Poetry has a way of articulating what we feel in our hearts but don’t always know how to express. They make art out of our life experiences, and find beauty in the mundane. Poetry romanticises little miracles we experience on any given day – whether it’s related to love, loss, heartbreak, purpose, or finding yourself.
I am currently in the process of grieving and processing my emotions after what has been a very tough week. For days, I was in denial and shock as I did what I could to avoid the pain and heaviness in my heart. Today, feeling in much need of self-care and inspiration, I took myself out on a brunch date at a local cafe – taking with me my entire poetry collection (so far). And I’m excited to share with you my favourite poetry books that have stirred my soul and won my heart.
I truly believe that poetry, among other forms of art, make life worth living. Coming from someone who is passionate about personal finance and has worked in insurance, banking and tax, I feel life would be boring and meaningless without frequent reminders of what we love and live for. Why we get up in the morning; what we work so hard for. What are we really chasing?
I don’t think it is an uncommon thing to wonder. I recently had a meeting with the Books manager at my workplace. When I confessed my love for self-help, spiritual, personal finance, and poetry books, she told me a fun fact: poetry book sales soar during university semester breaks and during the New Year. Could it be fair to say that poetry helps us and inspires us to look within, find magic in every day, dream bigger dreams, and become better versions of ourselves, at times we feel most compelled?
Here are some books which, for me, have done exactly that.
The Sun and Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur | 2017
The Sun and Her Flowers is about grief, self-abandonment, honouring one’s roots, love, and empowering oneself. The five chapters are: wilting, falling, rooting, rising and blooming.
This book was my dear companion in 2018, when I spent the year in an on-and-off job search, struggling with feeling like a failure, financially supporting myself through my creative skills & passions, travelling to my favourite city, Melbourne, reading a lot of books, and eventually, redefining success and learning to love myself. The poems in it resonate with my experiences so well, from hitting rock bottom, to taking full responsibility for my life, to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s well worth a read. I especially love my clothbound hardcover edition, complete with woven bookstrap and deckle edge pages.
Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur | 2014
Milk and Honey is about love, loss, trauma, abuse, healing, and femininity. The four chapters cover hurting, loving, breaking, and healing.
I absolutely love Rupi Kaur’s descriptions and thoughts on love, whether she is writing about the darker aspects such as abuse, or lighter aspects such as finding The One. I can relate to both sides – from rape and physical abuse, to finding someone who loves you honestly, unconditionally. I can relate to falling in love and letting go, learning when I deserve better, giving all of myself to someone, growing stronger as a person, and being true to myself. If you’re looking for the same, this is a beautiful and touching collection of poetry that I’d highly recommend.
The Universe of Us – Lang Leav | 2016
Lang Leav has such an elegant, sophisticated way with words. I feel like her writing, though describing similar life experiences to Rupi Kaur’s, is more dramatic, more metaphorical in nature – relating love to distant planets, vast oceans, all of time and the universe. I love the celestial imagery and deep, heartfelt emotions in her poetry and prose. If you are a sucker for romance, this is definitely one to read.
Love Looks Pretty on You – Lang Leav | 2019
Love Looks Pretty on You is Lang Leav’s sixth poetry book – and as she points out in the introduction, six is the highest roll on the die, the Lovers in a tarot deck, and Virgo in the zodiac. So fittingly, this book is a celebration of the female spirit. It’s about women, whether it’s her mother or sisters all over the world; our love for each other, and love for ourselves.
I can relate to so much of her thoughts and aspirations. I feel comforted when she describes turning her anxiety into her strength; and inspired when she encourages us to write, not for the world, not for fame and fortune, but for ‘the simple joy of knowing your own thoughts’. Thank you, Lang Leav for reminding me to embrace my authenticity!
Worlds of You – Beau Taplin | 2017
Beau Taplin is a poet I recently discovered and was immediately drawn to. Like the books I’ve mentioned above, it is also about love and finding yourself. It reminds us that true love should make you feel free, not restricted; that those we’ve loved and lost make us who we are; to live a full life, and to find true happiness and contentment.
I’d like to leave you with one of Beau Taplin’s most loved poems:
Home is not where you are from,
It is where you belong.
Some of us travel the whole world to find it.
Others find it in a person.
I hope you’ve found some inspiration in my favourite poetry books! Please let me know if you have any recommendations in the comments below. ❤
PS. The cafe I went to was Little Goodies in Sunnynook, North Shore, Auckland. I had smoked salmon scrambled eggs with halloumi & mushrooms and waffles with seasonal fruit, ice cream & maple syrup. A friendly, peaceful cafe and great reading spot!