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The Penguin Book of Spiritual Verse

The Penguin Book of Spiritual Verse

110 Poets on the Divine


'An amazing compilation: this book is more than a typical poetry anthology ... Offers a balm, a consolation, a tune, in our desolate world.' - Ilya Kaminsky

'An amazing collection of spiritual verse from many cultures and periods ... There cannot be any other anthology that ranges so widely, and anyone concerned with either poetry or spirituality will want to own a copy.' - John Barton

An inspiring new selection of poems exploring faith and the divine, featuring poets from across the world, from antiquity to the present

Poets have always looked to the skies for inspiration, and have written as a way of getting closer to the power and beauty they sense in nature, in each other and in the cosmos. This anthology is a holistic and global survey of a lyric conversation about the divine, one which has been ongoing for millennia.

Beginning with the earliest attributable author in all of human literature, the twenty-third century BC Sumerian High Priestess Enheduanna, and taking in a constellation of voices - from King David to Lao Tzu, from the Epic of Gilgamesh to the Malian Epic of Sundiata - this selection presents a number of canonical voices like Blake, Dickinson and Tagore, alongside lesser-anthologized diverse voices going up to the present day, that showcase the breathtaking multiplicity of ways humanity has responded to the divine across place and time.

These poets' voices commune between millenia, offering readers a chance to experience for themselves the vast and powerful interconnectedness of these incantations orbiting the most elemental of all subjects - our spirit.


  • If poetry is prayer, here are scriptures. Kaveh Akbar's brave, encompassing map of spiritual hunger shows us that longing belongs to all of us, whatever the languages we speak or the geographies we inhabit.
    Jeet Thayil

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