Best 2023, Best Books, Best Year-End, Poetry

The Best Books of 2023 – Poetry (A Year-End List Aggregation)

“What are the best Poetry books released in 2023?” We looked at 92 of the top Poetry books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 17 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 2023 Articles:

Previous Years: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

Happy Scrolling!

Top 17 Best Poetry Books From 2023

17.) All Souls written by Saskia Hamilton

All Souls by Saskia Hamilton

Lists It Appears On:

  • Electric Lit
  • Publishers Weekly

In All Souls, Saskia Hamilton transforms compassion, fear, expectation, and memory into art of the highest order. Judgment is suspended as the poems and lyric fragments make an inventory of truths that carry us through night’s reckoning with mortal h…

16.) Balladz written by Sharon Olds

Balladz by Sharon Olds

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Guardian
  • The Guardian 2

“At the time of have-not, I look at myself in this mirror,” writes Olds in this self-scouring, exhilarating volume, which opens with a section of quarantine poems, and at its center boasts what she calls Amherst Balladz (whose syntax honors Emily Dic…

15.) I Do Everything I’m Told written by Megan Fernandes

I Do Everything I'm Told by Megan Fernandes

Lists It Appears On:

  • Electric Lit
  • Largehearted Boy

Restless, contradictory, and witty, Megan Fernandes’ I Do Everything I’m Told explores disobedience and worship, longing and possessiveness, and nights of wandering cities. Its poems span thousands of miles, as a masterful crown of sonnets starts in …

14.) My Head Has a Bellyache: And More Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups written by Chris Harris, illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi

My Head Has a Bellyache: And More Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups by Chris Harris, illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi

Lists It Appears On:

  • NPR
  • School Library Journal

I’m Just No Good at Rhyming is this century’s most acclaimed comedic poetry collection so far, described as “a worthy heir to Silverstein, Seuss, and even Ogden Nash” (PublishersWeekly), “wildly imaginative…inspired and inspiring” (Kirkus), and as …

13.) Remember written by Joy Harjo, illustrated by Michaela Goade

Remember by Joy Harjo, illustrated by Michaela Goade

Lists It Appears On:

  • NPR
  • School Library Journal

So begins the picture book adaptation of the renowned poem that encourages young readers to reflect on family, nature, and their heritage. In simple and direct language, Harjo, a member of the Mvskoke Nation, urges readers to pay close attention to w…

12.) School of Instructions written by Ishion Hutchinson

School of Instructions by Ishion Hutchinson

Lists It Appears On:

  • Financial Times
  • The Guardian 2

Deep-dyed in language both sensuous and biblical, Ishion Hutchinson’s School of Instructions memorializes the experience of West Indian soldiers volunteering in British regiments in the Middle East during World War I. The poem narrates the psychic an…

11.) The Home Child written by

The Home Child by

Lists It Appears On:

  • The Guardian
  • The Guardian

In 1908, Eliza Showell, twelve years old and newly orphaned, boards a ship that will carry her from the slums of the Black Country to rural Nova Scotia. She will never return to Britain or see her family again. She is a Home Child, one of thousands o…

10.) The Iliad written by Emily Wilson

The Iliad by Emily Wilson

Lists It Appears On:

  • Electric Lit
  • The Guardian

When Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey appeared in 2017―rendering the ancient poem in contemporary language that was “fresh, unpretentious and lean” (Madeline Miller, Washington Post)―critics lauded it as “a revelation” (Susan Chira, New York…

9.) The Kingdom of Surfaces written by Sally Wen Mao

The Kingdom of Surfaces by Sally Wen Mao

Lists It Appears On:

  • Electric Lit
  • NYPL

In The Kingdom of Surfaces, award-winning poet Sally Wen Mao examines art and history―especially the provenance of objects such as porcelain, silk, and pearls―to frame an important conversation on beauty, empire, commodification, and violence. In lyr…

8.) Unshuttered: Poems written by Patricia Smith

Unshuttered: Poems by Patricia Smith

Lists It Appears On:

  • NYPL
  • Shepherd

Unshuttered is a vessel for the voices of their incendiary and critical era. Smith’s searing stanzas and revelatory language imbue the subjects of the photos with dynamism and revived urgency while she explores how her own past of triumphs and losses…

7.) Welcome to the Wonder House written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Welcome to the Wonder House by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Lists It Appears On:

