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Christmas Break Book Club: 4 Poetry Books You Need To Read

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

You can almost feel it: that blissful feeling of having no deadlines looming in front of you, seemingly endless evenings cozy at home, and hours upon hours spent reading whatever you want. The holiday breaks are fast approaching and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be using the time off to read for fun. If you’re at all interested in poetry (and even if you’re not!) here are four contemporary poetry books you need to read over Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks.

Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay

Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude has won so many awards including the National Book Critics Award for Poetry and a finalist position for the National Book Award and once you’ve read it, the awards will come as no surprise. Ross Gay is a poet known for writing about joy and the way that joy can come out of the most spectacularly mundane moments, and he certainly does that in this collection. If you’re looking for a book that will uplift you and fill your cup of gratitude, look no further. Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude will have you smiling through to the last page. 

Depression and Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

Depression and Other Magic Tricks is one of my favorite poetry books ever. Sabrina Benaim is a poet who understands mental illness but doesn’t let it define her. Her writing makes you feel like she’s the cool older sister you always wanted. This book is full of surprising imagery, reflections on heartbreak, and plenty of relatable moments — it just might give you the words you’ve been looking for to describe your feelings and experiences.

Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass by Lana Del Rey

If you didn’t know that Lana Del Rey has written a poetry book, now you do! Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass, her first poetry collection, was released in 2020 and includes typewritten pages full of her own handwriting alongside her personal photography. The result is a vibrant book that feels distinctly similar to Del Rey’s music: imagistic, lyrical, and full of longing. If you’re into her music, you’ll love Del Rey’s poetry book. 

Lord of the Butterflies by Andrea Gibson

Andrea Gibson is a poet who always manages to put words to the ways I so often feel. Their author bio says Gibson is “Known for pulling hearts out of chests to either wrench or kiss,” and I couldn’t think of a more apt description of their work myself. Lord of the Butterflies is a book that wrestles with themes of gender, our current political climate in America, chronic illness, joy, and loss. It’s timely, beautifully worded, and somehow both angry and full of joy. It feels both necessary and addicting, or maybe it’s so addicting because it’s necessary. Either way, you’re sure to find something of yourself in its pages.

I hope you get the chance to read at least one of these poetry books over the coming holiday breaks. Poetry may seem daunting, but, like eating potato chips, once you read one book you won’t want to stop. Happy reading!

Emily is a graduate student at UCF earning her MFA in poetry. She has lived in Orlando, Florida for the past 3 years with her partner and cat. When not writing or editing, she can be found playing the Sims and eating frozen pizza.