Poetry As Resistance: Resources

When the road feels heavy or the days seem too packed, there is space for poetry.

When there is little space for quiet around me or when I finally have a moment but my brain won’t rest, there is space for poetry.

When I wake up in the morning or when I go to bed at night, there is space for poetry.

Poetry gives language to the beauty around us and the heartbreaking events in our world. It softens our journey and also shifts our perspectives when pages of text feel overwhelming.

Poets often have the ability to cut to the quick, leaving no stone unturned, no metaphor unpacked. Poetry has filled in the cracks of my foundation, one couplet at a time, cementing truths and learning with impact that can only come from a distilled poem.

Here at SheLoves, we make time for poetry. In every season, this looks different and the beautiful thing about a volume of poems is that it can move from room to room, from backpack to purse, and from nightstand to kitchen counter with ease, ready to fill a small space.

Most often, poems come to you at the right moment in time. But if you’re looking for a place to begin, here are poems recommended by our SheLoves editors and friends, as well as our Red Couch community. We want to keep this list manageable because there are so many more volumes that have shaped and impacted our own journeys! Start here and let us know a poem that has shifted your heart.

Below, we’ve linked each volume to Amazon (an affiliate link is used) or another bookseller with a short description from the website as well as a short Instagram video, explaining the reason this collection is meaningful.

The Gift by Hafiz

From Amazon: Hafiz expanded the mystical, healing dimensions of poetry. Because his poems were often ecstatic love songs from God to his beloved world, many have called Hafiz the “Invisible Tongue.”

If they Come for Us by Fatimah Asghar

From Amazon: Orphaned as a child, Fatimah Asghar grapples with coming of age and navigating questions of sexuality and race without the guidance of a mother or father. These poems at once bear anguish, joy, vulnerability, and compassion, while also exploring the many facets of violence: how it persists within us, how it is inherited across generations, and how it manifests itself in our relationships.

Lifting Hearts Off the Ground by Lyla June Johnston and Joy DeVito

From Commonword: In Lifting Hearts Off the Ground, two poets — one Indigenous, one Settler — come together to breathe life into the seemingly dry bones of the Declaration. And as we contemplate, wrestle with, and pray their words, we discover an invitation to renewed relationships with each other, the land, and Spirit.

We invited Karen Gonzalez and Karla Mendoza to read a poem that’s meaningful to them.

Karen read Tony Went to the Bodega But He Didn’t Buy Anything by Martin Espada.

Watch Karen’s Instagram video

Karla read an original poem she wrote titled The Ghost of Me

Watch Karla’s Instagram video

Other poetry collections we’ve read, either as a Red Couch or as recommended by Red Couch readers:

A Widening Light, edited by Luci Shaw.

Check out the linkup of reflections from our readers: https://shelovesmagazine.com/2015/the-red-couch-a-widening-light-linkup/

Counting Descent by Clint Smith

Hagar Poems by Mohja Kahf

Devotions by Mary Oliver

Leavings by Wendell Berry

As a bonus, check out these poems of resistance collected by the Poetry Foundation: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/collections/101581/poems-of-protest-resistance-and-empowerment

In our leadership Friday Introduction videos, Idelette McVicker, Annie Rim, and Leah Abraham shared a few poetry books we think you should check out.

Watch Annie’s Instagram video

Watch Idelette’s Instagram video

Watch Leah’s Instagram video

Thank you to Karen Gonzalez, Karla Mendoza, Leah Abraham, Annie Rim, and Idelette McVicker for contributing their favorite poems. Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links are included in this post. If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site at no extra cost to you. Thank you!