1. Best-Loved Poems, edited by Neil Philip
Much as in fine dining, the presentation of a poem affects how one perceives it. This gorgeously well thought out anthology of classics is both beautifully illustrated and well presented. Enjoy!
2. Good Poems, edited by Garrison Keillor
This collection of classics (and newer poems) was selected for its ability to be understood and appreciated when read over the radio - thus in a single hearing. The presentation is nice, one poem per page, and I've found many new favorites in this collection.
3. A Child's Anthology of Poetry, edited by Elizabeth Hauge Sword
Despite the title, this is a solid anthology, and I lobbied hard for it to become a textbook at the last school I taught in. It's a great mix of classics for readers of all ages, with a nice format of one poem per page. Best of all? It's got a review written by Lemony Snicket on the front cover! :)
4. Poems to Read: A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology, edited by Robert Pinsky
This is one of the products of The Favorite Poem Project. Thus, most of the poems have a little quote from someone explaining why it's their favorite poem. I delight in the broad range of the participants and have found several new favorite poems myself by reading this book. This particular anthology lends itself well to sitting and simply reading as the prose introductions give one some breathing room between poems.
5. Read-Aloud Poems for Young People, edited by Glorya Hale
This truly does live up to its title, and keeps the focus on poems that are readily accessible to younger folks. The side notes that give biographical information and tidbits about the poems are particularly helpful. Very clean format with no illustrations.
6. Poetry: A Pocket Anthology, edited by R. S. Gwynn
I have the 3rd edition of this, and am wildly tempted by the newest (6th) edition. It's an academic anthology (with minimal attention paid to typography), and yet, the selection is so solid that I just love this book.
7. The Children's Classic Poetry Collection, compiled by Nicola Baxter, illustrated by Cathie Shuttleworth
This is the ideal book for luring your little ones into loving poetry. A mix of nursery rhymes and literary classics, all beautifully illustrated, this is a gorgeous book to add to your collection. It's got my favorite illustrations for the "Jabberwocky" poem. (Note: that link is NOT to my favorite illustration, merely a copy of the poem!)
Single Poet Books:
8. Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes, by Roald Dahl. Illustrated by Quentin Blake
If you're reading this blog post and thinking, "But I don't like poetry!" start with this book. It's wildly amusing, quite twisted, and thoroughly enjoyable.
9. The Porcine Canticles, by David Lee
I bought this book after reading a recommendation for it in the book, Words I Wish I Wrote, by Robert Fulghum. Much to my delight, it lived up to its review and has become a favorite. Imagine if you will, narrative poetry written by an English (or Classics) major who decided to become a pig farmer and write about pigs. Yes, you read that correctly. Now, go find and enjoy your own copy!
10. Poetry for Young People: Edna St. Vicent Millay, edited by Frances Shoonmaker, ill. Mike Bryce
This is a series designed to look like picture books, with the illustrations closely matched to the style of the poetry. The poems are not watered down (although occasionally they are excerpted rather than printed in full). All in all, I hope to eventually collect all of them. Right now I've got the ones for William Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling, and Lewis Carroll. In case you're wondering, the rest of the series is on my wish list!
Focus for this list:
Poetry. :) Yes, that photo is of my bookshelf devoted to poetry.