The Best Poetry Books of 2020 (A Year-End List Aggregation)

“What are the best Poetry books released in 2020?” We looked at 116 of the top Poetry books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 19 books, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Poetry” book lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The remaining 75+ titles, as well as the sources we used, are in alphabetical order on the bottom of the page.

Our other Best Of 2020 Articles:

Previous Years: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

All titles have been added to a Bookshop list as well!

Happy Scrolling!



Top 19 Best Poetry Books From 2020



19.) Home Body written byRupi Kaur

Lists It Appears On:

  • Barnes & Noble
  • Goodreads

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey and the sun and her flowers comes her greatly anticipated third collection of poetry. rupi kaur constantly embraces growth, and in home body, she walks readers through a reflective and intimate journey visiting the past, the present, an



18.) How to Fly written byBarbara Kingsolver

Lists It Appears On:

  • Barnes & Noble
  • BookPage

In this intimate collection, the beloved author of The Poisonwood Bible and more than a dozen other New York Times bestsellers, winner or finalist for the Pulitzer and countless other prizes, now trains her eye on the everyday and the metaphysical in poems that are smartly crafted, emotionally rich,



17.) Just Us: An American Conversation written byClaudia Rankine

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Guardian
  • NPR

Claudia Rankine’s Citizen changed the conversation–Just Us urges all of us into it As everyday white supremacy becomes increasingly vocalized with no clear answers at hand, how best might we approach one another? Claudia Rankine, without telling us what to do, urges us to begin the discussions that



16.) Make Me Rain: Poems & Prose written byNikki Giovanni

Lists It Appears On:

  • BookPage
  • Barnes & Noble

One of America’s most celebrated poets challenges us with this powerful and deeply personal collection of verse that speaks to the injustices of society while illuminating the depths of her own heart.For more than fifty years, Nikki Giovanni’s poetry has dazzled and inspired readers. As sharp and ou



15.) My Darling from the Lions written byAlice Denham

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Guardian
  • The Telegraph

Alice Denham’s My Darling from the Lions portrays the passionate conflict between a young painter and her macho composer husband, their lovers, her female rage, his brutality, and her struggle for self-realization as an artist. The Sunday New York Times Book Review said, “When Miss Denham is being l



14.) Poor written byCaleb Femi

Lists It Appears On:

  • Financial Times
  • The Guardian



13.) Rendang written byWill Harris

Lists It Appears On:

  • Financial Times
  • The Guardian

Using long poems, ekphrasis, and ruptured forms, RENDANG is a startling new take on the self, and how an identity is constructed. Drawing on his Anglo-Indonesian heritage, Will Harris shows us new ways to think about the contradictions of identity and cultural memory. He creates companions that spea



12.) Runaway written byJorie Graham

Lists It Appears On:

  • Publishers Weekly
  • NPR

A new collection of poetry from one of our most acclaimed contemporary poets, Pulitzer Prize winner Jorie Graham In her formidable and clairvoyant new collection, Runaway, Jorie Graham deepens her vision of our futurity. What of us will survive? Identity may be precarious, but perhaps love is not? K



11.) Seeing The Body written byRachel Eliza Griffiths

Lists It Appears On:

  • NPR
  • Largehearted Boy

Poems and photographs collide in this intimate collection, challenging the invisible, indefinable ways mourning takes up residence in a body, both before and after life-altering loss.In radiant poems–set against the evocative and desperate backdrop of contemporary events, pop culture, and politics-



10.) The Age Of Phillis written byHonorée Fanonne Jeffers

Lists It Appears On:

  • NPR
  • Library Journal

In 1773, a young, African American woman named Phillis Wheatley published a book of poetry that challenged Western prejudices about African and female intellectual capabilities. Based on fifteen years of archival research, The Age of Phillis, by award-winning writer Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, imagines



9.) The Air Year written byCaroline Bird

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Guardian
  • The Telegraph

Winner of the 2020 Forward Prize for Best Collection. A Telegraph Poetry Book of the Month (February 2020). The Air Year is a time of flight, transition and suspension: signatures scribbled on the sky. Bird’s speakers exist in a state of unrest, trapped in a liminal place between take-off and landin



8.) The Malevolent Volume written byJustin Phillip Reed

Lists It Appears On:

  • Washington Post
  • NPR

Subverting celebrated classics of poetry and mythology and examining horrors from contemporary film and cultural fact, National Book Award winner Justin Phillip Reed engages darkness as an aesthetic to conjure the revenant animus that lurks beneath the exploited civilities of marginalized people. In



7.) Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass written byLana Del Rey

Lists It Appears On:

  • Barnes & Noble
  • Goodreads

THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED DEBUT BOOK OF POETRY FROM LANA DEL REY, VIOLET BENT BACKWARDS OVER THE GRASS “Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass is the title poem of the book and the first poem I wrote of many. Some of which came to me in their entirety, which I dictated and then typed out, and some that I



6.) When The Light Of The World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology Of Native Nations Poetry written byJoy Harjo

Lists It Appears On:

  • BookPage
  • NPR

This landmark anthology celebrates the indigenous peoples of North America, the first poets of this country, whose literary traditions stretch back centuries.



