Say it with verse and give the gift of poetry this Christmas with our hand picked classic poetry collections.
Whether it be a personal favourite, a must-read epic or a definitive collection of verse from one of the greats, this extensive and carefully curated list is full of our best-loved poetry.
Featuring many classic poetry books, along with a few of our new releases, nature poetry, historical and biographical poetry books and books from our pocket-sized poetry collection, you are sure to find the perfect gifts for poetry lovers this Christmas.
Sleep, My Little One brings together 59 carefully selected poems about sleep and dreams. This gorgeous collection includes the most tender and calming poetry classics from Tennyson’s “Sweet and Low” to Blake’s “Cradle Song” from Browning’s “Sleeping and Watching” to Dickinson’s “The Moon”.
These poems encompass the moon, the night, sleeping and dreaming in an anthology of verse, lullabies and songs. Whether enjoyed alone or read aloud to little ones, this treasury of poets is sure to soothe to sleep and invite sweet dreams.
This beautiful book will make the perfect keepsake for new babies and new parents or a treasured gift for little ones and those now grown.
The legendary tale of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table is one of the most famous folk tales in history, with Merlin the Wizard and the virtuous Sir Lancelot being known and loved by young and old alike to this day. Slightly less celebrated, however, is The Green Knight, who first appeared in the 14th-century Arthurian poem “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”. One of Arthur’s greatest champions, he is both a judge and tester of knights, looked upon by his peers as an amiable yet terrifying and mysterious personage. One of the best known Arthurian stories, it is a classic example of chivalric romance within which The Green Knight goes on a quest that tests his prowess, virtue, and determination in the face of great danger.
This edition features William Allan Neilson’s 1917 translation alongside the original Middle English by the Gawain Poet. This will make a great gift for fans of this year’s The Green Knight movie.
This wonderful new collection features all eight of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poems dubbed ‘conversation poems’ by George McLean Harper. Explores themes of love and marriage, human nature and external nature, faith and God, and poetic inspiration, the poems were written throughout his life and include some of Coleridge’s best works. This collection of classic poetry is the ideal gift for lovers of English poetry and the Lake Poets.
Nature and the natural world has inspired many great poets and their work. Here you’ll find classic poetry collections from the most respected nature poets and curated collections from Read & Co.’s poetry imprint, Ragged Hand.
This pocketbook houses some of William Wordsworth’s most celebrated poetry all along the common theme of nature. Featuring heavily in Wordsworth’s work, nature represented a living thing; a sublime teacher-god that contained all beauty and divine truth. Through the poetry contained within this collection, Wordsworth expresses his view on the natural world and its important relationship with human beings. A wonderful collection of romantic poesy containing some of Wordsworth’s most celebrated poetry.
The One in Red Cravat is a delightful poetry collection celebrating our feathery friend, the Robin Redbreast. The Robin is a symbol of spring song and good fortune, often representing growth, renewal, passion, or change.
The Poet of the Woods is a delightful classic poetry collection about nightingales. The nightingale produces a powerful and beautiful song that has inspired poets since time immemorial.
Our newest releases in poetry feature three gorgeous little volumes of poetry of birds. These delightful classic poetry collections feature some of the greatest poets of all time, such as Wordsworth, Dickinson, Cowper, Shakespeare, Keats, Tennyson and many more. Featured often in British Romantic poetry and nature poetry in general, birds have always inspired poets, and they continue to be a recurring symbol in literature today. These beautiful poetry books make perfect gifts for poetry lovers and birders alike.
A beautiful pocket-sized poetry book, Songs of Nature, is a lovely collection of poetry by Indian poet Sarojini Naidu dedicated to the wonders of nature. With the poems focusing on nature in India, Naidu’s whimsical verse celebrates the colour magic found in Indian nature, drawing on magical and mythical elements to further emphasise the wonders of the natural world.
This volume is a charming collection of poetry and travelling accounts from seminal naturalist Henry David Thoreau, although also included are a number of his translations. Taken from the collection of ‘The Writings of Henry David Thoreau’ Excursions, and Poems is the perfect gift for poetry and nature alike – a wonderful work that would make a great gift for fans of Thoreau’s work as well as those who are new to it.
Browse a selection of our favourite classic poetry collections that represent some of the finest poets in history.
Published in 1846 under the pseudonyms Currer (Charlotte), Ellis (Emily), and Acton (Anne) Bell, this is a collection of fantastic poetry written by the literary sisters Emily, Charlotte, and Anne Brontë. It only sold three copies when first published, although after the success of their later works, the poems have since garnered more attention and acclaim.
