National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month

Celebrate the joy, expressiveness, and pure delight of poetry in April!

All the items on this digital display are available for free online with your library card.


Click on each section below to browse our recommendations. Each title is available through one (or more) of the Naperville Public Library's digital resources.


The Love Poems of Rumi

Rumi, trans. Nader Khalili
The Love Poems of Rumi is a beautiful and elegantly illustrated gift book of Rumi's poems translated by Nader Khalili, geared for readers searching for inspirational themes and messages about love. Hoopla

The Collected Poems

Sylvia Plath, ed. Ted Hughes
Pulitzer Prize winner Sylvia Plath's complete poetic works, edited and introduced by Ted Hughes. Catalog Hoopla

The Poems of Emma Lazarus, Volume II

Emma Lazarus
New York City-based poet Emma Lazarus (1849–87) is best known for "The New Colossus," which is inscribed upon the base of the Statue of Liberty. The highly respected writer and intellectual corresponded with Ralph Waldo Emerson and was an advocate for indigent Jewish refugees. This two-volume edition of The Poems of Emma Lazarus marks the work's first major reappearance since its last printing in 1900. Hoopla

The Essential Ruth Stone

Ruth Stone, ed. Bianca Stone
Expertly and sensitively selected by her granddaughter Bianca, The Essential Ruth Stone bears witness to a vivid fifty-year career of one of America's most influential and pioneering poets. Distilling twelve books into a single volume―from the wild formalism of her early work to the science-filled cosmic intellect of her final collection―The Essential Ruth Stone shows a visionary poet with a physical grasp on language. Hoopla

Songs of Nature

Sarojini Naidu
Naidu (1879—1949) was a staunch proponent of women's emancipation, civil rights, and anti-imperialistic ideas, playing an important role in India's struggle for independence from colonial rule. Her work as a poet includes both children's poems and others with more mature themes including patriotism, romance, and tragedy, earning her the sobriquet "Nightingale of India." Hoopla

The Complete Poems

Anne Sexton
The collected works of Anne Sexton showcase the astonishing career of one of the twentieth century's most influential poets. With her frank treatment of taboo subjects, Sexton blazed a trail for representations of the body, particularly the female body, in poetry. She documented years of mental illness in her moving Pulitzer Prize–winning collection Live or Die, and reimagined classic fairy tales as macabre and sardonic poems in Transformations. As a whole, The Complete Poems reveals a brilliant yet tormented poet who bared her deepest urges, fears, and desires to create extraordinarily striking and enduring art. Hoopla

Second April: The Poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay & Carl Van Doren
A profound collection that explores wild realities and modern sensibilities through traditional forms, not to be missed by poetry lovers young and old. Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892—1950) was an American playwright, Pulitzer Prize-winning lyrical poet, and feminist activist. One of the most celebrated poets in American history, Millay is hailed as the twentieth century's most skillful sonnet writers. Hoopla

Great African American Literary Voices

Langston Hughes, Arna Bontemps, Countee Cullen, Gwendolyn Brooks & Sonia Sanchez
Hear rare recordings from five of the most-respected African American poets reading their own works: Langston Hughes, The Negro Speaks of Rivers; Arna Bontemps, Nocturne At Bethesda; Countee Cullen, Heritage; Gwendolyn Brooks, The Vacant Lot; and Sonia Sanchez, Black Magic. Recording obtained and published by Rick Sheridan. Hoopla

New Hampshire

Robert Frost
Robert Frost's 1923 collection of poetry "New Hampshire" earned him the first of four Pulitzer prizes in his lifetime. Written at a time when he was writing, teaching and lecturing from his home base in Franconia, New Hampshire, this collection contains some of his most famous and beloved poems, including "Fire and Ice", "Nothing Gold Can Stay", and "Stopping By a Woods on a Snowy Evening." Hoopla

