Poetry in Audio: 5 Lyrical Collections Worth Listening To
Listening to poetry in audiobook form can be a fantastic way to appreciate some of the genre’s best qualities. In fact, many poetry scholars believe poems are best experienced when read aloud—giving readers a chance to appreciate the art form’s sonic qualities and lilting sense of rhythm. Oftentimes, audiobook collections also offer the pivotal opportunity to hear a poet’s work in their own voice. Think of audiobooks as your own personal poetry reading, available on-demand and with a nearly endless selection.
1. Small Cures by Della Hicks-Wilson
Read by Della Hicks-Wilson herself, the author’s distinct and personal voice lends even more authenticity to this collection exploring mental illness, recovery, and self-love. Out on June 15 in audiobook form, Hicks-Wilson’s debut contains sparse yet stunning poems that will linger in any reader’s mind and heart. Consider listening to one poem per day as a morning mantra, or cozy up with this soothing recording as part of your self-care routine (it’s the perfect companion to your daily journaling or meditation practice). Pressing play on this comforting release provides a necessary reminder: You are more than enough.
2. God I Feel Modern Tonight by Catherine Cohen
If you love listening to comedy podcasts, Catherine Cohen’s I Feel Modern Tonight will fit right into your audiobook library. Written by a stand-up comedian and self-proclaimed “gal about town,” the poems in I Feel Modern Tonight are honest, outrageous, and filled with bold, unstoppable energy. Listening to the collection in Cohen’s own voice will make you feel like you’re listening to a friend’s funny and relatable stories.
3. The Essential Neruda by Pablo Neruda
Widely considered one of the most prolific Latin American poets and love poets, Pablo Neruda deserves a spot on every poetry lover’s reading list. Listening to this audiobook, narrated by C.S. Verdád, allows the romance and sensuality of Neruda’s work to sink in more deeply. From the early, intoxicating stages of infatuation to the comfort and steadiness of a long-term relationship, Neruda explores every facet of love. Play this collection, which gathers 50 of his best poems, whenever you’re feeling in the mood to celebrate love—whether that love is for a romantic partner or for yourself.
4. Soft Thorns by Bridgett Devoue
Best described as a memoir in poetry, Bridgett Devoue’s Soft Thorns tells the poet’s own story—and she doesn’t hold back any of its ups and downs. Devoue had this to say about the collection: “Our darkest times are where we grow the most, so in this book, I share mine.” These “darkest times” include experiences with sexism, sexual assault, heartbreak, and chronic pain, but the collection also finds the light by never giving up hope. Ride along on this turbulent, complexly beautiful journey by listening to the audiobook collection, narrated by Devoue herself.
5. Make Me Rain by Nikki Giovanni
Hear from one of the most celebrated voices in poetry with this essential, best-selling audio collection. As the winner of a Langston Hughes Award and one of Oprah’s 25 Living Legends, Giovanni has trailblazed an enduring and unparalleled poetic legacy. With their focus on racism, womanhood, and Black liberation, Giovanni’s poems stand out as both urgent and timeless. This collection marks a worthwhile introduction to Giovanni’s larger body of work—your reading list is sure to expand to include her many other titles.