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8 Poems for Hope and Acceptance in the New Year

2021 is just around the corner. While celebrations may look a little different this year, the opportunity to reflect and reset remains. For many of us, it will symbolize a new start. To help you start the new year off on the right foot, we’ve selected eight poems to prepare your mind for hope and acceptance in the new year. 


Burning the Old Year” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Award-winning author Naomi Shihab Nye describes the end of the year and the beginning of a new one in her signature spacious and haunting style. From her 1995 collection Words Under The Words: Selected Poems, Nye’s “Burning the Old Year” captures the eerie permanence of the end of the year while leaving space for hope and new beginnings. 


here’s to manifesting a new life…” by Reyna Biddy

Known for her positive affirmations and healing words, poet, author, and musician Reyna Biddy creates work that helps readers find strength, empathy, and vulnerability. Her poem “here’s to manifesting a new life” is a brief and beautiful reminder to open our minds and our hearts this year, without losing our boundaries. 


New Water” by Sharon Chmielarz

In this steady, calming poem from her 2006 collection, The Rhubarb King, Sharon Chmielarz recognizes the beauty of change. Despite its simplicity and brevity, the poem evokes strong imagery of a peaceful farm with clear running water and a quaint way of life. 


Hope in the Morning” by Courtney Peppernell

Courtney Peppernell’s bestselling series Pillow Thoughts has touched readers across the globe. Heartbreak, love, and self-healing are central in her work. Her poem “Hope in the Morning” from her 2020 collection by the same name, is no exception. In it, Peppernell reminds us of the natural ebb and flow of life, with times of bliss, sadness, and everything in between. 


On Quitting” by Edgar Albert Guest

20th-century poet Edgar Albert Guest offers readers a traditional yet punchy poem on the struggle to give up old habits. No matter what your battles are, the new year is always an invitation to leave your crutches, vices, and hurtful habits behind. 


New Year’s Day” by Kim Addonizio

Award-winning poet Kim Addonizio gives her take on New Year’s Day in her smart and sensory poetic style. The poem “New Year’s Day,” comes from her collection Tell Me (2000). During a deeply introspective walk in nature, the speaker contemplates themes of youth, age, heartbreak, and acceptance. 


Song of the Open Road” by Walt Whitman

For those searching for the perfect poem to bring positivity into the new year, “Song of the Open Road” by Walt Whitman brings the enthusiasm you’re looking for. Strong, content, and optimistic, Whitman makes the case for being your own good fortune in the new year. 


Failing and Flying” by Jack Gilbert

To end this roundup on a bittersweet note, we’ve selected “Failing and Flying” by Jack Gilbert. This touching poem encourages readers to contemplate the ever-entangled relationship between joy and pain, beginnings and ends, grief and acceptance. Likening the rise and fall of his relationship to the flight and fall of Icarus, Gilbert reminds us all to accept the height of the good for what it is and to accept the end of an era with just as much grace.