As much as we poetry lovers might not like to admit it, poetry does tend to garner far less fanfare than its literary cousin: prose. The opportunities to recognize and celebrate mainstream fiction and nonfiction books are abundant (and we totally love them too!) But there are also a number of poetry prizes awarded every year, and plenty of amazing award-winning poetry collections that deserve your readerly attention as well. And hey — if you’re not already a regular reader of contemporary poetry, the award-winners are definitely a great place to start.
As the folks who already boast some well-stocked poetry shelves know, reading poetry is actually on the rise right now. Whether the technical creativity of iambic pentameter is finally making a comeback, the Beyoncé Lemonade-effect is fully taking hold, or living in a 140-character world means that the poetic form is becoming more familiar to readers, poetry isn’t just for your typical English class bookworm these days. It's accessible to everyone. Contemporary poetry is tackling contemporary issues — exploring a diverse array of things we can all understand, care about, and relate to. All in the span of brief but beautiful verse.
Here are 14 recent poetry prize winners you need to read, right now.