  • School Library Journal
  • Shepherd

Welcome to the Wonder House, a place to explore the cornerstone of every great thinker—a sense of wonder. This Wonder House has many rooms—one for nature, one for quiet, and one for mystery, among others. Each room is filled with poems and objects co…

6.) Above Ground written by Clint Smith

Above Ground by Clint Smith

Lists It Appears On:

  • Electric Lit
  • NPR
  • NYPL

A remarkable poetry collection with “inextinguishable generosity and abundant wisdom” (Monica Youn) from Clint Smith, the #1 New York Times bestselling and National Book Critics Circle award-winning author of How the Word Is Passed. Clint Smith’s vib…

5.) From From: Poems written by Monica Youn

From From: Poems by Monica Youn

Lists It Appears On:

  • Electric Lit
  • NPR
  • Publishers Weekly

Monica Youn’s From From brilliantly evokes the conflicted consciousness of deracination. If you have no core of “authenticity,” no experience of your so-called homeland, how do you piece together an Asian American identity out of Westerners’ ideas ab…

4.) Judas Goat: Poems written by Gabrielle Bates

Judas Goat: Poems by Gabrielle Bates

Lists It Appears On:

  • Electric Lit
  • Largehearted Boy
  • NPR

Gabrielle Bates’s electric debut collection Judas Goat plumbs the depths of intimate relationships. The book’s eponymous animal is used to lead sheep to slaughter while its own life is spared, and its harrowing existence echoes through this spellbind…

3.) Promises of Gold written by José Olivarez

Promises of Gold by José Olivarez

Lists It Appears On:

  • Electric Lit
  • NPR
  • NYPL

In this groundbreaking collection of poems, José Olivarez explores every kind of love―self, brotherly, romantic, familial, cultural. Grappling with the contradictions of the American Dream with unflinching humanity, he lays bare the ways in which “lo…

2.) The Lights: Poems written by Ben Lerner

The Lights: Poems by Ben Lerner

Lists It Appears On:

  • Electric Lit
  • Financial Times
  • NPR

The Lights is a constellation of verse and prose, voice mails and vignettes, songs and felt silences, that brings the personal and the collective into startling relation. Sometimes the scale is intimate, quiet, and sometimes the poems are sweeping, O…

1.) To 2040 written by Jorie Graham

To 2040 by Jorie Graham

Lists It Appears On:

  • Electric Lit
  • Financial Times
  • Publishers Weekly
  • The Guardian

Jorie Graham’s fifteenth poetry collection, To 2040, opens in question punctuated as fact: “Are we / extinct yet. Who owns / the map.” In these visionary new poems, Graham is part historian, part cartographer as she plots an apocalyptic world where r…

The 75+ Additional Best Poetry Books Released In 2023

18) A Working Life – Eileen Myles List: (Electric Lit)

19) Bad Diaspora Poems – Momtaza Mehri List: (The Guardian)

20) Beijing Sprawl – Xu Zechen, translated by Jeremy Tiang and Eric Abrahamsen List: (NPR)

21) Birth Canal – Dias Novita Wuri List: (NPR)

22) Black Observatory: Poems – Christopher Brean Murray List: (NYPL)

23) Bright Fear – List: (The Guardian)

24) But She Is Also Jane – Laura Read List: (NPR)

25) By and By – Alan Shapiro List: (Shepherd)

26) Champion Chompers, Super Stinkers and Other Poems by Extraordinary Animals – List: (School Library Journal)

27) Chrome Valley – Mahogany L. Browne List: (Electric Lit)

28) Colin Channer – Farrar, Straus & Giroux List: (New Yorker)

29) Congratulations, The Best Is Over!: Essays – R. Eric Thomas List: (NPR)

30) Contraflow – List: (The Guardian)

31) Couplets: A Love Story – Maggie Millner List: (Electric Lit)

32) Crisis Actor – List: (The Guardian)

33) Deborah Landau – Copper Canyon List: (New Yorker)

34) Disruptions: Stories – Steven Millhauser List: (NPR)

35) Dragon Palace – Hiromi Kawakami, translated by Ted Goossen List: (NPR)

36) Elements – Jamesie Fournier List: (Shepherd)

37) Enter the Water – List: (The Guardian 2)

38) Famous Hermits – Stacy Szymaszek List: (Largehearted Boy)

39) Fixer: Poems – Edgar Kunz List: (Electric Lit)

40) From Our Own Fire – William Letford List: (The Guardian 2)

41) Gay Poems for Red States – Willie Edward Taylor Carver Jr. List: (Largehearted Boy)

