Poetry and Cocktails: Summer Sips for Your Next Book of Poems

While many of us love poetry for the way it changes our mood and helps us meditate on the deeper meanings of life, there are ways to bring a little more fun and lightness to our next poetry read.

How about a cocktail pairing? With summer right around the corner, promising relaxation and sunshine, it’s the perfect time to try out some new fruity cocktails while chipping away at those TBR stacks.

Below are some summery sips paired with perfect poetry reads.


Long Island Iced Tea: Junk by Tommy Pico

Tributes to Janet Jackson, nacho cheese, changing political landscapes, cultural losses for indigenous people, the static that follows the loss of a job or an apartment or a boyfriend—a lot is packed in this book-length breakup poem.

With a mix of subject matters to tackle, you’ll want a drink that contains an equal amount of wild ingredients, like a Long Island Iced Tea.


Classic Negroni: Soft Targets by Deborah Landau

Drawing on the vulnerabilities of humanity and the flesh in a corrupted world, Landau’s collection examines life’s uncanny ability to transform ordinary places―subways, cafes, street corners―into sites of potential violence that weigh heavily on the modern mind.

Pair this melancholy book of poems with a classic Negroni,  ruby-red Italian cocktail that is pleasantly bitter with a hint of vermouth sweetness.


Strawberry Lemon Mojito: Exiles of Eden by Ladan Osman

This poetry collection compares the origin story of Adam, Eve, and their exile from the Garden of Eden with generations of displacement and alienation of native people.

A blend of  Somali narrative tradition and  Osman’s experimental voice, these poems are best paired with a non-traditional cocktail, like a strawberry lemon mojito.


Porch Crawler: Brute by Emily Skaja

Described as fiery and hypnotic, Emily Skaja’s poetry collection, Brute, confronts the dark questions and menacing silences surrounding gender, sexuality, and violence. Rich with feminine strength, vulnerability, rage, love, and sin, the speaker of these poems is a sorceress, a bride, a warrior, a lover.

Such passion deserves a cocktail of equal fierceness, so sip on The Porch Crawler, a fiery but refreshing combination of chile, cherries, and white rum.


Watermelon-Tequila Cocktail: Don’t Tell Me Not to Ask Why by Samantha King Holmes

Following her bestselling collection Born to Love, Cursed to Feel, Samantha King Holmes’s Don’t Tell Me Not to Ask Why is a mirror that reflects our most precious truths. These poems that read like little stories navigate issues such as family dynamics, loneliness, body image, failed relationships, and belonging.

Pair this transparent and honest collection with something a refreshing watermelon-tequila cocktail.


Silver Monk: Salt Water by Brianna Wiest

Salt Water is about self-love—the kind that goes deeper than bubble baths and face masks. It is a reminder to forgive ourselves and give ourselves permission to move forward. This book is a form of meditation, a way to remember our own self-worth.

The salty and sophisticated Silver Monk pairs perfectly with this collection of acceptance and inspiration.


Lady Rose: Lovely Seeds by R.H. Swaney

Using the life cycle of a flower from seed to withering, Swaney’s collection addresses mental health, self-love, and social progress, with nature as a backdrop. Pair this thought-provoking collection of regrowth with a floral cocktail, like the Lady Rose.