100 books like The Penguin Book of the Sonnet

By Phillis Levin,

Here are 100 books that The Penguin Book of the Sonnet fans have personally recommended if you like The Penguin Book of the Sonnet. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Rilke on Love and Other Difficulties: Translations and Considerations

Barbara L.B. Storey Author Of Finding Our Way

From my list on love poetry that aren't all hearts, flowers, and mush.

Who am I?

When writing my book, it seemed only natural for me to bring poetry into the love story I’d created. I fell in love with poetry in high school, and it has always felt like a more powerful, compact, and intense way of expressing deep emotions. And it’s so much more complex than hearts and flowers, hence my title for this list! I wanted to use a poem that summed up the intensity of a physical encounter between new lovers. And Rilke was perfect for that. The other books are favourites, books I’ve had for years, and they’ve been good background for my writing in general.

Barbara's book list on love poetry that aren't all hearts, flowers, and mush

Barbara L.B. Storey Why did Barbara love this book?

Rilke has been my favourite poet since I was in my 20s—the depth of emotion and the lack of sentiment is what attracts me to his work. In his mind, love is a very serious thing, as the title suggests. No hearts and roses—just the truth about human emotions. I use one of the poems (“The Seven Phallic Poems, IV”) in this book in my book—Jon reads it to Becca at a very intimate moment. I believe Rilke’s work in this book was my introduction to erotic poetry.

By Rainer Maria Rilke, John J.L. Mood (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rilke on Love and Other Difficulties as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is a mini-anthology of poetry and prose for both aficionados and those readers discovering Rainer Maria Rilke for the first time. John J. L. Mood has assembled a collection of Rilke's strongest work, presenting commentary along with the selections. Mood links into an essay passages from letters that show Rilke's profound understanding of men and women and his ardent spirituality, rooted in the senses.

Combining passion and sensitivity, the poems on love presented here are often not only sensual but sexual as well. Others pursue perennial themes in his work-death and life, growth and transformation. The book concludes with…


Book cover of Rumi: The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing

Christina Strigas Author Of Love & Vodka

From my list on poetry that speak to the soul.

Who am I?

I’ve written five poetry books and I am presently working on my sixth. My poems are also confessional and narrative styles. I have also written two novels and enjoy writing fiction and poetry. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have. They have saved my life on many occasions. 

Christina's book list on poetry that speak to the soul

Christina Strigas Why did Christina love this book?

Rumi is one of those writers that transcends time and space. He is more of a spiritual writer and when he writes about love and longing, you can feel the words plant a seed inside your soul. If someone asked me which poetry book they should begin reading without any knowledge of poetry, Rumi would be a start. The simplicity of his words taught me that you don’t need to use a thesaurus to express yourself. His simple words and poems about soul mates carry his work over centuries. This poetry book tells you how lovers don’t finally meet somewhere, they’re in each other all along. These famous quotes of Rumi’s will be instilled in you again and again. Easy book to read and carry with you anywhere. It taught me to find my spirituality and soul and let it flow like a river with words as waves. It taught…

By Coleman Barks,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rumi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now in paperback, this is the definitive collection of America's bestselling poet Rumi's finest poems of love and lovers. In Coleman Barks' delightful and wise renderings, these poems will open your heart and soul to the lover inside and out. 'There are lovers content with longing. I'm not one of them.' Rumi is best known for his poems expressing the ecstasies and mysteries of love of all kinds - erotic, divine, friendship -and Coleman Barks collects here the best of those poems, ranging from the 'wholeness' one experiences with a true lover, to the grief of a lover's loss, and…


Book cover of Revel: A Triple Shot of Café Poems

Barbara L.B. Storey Author Of Finding Our Way

From my list on love poetry that aren't all hearts, flowers, and mush.

Who am I?

When writing my book, it seemed only natural for me to bring poetry into the love story I’d created. I fell in love with poetry in high school, and it has always felt like a more powerful, compact, and intense way of expressing deep emotions. And it’s so much more complex than hearts and flowers, hence my title for this list! I wanted to use a poem that summed up the intensity of a physical encounter between new lovers. And Rilke was perfect for that. The other books are favourites, books I’ve had for years, and they’ve been good background for my writing in general.

