Poetry for Teens

April is National Poetry month. Celebrate by checking out some of these titles with teen appeal - from nature to science fiction, love to death, and free verse to haiku, you're bound to find something to inspire.

List compiled by Dory L. and Chris H.

Compiled by:
Chris H.
180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day

811.008 One

A second helping of wonderful poems to share with teens.

A Thousand Mornings

Mary Oliver
811.54 Oli

One of the best nature poets currently writing.

American Hybrid: Norton anthology of new poetry

811.6 Ame

A collection that looks at the new hybrid poem, one that is a cross between experimental verse and traditional.


Sylvia Plath
811.54 Pl

Published two years after the author of The Bell Jar's death, this highly personal collection deals with themes of mental illness and identity.

At the Drive-in Volcano

Aimee Nezhukumatathil
811.6 Nez

Her name may be hard to say, but this young writer brings a multicultural viewpoint to her modern poems. A Filipino-American who has won an NEA award.

Baseball Haiku

811.008 Bas

Love the game, love poetry's shortest form? Then this book is for you. Explore baseball haiku written on two sides of the world.

Come Thief: Poems

Jane Hirshfield
811.54 Hi

Nature poems with a Buddhist and spiritual emphasis written in an accessible style.

Dance Dance Revolution

Cathy Park Hong
811.6 Hon

Science fiction poetry that imagines life in a desert city. Chosen by the Los Angeles Times as a best science fiction book of the year.

Directions to the Beach of the Dead

Richard Blanco
811.54 Bla

Poems that explore the beauty of place and the meaning of home in various countries including the U.S., Spain, Cuba, Peru and Brazil by our most recent inaugural poet.


Sean Singer
811.6 Sin

Poems about music from a young poet who won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award.


Sherman Alexie
811.54 Ale

One of the finest Native Americans writing today about life on and off the reservation.


Michael Dickman
811.6 Dic

Describes a poor childhood, physical abuse, and the suicide of an older brother.

Good Poems: Selected and Introduced by Garrison Keillor

811.008 Goo

An intriguing mix of excellent poems selected by the great radio impresario.

Haiku in English: the First Hundred Years

808.8141 Hai

This new collection presents a great overview of American haiku from its start in this country a hundred years ago. Includes samples of modern haiku written by contemporary American practitioners of the art. A great resource to explore this short contemporary form.

Horoscopes for the Dead

Billy Collins
811.54 Col

One of our most accessible poets who also uses humor often.

Life on Mars

Tracy K. Smith
811.6 Smi

Smith writes about space travel and David Bowie.

Love is a Dog from Hell

Charles Bukowski
811.54 Buk

A raw, funny, heartbreaking examination of love from an infamous outsider poet.

Love Poetry Out Loud

Robert Alden Rubin
821.008 Rub

100 poems about love including silly love ditties and poems about falling in and out of love. Includes poems by Shakespeare, Dickinson, and other great poets.

Love: Selected Poems

e. e. cummings
811.52 Cum

Famous for his unique topography and delicate love poems.


Emily Dickinson
811.4 Di

A favorite of teens for decades, Dickinson writes about love, death, and the art of poetry.

Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry

811.008 Poe

As poet laureate, Collins gathered these poems to share with teens. They cover every day of the school year.

Selected Poems

Gwendolyn Brooks
811.54 Bro

Brooks' poetry about race, female identity, and Chicago in the 20th century made her the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry.

Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer

Steve Scafadi
811.6 Sca

Explores the history of Southern racism and a young man's explorations of love.

The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral

811.608 Arc

"Can't enjoy a blade of grass unless there's a subway handy?" as Frank O'Hara once said. This collection gathers new poems written in praise of nature that were written in an urban, technological world.

The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands

Nick Flynn
811.6 Fly

Political poetry about the devastation of war.

The Essential Haiku

895.6 Ess

Want to explore the haiku tradition including the Japanese masters who started the form and gave us some great haiku? Read the work of Basho, Buson and Issa.

The Poetry of Robert Frost

Robert Frost
811.52 Frost

One of the 20th century's best American poets. Well loved.

The Portable Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman
811.3 Wh

One of the great American poets, Whitman's poetry deals with faith, nature, sexuality, and what it means to be an individual.

The Raven and Other Poems

Edgar Allan Poe
Y Poe

This young adult version has the classic illustrations by Gustave Doré.

Turtle Island

Gary Snyder
811.54 Sn

This 1974 book of poems and essays about ecology won the Pulitzer Prize.