Friday Nudge: Find poetry books that meet you where you’re at, yet transport you elsewhere
I don’t mind admitting it: as a child, I didn’t like poetry. I always thought of myself as a creative writer who was not only creative in how I wrote but also what I wrote. And the poetry books I was asked to read were mostly about lost or found love, and did little to carry me beyond the walls of my middle school.
Now, all these years later, something has changed. It could be the authors I read now or just the different mentality of a 30-something compared to mini-me. But I’ve learned to love poetry.
Each week, we give Artistic Fuel readers a few suggestions to spend their weekend exploring their creative side. We call it Friday Nudge. So here’s yours: Grab a volume of poetry and enjoy the journey.
Here are a handful of my favorite poets who cover a wide range of subjects – from the crazy but beautiful days of parenting to the great importance of simple moments, all written with precision and purpose.
Find a volume of poetry that can meet you where you are, but still take you to a very different time and space.
Marcus Amaker, The Birth of All Things
Marcus Amaker is Charleston, South Carolina’s first poet laureate. His book The Birth of All Things captures the joy of fatherhood and the complicated emotions surrounding the global pandemic.
I’ve been reading this book for a couple of weeks now. Not that it’s an exhausting or long read, but I’m just waiting for the right moment to sit down and enjoy just one or two of Amaker‘s poems. It’s like a treat at the end of a long day, and I want to enjoy every line.
Follow Marcus Amaker’s work at marcusamakerstore.com.
Kate Baer, What Kind of Woman
A breathtaking and honest collection of poems about the beauty and hardships of being a woman in today’s world, and the many roles we play – mother, partner, and friend. I love her honesty and humor when she approaches small, everyday moments, like cleaning the minibus on big, important issues like the election. This little piece below is a personal favorite.
What Kind of Woman, Baer‘s first volume of poetry, will be published on November 10, but can now be pre-ordered.
Follow her work on Instagram (@katejbaer).
Rupi Kaur, milk and honey
When I started reading milk and honey, I looked up to Rupi Kaur, an Indian-born Canadian poet. I took a double look when I saw that these wise and often blunt words were written by a 22-year-old. milk and honey, a New York Times bestseller, is a collection of poems and prose about survival, as she shares her experiences of violence, abuse, love, loss and femininity.
Follow Rupi Kaur’s work at rupikaur.com.
She Lives in Music by Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson
Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson, San Antonio’s poet laureate, intertwines music and poetry in this book. Sanderson got her start in slam poetry and spoken word, and it shows in each rhythmically delivered line.
“It’s all very musical to me when I think of poetry,” she said in an interview with Artistic Fuel. “Sometimes I hear the music in my head. My poetry’s inspired by music in cadence and rhythm.”
Choi Seungja, Phone Bells Keep Ringing for Me
Phone Bells Keep Ringing for Me, published by Action Books in April, compiles poems by one of the most distinctive and influential feminist voices in contemporary poetry. Choi Seungja’s poetry leads readers to pay attention to everyday objects and situations, pulling meaning from moments too often overlooked.
Cathy Park Hong, who translated the book with Won-Chung Kim, said that Seungja is regarded as one of South Korea’s eminent poets, yet nobody currently knows her whereabouts.
Solmaz Sharif, Look
Solmaz Sharif’s first book, Look, lays out the ongoing costs of war. In this array of poems, lists, shards, and sequences, Sharif assembles her family’s and her own fragmented narratives in the aftermath of warfare.
Follow Solmaz Sharif’s work at solmazsharif.com.
Naomi Shihab Nye, Fuel
Naomi Shihab Nye is the first Arab-American author to be named Young People’s Poet Laureate. Her poems give voice to her experience as an Arab-American. Fuel finds meaning in a world where we are, as she puts it, “so tired of meaning nothing.”
Discover more of Naomi Shihab Nye‘s poetry books and other work on Instagram.
Journalist and author Danielle Nadler grew up in South Dakota, where a patient writing teacher fostered in her a love for stories told well. She's worked for newspapers in the Midwest, on the West Coast and the East Coast, and recently launched a storytelling company called Tales and Ales.