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7 Poetry Collections to Remind You to Put Yourself First

During difficult and trying times, it’s easy to forget about yourself. If you’ve lost touch with your own needs in the last few months, it may be time to recenter. No matter what you’re struggling with, poetry can help you see it through. We’ve selected seven poetry collections to encourage you to prioritize your needs, create space for yourself, and set necessary boundaries. 

 

The Strength in Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino

For readers looking for encouragement to rise above the hurt within, The Strength In Our Scars could be the perfect pick. Poet Bianca Sparacino offers compassionate poetry and prose throughout the collection, sharing her own experiences of moving on, finding self-love, and learning to heal. Available now. 

 

The Grief We’re Given by William Bortz

Grief is not an easy emotion to process, but most of us will experience it at some point in our lives. This collection by William Bortz may help those struggling with grief reach new understanding. The Grief We’re Given seeks answers to some of life’s toughest questions: How are we to learn to grieve when it feels unrelenting? How are we to adore and memorialize small moments of appreciation? How are we to shape our grief into something worth celebrating, and begin to understand the grief we give? Available now. 

 

Shine Your Icy Crown by Amanda Lovelace

Bestselling and award-winning poet Amanda Lovelace, author of the women are some kind of magic poetry series, started 2021 off strong with the release of Shine Your Icy Crown. The second installment of her you are your own fairy tale series encourages readers to take back their power. Let go of societal expectations and hop into the driver’s seat of your own life with this empowering collection. Available now. 

 

100 Poems to Break Your Heart by Edward Hirsch

While it’s important to learn from our own heartaches, we can also glean wisdom from others. If you’re looking for poems on love and heartbreak from a wide variety of perspectives, 100 Poems to Break Your Heart might be the perfect fit. In this collection, Edward Hirsch collects and explicates 100 of the most poignant and inspirational poems on heartbreak, loss, and grief written over the past 200 years from around the globe. Available March 30. 

 

Nedí Nezų (Good Medicine) by Tenille Campbell

In a world of DMs, double-taps, and swipe-rights, Nedí Nezų reminds readers that romance isn’t the only thing that makes life worth living. With humor and grace, Campbell not only examines the complex relationship between Indigenous women and mainstream society, but she also unpacks what it means to fall in love with yourself. If love, lust, and romance have recently brought you more heartache than joy, this collection is for you. Available April 13. 

 

How to Be Better by Being Worse by Justin Jannise

While forgiveness is normally discussed in relation to others, we often forget what it means to forgive ourselves. Poet Justin Jannise’s debut poetry collection covers just that. If you’re struggling with feelings of guilt, shame, or self-blame—no matter the root—this collection might hit close to home. How to Be Better by Being Worse questions the self-help model while celebrating queer experience, identity, and forgiveness. Available April 13. 

 

The Life by Carrie Fountain

Winner of a Marlboro Poetry Prize and the Austin Library Foundation’s Award for Literary Excellence (among many other accolades), poet Carrie Fountain releases her third collection, The Life. At once playful and wise, this collection encourages readers to find moments of bliss within the mundanity of routine. The Life is a great choice for perfectionists who need a gentle reminder that happiness does not lie in perfection, it lies in true, unabashed acceptance of ourselves. Available April 27.