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5 Poetry Collections For 21st-Century Dating

Dating in the 21st century is no easy feat, as love, sex, intimacy, and more become increasingly complex. As technology becomes a larger part of our social lives, connection is closer than ever—yet so far away. To unpack the fraught nature of dating in the modern age, we’ve selected five poignant poetry collections on 21st-century dating. 


A Boy in the City by S. Yarberry


In S. Yarberry’s vivid debut collection, intimacy and the cosmopolitan collide. With playful allusions to Greek myths and fables, gender, desire, and the glamour of the fast life come under fire. 


But of course, there is a movement—

cum and fog—

revolution without beginning. How does one achieve eternal bliss? By saying: Mr. Mr. in the plainest of language. I occur. A cat meows. I want the heart of a tree when it has been raining. I want a stupendous smugness, and the self— as gentle as concern— to dispense its terrible truth. 


A Hundred Lovers: Poems by Richie Hofmann


Sublime, steamy, and frank, A Hundred Lovers: Poems analyzes intimacy through a modern lens and against the backdrop of classical painting, sculpture, and music. With a sense of modernity and history, Richie Hoffman raises ever-relevant questions about monogamy and desire. 


No tourists.

Water turning a mill wheel, 

serving nothing but artifice. 

I am a servant

to order and erotic love. 

Soon to be


You take a picture

of me by a trellis

both of us failing

at the vernacular style. 

In the Temple of God


God I Feel Modern Tonight by Catherine Cohen


Quippy and captivating, God I Feel Modern Tonight takes on themes of heartbreak, sex, self-care, and love with a uniquely millennial sense of humor. In her debut collection, comedian-turned-poet Catherine Cohen becomes the larger-than-life best friend we never knew we were missing. 


in L.A. we got naked and swam in the ocean

we ate cured meats and carrots

& sat in the back of a red pickup truck

like we were in a film where two old friends fight

& wrestle their way into a hug

heave-sobbing as the dust settles

I want to be famous for being the first person

who never feels bad again


In Real Life by Leticia Sala


Love, infatuation, language, and technology fall under the microscope in this bilingual novel-in-verse. In Real Life tells the story of a young woman in Barcelona who forges an online romance with someone in New York City. At once contemporary and universal, this beautifully crafted collection expresses love, loss, grief, and self-reflection. 


I never thought the word ‘typing’

could wax so luminous.

While waiting while holding on, I imagine

the millions of words

you might write for me,

unready as I am

to accept

the single word

with which you finally



Useful Junk by Erika Meitner


Poet Erika Meitner’s sixth collection, Useful Junk, harnesses the power of observation to explore memory, desire, and the body. In a world of strip malls, supermarkets, and subway platforms, Meitner finds the daily intimacies that make up our embodied experience and drive our desire. 


The Woman across the aisle from me

reading The Celestine Prophecy has a 

tattoo on her foot in Latin but I can’t

make out the exact phrase as I am not

magic or wearing my glasses. Before

boarding, I ate a sausage biscuit in a 

plastic clamshell at a table where

we were all plugged in to a greater

current, charging our appendages.