Who said reading can’t be competitive? Every few months, we’ll be challenging you to read a list of selected books. Print out the challenge and cross the titles off as you go. Show off how much you’ve read by taking a picture and tweeting @penguinrandom or Instagramming (@penguinrandomhouse) with the hashtag #challengeyourshelf.
This significantly expanded edition of W. H. Auden’s Selected Poems adds twenty poems to the hundred in the original edition, broadening its focus to better reflect the enormous wealth of form, rhetoric, tone, and content in Auden’s work. Newly included are such favorites as “Funeral Blues” and other works that... Read more >
The Hunger Moon
Now in paperback: the superb selection from Marge Piercy's nine most recent books, the heart of her mature poems.
This gathering of Piercy's poems is the first selected since Circles on the Water in 1982. These poems chart the milestone events and fierce passions of the poet's middle years: her Judaism, her deep... Read more >
The most essential of the immortal poems and songs of Scotland's beloved national bard are collected in this volume. With the publication of his first book of poems in 1786, Robert Burns—the twenty-seven-year-old son of a farmer—became a national celebrity, hailed as the "Ploughman Poet." When he died ten years... Read more >
Gathered in this volume readers will find more than fifty years of poems by the incomparable Jack Gilbert, from his Yale Younger Poets prize-winning volume to glorious late poems, including a section of previously uncollected work.
There is no one quite like Jack Gilbert in postwar American poetry. After... Read more >
Now in paperback, the intimate and highly original interpretation of the life and work of Charles Darwin, by acclaimed poet and Darwin's direct descendant Ruth Padel.
Padel is the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin, and in this collection of exceedingly readable, vivid verse, she brings us his life, not... Read more >
April Twilights and Other Poems
Before Willa Cather went on to write the novels that would make her famous, she was known as a poet, the most popular of her poems reprinted many times in national magazines and anthologies. Her first book of poetry, April Twilights, was published in 1903, but Cather significantly revised and expanded it in a... Read more >
The Alexandrian Greek poet Constantine Cavafy (1863–1933) is a towering figure of twentieth-century literature. No modern poet brought so vividly to life the history and culture of Mediterranean antiquity; no writer dared break, with such taut energy, the taboos of his time surrounding homoerotic desire.
In this... Read more >
The Complete Poetry
The beauty and spirit of Maya Angelou’s words live on in this complete collection of poetry, including her inaugural poem “On the Pulse of Morning”
Throughout her illustrious career in letters, Maya Angelou gifted, healed, and inspired the world with her words. Now the beauty and spirit of those words live on in... Read more >
From the award-winning author of The Bird Catcher, this life-spanning volume offers the delight of both discovery and re-discovery, as Ponsot tends the unruly garden of her mind with her customary care and passion. The book opens with a group of new poems, including “What Would You Like to Be When You Grow Up?”—a... Read more >
A Season in Hell & Illuminations
Translated, edited and with an Introduction by Wyatt Mason
“The definitive translation for our time.”
From Dante’s Inferno to Sartre’s No Exit, writers have been fascinated by visions of damnation. Within that rich literature of suffering, Arthur Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell–written when the poet was... Read more >
Book of Hours
A decade after the sudden and tragic loss of his father, we witness the unfolding of grief. “In the night I brush / my teeth with a razor,” he tells us, in one of the collection’s piercing two-line poems. Capturing the strange silence of bereavement (“Not the storm / but the calm / that slays me”), Kevin Young... Read more >
Prior to her stunning first novel, Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels had already won awards and critical acclaim for two books of poetry: The Weight of Oranges (1986), which won the Commonwealth Prize for the Americas, and Miner's Pond (1991), which received the Canadian Authors Association Award and was... Read more >
Lay Back the Darkness
Edward Hirsch’s sixth collection is a descent into the darkness of middle age, narrated with exacting tenderness. He explores the boundaries of human fallibility both in candid personal poems, such as the title piece—a plea for his father, a victim of Alzheimer’s wandering the hallway at night—and in his... Read more >
This generous selection of Mona Van Duyn’s distinguished, award-winning work spans four decades. Beginning with her classic Valentines to the Wide World (1959), encompassing the intimate voice of Bedtime Stories (1972) and the moving Letters from a Father (1982), crowned by the life-spanning Firefall (1993),... Read more >
Reasons for Moving, Darker & The Sargentville Not
Reasons for Moving was Mark Strand's first book, and on its publication in 1968 Donald Justice called him "maybe the very best of the new poets." Darker followed, and Robert Penn Warren said, "the moment is always exciting when a true poet finds the secret self that is the wellspring of his inspiration." And... Read more >
“In Travels, one of the most beautiful and moving collections of poetry of his career, W. S. Merwin displays his narrative gifts to provide us with a book of deep historical resonance and luminous poetic grace…With each new book we have been reminded why, for forty years, he has remained a pivotal figure in the... Read more >
The Collected Works of Billy the Kid
Drawing on contemporary accounts, period photographs, dime novels, and his own prodigious fund of empathy and imagination, Michael Ondaatje's visionary novel traces the legendary outlaw's passage across the blasted landscape of 1880 New Mexico and the collective unconscious of his country. The Collected Works of... Read more >
Dan Chiasson, hailed as “one of the most gifted poets of his generation” upon the appearance of his first book, takes inspiration for his stunning new collection from the Historia Naturalis of Pliny the Elder.
“What happens next, you won’t believe,” Chiasson writes in “From the Life of Gorky,” and it is fair... Read more >
Collected Earlier Poems
THE VENETIAN VESPERS (1979)
“In its clear-eyed mercy toward human weakness, Anthony Hecht’s poetry goes from strength to strength. The Venetian Vespers is at once an intense corroboration and an ample extension of his subtle, supple talents. Nothing humane is alien to him… There is a handful of short poems... Read more >
In this stunning collection of new poems, Mary Oliver returns to the imagery that has defined her life’s work, describing with wonder both the everyday and the unaffected beauty of nature.Herons, sparrows, owls, and kingfishers flit across the page in meditations on love, artistry, and impermanence. Whether... Read more >
The Trouble with Poetry
Playfulness, spare elegance, and wit epitomize the poetry of Billy Collins. With his distinct voice and accessible language, America’s two-term Poet Laureate has opened the door to poetry for countless people for whom it might otherwise remain closed.
Like the present book’s title, Collins’s poems are filled with... Read more >
Chasers of the Light
The epic made simple. The miracle in the mundane.
One day, while browsing an antique store in Helena, Montana, photographer Tyler Knott Gregson stumbled upon a vintage Remington typewriter for sale. Standing up and using a page from a broken book he was buying for $2, he typed a poem without thinking, without... Read more >
In 1867, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow completed the first American translation of Inferno and thus introduced Dante’s literary genius to the New World. In the Inferno, the spirit of the classical poet Virgil leads Dante through the nine circles of Hell on the initial stage of his journey toward Heaven. Along the... Read more >
At last, a definitive selection of the elegant work by a poet at the forefront of American poetry for more than three decades.
With his first several books, J. D. McClatchy established himself as a poet of urbanity, intellect, and prismatic emotion, in the tradition of James Merrill, W. H. Auden, and Elizabeth... Read more >
A Woman of Property
A Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
A new book from a poet whose work is "wild with imagination, unafraid, ambitious, inventive" (Jorie Graham)
Located in a menacing, gothic landscape, the poems that comprise A Woman of Property draw formal and imaginative boundaries against boundless mortal threat, but... Read more >