The Greatest Books: Poetry


88 Books, According to 172 “Best of” Lists

This list is generated from 172 book polls & top lists from a variety of great sources. The books is ranked based on how many lists a particular book appears on. Other list in this series⇣

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  1. Citizen: an American Lyric by Rankine, Claudia (22 Lists: a3,b2,b6,b8,c6,c7,f3,g1,g5,k2,l1,l8,l9,m10,m11,n3,n5,n6,n9,p1,s2,v5)


2. Faithful and Virtuous Night by Gluck, Louise (7 Lists: g5,k2,m10,n1,n3,p1,s2)


3. Gabriel: a Poem by Hirsch, Ed (7 Lists: a2,b4,g1,l8,m10,n3,s2)


4. Prelude to Bruise by Jones, Saeed (7 Lists: b6,f3,g1,m10,n5,n9,n15)


5. Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals by Lockwood, Patricia (6 Lists: b2,b6,f3,g1,m11,n1)


6. Collected Poems by Strand, Mark (4 Lists: b2,n3,n6,p5)


7. If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? by Harvey, Matthea (4 Lists: b2,f3,p1,s7)


8. New Testament, The by Brown, Jericho (3 Lists: l1,m10,s2)


9. Poems that Make Grown Men Cry: 100 Men on the Words that Move Them by Holden, Anthony and Ben, eds. (3 Lists: g1,n15,t3)


10. Blood Lyrics by Ford, Katie (2 Lists: k2,l9)


11. Feel Trio, The by Moten, Fred (2 Lists: l9,n3)


12. Paper Aeroplane: Poems 1989–2014 by Armitage, Simon (2 Lists: g6,n15)


13. Pedestrians, The by Zucker, Rachel (2 Lists: g1,m10)


14. Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948–2013, The by Walcott, Derek (2 Lists: n1,t3)


15. Road to Emmaus, The by Reece, Spencer (2 Lists: c6,n3)


16. Rome by Lasky, Dorothy (2 Lists: f3,m10)


17. Seam by Faizullah, Tarfia (2 Lists: g1,m10)

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18. Second Sex, The by Robbins, Michael (2 Lists: f3,m10)


19. Talkativeness by Craig, Michael Earl (2 Lists: m10,s2)

20. This Blue by McLane, Maureen (2 Lists: l1,n3)

21. [Insert] Boy by Smith, Danez (1 Lists: b2)

22. Abide by York, Jake Adam (1 Lists: n9)

23. Accepting the Disaster by Mehigan, Joshua (1 Lists: c6)

24. Angels of the Americlypse: an Anthology of New Latin@ Writing by Smith, Carmen Gimenez & Chavez, John, eds. (1 Lists: b2)

25. Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems by Stafford, William (1 Lists: k2)


26. Bedouin of the London Evening: Collected Poems by Tonks, Rosemary (1 Lists: b2)

27. Blue Buick: New and Selected Poems, The by Fairchild, B. H. (1 Lists: a2)

28. Blue Horses: Poems by Oliver, Mary (1 Lists: g1)

29. Bone Map by Johnson, Sara Eliza (1 Lists: m10)

30. Book of Hours, The by Young, Kevin (1 Lists: k2)


31. Breathturn into Timestead: the Collected Later Poetry by Celan, Paul (1 Lists: b2)

32. C. H. Sisson Reader, A by Sisson, C. H. (1 Lists: b2)

33. Caribou by Wright, Charles (1 Lists: l1)

34. Chasers of the Light: Poems from the Typewriter Series by Gregson, Tyler Knott (1 Lists: g1)

35. Collected Haiku of Yosa Buson by Buson, Yosa (1 Lists: k2)

36. Collected Poems: 1969–2014 by Mehrotra, Arvind Krishna (1 Lists: g6)

37. Compass Rose by Sze, Arthur (1 Lists: p12)


38. Dido in Winter by Shaw, Anne (1 Lists: l1)

39. Digest by Pardlo, Gregory (1 Lists: p12)

40. Double Sorrow: Troilus and Criseyde by Greenlaw, Lavinia (1 Lists: c8)

41. Ecodeviance: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness by Conrad, CA (1 Lists: b2)

42. Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon, The by Perdomo, Willie (1 Lists: n9)

43. Everything I Love Is a Stranger to Someone by Gelman, Annelyse (1 Lists: b6)

44. from unincorporated territory [guma’] by Perez, Craig Santos (1 Lists: l1)

