Staff Picks

Poetry for Teens

April is National Poetry month. Celebrate by checking out some of these titles with teen appeal - from nature to science fiction, love to death, and free verse to haiku, you're bound to find something to inspire.

List compiled by Dory L. and Chris H.

Chris H.
180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day     180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day    
Various
    811.008 One

A second helping of wonderful poems to share with teens.

A Thousand Mornings     A Thousand Mornings    
Mary Oliver
    811.54 Oli

One of the best nature poets currently writing.

American Hybrid: Norton anthology of new poetry     American Hybrid: Norton anthology of new poetry    
Various
    811.6 Ame

A collection that looks at the new hybrid poem, one that is a cross between experimental verse and traditional.

Ariel     Ariel    
Sylvia Plath
    811.54 Pl

Published two years after the author of The Bell Jar's death, this highly personal collection deals with themes of mental illness and identity.

At the Drive-in Volcano     At the Drive-in Volcano    
Aimee Nezhukumatathil
    811.6 Nez

Her name may be hard to say, but this young writer brings a multicultural viewpoint to her modern poems. A Filipino-American who has won an NEA award.

Baseball Haiku     Baseball Haiku    
Various
    811.008 Bas

Love the game, love poetry's shortest form? Then this book is for you. Explore baseball haiku written on two sides of the world.

Come Thief: Poems     Come Thief: Poems    
Jane Hirshfield
    811.54 Hi

Nature poems with a Buddhist and spiritual emphasis written in an accessible style.

Dance Dance Revolution     Dance Dance Revolution    
Cathy Park Hong
    811.6 Hon

Science fiction poetry that imagines life in a desert city. Chosen by the Los Angeles Times as a best science fiction book of the year.

Directions to the Beach of the Dead     Directions to the Beach of the Dead    
Richard Blanco
    811.54 Bla

Poems that explore the beauty of place and the meaning of home in various countries including the U.S., Spain, Cuba, Peru and Brazil by our most recent inaugural poet.

Discography     Discography    
Sean Singer
    811.6 Sin

Poems about music from a young poet who won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award.

Face     Face    
Sherman Alexie
    811.54 Ale

One of the finest Native Americans writing today about life on and off the reservation.

Flies     Flies    
Michael Dickman
    811.6 Dic

Describes a poor childhood, physical abuse, and the suicide of an older brother.

Good Poems: Selected and Introduced by Garrison Keillor     Good Poems: Selected and Introduced by Garrison Keillor    
Various
    811.008 Goo

An intriguing mix of excellent poems selected by the great radio impresario.

Haiku in English: the First Hundred Years     Haiku in English: the First Hundred Years    
Various
    808.8141 Hai

This new collection presents a great overview of American haiku from its start in this country a hundred years ago. Includes samples of modern haiku written by contemporary American practitioners of the art. A great resource to explore this short contemporary form.

Horoscopes for the Dead     Horoscopes for the Dead    
Billy Collins
    811.54 Col

One of our most accessible poets who also uses humor often.

Life on Mars     Life on Mars    
Tracy K. Smith
    811.6 Smi

Smith writes about space travel and David Bowie.

Love is a Dog from Hell     Love is a Dog from Hell    
Charles Bukowski
    811.54 Buk

A raw, funny, heartbreaking examination of love from an infamous outsider poet.

Love Poetry Out Loud     Love Poetry Out Loud    
Robert Alden Rubin
    821.008 Rub

100 poems about love including silly love ditties and poems about falling in and out of love. Includes poems by Shakespeare, Dickinson, and other great poets.

Love: Selected Poems     Love: Selected Poems    
e. e. cummings
    811.52 Cum

Famous for his unique topography and delicate love poems.

Poems     Poems    
Emily Dickinson
    811.4 Di

A favorite of teens for decades, Dickinson writes about love, death, and the art of poetry.

Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry     Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry    
Various
    811.008 Poe

As poet laureate, Collins gathered these poems to share with teens. They cover every day of the school year.

Selected Poems     Selected Poems    
Gwendolyn Brooks
    811.54 Bro

Brooks' poetry about race, female identity, and Chicago in the 20th century made her the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer     Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer    
Steve Scafadi
    811.6 Sca

Explores the history of Southern racism and a young man's explorations of love.

The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral     The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral    
Various
    811.608 Arc

"Can't enjoy a blade of grass unless there's a subway handy?" as Frank O'Hara once said. This collection gathers new poems written in praise of nature that were written in an urban, technological world.

The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands     The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands    
Nick Flynn
    811.6 Fly

Political poetry about the devastation of war.

The Essential Haiku     The Essential Haiku    
Various
    895.6 Ess

Want to explore the haiku tradition including the Japanese masters who started the form and gave us some great haiku? Read the work of Basho, Buson and Issa.

The Poetry of Robert Frost     The Poetry of Robert Frost    
Robert Frost
    811.52 Frost

One of the 20th century's best American poets. Well loved.

The Portable Walt Whitman     The Portable Walt Whitman    
Walt Whitman
    811.3 Wh

One of the great American poets, Whitman's poetry deals with faith, nature, sexuality, and what it means to be an individual.

The Raven and Other Poems     The Raven and Other Poems    
Edgar Allan Poe
    Y Poe

This young adult version has the classic illustrations by Gustave Doré.

Turtle Island     Turtle Island    
Gary Snyder
    811.54 Sn

This 1974 book of poems and essays about ecology won the Pulitzer Prize.