Struggling to put your love into words? Leave it to the experts with these excellent volumes.

There are two good reasons why you should buy your beloved a book of poetry this Valentine’s Day. The first is that they will thank you for remembering the day at all and for avoiding the forecourt roses. The other is that poetry is having a major moment.

Over the last five years, when times have been exceptionally turbulent in politics and beyond, poetry sales have soared. Writer Susannah Herbert, who used to be involved in National Poetry Day, explains the surge thus: ‘Language gets stale in politics. Words begin to lose their meaning. Poetry occupies a different space to the humdrum. It is a way of renewing what words actually mean. It offers you a different way of looking at the world.’

From contemporary collections to Shakespeare’s Sonnets, we have tracked down the best poetry for Valentine’s Day.

10 Poems About Love

This enchanting selection of poems – from the small independent Nottingham publisher, Candlestick Press – captures the joy, despair, optimism and ecstasy of love. All of Candlestick’s poetry pamphlets make lovely presents. They have matching envelopes and bookmarks left blank for your message and are excellent companions on boring journeys or for a quick read at bedtime. Buy it here.

A Poet For Every Day Of The Year

In 2017, Allie Esiri’s popular anthology A Poem for Every Day of the Year flew off the shelves. This latest anthology is just as accessible and just as effective at introducing new audiences to the pleasures of poetry. Last month, Damian Lewis read from it during an evening at the National Theatre in honour of his late wife, Helen McCrory. There cannot have been a dry eye in the house. Buy it here.

The Sonnets

It is perfectly likely that neither you nor your loved one have perused Shakespeare’s Sonnets since you studied them at school. We urge you to revisit. Not only are they some of the most influential poems ever written but they are astonishingly relevant in terms of their grasp of the human condition. If nothing else, this pretty volume is a romantic gesture and will look great on the bookshelves. Buy it here.

The Evolution Of A Girl

Lauren E. Bowman is a bold and candid poet from the US. She began her writing life with a focus on prose but turned to poetry when she felt ‘the need to better understand who she was, where she was going and what she wanted from life’. The Evolution of a Girl, her debut collection, is the result of that shift. Barnes and Noble says: ‘It speaks of the strength we find when learning to accept ourselves and the unbreakable softness that comes from unyielding self-love. It is a book for those who are hurting, for those who are healing and for those who are ready to try again.’ Buy it here.

Promise Me The Stars By Poppy Fraser

Including poems, prayers and blessings from around the world and throughout the ages, Promise Me the Stars is a delightful volume of verse. Poppy Fraser curated the unique collection with children in mind but we believe its messages resonate just as much with adults. Buy it here.

Poetry Please: Love Poems

Contemporary voices – like Carol Ann Duffy and the current poet laureate Simon Armitage – mingle with classical ones – such as Keats and Byron – in this charming anthology of timeless love poems. Buy it here.

Milk And Honey By Rupi Kaur

Since Rupi Kaur published Milk and Honey in 2014, the poetry collection has topped charts and broken records. The Canadian author’s publisher says: ‘Rupi’s honest, authentic voice speaks to young people who relate to her depiction of pain and struggle but ultimate sense of hope. Rupi is not afraid to challenge taboos, and this brave form of expression inspires her readers.’ Buy it here.

The Collected Poems Of Elizabeth Barrett Browning

This comprehensive selection of Barrett Browning’s poetry covers all her major themes. The celebrated Victorian poet began penning verse when she was 11 and continued throughout her life, ultimately becoming a candidate for poet laureate following the death of William Wordsworth. Her Sonnet 43 (written for her husband-to-be Robert Browning) begins ‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways’ and sits proudly among the most romantic poetry of all time. Buy it here.

By Becky Ladenburg
February 2022

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Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.