Barbara's book list on love poetry that aren't all hearts, flowers, and mush

Barbara L.B. Storey Why did Barbara love this book?

This book is by a friend of mine, so holds a special place in my heart, because she’s so good. I also helped edit and format her book. She’s an artist and an author and her poems are mostly written in a coffee shop called Revel. They’re short, with deep and true images of everyday lifelove, coffee, and everything in betweenas seen by an artist.

By Carla Coles,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Revel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In my favorite cafe
Losing myself
To poetry that somehow knows me

Savouring my coffee
and the moment
warm in my blanket

Outside rushes by
Against winter's white
blustery business and large flakes

Step inside
come over
Please join me


Book cover of Collected Poems, 1930-1993

Barbara L.B. Storey Author Of Finding Our Way

From my list on love poetry that aren't all hearts, flowers, and mush.

Who am I?

When writing my book, it seemed only natural for me to bring poetry into the love story I’d created. I fell in love with poetry in high school, and it has always felt like a more powerful, compact, and intense way of expressing deep emotions. And it’s so much more complex than hearts and flowers, hence my title for this list! I wanted to use a poem that summed up the intensity of a physical encounter between new lovers. And Rilke was perfect for that. The other books are favourites, books I’ve had for years, and they’ve been good background for my writing in general.

Barbara's book list on love poetry that aren't all hearts, flowers, and mush

Barbara L.B. Storey Why did Barbara love this book?

After Rilke, May Sarton is my favourite poet. I love her because her work is about the meanings of everyday things. She sees life through the eyes of an introvert, which I identify with completely, and she is able to bring out aspects of simple things that others miss. Her thoughts on love range from people in love“Lovers at the Zoo”to the intense grief at the loss of a pet “Death and the Turtle.”

By May Sarton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Collected Poems, 1930-1993 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lucid, ardent, and contemplative, May Sarton is one of America's best-loved writers. This comprehensive collection - the first in twenty years - celebrates six decades of bold imagination and fifteen books of poetry, the creative output of a lifetime. Arranged chronologically, these poems reveal the full breadth of Sarton's creative vision. Themes include the search for an inward order, her passions, the natural world, self-knowledge, and, in her latest poems, the trials of old age. Moving through Sarton's work, we see her at ease in both traditional forms and free verse, finding inspiration in snow over a dark sea, a…


Book cover of Faster Than Light: New and Selected Poems, 1996-2011

Hollis Robbins Author Of Forms of Contention: Influence and the African American Sonnet Tradition

From my list on Black poetry.

Who am I?

I have been writing and teaching about African American poetry and poetics for more than two decades. My passion began when I kept discovering long-lost poems that were published once, in Black newspapers, and then forgotten. I wondered why I had never learned about Gwendolyn Brooks in school, though I’d read about e.e. cummings and Robert Frost. Once I stumbled on the fact that Claude McKay discovered cummings, I realized how much the questions of influence and power aren’t really central topics in thinking about the genealogy of Black poets and their influence on each other and on poetry in general.

Hollis' book list on Black poetry

Hollis Robbins Why did Hollis love this book?

Marilyn Nelson’s poetry is staggeringly good, particularly the way she writes formal poems—sonnets!—in a humble voice, like her sonnet “From an Alabama Farmer.” Nelson’s poem “To the Confederate Dead,” with its epigraph by Allen Tate is a better poem than Robert Lowell’s “For the Union Dead,” with which it is in conversation. Nelson’s ‘wreath’ of sonnets, “A Wreath for Emmett Till,” is simply sublime.

By Marilyn Nelson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Faster Than Light as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Conjuring numerous voices and characters across oceans and centuries, Faster Than Light explores widely disparate experiences through the lens of traditional poetic forms. This volume contains a selection of Marilyn Nelson's new and uncollected poems as well as work from each of her lyric histories of eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century African American individuals and communities.

