Best american poetry books according to redditors

We found 499 Reddit comments discussing the best american poetry books. We ranked the 247 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top Reddit comments about American Poetry:

u/[deleted] · 25 pointsr/pics

There's a very excellent book of poetry about this series of photographs called Bellocq's Ophelia. One even focuses on this picture in particular.

If you're curious what poetry can do in today's world, check this one out for sure.

EDIT: I dug out my copy. Here's the poem in question:

Photograph of a Bawd Drinking Raleigh Rye

--E.J Bellocq, circa 1912

The glass in her hand is the only thing moving-
too fast for the camera-- caught in the blur of motion.

She raises it toasting, perhaps, the viewer you become
taking her in-- your eyes starting low, at her feet,

and following those striped stockings up like roads,
traveling the length of her calves and thighs. Up then,

to the fringed scarf draping her breasts, the heart
locket, her bare shoulder and the patch of dark hair

beneath her arm, the round innocence of her cheeks
and Gibson-girl hair. Then over to the trinkets on the table

beside her: a clock, tiny feather-backed rocking chairs
poised to move with the slightest wind or breath;

the ebony statuette of a woman, her arms stretched above
her head. Even the bottle of rye is a woman's slender torso

and round hips. On the wall behind her, the image again--
women in paintings, in photographs, carved in relief

on an oval plane. And there, on the surface of it all, a thumb-
print--perhaps yours? It's easy to see this is all about desire,

how it recurs--each time you look, it's the same moment,
the hands of the clock still locked at high noon.

by Natasha Trethewey

u/gmpalmer · 22 pointsr/books

I'd give any of these to someone interested in poetry and wanting to get a good start.

Jill Alexander Essbaum: Harlot

Brian McGackin: Broetry

T.S. Eliot: The Waste Land and Other Poems (start with "Prufrock")

Sylvia Plath: Ariel (note: this is the "restored" edition--yes it is superior)

Anne Sexton: Transformations

Dante: The Divine Comedy (Durling & Martinez translation)

Anon: Beowulf (Heaney or Sullivan/Murphy translation)

Homer: Odyssey (Fagles translation)

Kim Addonizio: Tell Me

David Mason: Ludlow

Edna St. Vincent Millay: Collected Sonnets

Shakespeare: Collected Sonnets

Moira Egan and Clarinda Harriss (ed.): Hot Sonnets

Sounds Good, 101 Poems to be Heard

I'll go ahead and add the publisher's page for my book (which I absolutely would include as a good "beginning" book) but it won't be out until late January.


*edit: I absolutely WOULD include my book as a beginner book--sorry for any confusion!

u/gleather1969 · 9 pointsr/books
u/fnv245 · 6 pointsr/askphilosophy

Plantinga wrote 3 books related to this subject. He wrote "Warrant: The Current Debate" to give an overview of the field of philosophy on what needs to be added to true beliefs to yield knowledge. Then he wrote "Warrant and Proper Function" to give his own take. Finally he wrote "Warranted Christian Belief" which basically applies his epistemology to Christian belief. So the guy has done a ton of work in epistemology and also applying epistemology to Christianity.

Links to Books:

u/Ibrey · 6 pointsr/philosophy

That there is no reason to suppose we are being irrational by believing it without trying to ground it in some other belief; we are rationally entitled to take it as the foundation of our reasoning and arguments. Alvin Plantinga is known for arguing that theism is such a belief, but I think he's exaggerating when he says his epistemology means that it's rational to believe in God "without any evidence or argument at all", since a properly basic belief is still rooted in experience on his view. For a fuller picture, see Plantinga's Warrant and Proper Function, among his many other works on the subject.

u/MonkeySeadoo · 5 pointsr/Military

I've heard this from a few people. We were an entire generation of kids who joined the military with the Black Hawk Down possibility playing in our heads . A single bullet is what we want. Poet veteran, Brian Turner said it best in "Here, Bullet."
His body of work.

