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Celebrate National Poetry Month with 32 Poems. We’re sharing more than 215 favorite poetry books suggested by 43 poets in 30 days—and we’re sharing them with you.

Thanks to Reb Livingston for the inspiration behind this idea. Each year, she invites poets to share their favorite books in December.

Through this celebration, we hope to:

1. Promote the work of writers who may be new to you. Someone already wrote me to say they bought a few of the books recommended by John Poch on Day One.

2. Promote the work of the writers who volunteer to share their recommendations. At the end of each post, you’ll notice a juicy bio—often with links to the writer’s projects. I hope you take a moment to find out what they are working on these days.

The schedule of writers follows. Please feel welcome to share it on your blog. We’re creeping into the month of May, which shows poetry can’t be contained to just one month.

April 1: John Poch
April 2: Jonterri Gadson
April 3: Eric Weinstein
April 4: M.E. Silverman
April 5: Arielle Greenberg
April 6: Lucy Biederman
April 7: Eric Pankey
April 8: David Lehman
April 9 AM: Collin Kelley
April 9 PM: J.J. Penna
April 10: Jennifer Atkinson
April 11: Luke Johnson
April 11: Interview with Terri Witek
April 12: Holly Karapetkova
April 13: Daniel Nester
April 14 AM: Donald Illich
April 14 PM: Ravi Shankar
April 15: Carolina Ebeid
April 16: M. Scott Douglass
April 17 AM: Adam Vines
April 17 PM: Erica Dawson
April 18: Elizabeth J. Coleman
April 19: Bernadette Geyer
April 20 AM: Sally Molini
April 20 PM: Amit Majmudar
April 21: Kelli Russell Agodon
April 22: Jeannine Hall Gailey
April 23: George David Clark
April 24 AM: Ren Powell
April 24 PM: Dan O’Brien
April 25: Randall Mann
April 25: Andrew Kozma
April 26 AM: Mary Biddinger
April 27 AM: Juliana Gray
April 27 PM: Carrie Jerrell
April 28: Steven Allen May
April 29: Erin Elizabeth Smith
April 29: Joshua Gray
April 30: Rachel Zucker
May 1: Erika Meitner
May 2: Caki Wilkinson
May 5: Andrea Hollander Budy
May 6: Lisa Russ Spaar
May 7: January Gill O’Neil
May 10: Brian K. Spears


It’s hard to say what my five FAVORITE books of poetry are, because favorite can mean so many different things. But there are exactly five books that I’ve read and read and read again until they broke in half and the covers ripped, and here are those books:

I carry Necessary Stranger, by Graham Foust around with me in my purse, because it’s so heartbreakingly direct that if you open it while you’re waiting line at Walgreens and then the cashier is ready for you after you’ve only read a single line, you’ve still been refreshed, and amazed, and a little bit changed. My favorite poem in it is “Marital,” which starts, “To have and have and // have and how / could you not // stop blossoming.”

I have an extra-special place in my heart for It is Daylight, by Arda Collins because it, like Necessary Stranger, shows that the suburbs are as beautiful, scary, strange, boring and exciting as driving alone on a Midwestern highway in the middle of the night. My favorite poem in it is “Snow on the Apples,” which has a part that goes, “God? You say, but not aloud. Since / there is no god, have you be / both you and god.”

I always want to give In the Western Night, by Frank Bidart to people who say they don’t get poetry; Frank Bidart was going to be a movie director and it’s like watching the scariest, most beautiful movie your own mind could ever invent. Also, the interview at the end sort of contains the meaning of life.

Louise Gluck’s First Four Books of Poems is the first book I broke. It spoke to me so strongly, especially the first book, Firstborn, which is formal and controlled and almost mean. I still steal all the time from the the one (“Bridal Piece”) that goes, “The moon / Lurched like searchlights, like / His murmurings across my brain– / He had to have his way. As down / The beach the wet wind / Snored… I want / My innocence.”

The edition of The Dream Songs, by John Berryman with all of the dream songs in it, not just the first 77. Because some of the most beautiful parts are in the later ones, like “I – I’m / trying to forgive / whose frantic passage, when he could not live / an instant longer, in the summer dawn” (145) or “degraded Henry, at the ebb of love–/ O at the end of love–” (109) or “Dry, ripe with pain, busy with loss, let’s guess. / Gone.” (224) or “If there were a middle ground between things and the soul // or if the sky resembled more the sea” (385).

BIO: Lucy Biederman’s poems appear in the current issues of The Journal, Country Music, and PMSpoememoirstory and are forthcoming in The Apalachee Review and Open City. You can find links to poems of hers that have been published online.


This post is part of an ongoing National Poetry Month series. Each day this month, this blog will share a writer’s top five poetry (mostly) books. We did not give many guidelines beyond “share five poetry books.” Some poets may include a few sentences as to why they like the books. Some may list them. […]

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During National Poetry Month (April), we’re sharing lists of favorite poetry books. Each list is by a different poet who volunteered to share their favorites with you on the 32 Poems blog. Our hope is that 1) this effort will promote the writers whose work is shared here and 2) that you will learn about […]


In honor of National Poetry Month, which is National Poetry Writing Month or (NaPoWriMo), I am offering you the following prompt: 1. Use a slang word or term as your title. 2. Write 27 lines. 3. Include a person’s name. If you need another idea for a writing prompt, visit the NaPoWriMo website.