The best poetry books to inspire and uplift you

Who am I?

I spent years trapped inside a devastating lack of self-esteem. To face my demons, and find the freedom and confidence to give expression to the creative soul buried within, I had to dive deep beneath life’s surface. After a life-changing injury, I began anew at age forty, and the writer and poet version of me was born. If I’ve learnt one thing, it’s that it’s never too late to be who you were meant to be. For me, poetry needs to inspire, make me think, and move me. I love to write poems that surprise, startle, reach the soul, and are layered with life, love, and meaning. 


I wrote...

Life & Soul: Book 2 in the Soul Poetry Series

By Harmony Kent,

Book cover of Life & Soul: Book 2 in the Soul Poetry Series

What is my book about?

Life & Soul is the second book in the Soul Poetry Series by acclaimed author Harmony Kent.

This beautiful collection of over fifty poems will take the reader through the highs and lows of everyday life via contemporary poetry in a range of styles and themes. Within these pages, you will find reflections on the Lonely Soul, the Seeking Soul, Brief Soul, Friendly Soul, and the Loving Soul—states of mind and living and longing we each experience over the course of a life. Life & Soul offers something for lovers of poetry from all walks of life. 

The books I picked & why

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The Best of It: New and Selected Poems

By Kay Ryan,

Book cover of The Best of It: New and Selected Poems

Why this book?

The Best of It seems like an easy, leisurely read at first. However, so many of Kay Ryan’s poems lulled me into a false sense of security, and then they pounced. Not with claws out, but rather with padded paws to catch my mind-fall as my brain went, Wait. What? and I had to stop and read the poem or lines over again. This simple yet complex and profound collection of contemporary poetry will stay with me for life to inspire, question, make me laugh, and offer solace.


Penguin's Poems for Life

By Laura Barber,

Book cover of Penguin's Poems for Life

Why this book?

Poems for Life is one of my all-time favourite poetry collections because it offers something for every mood and occasion. At those times I’ve found myself planning a celebration, trying to write a love poem for dear hubby’s birthday, or struggling to find words for a funeral, and stuck for ideas, this book has provided the perfect sentiment and inspiration. It takes us from birth and beginnings, through childhood and childish things, into growing up and first impressions, to making a living and making love, as well as family life, growing older, and all the way through to death and mourning. This delightful book of poems offers comfort and words to treasure for a lifetime.


The War Poets: an anthology

By Various,

Book cover of The War Poets: an anthology

Why this book?

The War Poets is a powerful and moving collection that, despite being about fighting and dying, somehow managed to teach and inspire me. For certain, it made me stop and think deeply about life, choices, and consequences. This little book shows the hearts and minds of soldier poets who went to war, and the ultimate self-discoveries they achieved. For such a small book, The War Poets tackles a big topic and goes deep beneath the surface. At times in my life, I have struggled to simply accept, and this collection of raw and honest verse has helped me push on through to the other side.


Hues Of Hope: Selected Poetry

By Balroop Singh,

Book cover of Hues Of Hope: Selected Poetry

Why this book?

Hues of Hope is a captivating book of poetry centered around the theme of hope, which enchanted and moved me. Its pages are ones I will return to again and again, especially when the world seems at its darkest. This collection offers not only hope, but also self-reliance, courage, lessons learnt, and the beauty in the midst of a life lived with trials and tribulations and ultimate self-discovery. I cannot recommend this collection of poems highly enough.


The Emergency Poet: An Anti-Stress Poetry Anthology

By Deborah Alma,

Book cover of The Emergency Poet: An Anti-Stress Poetry Anthology

Why this book?

Any time I feel down or struggle with my long-term illness, I reach for this book of amazing poetry. The Emergency Poet never fails to soothe my distress. The verses within help me relax and take stock. To reassess and decompress. As I sit and absorb these wonderful words, I am reminded to live in the moment and value what I have. This book feels like a warm hug at the end of a long and tiring day and always lifts my spirits.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in poetry, 21st century, and Latin?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about poetry, 21st century, and Latin.

Poetry Explore 174 books about poetry
21st Century Explore 156 books about 21st century
Latin Explore 168 books about Latin

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry, Madwomen: The Locas Mujeres Poems of Gabriela Mistral, and The Complete Poems of John Keats if you like this list.