45. Heteronomy by Nealon, Chris (1 Lists: m10)

46. His Day Is Done: a Nelson Mandela Tribute by Angelou, Maya (1 Lists: g1)

47. Hustle by Martinez, David Tomas (1 Lists: m10)


48. I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan by Griswold, Eliza, trans. & ed. (1 Lists: g1)

49. I Don’t Know Do You by Montes, Roberto (1 Lists: n5)

50. I Wrote This for You: Just the Words by pleasefindthis (1 Lists: g1)

51. In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems 1987–2011 by Gizzi, Peter (1 Lists: l9)

52. It’s Day Being Gone by McLarney, Rose (1 Lists: m10)

53. Land in the Storytelling Sea: a North American in Malta, A by Loeffler, Sheryl (1 Lists: b19)

54. Letters Composed During a Lull in the Fighting by Young, Kevin (1 Lists: g1)

55. Lit Up Inside: Selected Lyrics by Morrison, Van (1 Lists: g6)

56. Lullabies by Leav, Lang (1 Lists: g1)

57. Mala by McClure, Monica (1 Lists: f3)

58. Malaria by Conaway, Cameron (1 Lists: n5)

59. Mature Themes by Durbin, Andrew (1 Lists: f3)

60. MXT by Queyras, Sina (1 Lists: b2)

61. Nejma by Waheed, Nayyirah (1 Lists: g1)

62. New Selected Poems by Murray, Les (1 Lists: b2)

63. New Selected Poems 1988–2013 by Heaney, Seamus (1 Lists: g6)

64. No Matter the Wreckage by Kay, Sarah (1 Lists: g1)

65. Nothing More to Lose by Darwish, Najwan (1 Lists: n5)

66. Once in the West by Wiman, Christian (1 Lists: n9)

67. Outside Looking In by Suleyman, Chimene (1 Lists: g6)

68. Patter by Kearney, Douglas (1 Lists: b2)

69. Peace by Conoley, Gillian (1 Lists: l9)

70. Poetry of Witness: the Tradition in English, 1500–2001, The by Forche, Carolyn, ed. (1 Lists: b4)

71. Put This On, Please by Trowbridge, William (1 Lists: k2)

72. Reel to Reel by Shapiro, Alan (1 Lists: p12)

73. Reliquaria by Villanueva, R. A. (1 Lists: m10)

74. Repast: Tea, Lunch, and Cocktails by Powell, D.A. (1 Lists: f3)

75. Roget’s Illusion by Bierds, Linda (1 Lists: n3)

76. Sailing the Forest: Selected Poems by Robertson, Robin (1 Lists: g6)

77. Second Childhood by Howe, Fanny (1 Lists: n3)

78. Several World, A by Blanchfield, Brian (1 Lists: n3)

79. Sun Bear by Zapruder, Matthew (1 Lists: s2)

80. Ted Hughes Bestiary: Selected Poems, A by Hughes, Ted (1 Lists: g6)

81. They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re Full by Bibbins, Mark (1 Lists: p1)

82. Titanic by Corrigan, Cecilia (1 Lists: f3)

83. Underground: New and Selected Poems by Moore, Jim (1 Lists: s2)

84. What We Buried by Siehl, Caitlin (1 Lists: g1)

85. Whole & Rain-Domed Universe, The by Bryce, Colette (1 Lists: b2)

86. Wolf Centos by Muench, Simone (1 Lists: k2)

87. Woman with a Gambling Mania by Anderson, Catherine (1 Lists: k2)

88. You Can Make Anything Sad by Madsen, Spencer (1 Lists: g1)


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List Used:

