The Strength of the Spoken Word: Poetry in Our Popular Reading Collection

When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.
 – “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman

Stepping up to the microphone, Amanda Gorman, the nation’s first youth poet laureate, stood as a shining beacon of our future during the January 20th inauguration of President Joe Biden.

She stirred the nation as she delivered her spoken-word poem. Gorman’s speech was not simply a recital, but a performance. As she spoke and gestured, viewers and listeners could see, hear, and feel the emotion behind her poem. Since the inauguration, those who had never felt stirred by or connected to poetry began seeking other poets who could inspire similar connections.

In the event that you too are seeking other poets to follow that also stir feelings of hope, lamenting troubles, and shining a light in the darkness here are two located in our Popular Reading collection:


The Complete Poetry by Maya Angelou

Of course we have a collection of Angelou’s poems in our Popular Reading collection!

From Amazon – Throughout her illustrious career in letters, Maya Angelou gifted, healed, and inspired the world with her words. Now the beauty and spirit of those words live on in this new and complete collection of poetry that reflects and honors the writer’s remarkable life.
Every poetic phrase, every poignant verse can be found within the pages of this sure-to-be-treasured volume—from her reflections on African American life and hardship in the compilation Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ’fore I Diiie (“Though there’s one thing that I cry for / I believe enough to die for / That is every man’s responsibility to man”) to her revolutionary celebrations of womanhood in the poem “Still I Rise”(“Out of the huts of history’s shame / I rise / Up from a past that’s rooted in pain / I rise”) to her “On the Pulse of Morning”tribute at President William Jefferson Clinton’s inauguration (“Lift up your eyes upon / The day breaking for you. / Give birth again / To the dream.”).

Timeless and prescient, this definitive compendium will warm the hearts of Maya Angelou’s most ardent admirers as it introduces new readers to the legendary poet, activist, and teacher—a phenomenal woman for the ages.


The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

I believe we’ve included this title in previous posts and can’t share it enough!

From Amazon – Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.

With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

To learn about other poets like Gorman (and the inspiration behind this blog post), visit this article by Abigail Clarkin on Book Riot.

Happy Reading!

Trisha Hernandez