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Poetry is one of the most profound ways to express the human spirit as it encounters the journey of life and love. And when you're brimming with joy or filled with emotion on the big day, a good poem can express all of this and more. In addition to your vows, a heartfelt piece of poetry is a special way to make an important moment even more memorable.
To add emotional depth to your ceremony (and your bookshelf!), we sifted through poetry books, both current and historical, and narrowed down the must-reads about love. Whether you're planning your wedding or are on the hunt for the perfect anniversary gift—there's something here for everyone.
Read on for the best poetry books about love.
Love Poem Collection: The Greatest Love Poems of All Time edited by George Chityil
If you’re looking for a comprehensive collection of love poems throughout history, add Love Poem Collection: The Greatest Love Poems of All Time to your shelf. Featuring great literary figures—Elizabeth Barrett Browning, William Shakespeare, Henry Ford—the book was curated to cover the wide scope of human emotions that love provokes.
Love Letters of Great Men, Vol. 1 edited by John C. Kirkland
Here’s a collection of real, romantic letters written by men to their lovers. As famously seen on Sex and the City: The Movie, this comprehensive book includes love letters written by Ludwig van Beethoven, Lord Byron, Lord Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill, Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and more.
Love Poems by Pablo Neruda
Originally published anonymously in 1952, Pablo Neruda’s Love Poems once caused a provocative scandal. His poems spoke of passions in a way that his formerly deemed “outrageous” poetry would eventually become to be praised. In this thematic book of poetry, Neruda takes refuge in the arms of his lover, Matilde Urrutia, on the dreamy island of Capri, embracing their seascape surroundings with eroticism.
Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom For A Better Life by Cleo Wade
Based on various notes author Cleo Wade compiled in her New York City apartment, Heart Talk's book of poems may likely be the de facto manual for moving through a 21st-century world. Wade's gentle words encourage readers to be graceful with themselves, especially their hearts.
The Major Works by William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth is widely considered one of the best English poets in history. He wrote about the celebration of nature, beauty, and love, and so The Major Works presents his poems in order of composition, allowing the reader to journey along with Wordsworth’s poetic development with each page turn.
The Penguin Book of Romantic Poetry by Various Authors
This collection features love poems from all “the greats” of post-American and French revolutions—a time which celebrated a new innovative human spirit and its capacity to love. In The Penguin Book of Romantic Poetry, familiar poems such as Blake’s “Tyger” or Coleridge’s “Khubla Khan” read alongside poetry from lesser-known female poets such as Charlotte Smith and Mary Robinson.
Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith
Life on earth contains multitudes, and so does love. The former U.S. poet laureate reveals these dimensions in her collection of intergalactic poems, Life on Mars, about the wonders of the human condition.
Felicity by Mary Oliver
Pulitzer Prize-winner Mary Oliver celebrates love and elation with Felicity. Oliver is known to pull inspiration from wild landscapes in previous books such as Blue Horses and Dog Songs, where she describes humans' loving relationships with animals. In this book of poems, she explores what it’s like to fall in love with another person and ponders human connection.
Mixed Feelings: Poems and Stories by Avan Jogia
Mixed Feelings, authored by Avan Jogia explores the mixed-race experience alongside interwoven themes of love, identity, and longing in straightforward language with impact. Take for example, the fateful short story, "Mohammad Omar Atif." "The meter ran and ran, and so did their mouths, so they turned off the meter and circled the block for a while and have been circling each other ever since."
The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace
This poetry book is broken into four parts—the princess, the damsel, the queen, and you. Written by Amanda Lovelace, The Princess Saves Herself in This One explores love, loss, grief, power, and possibilities through the eyes of the author’s own personal experience.
Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell
Written by Sydney-based LGBTQ+ writer Courtney Peppernell, Pillow Thoughts explores love and loss through raw emotion. The book is divided into separate sections for readers to turn to, "If you are soul-searching," or "If you need a reason to stay," for example.
Bitter Sweet Love by Michael Faudet
Written by best-selling author Michael Faudet, Bitter Sweet Love embodies his whimsical, haunting, and seductive writing. The book is a continuation of his debut Dirty Pretty Things. Bitter Sweet Love explores love, heartbreak, relationships and sex through poetry, verse, and short stories.