What are the all-time best climate poetry books?
To some extent, this is a purely subjective question. What one reader finds informative and moving, another reader may find unoriginal and uninspired.
Reading lists like our “All-Time Best Climate Poetry” list offer a great starting point in your search for good climate poetry to read. They may not be definitive, but they don’t have to be. All they have to do is help us find some great books that most people with an interest in climate themes will appreciate reading.
Book Inclusion Criteria
We developed this reading list based on the following criteria:
- Accuracy. Does the book provide an accurate portrayal of the climate crisis? Poetry has considerable wiggle room in terms of how it portrays the details. It may contain metaphors, imagery, and so on that aren’t meant to be taken literally. But we have no interest in any book that promotes climate denial, climate delay, or obvious misconceptions about the nature of the climate crisis and its implications.
- Significance. Does the book speak to some significant aspect of the climate crisis? For poetry, this may involve speaking to important social, economic, and political aspects of the climate crisis, or centering authors, characters, settings, and themes that are underrepresented in poetry.
- Engagement. Is it a good book? Vital information and thought-provoking themes don’t do much good if they’re trapped in a book that’s unreadable. There may be significant literary value in some books that are inscrutable or unenjoyable for the average reader, but we wouldn’t count these among the best climate change books. For our purposes, the best books are ones that the reader can’t put down because they’re so compelling and engaging.
- Popularity. Is the book popular with a broad audience and/or audiences that have traditionally been excluded from discourse about the climate crisis? Do most people who read the book rate it highly and recommend it to others? If it’s an independently published and distributed book, this fact is taken into consideration. A relatively small number of highly positive ratings and reviews can sometimes indicate that the book is a classic that could easily go viral if more people knew about it.
Do you know of a book that should be on this list? Let us know!
Top Six Best Climate Poetry Books of All Time
- Out of Time: Poetry from the Climate Emergency edited by Kate Simpson
- The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On by Franny Choi
- Dark Traffic by Joan Naviyuk Kane
- Last Days by Tamiko Beyer
- No Other Place to Stand: An Anthology of Climate Change Poetry from Aotearoa New Zealand edited by Essa Ranapiri, Rebecca Hawkes, Jordan Hamel, Erik Kennedy
- All The Climate Feels by Treesong
More Great Climate Poetry Books
But wait, there’s more! Here are more titles that didn’t make it into the top ten, but still deserve special attention.
- A Disconsolate Planet: Poems on Climate Emergency by Fabrizio Frosini of Poets Unite Worldwide