Featuring wonderful verses from each of the sisters, it is a wonderful insight into the minds of these literary legends, making it a beautiful gift for poetry lovers, and those with an interest in the work of the Brontë sisters.
A gorgeous collection of William Wordsworth’s poems first published in “Lyrical Ballads” are presented in this beautiful volume, together with his 1807 work “Poems, in Two Volumes” and other assorted poems. From the Ragged Hand poetry imprint, this classic collection of Wordsworth’s wonderful poesy is evocative of the sublime beauty of both nature and the everyday world, a beautiful gift for poetry lovers and fans of Romantic poetry in particular.
Shakespeare’s collection of 154 sonnets beautifully explore the age-old human themes of love and beauty, time and mortality, and contain some of the most revered lines in poetry such as, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” from sonnet no. 18. Each poem is composed of 14 lines and their structure forms an ‘English’ sonnet. The first part of the collection is dedicated to a young man, the second to a ‘dark lady’, and whether the sonnets are autobiographical or based on characters of fantasy is still debated today.
A wonderful edition from the Shakespeare Library, this complete collection of Shakespeare’s Sonnets is an essential addition to any bookshelf that will continue to be adored for many decades to come.
From the famous Irish author James Joyce comes this brilliant collection of his poetry. Although famous for his short stories and novels, this wonderful collection sheds new light on one of the most influential writers of the early 20th century.
Proudly published by Ragged Hand, James Joyce – Collected Poems encompasses work from ‘Chamber Music’, ‘Pomes Penyeach’, ‘Ecce Puer’ this comprehensive collection is a perfect gift for admirers of Joyce’s work.
Considered William Morris’s most popular poem, this epic features legends, myths and stories from Europe, sectioned into the twelve months of the year. Usually sold in parts, Ragged Hand is publishing The Earthly Paradise in one complete volume with a specially commissioned new biography of the author.
A classic poetry collection not to be missed.
Then, O Beloved, Whisper to the Worm is a fantastic collection of selected poetry by the French poet, art critic, and essayist Charles Pierre Baudelaire. Baudelaire’s wonderful poems are known for their masterful use of rhyme and rhythm which, together with their Romantic exoticism, inspired a whole generation of poets including Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Verlaine and Stéphane Mallarmé.
Bought to you by Ragged Hand, this curated collection of weird and wonderful poems by Baudelaire will not disappoint.
A Shropshire Lad was first published in 1896. This beautiful edition contains sixty-three classic countryside poetry by English poet A. E. Housman. Perfect for lovers of the outdoors and the English countryside, this wonderful book is one of the best classic poetry collections to have on your bookshelf.
Pocket Poetry Collections
These sweet, pocket-sized editions are perfect for those who love reading on the go. But don’t let their size fool you, these small poetry collections pack a punch.
From the same series as Songs of Nature, this wonderful little edition would make an absolutely perfect gift for a loved one. Housing a collection of Naidu’s lyrical love poetry, it is difficult to not fall in love with this beautiful book – the perfect stocking filler this Christmas.
This beautiful pocket-sized collection features a series of five poems written by William Wordsworth from 1798 to 1801. Imbued with abstract ideals of nature, beauty, love, longing and death, the poems were written during a short period when Wordsworth lived in Germany and concentrate on his longing for his friend Coleridge, as well as his irritation at his sister and travelling companion, Dorothy.
This gorgeous little edition houses a collection of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s most notable poems, including her famous ‘fig’ quatrains. One of the most celebrated poets in American history, Millay is hailed as the twentieth century’s most skilful sonnet writer who expertly married modern attitudes with traditional forms of expression.
Full of Millay’s wit and personality, this wonderful collection of classic poetry is often forgotten overlooked and will make a fantastic gift for any lover of poetry.
The Book of Flowers is a pocketbook of poetry written by William Wordsworth, with each poem connected through the common theme of flowers. The charming edition from Ragged Hand includes beautiful poems dedicated to daisies, daffodils, oak trees and more – this wonderful volume is perfect for those with an interest in flora and fauna.
Whose Name was Writ in Water contains a fantastic collection of poetry by various authors written in dedication to English Romantic poet John Keats (1795–1821). Together with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, Keats was a key figure during the second generation of Romantic poets most famous for such poems as “Sleep and Poetry”, “Ode to a Nightingale”, and “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer”. Keats died at the age of 25 from tuberculosis, only four years after the first publication of his works. Despite not being praised by critics during his short life, Keats has since become one of the most celebrated English poets to have ever lived.
