Best poetry books chosen by critics

We list the best poetry books recommended by critics from Washington Post, NPR, New York Times and many more. All critics' recommendations are referenced with customer reviews. The rating you see is an aggregate from several platforms and is always higher than 4 out of 5 stars.

4.5 WHEREAS Poems

WHEREAS Poems by Layli Long Soldier

New York Times

“Long Soldier, a member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, troubles our consideration of the language we use to carry our personal and national narratives in this moving debut poetry collection.”

Featured in New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2017.

$13
4.5 Why Poetry

Why Poetry by Matthew Zapruder

LA Times

“Zapruder contends in this accessible defense and salutation of poetry, an understanding of a poem comes to life anew “in the mind of each half-dreaming reader.”

Featured in LA Times’ Best Non-Fiction Books of 2017.

$17
4.4 You Don't Have To Say You Love Me

You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir by Sherman Alexie

LA Times

“Growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation, Alexie had a troubled relationship with his difficult mother; after she died, the National Book Award winner was compelled to write about it.”

Featured in LA Times’ Best Non-Fiction Books of 2017.

$20
5.0 Good Bones Maggie Smith

Good Bones: Poems by Maggie Smith

Washington Post

“The title poem of Good Bones went viral this year because its central theme — wanting to believe in the goodness of the world for the sake of one’s children — connected with so many people.”

$16
4.8 Half Light Poems

Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 by Frank Bidart

Washington Post

“This collection highlights Bidart’s enduring themes and concerns, among them: desire and shame and the quest to find truth and freedom.”

Featured in Washington Post’s Best Poetry Collections of 2017.

$20
4.9 Devotions Mary Oliver

Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver

Washington Post

“Spanning more than 50 years and featuring more than 200 poems, this collection shows Oliver, in the early years, turning away from grief and finding in nature a vast, incredible gift.”

Featured in Washington Post’s Best Poetry Collections of 2017.

$18