The best books of poems about love, nature, and God

Jennifer Read Hawthorne Author Of Life As a Prayer: Poems
By Jennifer Read Hawthorne

Who am I?

I love words! As a child, I learned the power of stories from my father, a master storyteller and creator of 480 original Brer Rabbit stories. I began writing myself at the age of seven, majored in journalism, and enjoyed a career that included everything from technical writing to several of the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul books. But only through poetry did I discover the beauty of getting to the essence of experience. I love how poetry takes both the writer and the reader to a deeper place, creating intimacy, giving us “ah-ha” moments, and touching heart and spirit.


I wrote...

Life As a Prayer: Poems

By Jennifer Read Hawthorne,

Book cover of Life As a Prayer: Poems

What is my book about?

In her first book of poems, #1 New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Read Hawthorne writes about growing up in Louisiana, transformation, extraordinary spiritual events, and experiences, finding the light in darkness and the divine in all things, and the joy of simple living.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is readers supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West

By Daniel Ladinsky,

Book cover of Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West

Why this book?

In my favorite book of poems, Daniel Ladinsky has compiled three hundred poems from twelve of the great mystical poets across time: Rumi, Hafiz, St. Francis of Assisi, Kabir, Mira, St. John of the Cross, Tukaram, Rabia, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Teresa of Avila Meister Eckhart, and Thomas Aquinas. While the voices are different, every one of them reveals the true nature of the Divine. Filled with humor and ecstasy, these poems never fail to uplift and inspire me.

Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems

By Billy Collins,

Book cover of Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems

Why this book?

There’s a reason Billy Collins served two terms as the Poet Laureate of the United States. His work is known to be both serious and playful, and he is able to take everyday moments and turn them into lessons for living. I always love what he calls “the turn” in his poem—the surprise direction a poem suddenly takes, seemingly departing from its original subject and taking your breath away or leaving you in complete surprise. Aimless Love is a beautiful compilation of fifty new poems and some of the best of four previous books.

Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

By Mary Oliver,

Book cover of Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

Why this book?

I would own this book for Mary Oliver’s poem “How I Go to the Woods” alone! Oliver’s love of nature, the way she notices the details of her surroundings, and the language she uses to describe her experiences are breathtaking. It’s easy to see why Mary Oliver won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

Tao Te Ching

By Lao Tzu, Gia-fu Geng (translator), Jane English (translator), Toinette Lippe (translator)

Book cover of Tao Te Ching

Why this book?

This is a beautiful book that combines the esoteric with the practical. Lao Tsu, an older contemporary of Confucius, was the great teacher of Taoism, a major Chinese philosophy that deals with a spiritual way of being. The Tao Te Ching is a compilation of his teachings, which tries to capture the essence of Truth and illustrates how to live like the sage. The translation of the title: Simply be. This book tells us how.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Tao Te Ching, 20th century, and poetry?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Tao Te Ching, 20th century, and poetry.

Tao Te Ching Explore 8 books about Tao Te Ching
20th Century Explore 696 books about 20th century
Poetry Explore 173 books about poetry

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Pillow Thoughts, I Hope You Stay, and The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile if you like this list.