Kingdom Animalia by Aracelis Girmay

Girmay’s truth-telling pierces deep into the heart as she folds together mortality, grief, and the meaning of our time on Earth into her rich poems. I hold the poem “Elegy” close to my soul as I navigate through my search of what humanity means to me.

Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith

As a lifelong fan of David Bowie, the parts of my imagination that breaches our atmosphere and pops our human bubble was profoundly drawn to Smith’s cosmic writing. In my web of inspirations that inform my view of the world, this book and Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” are intertwined in their ability to transcend our physicality to achieve a distilled wonderment and reverence for the unknown.

Letters to a Young Poet by Ranier Marie Rilke

The correspondence between Rilke and a budding poet (though we only get Rilke’s half) shines a light on the inner musings of a profoundly introspective artist. The wisdoms he shares on each page settles into the mind with such tenderness that by the end, you feel as though you have made a comforting nest in your mind that nurtures self-acceptance and an appreciation for the beauty of the world.

Ada Limón

Ada Limón is the poet I recommend to anyone who is intrigued by poetry but does not know how to begin their journey into the form. The tenderness with which she presents her words softens the hard truths we are often faced with throughout our lives.

Tulips and Chimneys by e. e. cummings

At the beginning of my relationship with my partner, we sat in a café and picked up this book. I marveled at the lines that described the precise feelings I had in those romantic moments and swooned at our differing, meaningful interpretations of cummings’ affectionate words. Hana

Shapiro is an up-and-coming poet from Boston. As recent graduate of Biochemistry with a minor in English, Hana balances her time doing breast cancer research in the lab, writing poetry, birdwatching, and preparing for medical school. Her poetry and photography piece, “帰る 行く” or “To Return, To Go,” won the Peter Burton Hanson Writing Award presented by the Northeastern University English Department in 2020. Hana is actively searching for literary magazines and presses that may be interested in her work.

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