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Poetry Books to Inspire Year-End Reflection

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I read up on various year-end lists on which songs, movies, books, and whatnot that made an

I don’t know where you live, it might be winter out there and cold, but it’

So midweek, I take my paperbacks with me to the patio, sip a warm cup of tea,

I don’t know why, but maybe it’s because of the feeling that everything’s happening

There’s magic in poems that somewhat captures the moment between an ending and a new beginning,

Here’s what I’m reading and rereading to inspire reflection during these pensive times:

Shire was Beyoncé’s collaborator for her visual album Lemonade

One poem that I keep going back to is this one: “the year of letting go, of

when the whole world couldn’t get out of bed,” Shire writes

In a few verses, the poem sums up the cycle of life throughout the year: First there

“the year i made peace and love, right here,” she ends it, as if she’s making

This is Vuong’s second poetry collection after Night Sky with Exit Wounds

// I’m on the cliff of myself & these aren’t wings, they’re // futures,” he writes

In “Reasons for Staying,” he opens with “October leaves coming down, as if called

// Morning fog through the wildrye beyond the train tracks,” as if remembering a painful memory

Though the collection has many bleak, melancholic moments, it has hopeful ones as well

Poems can be complex to take in, but Oliver’s are accessible and graceful

In most of her poems in this collection, she seems to incorporate nature

In “Wild Geese,” she likens us to the winged creature: “the world offers itself to your imagination”

This collection was formerly called The Hill We Climb and Other Poems, which was the title months

// Still, we crouch before the lip of tomorrow,” she opens in “Ship’s Manifest,” as if telling

While the poems muse over a sorrowful past, it also has messages of hope and a better

“Every day we are learning … // How to leave this pain that is beyond us // Behind us,” Gorman

In this collection, he writes about his thoughts and musings on living in New York City

In the titular poem, he writes, “Each time my heart is broken it makes me feel more //

While I think of my next steps for the coming one, reading the collection buoys me up

“I do not know when // we shall laugh again // but next week // we will spade up another

This collection is divided into seasons of the year and feels a lot like an assessment of

And just like the seasons, your outlook may change when you read each poem

Charles dedicates a section to each month of a year, from January to December, where she seems

“I hold like a stone & // even you I turn // my head to a thousand possible things //

“I’m always in // empty summer // homes by the sea,” she writes

“Impossible the leaves have changed,” she writes in “September,” as if bewildered how everything wore on so

This time of the year is the perfect opportunity to reflect on this year’s comings and

I hope you still find gratitude no matter how harrowing life is, as do the poets in

For more poetry books to read these “dark, pensive winter nights,” here are poetry books to get