u/zebulonworkshops · 5 pointsr/Poetry

I think all the actual suggestions I made in this post would apply here (disregard that it's about buying a poetry gift, you're the 'they' or 'she' in this haha) so I'll paste it in and make a few additional suggestions. But #1 suggestion is to read through Poetry 180 and when you find pieces you like to search those poets in google or at (they also have a great browse function where you can search by theme, 'school', poet, subject, occasion etc)


There's certainly a wide variety of options, the best options are mostly more poetry to read. All good poets read lots of poetry. I mean, sure, there's probably 3 or 4 out there that don't, but outliers aside, poets read poetry. So there's a couple options, if she only started writing a couple years ago, I would suggest a workshop type text book and a subscription to a nice literary journal like American Poetry Review, Rattle, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, Georgia Review, Arts & Letters, Five Points, Gettysburg Review, Paris Review etc. Depending on the type of poets she likes, different magazines would be better.

One good tact would be to ask them for a few of their favorite poets, maybe say you're thinking about reading more poetry or something, or just ask. Do a google search for their name and "literary journal" or "literary review". If you see that name in any of the above journals I mentioned, get her that subscription. If not, consider getting her one of their collections from Amazon. For anthologies, which are great for young poets especially, because it can help introduce a reader to many similar or dissimilar voices to broaden their reading horizons, and also some of the books I'll be recommending have a strong prompt/craft component to help them continue to develop. I especially recommend the bolded titles, and Seriously Funny, while good, may be a bit complicated for a newish reader of poetry. But I could be misreading what you mean by poetry career and they could be plenty comfortable with it.

Here are a couple that are good options:

Seriously Funny is a great anthology themed after poems that bring wit to serious topics. It's edited by husband/wife poetry duo David Kirby and Barbara Hamby.

Staying Alive has a great variety of poems organized by theme. These are mostly poems published in the last 50ish years, and lean slightly toward being more accessible (easy to understand) than the first anthology.

Contemporary American Poetry: Behind the Scenes was edited by Ryan G. Van Cleave and is more of a textbook (like the next 2). It has a CD with audio recordings of many of the poets in the book and it is broken up by poet, mostly chronologically I believe. It has some craft essays as well. Being a textbook, new copies are expensive, but used are cheap cheap.

The Poet's Companion is edited by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux, both tremendous poets in their own right. This one is more oriented in using poems to spark your own writing, but it does have a good amount of poetry in there, and the craft essays are brief and to the point.

In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet's Portable Workshop edited by Steve Kowit is also a great textbook for producing your own writing by looking at certain aspects of other poems. Stylistically this is similar to The Poet's Companion, and both are tremendous. Used they're each only $6 with shipping too.

Or, here are a few books that you can't go wrong with: Rose by Li-Young Lee, Tell Me by Kim Addonizio, Rail by Kai Carlson-Wee, The House of Blue Light by David Kirby, American Noise by Campbell McGrath, The Gary Snyder Reader—a huge book, but great, Some Ether by Nick Flynn


If you find a few more specific poets you like and want to find more of feel free to message me, and if I'm familiar with them I'll shoot you some more suggestions. A couple other poets who get personal and focus on minutiae/details etc would be like Albert Goldbarth, Billy Collins, Stephen Dunn, Matthew Neinow, Nick Latz, Gaylord Brewer, Ted Kooser, Philip Levine and, a couple that do similar with a definitely stylistic approach would be like Bob Hicok, Dean Young, Alex Lemon and Emma Bolden. For other lyrics/audio you may enjoy Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, Ani DiFranco, Utah Phillips, Sage Francis, Aesop Rock, Atmosphere/Slug, Josh Martinez...

Best of luck on your journey!

u/Proverbs313 · 5 pointsr/DebateReligion

From a post I made awhile back:

If you want to go for a scholastic/western positive apologetics approach check out: The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology.

If you want to go for a scholastic/western negative apologetics approach check out Alvin Plantinga's God and Other Minds. This is the work that actually re-kindled serious philosophical debate on the existence of God in Anglophone philosophical circles according to Quinten Smith (a notable atheist philosopher btw). From there you could also check out Alvin Plantinga's warrant trilogy in order: Warrant: The Current Debate, Warrant and Proper Function, and Warranted Christian Belief.