The Poems of Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson
Although Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime. It was not until after her death in 1886—when Lavinia, Emily's younger sister, discovered her cache of poems—that the world was gifted Dickinson’s full set of original, idiosyncratic works. Hoopla

Complete Sonnets

William Shakespeare
Shakespeare's sonnets have engendered reams of scholarly disputation as to the identity of "the dark lady" and the "lovely boy" to whom the vast majority are addressed. Controversy has also long simmered over the full name of the "W.H." of the dedication. What is not in dispute is their quality. Over 150 poems deal with love, friendship, death, and other themes. Hoopla Axis360

Favorite Poems

William Wordsworth
Widely considered the greatest and most influential of the English Romantic poets, William Wordsworth (1770-1850) remains today among the most admired and studied of all English writers. He is best remembered for the poems he wrote between 1798 and 1806, the period most fully represented in this selection of 39 of his most highly regarded works. Hoopla

Collected Poems, 1909-1962

T.S. Eliot
There is no more authoritative collection of the poetry that Eliot himself wished to preserve than this volume, published two years before his death in 1965. Poet, dramatist, critic, and editor, T. S. Eliot was one of the defining figures of twentieth-century poetry. This edition includes The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, and several other poems. Hoopla

World War I Poetry

Edith Wharton, W.B. Yeats, and others
The First World War incited soldiers and scribes alike to create new poetry; Wilfred Owen, Rupert Brooke, and W.B. Yeats are just some of the literary giants whose work is featured in this anthology. Contending with both the miseries of war and the triumphs of bravery, friendship and loyalty, and this collection showcases the resilience of the human spirit. Hoopla

100 Selected Poems

e.e. cummings
e. e. cummings is without question one of the major poets of this century, and this volume is indispensable for every lover of modern lyrical verse. It contains 100 of cummings's wittiest and most profound poems, harvested from 35 of the most radically creative years in American poetry. These poems exhibit all the extraordinary lyricism, playfulness, technical ingenuity, and compassion for which cummings is famous. Hoopla

How to Carry Water

Lucille Clifton, ed. Aracelis Girmay
These poems celebrating black womanhood and resilience shimmer with intellect, insight, humor, and joy, all in Clifton's characteristic style—a voice that the late Toni Morrison described as "seductive with the simplicity of an atom, which is to say highly complex, explosive underneath an apparent quietude." Catalog Hoopla

A Place Called No Homeland

Kai Cheng Thom
This powerful poetry collection seeks to map the emotional and spiritual territory of diaspora, violence, abuse, and exile. Kai Cheng incorporates autobiographical details from her own childhood and adult life with the rhythms of the oral storytelling tradition and fairytale motifs, poignantly depicting the plight of trans women of color. Hoopla

Wet Silence: Poems About Hindu Widows

Sweta Srivastava Vikram & Shaila Abdullah
Wet Silence bears moving accounts of Hindu widows in India. The book lends their stories a voice, shares their unheard tales about marriage, reveals the heavy hand of patriarchy, and addresses the lack of companionship and sensuality in their lives. The poems in the collection are bold, unapologetic, and visceral. This collection will haunt you. Hoopla

When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities

Chen Chen
In this ferocious and tender debut, Chen Chen investigates inherited forms of love and family—the strained relationship between a mother and son, the cost of necessary goodbyes—all from Asian American, immigrant, and queer perspectives. Holding all accountable, this collection fully embraces the loss, grief, and abundant joy that come with charting one's own path in identity, life, and love. Hoopla

Sorry I Haven't Texted You Back

Alicia Cook
Sorry I Haven't Texted You Back is a poetic mixtape dedicated to those who struggle or have struggled with their mental health. Divided into two parts, "Side A" holds 92 poems, titled as "tracks," and "Side B" holds the "remixes," or blackout-poetry versions, of those 92 poems. The book includes the evergreen themes of love, grief, and hope. Hoopla

