Have you Heard? National Poetry Month
9 mins read

Have you Heard? National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month in the United States. To celebrate, check out these books by and about poets and rappers (the poets of the music industry), as well as our audiobook recommendations of Poetry and Novels in Verse.

Below you’ll find audiobook recommendations from the Plano Public Library. This is just a sample of the audiobooks in our collection, and you can visit a library location for assistance in finding personalized recommendations.


An American Sunrise: Poems written and read by Joy Harjo. A collection of poems from the first Native American US Poet Laureate, informed by her tribal history and connection to the land, that opens a dialogue with history. Print / CD Book.

Zora and Langston: a story of Friendship and Betrayal by Yuval Taylor, read by Bahni Turpin. Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes first met in 1925 at a great gathering of black and white literati, and they fascinated each other. In this book, Yuval Taylor uncovers little-known details to illuminate Hurston’s and Hughes’s lives, work, competitiveness, and ambition. Print / CD Book / eAudiobook.

Pablo Neruda lee a Pablo Neruda written and read by Pablo Neruda. Los mas bellos poemas escritos y leidos por Pablo neruda. 20 poemas de amor y una canción desesperada – Los versos del capitán (selecció). CD Book / eAudiobook.

The love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers, performed by Adenrele Ojo, Karen Chilton, and Prentice Onayemi. The 2020 National Book Award-nominated poet makes her fiction debut with this magisterial epic, an intimate yet sweeping novel that chronicles the journey of one American family, from the centuries of the colonial slave trade through the Civil War to our own tumultuous era. Print / Playaway / eAudiobook / eBook.

Banjo by Grantlee Kieza, read by Peter Byrne. In Grantlee Kieza’s landmark biography, listeners discover the real Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson. Australia’s most celebrated poet and storyteller helped define our national traits of loyalty, mateship and laconic humour, but he did and was so much more. A soldier in the Boer War and WWI, the balladeer bushman was also a solicitor, newspaper editor, columnist, war and foreign correspondent and ABC broadcaster. CD Book.

Ants Among Elephants: an Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India by Sujatha Gidla, read by Soneela Nankani. The stunning true story of an untouchable family who become teachers, and one, a poet and revolutionary. Print / CD Book / eBook.

The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs, read by Cassandra Campbell with Kirby Heyborne. An exquisite memoir about how to live, and love, every day with ‘death in the room’, from poet Nina Riggs, mother of two young sons and the direct descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Print / CD Book / Large print / Spanish / eAudiobook / eBook.

Bessie Smith: a poet’s Biography written and read by Jackie Kay. Known for her prodigious musical talent, her timeless blues narratives about personal and socioeconomic problems, her tough persona, and her innate ability to enrapture audiences with her raw voice, Bessie Smith–the Empress of the Blues–receives a unique biographical treatment in this special life narrative captured by one of Scotland’s finest poets. Print / eAudiobook.

A Good Cry written and read by Nikki Giovanni. Poet, firebrand, mother, radical, healer, and sage, Nikki Giovanni has always been celebrated for her inspired and courageous voice. As energetic and insightful as ever, Nikki Giovanni now offers us an intimate and affecting look at her personal history and the hidden corners of her own heart. Print / eAudiobook.

Music is History written and read by Questlove. Music Is History combines Questlove’s deep musical expertise with his curiosity about history, examining America over the past fifty years. Print / Playaway / eAudiobook / eBook.


Here in Harlem by Walter Dean Myers. Acclaimed writer Walter Dean Myers celebrates the people of Harlem with these powerful and soulful first-person poems in the voices of the residents who make up the legendary neighborhood: basketball players, teachers, mail carriers, jazz artists, maids, etc. CD Book.

On the come Up by Angie Thomas, performed by Bahni Turpin. When sixteen-year-old Bri, an aspiring rapper, pours her anger and frustration into her first song, she finds herself at the center of a controversy. Print / Playaway / Large print / eAudiobook / eBook.

Let me hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson. In 1988 Brooklyn, three teens plot to turn their murdered friend into a major rap star by pretending he’s still alive. Print / eAudiobook / eBook.