  1. AARP , a10
  2. A.V. Club , a7
  3. AbeBooks , a11
  4. About.Com , a5
  5. Agatha Awards , a6
  6. ALA/RUSA Notable Books , a2
  7. Alex Awards , a4
  8. All About Romance , a8
  9. Amazon , a1
  10. America’s Test Kitchen , a12
  11. Andrew Carnegie Medals , a15
  12. Andrew Zimmern , a13
  13. Association for Library Service to Children , a9
  14. The Atlantic , a3
  15. Austin Chronicle , a14
  16. Backchannel , b12
  17. Barnes and Noble , b8
  18. Barry Award , b9
  19. BBC , b13
  20. BestFantasyBooks.com , b14
  21. Biographile , b15
  22. Boing Boing , b10
  23. Book Riot , b11
  24. The Book Smugglers , b16
  25. The BookBitch , b17
  26. Booklist , b4
  27. BookPage , b3
  28. BookPeople , b5
  29. Bookreporter , b19
  30. Boston Globe , b2
  31. Brain Pickings , b7
  32. Bustle , b18
  33. Buzzfeed , b6
  34. Chatelaine , c3
  35. Christian Science Monitor , c1
  36. Cleveland Plain-Dealer , c4
  37. Comics Alliance , c5
  38. Commonweal , c6
  39. Complex , c7
  40. Costa Book Awards , c8
  41. Crime Always Pays , c9
  42. Crimespree Magazine , c2
  43. Cybil Awards , c10
  44. The Daily Beast , d2
  45. The Daily Meal , d3
  46. Denver Post , d4
  47. Do Some Damage Crime Fiction , d1
  48. Eater , e6
  49. The Economist , e2
  50. Edgar Awards , e3
  51. Elle , e7
  52. Entertainment Weekly , e4
  53. Entrepreneur , e5
  54. Esquire , e1
  55. Fantasy Book Critic , f4
  56. Fantasy Café , f5
  57. Fantasy Faction , f6
  58. Fantasy Literature.com , f7
  59. Fiction_L (online discussion group — one vote for each title receiving multiple votes on list) , f1
  60. Financial Times , f10
  61. Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize , f2
  62. Flavorwire , f3
  63. Foreign Affairs , f8
  64. Fortune , f9
  65. Gear Patrol , g2
  66. Globe and Mail , g5
  67. Goodreads Choice Awards , g1
  68. Great New Books , g3
  69. Greatist , g4
  70. Guardian , g6
  71. Hammett Prize , h4
  72. Horn Book , h5
  73. The House of Crime and Mystery , h3
  74. Hudson Booksellers , h1
  75. The Huffington Post , h2
  76. Hugo Awards , h6
  77. Hypable , h7
  78. Inc. , i2
  79. The Independent , i5
  80. Indies Choices Awards , i4
  81. Indigo , i3
  82. io9 , i1
  83. Kansas City Star , k2
  84. Kirkus Reviews , k1
  85. Largehearted Boy , l4
  86. Left Coast Crime Awards , l5
  87. Library Journal , l1
  88. Library Reads , l2
  89. Library Thing , l6
  90. LitReactor , l7
  91. Locus Magazine , l3
  92. Los Angeles Times , l8
  93. Los Angeles Times Book Prizes , l9
  94. Maclean’s , m4
  95. Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf , m7
  96. Man Booker Prize , m2
  97. Mashable , m11
  98. McNally Jackson , m8
  99. Miami Herald , m9
  100. The Millions , m10
  101. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel , m12
  102. Minneapolis Star-Tribune , m1
  103. Morning News-Tournament of Books , m6
  104. Mother Jones , m3
  105. Murder by the Book , m5
  106. National Book Awards , n3
  107. National Book Critics Circle Awards , n9
  108. National Journal , n10
  109. National Outdoor Book Awards , n11
  110. National Reading Group Month: Great Group Reads , n12
  111. Nebula and Andre Norton Awards , n4
  112. The New Republic , n7
  113. New Statesman , n15
  114. New York Post , n13
  115. New York Public Library , n8
  116. New York Times , n1
  117. The New Yorker , n6
  118. Newsday , n14
  119. Newsweek , n2
  120. NPR , n5
  121. O Magazine , o1
  122. Only the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy , o2
  123. PaperMag , p8
  124. Paste Magazine , p9
  125. Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist , p7
  126. PBS Food , p10
  127. PEN/Faulkner Awards , p3
  128. People Magazine , p2
  129. Pop Matters , p5
  130. Powell’s Books , p6
  131. Printz Awards , p4
  132. Providence Journal , p11
  133. Publisher’s Weekly , p1
  134. Pulitzer Prizes , p12
  135. The Rap Sheet , r2
  136. Read Me Deadly , r3
  137. Richmond Times-Dispatch , r5
  138. Riffle , r4
  139. RITA Awards , r8
  140. Rolling Stone , r6
  141. RT Book Reviewer’s Awards , r7
  142. RUSA Reading List , r1
  143. Salon , s2
  144. San Francisco Chronicle , s7
  145. The Savvy Reader , s11
  146. School Library Journal , s1
  147. Science Friday , s12
  148. Seattle Times , s3
  149. SFF World , s8
  150. Slate , s4
  151. Splitsider , s13
  152. St. Louis Post-Dispatch , s6
  153. Story Prize , s9
  154. Strand Critics Award , s5
  155. Strange Horizons , s10
  156. Telegraph , t3
  157. Time , t1
  158. Tor.com , t2
  159. USA Today , u1
  160. Vanity Fair , v2
  161. The Village Voice , v3
  162. Vogue , v1
  163. Vox , v4
  164. Vulture , v5
  165. Wall Street Journal , w3
  166. Washington Post , w2
  167. Waterstone’s Book of the Year , w1
  168. The Week , w5
  169. Wired , w4
  170. Woman’s Day , w6
  171. Women’s Prize for Fiction , w7
  172. YALSA Awards , y1

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