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11 stunning poetry books that foster self-acceptance

5. Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter

translated and edited by Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoto

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Many examples of Zen poetry are concise, clear and well shaped. The excerpt from this collection below uses direct and poetic language to offer us a new perspective on collapse and deterioration.

From “Barn’s burnt down,” by Masahide:

“Barn’s burnt down —


I can see the moon.”

More: 11 nonfiction books to help you start over in life

6. Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 1965–1990 Complete

by Alice Walker

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Walker speaks with authority and spirit about finding her voice as a person and as a woman. Excerpt from “On Stripping Bark from Myself”:

“…No. I am finished with living

for what my mother believes

for what my brother and father defend

for what my lover elevates

for what my sister, blushing, denies or rushes

to embrace.”

7. Extravagaria

by Pablo Neruda

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Neruda urges us to take a moment to rest, to stop and to be quiet. These practices are a simple way to nurture both self-awareness and self-acceptance.

Excerpt from “Keeping Quiet”:

“…If we were not so single-minded

about keeping our lives moving,

and for once could do nothing,

perhaps a huge silence

might interrupt this sadness

of never understanding ourselves

and of threatening ourselves with death.

Perhaps the earth can teach us

as when everything seems dead

and later proves to be alive…”

8. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf

by Ntozake Shange

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Shange’s beloved choreopoem is raw and apologetically emotional and vibrant. It helps me to connect with a powerful voice in my heart. Excerpt from “Somebody almost walked off with all of my stuff”:

“…Somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff. Not my poems or dance I gave up in the street, but somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff. Like a kleptomaniac working hard & forgetting while stealing. This is mine! This ain’t your stuff. Now why don’t you put me back & let me hang out in my own self…”

Next: More stunning poetry books

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