Citizen Illegal

José Olivarez
Citizen Illegal is a revealing portrait of life as a first generation immigrant, a celebration of Chicano joy, a shout against erasure, and a vibrant re-imagining of Mexican American life. Catalog Hoopla OverDrive

Alight

Fady Joudah
The poems in Alight alternate between the estranging familial and strangely familiar, between burning and illumination. As father, husband, and physician, Fady Joudah gives children and vulnerable others voice in this hauntingly lyrical collection, where, with quiet ferociousness, one's self can be reclaimed from suffering's grip over mind and spirit. Hoopla

I Am the Rage

Martina McGowan
I am The Rage is a poetry collection that explores racial injustice from the raw, unfiltered viewpoint of a Black woman in America. Dr. Martina McGowan is a retired MD, a mother, grandmother, and a poet. This entire collection was created during 2020, many shortly after the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Hoopla

The Poet X

Elizabeth Acevedo
Fans of Jacqueline Woodson, Meg Medina, and Jason Reynolds will fall hard for this astonishing New York Times-bestselling novel-in-verse by an award-winning slam poet, about an Afro-Latina heroine who tells her story with blazing words and powerful truth. Winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Pura Belpré Award! Catalog Hoopla OverDrive Axis360

Bright Dead Things

Ada Limón
Bright Dead Things examines the chaos that is life, the dangerous thrill of living in a world you know you have to leave one day, and the search to find something that is ultimately "disorderly, and marvelous, and ours." Hoopla

The Tradition

Jericho Brown
Jericho Brown's poetic concerns are both broad and intimate, and at their very core a distillation of the incredibly human; poems of fatherhood, legacy, blackness, queerness, worship, and trauma are propelled into stunning clarity by Brown's mastery. The Tradition is a cutting and necessary collection, relentless in its quest for survival while reveling in a celebration of contradiction. (Winner of the Pulitzer Prize) Hoopla Axis360

West Wind: Poems and Prose Poems

Mary Oliver
The New York Times has called Mary Oliver's poems "thoroughly convincing—as genuine, moving, and implausible as the first caressing breeze of spring." In this stunning collection of forty poems—nineteen previously unpublished—she writes of nature and love, of the way they transform over time, and the way they remain constant. Catalog Hoopla

Obit: Poems

Victoria Chang
After her mother died, poet Victoria Chang refused to write elegies. Rather, she distilled her grief during a feverish two weeks by writing scores of poetic obituaries for all she lost in the world. In this unflinching and lyrical book, Chang meets her grief and creates a powerful testament for the living. Catalog Hoopla

Soft Science

Franny Choi
Soft Science explores queer, Asian American femininity. A series of Turing Test-inspired poems grounds its exploration of questions not just of identity, but of consciousness-how to be tender and feeling and still survive a violent world filled with artificial intelligence and automation. We are dropped straight into the tangled intersections of technology, violence, erasure, agency, gender, and loneliness. Hoopla

Electric Arches

Eve L. Ewing
Electric Arches is an imaginative exploration of black girlhood and womanhood through poetry, visual art, and narrative prose. Blending stark realism with the fantastical, Ewing takes us from the streets of Chicago to an alien arrival in an unspecified future, deftly navigating boundaries of space, time, and reality with delight and flexibility. Catalog Hoopla

the princess saves herself in this one

Amanda Lovelace
Winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Poetry (2016), the princess saves herself in this one is a poetry collection in four parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, and you. This moving book explores love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, and inspiration. It is about resilience. It is about writing your own ending. Catalog Hoopla

Night Sky with Exit Wounds

Ocean Vuong
Ocean Vuong’s first full-length collection aims straight for the perennial “big”—and very human—subjects of romance, family, memory, grief, war, and melancholia. None of these he allows to overwhelm his spirit or his poems, which demonstrate, through breath and cadence and unrepentant enthrallment, that a gentle palm on a chest can calm the fiercest hungers. Hoopla Axis360