This beautiful volume features a collection of classic poems that will appeal to poetry lovers and those with a particular interest in the life and work of this incredible English literary figure.
Encapsulating some of the greatest figures and events of the past – from Beethoven to the First World War, these unique poetry collections are perfect for lovers of history.
Composed after his release from the titular prison whilst he was in exile in Berneval-le-Grand, this poem deals with the hanging at Reading Goal of Charles Thomas Wooldridge, a 30-year-old man who was imprisoned for cutting his wife’s throat. Within the poem, Wilde narrates the execution in full and explores the brutal nature of the punishment that all inmates must endure.
Beautifully illustrated and written by one of America’s most celebrated poets, this book is a narrative poem about the ‘Mayflower’, an English ship that transported early Pilgrims to the New World in 1620. The ship has since become an important part of American history and culture, as well as the subject of innumerable works of art, plays, films, poems, songs, and books. Perfect for those with an interest in English and American history.
This poignant edition is a 1920 collection of poetry by English poet and soldier Wilfred Edward Salter Owen, MC (1893–1918). A leading poet during the First World War, his work concentrated on life in the trenches and gas warfare. A moving and stark representation of the horrors of life on the front lines not to be missed by fans and collectors of war poetry.
Like a Ship’s Fair Ghost Upon the Sea is a collection of poetry by various poets dedicated to the White Ship, a vessel that sank in the English Channel on 25th November 1120. The ship was carrying around 300 people, including the only legitimate son and heir of King Henry I of England, William Adelin. All but one of those aboard died, and it was the death of William Adelin that led to a succession crisis in England that threw the country into civil war and a time that would be known as the Anarchy between 1135-53.
One of the most celebrated composers in Western history, Beethoven’s music remains among the most commonly-performed classical music around the world. His musical prowess was recognised from an early age, and he soon became famous as a virtuoso pianist and composer. However, after having gone almost completely deaf by 1814, Beethoven ceased public performances and appearances entirely. Ode to Joy contains a fantastic collection of classic poetry related to or dedicated to Beethoven by various poets, including Maurice Baring, Sidney Lanier, and others.
In 1845, British Royal Navy officer and Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin (1786–1847) embarked on his third and final expedition into the Canadian Arctic to force the Northwest Passage. After two years with no word, a £20,000 reward was offered to anyone who could find the expedition, leading to many rescue attempts. Two such attempts were undertaken by Elisha Kent Kane (1820–1857), an American explorer and United States Navy medical officer. Despite contracting scurvy and suffering greatly during his 1853 attempt, he continued on and went further north than any other explorer had managed. Kane was eventually forced to relinquish the icebound brig “Advance” on May 20, 1855 and spent the next 83 days marching against all odds to Upernavik carrying the invalids—losing but one man on the perilous journey.
This volume contains a poem dedicated to Kane’s courageous efforts to rescue the Franklin expedition, republished now by Ragged Hand in a lovely edition complete with an introductory biography of Sir John Franklin by John Know Loughton.
Phillis Wheatley was an American freed slave and poet who wrote the first book of poetry by an African-American. Sold into slavery in West Africa at the age of around seven, she was taken to North America where she served the Wheatley family of Boston. Phillis was tutored in reading and writing by Mary, the Wheatleys’ 18-year-old daughter, and was reading Latin and Greek classics from the age of twelve. Encouraged by the progressive Wheatleys who recognised her incredible literary talent, she wrote “To the University of Cambridge” when she was 14 and by 20 had found patronage in the form of Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon. Her works garnered acclaim in both England and the colonies and she became the first African American to make a living as a poet.
This classic collection of her works is republished by Ragged Hand and encapsulates some of her best works, including the famous and titular poem ‘Being Brought from Africa to America’ – an important collection perfect for those with an interest in American History and slavery in particular.
Originally published in 1912, this book contains a fantastic collection of illustrated, satirical poems written by The Women Suffrage Party. The Woman Suffrage Party was founded in New York, 1909. Fighting for the right to vote, these poems highlight the way women were treated at the time and strongly push the narrative for a change in history.
With an introduction by English politician and feminist, Millicent Fawcett, this book is perfect for those who are interested in the Suffrage movement and women in history.
If you enjoyed this gifting list of classic poetry books, but need some more gifting inspiration, explore our carefully curated lists of beautiful books, books on nature and the natural world, children’s classics and more.
Loved this post? Say it with a pin!