This Best & Brightest list was created by Denver Public Library librarians to celebrate our favorite recently published teen poetry. Enjoy!
Best & Brightest Teen Poetry of 2018
Light Filters In : Poems
7th grade & up. Teenage poet Caroline Kaufman, well known for her presence on social media, specifically as @poeticpoison on Instagram, writes about universal moments of humanity: not feeling a sense of belonging, succumbing to toxic relationships, Googling the meaning and the path to true happiness and love. The free verse poems are raw and heavy hitting, never shying away from heavier themes, such as mental illness and addiction. However, the underlying message is clearly one of hope, renewal and strength. Some pages feature original art in black and white, drawing readers in and also providing small points of context. Kaufman’s exquisite poems create a space of solace and companionship during the extremely difficult and alienating experience of adolescence.
Voices In The Air : Poems For Listeners
7th grade & up. What are voices in the air? For Naomi Shihab Nye, they are the voices of those who inspire her. The author’s introduction explains the structure and ideas behind this collection of 95 lyrical and thought-provoking poems. Each poem pays tribute to a specific person who has inspired Nye’s thoughts and work over the course of her life. Readers can choose to read the poems in order, fueled by the momentum of the accumulating entries, or open the book to any page to find a poem full of intriguing thoughts and ideas. Back matter includes brief but fascinating biographies of the people behind Nye’s “voices in the air.” This is an inspiring collection for poetry fans and newbies alike.
7th grade & up. Originally written when he was a struggling author in his twenties, Reynolds has expanded his “ letter to myself to keep from quitting” to inspire other artists to keep going in the face of challenging times. This collection of very short poems packs a solid punch, each one piercing straight to the heart. Thick, creamy pages with poems placed front and center communicate the care and love the poet has for all artists, no matter what kind of art they create or where they are on their journey. As with many of Reynolds’s novels for young adults and children, the words in this collection beg to be read aloud. Reynolds has an ear for the candace of words and phrases, fitting them together in ways that seem rhythmic, natural and original. A celebration of creativity, as well as an acknowledgement of the universality of self-doubt and fear, this book is one to revisit again and again.