Poems include the stories of historical figures like Emmett Till, the fourteen-year-old boy lynched in 1955, and the inhabitants of Seneca Village, an African American community razed in 1857 for the creation of Central Park. ""Bivouac in a Storm"" tells the story of a group…


Book cover of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

Armin Shimerman Author Of Imbalance of Power

From my list on Shakespeare and the Elizabethan period.

Who am I?

I'm a classically trained Shakespearian actor who has spent a lifetime researching Tudor and Stuart times, imbibing their language, customs, and idiosyncrasies. As an actor, I'm trained to get inside my characters' heads and dedicate myself to their intentions. Also, as an actor, I've come to relish language and recognize what makes a good phrase, paragraph, and/or book. I not only perform the Bard, but I've also taught his rhetorical stylings to countless people. I love language and admire writers who use it elegantly. They say, "Write what you know." I know Shakespeare and the Elizabethan era inside and out. One's life can be changed by a book; the ones I've recommended have changed mine.

Armin's book list on Shakespeare and the Elizabethan period

Armin Shimerman Why did Armin love this book?

Every time I wade into a play or see a production, I discover the language that describes the human condition perfectly. Pithy moments of insight juxtaposed and embedded in meaningful testimonies of why we do the things we do. As a writer, I believe there is no better teacher of the magic of the English language.

By William Shakespeare,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Complete Works of William Shakespeare as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This ebook contains Shakespeare's complete plays and complete poems in a new, easy-to-read and easy-to-navigate format. This is the most reader-friendly introduction to Shakespeare available today. 'The Complete Works of William Shakespeare' collects all thirty-seven of the immortal Bard's comedies, tragedies, and historical plays in a Collectible Edition. This volume also features Shakespeare's complete poetry, including the sonnets. With this beautiful Collectible Edition, you can enjoy Shakespeare's enduring literary legacy again and again.


Book cover of The Riverside Shakespeare

Peter A. Balaskas Author Of Triptych: An Omnibus of Wonder

From my list on classic speculative literature.

Who am I?

As a fiction writer, poet, essayist, and (now) a playwright, I am a staunch believer in applying the “Three Es” in all of my work in equal quantities: to entertain, to enlighten, and to educate. My passion to create stories has been ongoing throughout my life, courtesy of my love for the written word, cinema, and the theater, all of which have impacted and influenced my stories in amazing ways. My background and accolades as a writer and publisher are listed on my personal website, but it’s my life experiences and the books that I have recommended that helped me evolve as a storyteller. 

Peter's book list on classic speculative literature

Peter A. Balaskas Why did Peter love this book?

Speaking as a playwright, this selection is a must. It not only contains all of the Bard’s plays, it also includes all of his beloved sonnets. His collected works not only serve as a foundation regarding dramatic structure and poetics, but his eloquence is fuel for any lover of the written word.

By William Shakespeare, G. Blakemore Evans (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Riverside Shakespeare as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Second Edition of this complete collection of Shakespeare's plays and poems features two essays on recent criticism and productions, fully updated textual notes, a photographic insert of recent productions, and two works recently attributed to Shakespeare. The authors of the essays on recent criticism and productions are Heather DuBrow, University of Wisconsin at Madison, and William Liston, Ball State University, respectively.


Book cover of Julia's Gifts

Gerri Bauer Author Of Growing a Family in Persimmon Hollow

From my list on romance by members of the Catholic Writers Guild.

Who am I?

I love Catholic historical romance novels for what they do and don’t include. They feature history, multiple characters, community and faith that together set a rich stage for love stories. The novels don’t include graphic violence or sex scenes. A former journalist, I started writing in the genre because I couldn’t find what I wanted to read. I’m both traditionally and indie published. I’m a member of the Catholic Writers Guild, as are the authors whose books are listed here. Family and community play important roles in my books. They show how a couple is never an isolated pair but always part of a multilayered world. Just like real life.

Gerri's book list on romance by members of the Catholic Writers Guild

Gerri Bauer Why did Gerri love this book?

Sometimes what we seek is right in front of us, while we’re looking and wondering elsewhere. That’s what happens to the heroine of Julia’s Gifts by Ellen Gable. She’s so determined to bring a daydream to life that she almost misses the real thing. This first book in the Great War Great Love series takes place during World War I. The story reminds readers that the light and hope of love remain bright even amid the horrors of war. You’ll cheer for the hero and heroine to stay connected when the war threatens their love just as it starts to grow. A special element in this book is the inclusion of beautiful, original sonnets, something I’ve never before encountered in a historical romance.