Personally I'm skeptical of the scholastic/western approach in general and I favor the Eastern/Mystical approach. I think the scholastic/western approach cannot escape radical skepticism, and I mean this in terms of secular and religious. If one takes seriously the scholastic/western approach in general, whether one is atheist or theist, radical skepticism follows. This video from a radical skeptic that goes by the user name does a good job of demonstrating this: Arguments of the Indirect Skeptic

The Orthodox approach has always been mystical rather than scholastic all the way from the beginnings of Christianity. From Jesus, to the apostles, to the church fathers, to right now we still have the original apostolic faith in the Orthodox Church. Check out this short documentary to learn more: Holy Orthodoxy: The Ancient Church of Acts in the 21st Century.

Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky explains the Eastern/Mystical approach: "To properly understand the Orthodox approach to the Fathers, one must first of all understand the mystical characteristic of Orthodox theology and the tradition of the apophatic approach to an understanding-if "understanding" is indeed the proper word-of what the hidden God in Trinity reveals to us. This needs to be combined with the insight that what is incomprehensible to our reason inspires us to rise above every attempt at philosophical limitation and to reach for an experience beyond the limits of the intellect. The experience of God is a transcendence born from union with the divine-henosis (oneness with God) being the ultimate goal of existence. This makes the requirement of true knowledge (gnosis) the abandoning of all hope of the conventional subject-object approach to discovery. It requires setting aside the dead ends of Scholasticism, nominalism, and the limits set by such Kantian paradigms as noumena/phenomena. One must return to, or better yet, find in one's heart (or nous, the soul's eye) union with the Holy Trinity, which has never been lost in the Orthodox Church."

Source: Fr. Vladimir Berzonsky, (2004). Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism. p. 178. Zondervan, Grand Rapids

u/-benlynchpx- · 4 pointsr/CasualConversation

Celebrate and Promote:

3 years ago, I wanted to give up my life and end it all.

Today, I bought my poetry book which I published on Amazon.

Keep living, it helps.

Links for Kindle eBook and Paperback

u/simism66 · 4 pointsr/askphilosophy

One way of sidestepping the Gettier Problem, particularly in light of examples like this one, popularized by Alvin Goldman, is to say that justification should not be thought of as wholly internal to an agents beliefs. That is, things outside of an agent’s belief such as whether the belief was caused in the right way, or whether the belief was formed by a reliable belief-forming process, contribute to whether or not the belief is “justified.” This view is called justificatory externalism and I think it’s at least partly right. If we accept some aspects of externalism, the Gettier problem becomes much less problematic.

One externalist view of justification, more nuanced in my opinion than Goldman's, is Alvin Plantinga's "proper-functionalism" as laid out in his book Warrant and Proper Function. On Plantinga's model, if our cognitive faculties (the ones specifically designed for producing true beliefs) are functioning properly in the way they were designed (either by God, as Plantinga would want to have it, but more likely, by evolution, or even "socially designed"), in the environment for which they are designed, and a true belief is formed, it is knowledge. So, in the robot dog case, since this isn't the sort of environment for which my faculties were designed (we didn't evolve in a world populated with both dogs and robot dogs) and it impairs my descriminative ability, it wouldn't be knowledge, even though it is true belief.

"Warrant" is substituted with "Justification" here, but it functions in much the same way as a JBT account.

u/essentialsalts · 3 pointsr/Poetry

As for reading, check out The Poetry Foundation. They have a huge archive of poetry for you to check out. Hang out in this subreddit and read the poems posted. If you like a poem, post a comment and ask which poets are similar to that style, then look them up. The OCPoetry subreddit has a wealth of original poetry content - but keep in mind that the caliber of work there will obviously be mixed. But it's good to see the contributions of ordinary people, either as a way of engaging with a community or as a barometer of your own abilities once you start writing.

