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The Best Poetry Books Every Teen Should Read in High School

Books & Writing

February 04, 2023

“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.” —Rita Dove

For centuries, humans have gravitated to expressing the hardships and beauty of life through words, as a way of understanding human emotions in an intimate and vulnerable way, and unlike any other form, Poetry is able to evoke those same emotions from you as though you are feeling the writer's pain. Poetry is the physical form of connection and understanding which many teens crave in a period of their life that brings instability.

Although many shy away from this form of expression, it's extremely important for youth, as it not only helps you understand the emotions of others, but can connect on a deeper, spiritual level. In a time of discrimination and global fear, young poets are finding their voice by reflecting on the struggles of teenagehood in a modern world and in reading the five collections of poetry covered in this article, one can understand their own journey in new ways.

Sweet, Young & Worried by Blythe Baird

Image from "Sweet, Young and Worried" by Blythe Baird

"The body I threw stones at is the same body who is still determined to write love letters to me."

This long-awaited follow-up to her debut from self-acclaimed spoken word poet, Blythe Baird, intimately deals with the anxiety that stems from adolescence and how that can affect your self-worth until adulthood. Divided into three sections, this collection takes readers on a journey, first showing them the devastation of adolescence, then the reclamation and acknowledgment of trauma, and finally the experience of healing from that pain that she carried with her throughout her life.

Although this book deals with difficult topics, such as eating disorders, suicide, and sexual assault, it sheds light on issues that many teenagers face and can help those who feel alone in their struggles.

Order now from Amazon, Indigo, Barnes and Noble or Button Poetry

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Image from "Milk and Honey" by Rupi Kaur

"I have what I have and I am happy I’ve lost what I’ve lost and I am still happy."

By Canadian poet Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey is a powerful collection that touches on femininity, loss, love, pain, healing, womanhood and survival. This book serves as a guide for anyone who has felt alone, used, unwanted, abused or in need of a deeper understanding of themselves. Every teenager should read this book as it not only teaches readers how to forgive and learn from their past relationships but also learn to love themselves.

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Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman

Image from "Call Us What We Carry" by Amanda Gorman

“We've learned that quiet isn't always peace.”

This strikingly original collection acts as a manifesto for youth and will spark an undying hunger for change in the reader. After presenting her haunting poem "The Hill We Climb" at the inauguration of President Joe Biden, Amanda Gorman urges society to look upon our history of sickening injustice, and find change in an era of climate collapse, fragile governments, pandemics, grief and inaction. By defining the relationship between change and hope, Amanda Gorman has created a masterpiece, meant for the people who yearn for change.

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Depression and Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

Image from "Depression and Other Magic Tricks" by Sabrina Benaim

“My heart has developed a kind of amnesia, where it remembers everything but itself.”

After her powerful spoken word performance of her poem "Explaining my depression to my mother," went viral, poet Sabrina Benaim released her first collection of groundbreaking poetry. Hence the title, this collection shows the journey of pushing through fear and depression, and tracks the process of healing in a profound way. This collection is an important read for anyone struggling with anxiety, insomnia, depression and can show anyone the power of asking for help.

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The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace

Image from "The Princess Saves Herself in This One" by Amanda Lovelace

“The princess locked herself away in the highest tower, hoping a knight in shining armor would come to her rescue. - I didn't realize I could be my own knight.”

Divided into four different parts, this collection's narrative arc follows the princess, the damsel, the queen, and you, the reader. In each section, the women find their own power as they explore love, healing, death, grief, resilience and female empowerment in strong-willed anecdotes. This book is the first installment in a series called Women Are Some Kind of Magic, which narrates the resilience and strength of women around the world. This collection is meant for girls who feel ignored or unseen and can teach lessons of self-love, which many teenagers find themselves without

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Although reading poetry can help you connect with your feelings, nothing is more important than finding yourself and writing your own character arc. Through reading, try and find your inner voice and write your own poetry. Write your own kind of healing for yourself and others.

Elle Glen
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Writer since Nov, 2022 · 7 published articles

Elle Glen is a high school journalist based in British Columbia, who is a reporter for the Griffins Nest newspaper. She has a dedicated love of reading which led to a love of writing. She spends most of her time reading, writing, being introverted, and listening to The Smiths. Elle is a curious individual who is fascinated by politics, trends, fashion and music.