By Ellen Gable,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Julia's Gifts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Outstanding and unforgettable book!" Jean Heimann, authorAs a young girl, Julia began buying gifts for her future spouse, a man whose likeness and personality she has conjured up in her mind, a man she calls her “beloved.” Soon after the United States enters the Great War, Julia impulsively volunteers as a medical aid worker, with no experience or training. Disheartened by the realities of war, will Julia abandon the pursuit of her beloved? Will Julia’s naïve ‘gift scheme’ distract her from recognizing her true “Great Love?” From Philadelphia to war-torn France, follow Julia as she transitions from unworldly young woman…


Book cover of Poetry for Kids: William Shakespeare

Marty Rhodes Figley Author Of Emily and Carlo

From my list on dogs, poetry, and dogs in poetry.

Who am I?

Years ago, I returned to school at Mount Holyoke College to complete my bachelor’s degree in American Studies. I took a course on Emily Dickinson at the poet’s home in Amherst, Massachusetts—what a thrill! On the first day of class I learned that for sixteen years Emily’s constant companion was Carlo, a Newfoundland dog. Having experienced a hairy, slobbery encounter with a Newf when I was twenty while wearing a white dress, I knew the myth of Emily, pristinely dressed, untouched by the more earthy emotions was wrong. A new story needed to be told. That was the beginning of Emily and Carlo.

Marty's book list on dogs, poetry, and dogs in poetry

Marty Rhodes Figley Why did Marty love this book?

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ear.” This is a must-have for any library. I wish I had begun reading William Shakespeare much earlier than high school! This 48-page volume provides a wonderful introduction for young and older readers with an assortment of Bard’s poems and speeches. Each entry is beautifully illustrated and explained by an expert. Definitions of hard-to-understand words are thoughtfully included at the bottom of each page.

By William Shakespeare, Merce Lopez (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Poetry for Kids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Love! Betrayal! Ambition! Tragedy! Jealousy! William Shakespeare's universal themes continue to resonate with readers of all ages more than 400 years after his death.

This wonderful, fully illustrated book introduces children to the Bard and more than thirty of his most famous and accessible verses, sonnets, and speeches. From "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" to "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!" and "All the world's a stage," the words and poetry of the greatest playwright and poet spring to life on the page.

The next generation of readers, poets, and actors will be entranced…


Book cover of The Language of Flowers: A Fully Illustrated Compendium of Meaning, Literature, and Lore for the Modern Romantic

Erica Hannickel Author Of Orchid Muse: A History of Obsession in Fifteen Flowers

From my list on orchid history and culture.

Who am I?

I wrote Orchid Muse: A History of Obsession in Fifteen Flowers. I’m a historian, a master gardener, and I’ve grown a few hundred orchids for over half my life. I love collecting stories of orchids because, well, they’re fascinating, and they offer a deeper connection to the pastime I love best.

Erica's book list on orchid history and culture

Erica Hannickel Why did Erica love this book?

This book stands out from the pack of flower symbolism and history. Instead of a slew of garbage collected from hither and yon on the internet, Begay deeply researched every flower and came to decisive yet elegant histories and meanings for every plant—the chapter on orchids is great. The book is useful for any reader, historian, or gardener who wants to infuse their garden and home with meaning, and the illustrations are whimsical and beautiful.

By Odessa Begay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Language of Flowers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With gorgeous full-color illustrations, ornate decorative elements, lettering in metallic ink, and engaging text, The Language of Flowers: A Fully Illustrated Compendium of Meaning, Literature, and Lore for the Modern Romantic is a treasure for flower lovers. A sumptuous, contemporary anthology of 50 of the world's most storied and popular flowers, each of its entries offers insight to the meaning associated with the flower, and is a fascinating mix of foklore, classic mythology, literature, botanical information and popular culture.

Following an introduction that provides a short history of the language of flowers, a fad which reached its peak during the…


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