5.) Finna: Poems written byNate Marshall

Lists It Appears On:

  • Largehearted Boy
  • NYPL
  • NPR

Sharp, lyrical poems celebrating the Black vernacular–its influence on pop culture, its necessity for familial survival, its rite in storytelling and in creating the safety found only within its intimacy “Terrific . . . illuminates life in this country in a strikingly original way.”–Ron Charles, T



4.) Dearly written byMargaret Atwood

Lists It Appears On:

  • Financial Times
  • Goodreads
  • The Telegraph
  • Library Journal

A new book of poetry from internationally acclaimed, award-winning and bestselling author Margaret AtwoodIn Dearly, Margaret Atwood’s first collection of poetry in over a decade, Atwood addresses themes such as love, loss, the passage of time, the nature of nature and – zombies. Her new poetry is in



3.) Obit written byVictorian Chang

Lists It Appears On:

  • NPR
  • Book Riot
  • Publishers Weekly
  • NY Times

Longlisted for the 2020 National Book Award in Poetry After her mother died, poet Victoria Chang refused to write elegies. Rather, she distilled her grief during a feverish two weeks by writing scores of poetic obituaries for all she lost in the world. In Obit, Chang writes of “the way memory gets u



2.) Postcolonial Love Poem written byNatalie Diaz

Lists It Appears On:

  • Book Riot
  • Financial Times
  • NYPL
  • The Guardian
  • NPR

FINALIST FOR THE 2020 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR POETRY Natalie Diaz’s highly anticipated follow-up to When My Brother Was an Aztec, winner of an American Book Award Postcolonial Love Poem is an anthem of desire against erasure. Natalie Diaz’s brilliant second collection demands that every body carried



1.) Homie written byDanez Smith

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Publishers Weekly
  • Financial Times
  • NYPL
  • NPR
  • Largehearted Boy

Danez Smith is our president Homie is Danez Smith’s magnificent anthem about the saving grace of friendship. Rooted in the loss of one of Smith’s close friends, this book comes out of the search for joy and intimacy within a nation where both can seem scarce and getting scarcer. In poems of rare pow