Brown Girl Dreaming written and read by Jacqueline Woodson. The author shares her childhood memories and reveals the first sparks that ignited her writing career in free-verse poems about growing up in the North and South. Print / CD Book / Large print / eAudiobook / eBook.

The Poet Slave of Cuba by Margarita Engle. A lyrical biography of a Cuban slave who escaped to become a celebrated poet. eAudiobook.

Kent State by Deborah Wiles. Told from different points of view–protesters, students, National Guardsmen, and “townies”–recounts the story of what happened at Kent State in May 1970, when four college students were killed by National Guardsmen, and a student protest was turned into a bloody battlefield. Print / eAudiobook.

Inheritance: a visual poem written and read by Elizabeth Acevedo. In her most famous spoken-word poem, author of the Pura Belpré-winning novel-in-verse The Poet X Elizabeth Acevedo embraces all the complexities of Black hair and Afro-Latinidad–the history, pain, pride, and powerful love of that inheritance. Print / eAudiobook / eBook.

For Every One written and read by Jason Reynolds. Originally performed at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and later as a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, this stirring and inspirational poem is New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds’s rallying cry to the young dreamers of the world. eAudiobook.

When we make It written and read by Elisabet Velasquez. Sarai uses verse to navigate the strain of family traumas and the systemic pressures of toxic masculinity and housing insecurity in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn, questioning the society around her, her Boricua identity, and the life she lives. Print / eAudiobook.

The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R.M. Romero, performed by Carla Corvo. Sent to stay with her aunt in Prague and witness the humble life of an artist, Ilana Lopez–a biracial Jewish girl–finds herself torn between her dream of becoming a violinist and her immigrant parents’ desire for her to pursue a more stable career. Print / eAudiobook.


Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome, performed by Dion Graham. Discovering a book of Langston Hughes’ poetry in the library helps Langston cope with the loss of his mother, relocating from Alabama to Chicago as part of the Great Migration, and being bullied. Print / Playaway / eAudiobook.

Change Sings: a Children’s Anthem written and read by Amanda Gorman. As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes–big or small–in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves. Print / Wonderbook / eAudiobook / eBook.

From the Bellybutton of the Moon and other Summer Poems by Francisco X. Alarcon, read by Gary Tiedemann. A bilingual collection of poems in which the renowned Mexican American poet revisits and celebrates his childhood memories of summers, Mexico, and nature. Print / Wonderbook.

Rise! From Caged bird to poet of the People, Maya Angelou by Bethany Hegedus, read by Cherise Boothe. A biography of African American writer, performer, and activist Maya Angelou, who turned a childhood of trauma and emotional pain to become one of the most inspiring voices of our lifetime. Includes afterword, author’s note, and sources. Print / CDC Set.

Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford, read by Dion Graham. This moving, lyrical tale about the cost and fragility of freedom follows the life of a man who courageously shipped himself out of slavery. Print / Wonderbook / DVD / eAudiobook.

Simon B. Rhymin’ written and read by Dwayne Reed. Chicago fifth-grader Simon, an aspiring rapper who lacks self-confidence, uses his rhymes to help bring his community together. Print / Playaway.

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets read by Ron Butler, Erin Bennett, MacLeod Andrews.. Presents a collection of twenty poems written in tribute to well-known poets from around the world. Print / CD Book / DVD.

El niño de Cabeza / The Upside Down Boy by Juan Felipe Herrera, read by Gary Tiedemann. The author recalls the year when his farm worker parents settled down in the city so that he could go to school for the first time. Print / Wonderbook.

La alegría de ser tú y yo by W. Nikola-Lisa, narrated by Jocelyn Martinez. A playground rap that introduces young readers to how people are different yet the same. Wonderbook.

In Daddy’s Arms I am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers read by Javaka Stepcoe. In this intergenerational collection of poetry by new and established African American writers, fatherhood is celebrated with honor, humor, and grace. Wonderbook / CDC Set.

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