Book Recs: Poetry Collections (II)

I said I want to make this a series of poetry recommendations, but the first and only post so far is from July last year… But I am here with ten more poetry collections and better late than never, right?

Like last time, I changed our traditional “Why Should I Read It?” section into a place to share my favourite quotes from a book. Or at least one of many favourites…

Let’s go then!


Dream Work


Mary Oliver
Rep: lesbian poet

My Favourite Quote

You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.


War of the Foxes


Richard Siken
Rep: gay poet

My Favourite Quote

Am I the ghost at the end of the song? We are very close now, Little Moon. Thank you for shining on me.

He was pointing at the moon but I was looking at his hand. He was dead anyway, a ghost. I’m surprised I saw his hand at all. All this was prepared for me. All this was set in motion long ago. I live in someone else’s future. I stayed as long as I could, he said. Now look at the moon.


A Guide to Undressing Your Monsters


Sam Sax
Rep: gay poet

My Favourite Quote

nostalgia is a mausoleum
full of men / whose images i’ve loved / more than their skeletons
what is a ghost but what thrives / outside the body
what is the heart / but a haunting / but a looted museum


When the Only Light Is Fire


Saeed Jones
Rep: gay Black poet

My Favourite Quote

Let me show you how

to make your lungs
a home for minnows, how

to let them flicker

like silver

in and out of your mouth
like last words,

like air.




Tommy Pico
Rep: gay Native American poet

My Favourite Quote

I thot falling in love was a burden A kind of crowding on my landscape Love creates space, dummy Doesn’t take it up


Sea Garden


Rep: bisexual poet

My Favourite Quote

Nay, you are great, fierce, evil–
you are the land-blight–
you have tempted men
but they perished on your cliffs.

Your lights are but dank shoals,
slate and pebble and wet shells
and seaweed fastened to the rocks.


Sappho: Poems & Fragments


Sappho, trans. Josephine Balmer
Rep: Greek sapphic poet

My Favourite Quote

Love makes me tremble yet again
sapping all the strength from my limbs;

bittersweet, undefeated creature–
against you there is no defence.



Heaven or This


Topaz Winters
Rep: bisexual Singaporean-American poet

My Favourite Quote

we are holding hands in the barrel of a gun.
they pull the trigger, but when she is kissing me
only cherry blossoms come out.


Shame Is an Ocean I Swim Across


Mary Lambert
Rep: lesbian poet

My Favourite Quote

Have you ever seen a stampede of horses?
Do you wonder what the hooves
look like from underneath?
Have you tasted the blood from biting
your own lips because you
couldn’t say no loud enough?


Warriors of Love: Rumi’s Odes to Shams of Tabriz


Rumi,  trans. & introduction James Cowan
Rep: mlm Persian poet

My Favourite Quote

Of all the world I choose you alone;
Will you allow me to sit in grief?

My heart is as a pen in your hand;
You cause me to be either glad or sad.


Yes, I recced another translation of Sappho’s poetry but honestly, I don’t know what else you guys expected from me… I am a lesbian, after all.


3 Replies to “Book Recs: Poetry Collections (II)”

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