The 75+ Additional Best Poetry Books Released In 2020



# Book Author Lists
20 13th Balloon Mark Bibbins NPR
21 A Nail the Evening Hangs On Monica Sok NYPL
22 African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle & Song Kevin Young
Barnes & Noble
23 After Callimachus Stephanie Burt Mark Payne (Contribution by)
The Telegraph
24 After Fame
The Telegraph
25 All Along You Were Blooming: Thoughts for Boundless Living Morgan Harper Nichols Goodreads
26 All Heathens Marianne Chan
Largehearted Boy
27 An Incomplete List Of Names Michael Torres NPR
28 And I Do Not Forgive You: Stories And Other Revenges Amber Sparks NPR
29 Beowulf: A New Translation Maria Dahvana Headley NPR
30 Break Your Glass Slippers (You Are Your Own Fairy Tale, #1) Amanda Lovelace Goodreads
31 Citadel
The Telegraph
32 Collective Gravities Chloe N. Clark NPR
33 Coming to Age BookPage
34 Conjure
Library Journal
35 Dance On Saturday: Stories Elwin Cotman NPR
36 Dandelion Gabbie Hanna
Barnes & Noble
37 Dark Blood Comes From The Feet Emma J. Gibbon NPR
38 DMZ Colony Don Mee Choi
Publishers Weekly
39 Every Day We Get More Illegal Juan Felipe Herrera
Library Journal
40 Feed Tommy Pico NY Times
41 Felon: Poems Reginald Dwayne Betts NY Times
42 Field Music Alexandria Hall
Library Journal
43 Foreign Bodies: Poems Kimiko Hahn NPR
44 Funny Weather: Art In An Emergency Olivia Laing NPR
45 Gigantic Cinema Paul Keegan Alice Oswald
The Telegraph
46 Grimoire Cherene Sherrard NYPL
47 Gut Botany Petra Kuppers NYPL
48 Having And Being Had Eula Biss NPR
49 Here For It: Or, How To Save Your Soul In America R. Eric Thomas NPR
50 Here is the Sweet Hand Francine J. Harris
Largehearted Boy
51 Hood Criatura Féi Hernandez NPR
52 Hood Feminism: Notes From The Women That A Movement Forgot Mikki Kendall NPR
53 How To Carry Water: Selected Poems Of Lucille Clifton Lucille Clifton NPR
54 How To Wash A Heart Bhanu Kapil
The Guardian
55 I Don’t Want To Die Poor: Essays Michael Arceneaux NPR
56 I Hold A Wolf By The Ears: Stories Laura van den Berg NPR
57 I Will Take The Answer: Essays Ander Monson NPR
58 I Would Leave Me If I Could Halsey
Barnes & Noble
59 Inmates
The Telegraph
60 Intimations: Six Essays Zadie Smith NPR
61 Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry John Murillo NYPL
62 Lean Against This Late Hour Garous Abdolmalekian Idra Novey (Translator) Ahmad Nadalizadeh (Translator) & 1 more
Library Journal
63 Light for the World to See: A Thousand Words on Race and Hope Kwame Alexander
Barnes & Noble
64 Living Weapons: Poems Rowan Ricardo Phillips
Library Journal
65 Love Child’s Hotbed Of Occasional Poetry: Poems & Artifacts Nikky Finney NPR
66 Magnetic Field
The Guardian
67 Music For The Dead And Resurrected: Poems Valzhyna Mort NPR
68 My Baby First Birthday: Poems Jenny Zhang NYPL
69 Negotiations Destiny O. Birdsong
Largehearted Boy
70 Notes From An Apocalypse: A Personal Journey To The End Of The World And Back Mark O’Connell NPR
71 On the Horizon Lois Lowry Goodreads
72 Overstated: A Coast-to-Coast Roast Of The 50 States Colin Quinn NPR
73 Pale Colors in a Tall Field Carl Phillips
Washington Post
74 Paris
The Guardian
75 Road Trip
The Telegraph
76 Rural Voices: 15 Authors Challenge Assumptions About Small-Town America Nora Shalaway Carpenter NPR
77 Sanatorium
The Guardian
78 Shine, Darling
The Telegraph
79 Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide To Modern Cinema Lindy West NPR
80 So We Can Glow: Stories Leesa Cross-Smith NPR
81 Something That May Shock And Discredit You Daniel M. Lavery NPR
82 Sometimes I Never Suffered Shane McCrae
The Telegraph
83 Squid Squad Matthew Welton
The Telegraph
84 Still Life Ciaran Carson
Washington Post
85 Summer Snow: New Poems Robert Hass
Library Journal
86 Swimming Lessons: Poems Lili Reinhart Goodreads
87 The Absurd Man Major Jackson
Library Journal
88 The Black Flamingo Dean Atta Book Riot
89 The Cactus League: A Novel Emily Nemens NPR
90 The Fire of Joy
The Guardian
91 The Galleons: Poems Rick Barot NYPL
92 The Girl and the Goddess: Stories and Poems of Divine Wisdom Nikita Gill Goodreads
93 The Hidden Girl And Other Stories Ken Liu NPR
94 The Historians Eavan Boland
Publishers Weekly
95 The Lost Spells Robert Macfarlane
Barnes & Noble
96 The Martian’s Regress
The Telegraph
97 The Nancy Reagan Collection Maxe Crandall NYPL
98 The Nightfields Joanna Klink
Washington Post
99 The Problem of the Many Timothy Donnelly
The Telegraph
100 The Socrates Express: In Search Of Life Lessons From Dead Philosophers Eric Weiner NPR
101 The Talk: Conversations About Race, Love & Truth Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson (editors) NPR
102 The Threadbare Coat Thomas a. Clark Matthew Welton (Editor)
The Telegraph
103 Thin Places: Essays From In Between Jordan Kisner NPR
104 This Is One Way To Dance: Essays Sejal Shah NPR
105 Three Poems Hannah Sullivan
Library Journal
106 Tomboyland: Essays Melissa Faliveno NPR
107 Tongues of Fire Seán Hewitt
The Guardian
108 Vesper Flights Helen Macdonald NPR
109 Whale Day: And Other Poems Billy Collins
Barnes & Noble
110 What Kind of Woman: Poems Kate Baer Goodreads
111 Where The Wild Ladies Are Aoko Matsuda NPR
112 Where Things Touch: A Meditation On Beauty Bahar Orang NPR
113 Wicked Enchantment Wanda Coleman
Washington Post
114 World Of Wonders: In Praise Of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, And Other Astonishments Aimee Nezhukumatathil NPR
115 Wow, No Thank You.: Essays Samantha Irby NPR
116 You Want More: Selected Stories Of George Singleton George Singleton NPR


14 Best Poetry Book Sources/Lists



Source Article
Barnes & Noble Barnes & Noble’s Best Poetry of 2020
Book Riot Best Books of 2020 (So Far)
BookPage Each of these poetry books is a balm—for the soul and for the world
Financial Times Best books of 2020: Poetry
Goodreads Best Poetry
Largehearted Boy Favorite Poetry Collections of 2020
Library Journal Best Poetry of 2020
NPR NPR’s Book Concierge
NY Times 100 Notable Books of 2020
NYPL Best Books for Adults 2020
Publishers Weekly Best Poetry Books
The Guardian Poetry
The Telegraph The best poetry books of 2020
Washington Post Best poetry collections of 2020
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