find them.
The poems I’ve read have been from recommendations/posts I see online, poetry collections that I read, or on websites/pages with daily poems/updates like Poetry Foundation, poets.org, and @poetryisnotaluxury (on Instagram)!
- “American Arithmetic” by Natalie Diaz (Nov)
- “Ode to Lithium #419: Perfect” by Shira Erlichman (Nov)
- “Crush” by Ada Limón (Dec)
- “And What Good Will Your Vanity Be When the Rapture Comes” by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib (Dec) – reading from author!
- “Not Even This” by Ocean Vuong (Jan)
- “Having a Coke With You” by Frank O’Hara (Jan) *
- “The Leash” by Ada Limón (Jan)
- “Late Summer After a Panic Attack” by Ada Limón (Jan)
- “Time is on Fire” by Ada Limón (Feb)
- “Suspending Disbelief While Brown, Part II” by Hossannah Asuncion (Feb)
- “Death Poem” by Alysia Harris (Feb) – reading from author!
- “To the Woman Crying Uncontrollably In the Next Stall” by Kim Addonizio (Mar)
- “Beauty” by Warsan Shire (Mar)
- “Roast duck elegy” by K-Ming Chang (Mar)
- “The Difference” by Richard Howard (Apr)
- “Thank You” by Ross Gay (Apr)
- “One-Act Play In Which We Float Facedown In The Center Of A Lake” by Dalton Day (Apr)
- ”Tell Me Something Good” by Ocean Vuong (May)
- ”Stolen Moments” by Kim Addonizio (May)
* I’d actually read this one years ago but didn’t realize until I was halfway through—I’m still counting it though, just for the sake of sharing it!
“I am only a hand— / and when I slip it beneath the shirt of my lover / I disappear completely.” —Natalie Diaz, “American Arithmetic”
“Two women tie the knot / in each other’s nooses.” —K-Ming Chang, “Conversion Therapy”
“such then is beauty / surrendered against all hope / you are here again” —bell hooks, “Appalachian Elegy (Sections 1-6)”
“now I write about beautiful things / like I will never touch a beautiful thing again” —Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib, “And What Good Will Your Vanity Be When The Rapture Comes”
“I can say it was beautiful now, my harm, because it belonged to no one else. / To be a dam for damage.” —Ocean Vuong, “Not Even This”
“Look, we are not unspectacular things. We’ve come this far, survived this much. What / would happen if we decided to survive more? To love harder?” —Ada Limón, “Dead Stars”
“But friends, it’s lunchtime, / and doesn’t my mouth still work; / my appetite, my forked tongue?” —Ada Limón, “The Light the Loving See”
“because why not if you think nothing & // no one can / listen I love you joy is coming” —Kim Addonizio, “To the Woman Crying Uncontrollably In the Next Stall” *
“let me follow you / anyplace / in love / there is no end” —bell hooks, “15. (from when angels speak of love)”
“What the sadness is like: / You are a sculptor and you cannot move your arms. The marble stares the way desire waits.” —Hossannah Asuncion, “Suspending Disbelief While Brown, Part II”
“‘How do you know if you are going to die?’ / […] ‘When you can no longer make a fist.” —Naomi Shihab Nye, “Making a Fist”
“All that we are is the result of having come out. We came walking out of our thoughts to be loved.” —Lee Young-Ju, trans. by Jae Kim, “Nine Steps”
“Between my blood and my tears / there is a tiny bridge, / and nothing crosses; what / this means is I love you.” —Gloria Fuertes, trans. by Philip Levine & Ada Long, “I Think Table and I Say Chair”
To get born, your body makes a pact with death, / and from that moment, all it tries to do is cheat—” —Louise Glück, “A Slip of Paper”
“But this is how to make a god: / The total dissolve of the self into meaning. Gone.” —Arkady Martine, “Abandon Normal Instruments”
“it is the dagger at my throat and / the dagger over my heart and I am / crying out please, please / I always meant to kill us both.” —Venetta O, “I Set It In Stone”
“I thought / the fall would / kill me / but it only / made me real.” —Ocean Vuong, “Skinny Dipping”
“Let me be holy and warm. / Let me be the exhale.” —Stevie Edwards, “Offering”
* In all of the shared lines but this one, / represents a line break. The poet actually used “/” in this one, so // represents the line break here. (Sounding like a nerd here, but the use of “/” is very significant in the poem, so I wanted to make this note!)
do you like poetry? what are your favorite poems? have any poetry book recommendations for me?