And as for writing, I can't recommend this book enough: Ted Kooser's Poetry Home Repair Manual. It's worth the 10-15 bucks or whatever to order it. It contains lots of examples of poetry from many authors, and Kooser's advice is indispensable.

And always remember - with any art, you want to take in more than you put out. Read more than you write. Absorb everything you can. I get the impression that most mediocre OCpoetry that I read is probably written by people who haven't taken the time to actually read poetry. It's essential. Good luck!

u/admorobo · 3 pointsr/scifi

On the flipside of this argument, check out Tracy K. Smith's Science Fiction-inspired poetry collection, Life On Mars.

u/granular_quality · 3 pointsr/books

Lately I've been picking up poetry books by Bukowski. I couldn't resist this one:

Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit

That title is just so good. Also, the recent whiskey/scotch add that used "So you want to be a writer" from the collection entitled Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way: New Poems. That poem really struck a chord, and I picked that up as well.

here's the commercial:

post office is fantastic as well.

u/thequeensownfool · 3 pointsr/Fantasy
u/FloatBox · 3 pointsr/Poetry

I think you would like Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith.

u/perhapssergio · 2 pointsr/PoeticReddit

It’s a collection of poetry and motivation writings. I touch on topics of growth, love, purpose, and the universe.

If you’re interested

u/pburton · 2 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

Plantinga is an old-school academic philosopher, so the best way to get familiar with his ideas is his published works (Amazon links below):

  • The Analytic Theist: An Alvin Plantinga Reader - a well-edited anthology that presents a broad survey of Plantinga's ideas (leans heavily toward his epistemology, though IIRC).
  • Warrant: The Current Debate
  • Warrant and Proper Function
  • Warranted Christian Belief This is the only one of the "warrant" books I've read. The three books aren't considered a "trilogy" as such, rather WCD and WPF are companion pieces and WCB then builds a different argument based on the earlier works. Namely, Plantinga responds to what he calls the de jure argument that Christianity is irrational, unjustified, and/or unwarranted (in contrast to the de facto argument that Christianity is false). Some googling will reveal reviews of the book from every conceivable angle, some with responses from Plantinga himself. When Plantinga refers to the earlier books, he gives some context, so it's possible to read this book without having read the other two.

    Plantinga is also on the editorial board of Faith and Philosophy, the journal of the Society of Christian Philosophers, and he's contributed several articles over the years. There are even more published articles written by his students and colleagues about his ideas.
u/SherlockVonEinstein · 2 pointsr/Poetry

I've always loved this poem. The first section of Schrecker's Post-Millennium Rhapsody is an update of this. You can read it here:

u/Pooh_Bear · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

If that's really the way you think, then I highly recommend that you read Solipsist, by Henry Rollins.

u/meowsatyourdoor · 2 pointsr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

Ah! Right now I'm working on the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series and am currently on The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (got maybe 10 pages left) to continue on. I've been getting through them oh-so-slowly because they're on my phone and I read them on my breaks at work.
You ALL still have Zoidberg!

u/amazon-converter-bot · 2 pointsr/FreeEBOOKS

Here are all the local Amazon links I could find:

Beep bloop. I'm a bot to convert Amazon ebook links to local Amazon sites.
I currently look here:,,,,,,,,,,,,, if you would like your local version of Amazon adding please contact my creator.

u/Smokeandmirrorshere · 2 pointsr/Somalia

And if you haven't read Warsan Shire's poetry, I highly recommend it. I re-read this recently:

u/Unicormfarts · 2 pointsr/literature

It's like a whole book, so not easily postable, but you can get it on the Amazon.

u/IamABot_v01 · 1 pointr/AMAAggregator


I just published my first poetry/self-help Book - AMA to convince you to buy it

The book in question:


IamAbot_v01. Alpha version. Under care of /u/oppon.
Comment 1 of 1
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u/my_man_krishna · 1 pointr/bicycling

Sounds like you need something to read while you relax at home...

u/doomtop · 1 pointr/OCPoetry

If you believe your words are gospel, then just accept the feedback and move on with your life. If you want to start down the road of legitimately writing poetry that someone who actually reads poetry can appreciate, it's time to get to fucking work.

