By Andrea MacPherson
I often recommend poetry collections, and often get a look of bafflement in return. Then, a meek, “I don’t really read poetry.” I firmly believe everyone should read poetry, regardless of whether you have any interest in actually writing poetry. And, I equally firmly believe that people only think they don’t like poetry because they haven’t read the right poetry for them.
Too often, we only read the poetry we were assigned to read in school. Too often, we think of poetry as some kind of riddle to decode. Too often, we are intimidated by poetry. As Maya Angelou said,
Human beings love poetry. They don’t even know it sometimes.
Poetry can make us fall in love with language, with image, with rhythm, with sound. It’s a snapshot, a fleeting moment. In honour of World Poetry Day, here are some poetry collections (and short suggestions of what you’ll experience within them) that you might not have read, but you definitely should.
1996 by Sara Peters. Obsessions, childhood, desire, and cruelty.
When This World Comes to an End by Kate Cayley. Fables, cautionary tales, apocalyptic stories, curio photographs.
The Whole and Rain-Domed Universe by Colette Bryce. The Troubles in Ireland, ghosts, violence, emigration and return.
The Red Files by Lisa Bird-Wilson. The residential school experience in Canada, family, First Nations traditions.
McPoems by Billeh Nickerson. Fast food work, humour, capitalism.
The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison by Maggie Smith. Fairy tales, the dangerous, the realms of imagination.
Tell: Poems for a Girlhood by Soraya Peerbaye. The tragedy of Reena Virk, Victoria BC, trial transcripts.
There Are More Beautiful Tyhings Than Beyonce by Morgan Parker. Pop-culture criticism, 21st century feminism, racism, the American political climate.
Injun by Jordan Abel. Found text, racism and the representation of Indigenous people, western novels.
Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire. Sensuality, the narratives of Islam, preconceptions.
Sidereal by Rachael Boast. Robust, whimsical, time and chance.