42) Girlfriends – Emily Zhou List: (NPR)

43) Have You Been Long Enough At Table – Leslie Sainz List: (Largehearted Boy)

44) How to Write a Poem – Kwame Alexander List: (School Library Journal)

45) I Done Clicked My Heels Three Times: Poems – Taylor Byas List: (Electric Lit)

46) Indelible, Miraculous – List: (The Guardian 2)

47) indiom – List: (The Guardian)

48) Isdal – List: (The Guardian)

49) Love and Other Flight Delays – Denise Williams List: (NPR)

50) Mapping The Future – List: (The Guardian)

51) Mothersong – Amy Acre List: (Financial Times)

52) Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird: Stories – Agustina Bazterrica, translated by Sarah Moses List: (NPR)

53) No Sweet Without Brine – Cynthia Manick List: (NYPL)

54) Observer – Robert Lanza & Nancy Kress List: (The Guardian 2)

55) Octopus Mind – List: (The Guardian)

56) Otherlight – Jill McEldowney List: (Shepherd)

57) Pig – Sam Sax List: (Electric Lit)

58) Pitch & Glint – List: (The Guardian)

59) Quiet: Poems – Victoria Adukwei Bulley List: (NYPL)

60) Quietly Hostile: Essays – Samantha Irby List: (NPR)

61) Roman Stories – Jhumpa Lahiri, translated by Jhumpa Lahiri and Todd Portnowitz List: (NPR)

62) Self-Portrait As Othello – List: (The Guardian)

63) Short Film Starring My Beloved’s Red Bronco – K. Iver List: (NYPL)

64) Side Notes from the Archivist: Poems – Anastacia-Reneé List: (NYPL)

65) Sidle Creek – Jolene McIlwain List: (NPR)

66) So to Speak – Terrance Hayes List: (Electric Lit)

67) Suddenly We – Evie Shockley List: (Publishers Weekly)

68) Taking Liberties – Leontia Flynn List: (Financial Times)

69) Temple Folk – Aaliyah Bilal List: (NPR)

70) The Beast You Are: Stories – Paul Tremblay List: (NPR)

71) The Blue House: Collected Works of Tomas Tranströmer – Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Patty Crane List: (NPR)

72) The Diaspora Sonnets – Oliver de la Paz List: (Electric Lit)

73) The End of the World Is a Cul de Sac – Louise Kennedy List: (NPR)

74) The Red Ear Blows Its Nose: Poems for Children and Others – List: (School Library Journal)

75) The Ruins of Nostalgia – Donna Stonecipher List: (NPR)

76) The Sculptors of Light: Poems About Cuban Women Artists – List: (School Library Journal)

77) The Shared World – Vievee Francis List: (Publishers Weekly)

78) The Ugly History of Beautiful Things: Essays on Desire and Consumption – Katy Kelleher List: (NPR)

79) The Wren, the Wren – Anne Enright List: (NPR)

80) To Be Named Something Else – Shaina Phenix List: (NYPL)

81) Today I Am a River – Kate Coombs List: (Shepherd)

82) Trace Evidence – Charif Shanahan List: (Electric Lit)

83) Unreliable Narrator: Me, Myself, and Impostor Syndrome – Aparna Nancherla List: (NPR)

84) Up Late – Nick Laird List: (NPR)

85) Ursula K. Le Guin: Collected Poems – Ursula K. Le Guin List: (Electric Lit)

86) Was It for This – List: (The Guardian 2)

87) We Play Here – List: (The Guardian)

88) Wearing My Mother’s Heart – List: (School Library Journal)

89) Wednesday’s Child: Stories – Yiyun Li List: (NPR)

90) West: A Translation – Paisley Rekdal List: (NPR)

91) Witness – Jamel Brinkley List: (NPR)

92) You Could Make This Place Beautiful – Maggie Smith List: (NPR)

11 Best Poetry Book Sources/Lists

Electric Lit Electric Lit’s Best Poetry Collections of 2023
Financial Times Best books of 2023 — Poetry
Largehearted Boy Largehearted Boy’s Favorite Poetry Collections of 2023
New Yorker THE BEST BOOKS OF 2023
NPR Books We Love
NYPL Best Books for Adults 2023
Publishers Weekly Best Poetry of 2023
School Library Journal Best Poetry 2023
Shepherd The 25 best poetry books of 2023
The Guardian Best poetry books of 2023
The Guardian 2 Kate Kellaway’s best poetry books of 2023