Of course, you think your "words" are special, but they aren't. This is the same thing every beginner churns out. It's cliché abstraction and it's not worth sharing with anyone. You can call it "poetry" and say it's your "art" and that poetry can't be "defined" -- whatever.

But anyone who actually reads poetry will recognize your "words" immediately for what they are and turn the page.

Read some poetry, man. Read some books about writing poetry and the tools poets use to craft their poems. If you need recommendations, I can give you some, but you'll have to do some fucking work. You might have missed the memo, but writing poetry is hard work.


Edit: Here some recommendations to get you started.

u/NShadeX7 · 1 pointr/CasualConversation

Read my book. Actually no, don't...

u/gwrgwir · 1 pointr/Poetry
u/VexingVendibles · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon
u/ChiChiBoobie · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

Happy almost birthday 🎉
The secret to my wellness is my dog. He is literally the only thing that keeps me going. The only other thing I can think of is Bukowski because his poems are just so great. He is absolutely the best writer and his stuff is just so relatable; I'm extremely grateful my English teacher covered Bukowski instead of Shakespeare.

u/MCShereKhan · 1 pointr/makinghiphop

buy this book if you want some formal/academic opinion on inspiration/lyric writing etc.

u/agentfelix · 1 pointr/politics

Me personally...I started with "Black Coffee Blues". Then most people read the follow up "Do I Come Here Often?", but I read "Solipsist" before that. "Get In The Van" is specifically more about his time with legend punk band Black Flag but it's super interesting. He let's you in to alot that molded him into the man he is today. And then after that, I'd say just start going down the line with the others. Also, YouTube his live spoken word performances too. The guy is just so damn fascinating lol sorry, he had a big influence on me in my late teens...enjoy! :)

u/ellie_bird · 1 pointr/Poetry

I know this was a month ago, but check out the Restored Edition of Ariel here:

The original was published by Hughes, who reorganized the collection and left out a couple poems. It might have what you're looking for.

u/Bat_Woolf · 1 pointr/Poetry

I'm not sure if this really adds a whole deal to the conversation but there's this amazing 300+ page epic by Frank Stanford--The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You--that's empty of any punctuation.

u/Repentant_Revenant · 1 pointr/ReasonableFaith

I would add the other two books in Plantinga's trilogy on Warrant as well.

Warrant: The Current Debate

Warrant and Proper Function

Also Whose Justice? Which Rationality? by Alasdair MacIntyre

I've heard that Charles Taylor is a must as well.

u/patarack · 1 pointr/bookexchange

Would you be interested in my copy of Love is a Dog from Hell?

I'm interested in both of your Vonnegut books.

Edit: I also have Welcome to the Monkey House by Vonnegut to balance it out if you're interested.

u/surfinVelociraptor · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

0-5: Campbell's Soup poster because it will look good in my kitchen and maybe in yours too

5-10:Fuji Superia X-TRA 400 (35mm film) because you need film to capture your favourite moments

10-20:The battlefield where the moon says I love you I can be an ispiration for you or get you started reading poetry

20-50:Lomo Fisheye 35mm CameraTo capture your favourite moments in the most unexpected-fun-memorable way

This is my first time commenting on this subreddit, nice to meet you all

u/Cofcscfan17 · 1 pointr/IAmA

Since you were one of two people to respond here haha I just want to make sure you see my book is free for kindle download this week. The Cosmic Hello

u/mgallowglas · 1 pointr/Fantasy

Free ebook of gaming-themed poetry.

Lullabies for Dungeon Crawlers

u/BRICKSEC · 1 pointr/Poetry

> Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Diaz teaches at Arizona State University and the Institute of American Indian Arts Low Rez MFA program. Her first poetry collection is When My Brother Was an Aztec.


"I write hungry sentences," Natalie Diaz once explained in an interview, "because they want more and more lyricism and imagery to satisfy them."