5 poetry books about depression

This blog answers: Which are some poetry books about depression? What is depression? What are the symptoms of depression? What are the treatment options for depression?

Which are some poetry books about depression?

Some poetry books about depression are:

Small Ghost By Trista Mateer

Trista Mateer’s poetry collection includes illustrations by Lauren Zaknoun portraying depressive episodes, anxiousness, and the coping skills that complement them.

Mateer approaches mental disorder with condor and a lack of sentimentality, providing readers with a comprehensive view of the tiredness, fear, and desperation that accompany depression.

Mateer delivers a stunning and quick peruse in Small Ghost, with heart-wrenching and endearing lines like, “All she knows is that she’s tired of letting the things she doesn’t forgive herself for pile up like leaves in the autumn.”

Crush By Richard Siken

Siken’s poetry is gut-wrenching, with spellbinding lines that twist imagery full of sadness, a sense of loss, and a stray need at times.

His words capture the worldwide anguish of a sense of loss but do so from a distinct and unapologetically queer viewpoint.

“You know how to ride a dirt bike, and you know how to do long division, and you know that a boy who likes boys is a dead boy, unless he keeps his mouth shut, which is what you didn’t do, because you are weak and hollow, and it doesn’t matter anymore,” he suggests.

The End of the Alphabet By Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine’s 1998 collection is a heartrending and time-sensitive look at isolation and sadness. Her collection walks the bent path between loss and retrieval, calling on female poetic voices like Jane Eyre and Lady Macbeth.

The End of the Alphabet delves into the aftershocks of the horrific events in an intrusively intimate manner, with lines like “Rip the mind out. “Go ahead and try.”

Live or Die By Anne Sexton

One such Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection tells the story of a fantasy account of Sexton’s mental illness journey. She notes with raw and provocative despair, putting suicide attempt contemplations on the page courageously.

 “Death’s a sad bone; bruised, you’d say, and yet she waits for me, year after year, to so delicately undo an old wound,” she notes.

Her work, on the other hand, pushes readers toward hope and growth, closing the collection with a call to survive, recover, and wish.

5 poetry books about depression

Blood Dazzler By Patricia Smith

This collection of poems, centered on the unfathomable tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, assumes the perspectives of those caught up in the devastating catastrophic event.

Smith assumes the personas of uncaring politicians, the lost and decaying, the unhappy and survivor, and the unparalleled hurricane itself.

Smith’s poem about the thirty-four geriatric persons in a care home who suffocated after being abandoned to the whims of the severe cyclone might very well bring any reader to sadness.

I Am Not Your Final Girl By Claire C. Holland

The above accumulation of Holland’s poetry continues to operate through an intriguing lens, adopting the perspective of scary movie’s “final girls” to confront the distress, abuse, and gender discrimination heaped on women in the western age.

Her poems take mythologized horror worlds and make each other resonate with readers, evoking the depletion, desolation, and rage that women suffer towards the patriarchal system.

Holland writes, “She is so tired of waiting, aren’t you? for the world to become good, tolerable, and kind.” She transforms a trudge of conflict into a battle for equality.

Howling at the Moon By Darshana Suresh

This book of poems walks a fine line between injury and recovery, unafraid to make the audience uncomfortable with its candid treatment of depression and anxiety. Suresh’s work is soulful and captivating, confronting the emotional distress humans avoid.

Four Reincarnations By Max Ritvo

The above book was released in 2016, fairly soon after Ritvo died of cancer at the age of 25. His collection delves into the reality of death, as well as the aggressive depression and ferocious hungering that arrives with illness.

Ritvo’s work encapsulates the sorrowful beauty of life and demonstrates a respectful devotion for one’s brief time here On earth.

He goes straight for the soul with segments like, “I wish you would tell me how difficult it is to love me.” Then I’d know you love me despite the difficulties.”

What is depression?

Depression is one of the most common serious mental health conditions that negatively impact how an individual feels and thinks.

Depression is associated with feelings of sadness, a loss of interest in daily activities, and drastic changes in the energy level and the daily routines of an individual.

Depression in itself can lead to other physical and emotional problems which can be detrimental to a person’s functioning.

The symptoms of depression can vary from individual to individual from mild to severe depending on various factors.

Studies indicate that depression affects about 15% of adults every year and one in every six people experience depression at some time in their life.

Although depression can occur at any age it is more common among teenagers and early adults. Research indicates that women are more vulnerable to depression than men.

What are the symptoms of depression?

The characteristic symptoms of depression are:

  • Feelings of sadness or depressed mood
  • Loss of interest in activities enjoyed in the past
  • Changes in appetite leading to weight gain or weight loss
  • Changes in sleep patterns with very little sleep or long hours of sleep
  • Decrease in the level of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Feeling guilty
  • Difficulty thinking and concentrating
  • In severe cases thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms of depression must last up to two weeks and cause significant impairment in an individual’s daily functioning to meet the diagnosis of depression.

What are the treatment options for depression?

Depression though widespread is one of the most treatable mental illnesses. About 90% of people with depression respond well to treatment.

Some possible treatment options for depression are


Antidepressants are very commonly prescribed by doctors to individuals with depression. These medications are not sedatives or tranquilizers. They generally do not have any stimulating effects on people who do not experience depression.

Antidepressants usually show their effects within a few weeks. However, in cases where patients do not see any improvement after several weeks, they can alter their doses based on the suggestions provided by their health care practitioners.


Psychotherapy is also called talk therapy. It is used as a single mode of treatment for mild depression or for moderate to severe depression along with antidepressants.

Psychotherapy might involve the individual alone or other related individuals for instance the family of the concerned person.

Depending on the severity of depression psychotherapy might take a few weeks or much longer for significant improvement

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy where the therapist actively focuses on problem-solving. This is done by helping individuals replace their negative thoughts with more positive ones.

Electroconvulsive therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy is a treatment model that is commonly used for patients with severe and major depression who usually do not respond to other lines of treatment.

It involves brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anesthesia.

Patients receive electroconvulsive therapy two or three times a week for a total of 6 to 12 sessions.

Self-help and coping strategies

Apart from therapy and medicine individuals can also carry out some self-help coping strategies such as carrying out regular exercises, getting sufficient sleep, indulging in pleasurable activities, maintaining a healthy diet, and avoiding alcohol to reduce their symptoms of depression.


Even if you’re attempting to deal with the daily stress and strain of life in a global epidemic or handling larger problems, your health is critical, and in such a situation everyone requires to take a break with a great book of poetry.

However, considering the nature of depression as a mental health illness individuals must seek help and equip themselves with good self-help strategies to handle their challenges.

Frequently asked questions: Which are some poetry books about depression?

Is poetry good for depression? 

Poetry can help with depression.It has also been an extremely good tool for assisting everyone else in understanding depression, which also aids in the elimination of social stigma.

What is a depressing poem called? 

An elegy is considered a sad or melancholy poem.

Who is the saddest poet?

Spring and Fall,” authored in September 1880 by Gerard Manley Hopkins and gathered in his Writings and Prose, is the saddest poem ever crafted.

Is poetry good for mental health? 

During times of stress, trauma, or grief, poems can provide solace and lift one’s emotions. Its effective use of words, metaphors, and sensors enables the researchers to convey themselves.