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The best poetry books: You owe it to yourself to read these

Story by Dannielle Beardsley

If you’re like most people these days, if asked what the best poetry books are out there right now, or were asked for a recommendation, you’d have absolutely no clue what to say. But you used to. Think about it. “What do we read to our children every night?” asked Derek Sheffield, Poetry Editor of (and author of the collection of poetry ). Right. Nursery rhymes. Which is just another name for poetry for kids.

And maybe you don’t think of poetry as important in our era, given the news cycle blur, social platforms aplenty, our personal daily grinds, and the explosion of media of all types. But how do humans mark our major moments? “We still turn to poetry at the moments of greatest personal and cultural significance,” said Sheffield. We rely on the carefully crafted word to make sense of life.

Now, to be fair, he’s a guy who has spent a lifetime with the art form, while most of us tend not to read much poetry after those nursery rhyme years. If you haven’t picked up a book of poetry since 10th grade English, now is a good time to give it another go. Here are the best poetry books that will have you feeling intellectual, sophisticated, and thinking about more than things like what you’re going to have for dinner.

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