Books on my TBR: poetry collections

Hello, friends! Time to talk about some more books on my TBR! This is a series where I talk about a specific subset of books on my TBR. I’ve done a few posts of really long lists of books on my TBR, so for these posts I’m going to try to keep the list fairly small, provide the synopsis from Goodreads, and talk about where I found it and why I want to read it.

Today, I’m just talking about poetry! I honestly never read poetry; I just don’t get it most of the time. Pretty much all of the poetry collections on my TBR are because I think they look pretty, to be honest. But, let’s talk about some of them!


Helium by Rudy Francisco

Helium is the debut poetry collection by internet phenom Rudy Francisco, whose work has defined poetry for a generation of new readers. Rudy’s poems and quotes have been viewed and shared millions of times as he has traveled the country and the world performing for sell-out crowds. Helium is filled with work that is simultaneously personal and political, blending love poems, self-reflection, and biting cultural critique on class, race and gender into an unforgettable whole. Ultimately, Rudy’s work rises above the chaos to offer a fresh and positive perspective of shared humanity and beauty.

I’ve had this book on my TBR for ages now. I remember seeing it at Chapters and thinking it looked interesting, not knowing it was poetry. Hopefully someday I’ll get around to it.


Wishing for Birds by Elisabeth Hewer

In this collection of fifty poems, Elisabeth Hewer ponders love and the world, whilst tackling the inexplicable desires and dangers that thread through our daily lives.

I have no idea how I found this book, and only a couple of my Goodreads friends have read it. I feel like it was maybe nominated for some award? Idk either way, it sounds really interesting, and I like that it’s exactly 50 poems lol


Yesterday I Was the Moon by Noor Unnahar

yesterday i was the moon is a collection of poetry by noor unnahar – it explores courage, self-love, culture and the struggles of making peace with your heart and art. it contains black & white photographs paired with poetry pieces; giving it a photo diary feels.

Being totally honest, this book is mainly on my TBR because the cover is pink and I like the title. I think it’s a book I’d like to get a physical copy of, because the photography will come across better in a real book (and pink!).


If They Come for Us by Fatimah Asghar

In this powerful and imaginative debut poetry collection, Fatimah Asghar nakedly captures the experiences of being a young Pakistani Muslim woman in America by braiding together personal and marginalized people’s histories. After being orphaned as a young girl, Asghar grapples with coming-of-age as a woman without the guidance of a mother, questions of sexuality and race, and navigating a world that put a target on her back. Asghar’s poems at once bear anguish, joy, vulnerability, and compassion, while exploring the many facets of violence: how it persists within us, how it is inherited across generations, and how it manifests in our relationships with friends and family, and in our own understanding of identity. Using experimental forms and a mix of lyrical and brash language, Asghar confronts her own understanding of identity and place and belonging.

I’m pretty sure someone recommended this to me, but I can’t remember who. I’m always looking for more books by Muslim authors and queer authors, and this sounds like exactly that. It has high ratings on Goodreads, so I have high hopes.


Wade in the Water: Poems by Tracy K. Smith

In Wade in the Water, Tracy K. Smith boldly ties America’s contemporary moment both to our nation’s fraught founding history and to a sense of the spirit, the everlasting. These are poems of sliding scale: some capture a flicker of song or memory; some collage an array of documents and voices; and some push past the known world into the haunted, the holy. Smith’s signature voice—inquisitive, lyrical, and wry—turns over what it means to be a citizen, a mother, and an artist in a culture arbitrated by wealth, men, and violence. Here, private utterance becomes part of a larger choral arrangement as the collection widens to include erasures of The Declaration of Independence and the correspondence between slave owners, a found poem comprised of evidence of corporate pollution and accounts of near-death experiences, a sequence of letters written by African Americans enlisted in the Civil War, and the survivors’ reports of recent immigrants and refugees. Wade in the Water is a potent and luminous book by one of America’s essential poets.

This is, once again, a cover/title add. I just love the colours of the cover and the whole aesthetic. And the poems sound really interesting.


Life of the Party by Olivia Gatwood

Lauded for the power of her writing and having attracted an online fan base of millions for her extraordinary spoken-word performances, Olivia Gatwood is a thrilling new voice in contemporary feminist poetry. In Life of the Party, she weaves together her own coming of age with an investigation into our culture’s romanticization of violence against women. In precise, searing language—at times blistering and riotous, at times soulful and exuberant—she explores the boundary between what is real and what is imagined in a life saturated with fear. How does one grow from a girl to a woman in a world wracked by violence? Where is the line between perpetrator and victim? What is the meaning of bravery? Visceral and haunting, this multifaceted collection illustrates that what happens to our bodies makes us who we are.

Ditto here. I saw this at Chapters and immediately added it to my TBR because I think the cover is pretty and title sounds fun. This collection sounds like it’ll be really accessible poetry though, you know?

So there are some poetry collections on my TBR! Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? Do you have any poetry recommendations? Let me know!

Also if you have any requests for things you’d like to see on my TBR, let me know!

Ally xx


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10 thoughts on “Books on my TBR: poetry collections

  1. That is one thing I’ve noticed about poetry collections for sure: they so often have super artistic covers.

    I don’t generally like to suggest poetry collections honestly, because poetry is so personal. I hope you find some that you like!

    Liked by 2 people

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