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Promises of Gold

Seemingly tailor-made for audio, this powerful book is a must-purchase. Olivarez’s invitation to share moments of his history, culture, love, and joy is wholly affecting.

Celebrate National Poetry Month

Trace Evidence: Poems

Shanahan’s new work meets anguish and pain directly and ultimately proposes a tender and expansive possibility: “If you are on this earth/ You are of this earth.” Emotionally vulnerable and insightful; a work in which all readers likely will find something of themselves.


In a book coursing with energy, Landau remains in control. “This is my fifth book of poems. I had my way with each of them.” Indeed she has! A good addition to most collections.


It’s easy to get lost in Rogers’s lush language, but there are larger issues here that will make the book appealing not just to poetry readers but to anyone concerned with the environment.

I’m Always So Serious

An assured debut from a writer to watch.


For poems probing deep ontological and existential concerns, these are remarkably free of lecture or cant. Sophisticated readers will grab especially, but this work is accessible to all.

Judas Goat: Poems

Thrillingly bold, this collection is at once unique in approach, mischievous in its navigation of ideas, and lush yet controlled in its use of language, rupturing the division between the domestic and the primal to both delicate and brutal ends.

Calligraphies: Poems

Occasionally, a phrase brushes improbability (“My horse and my notebook think// what I am thinking/ through an orgy of cadence”), but these poems breathe with life; even in a collection this large, the reader stays involved. “On the road,/ cars rarify, whisk by trees that explode/ in redbud, apple blossom, presage fruit”: a poetic journey not to be missed.

A Fire in the Hills

An accessible collection from a poet who continues to probe the past, present, and interconnectedness of being.


Challenging reading for those who don’t know her work, but a welcome volume for those who do.

West: A Translation

A remarkable collection offering history not typically told in textbooks; an accompanying website ( with video poems and historical images adds context.

Still Falling: Poems

Coming from deep inside, these poems work by free association, often alluding to falling rain, snow, and even sunlight pouring onto a surface, all of which add a spiritual resonance to these hypnotic and meditative poems.


A fine exploration of nature and self in crisis; those familiar with Eilbert’s work will not be disappointed, while new readers will be eager to explore her further.

Your Kingdom

An engaging collection, perhaps more contemplative than Sikelianos’s previous work, for nature lovers and beyond.

Rose Quartz: Poems

A beautifully rendered sense of someone blown to bits by social and cultural injustices and still in the remaking.

Above Ground

While this collection will resonate most deeply with parents, its wisdom, humanity, and sheer eloquence speak to a time and condition all readers will recognize.

suddenly we

Another accomplished work from Shockley; highly recommended.

Was It for This: Poems

Perhaps not as absorbing as her first work, though this may depend on the reader; still, Sullivan remains an original and observant writer.

Tanya: Poems

A remarkable book achieving all its ambitions; highly recommended.

Display Shelf | Poetry


Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems To Open Your World

Listeners will experience and learn something different with every visit to this stunning collection. A necessary purchase for newcomers and seasoned poetry lovers alike. Suggest to fans of William Sieghart’s The Poetry Remedy.

Woman Without Shame

This luminous collection from a treasured writer is a must-listen and a necessary addition to every poetry collection.

From From: Poems

Youn does an extraordinary job of blending historical themes with haunting modern-day experiences to clarify sense of self. Readers will be captivated.

Concentrate: Poems

Simply put, one of the best books this reviewer has read in the last 12 months.

True Life: Poems

Readers who enjoy W.S. Merwin, Mary Oliver, and Jane Kenyon will feel quite at home with Zagajewski’s poems; like those writers, he is never obscure or tentative but always luminous and alive. Essential for academic libraries and a worthy purchase for contemporary poetry collections in public libraries.

To 2040

A masterpiece that belongs in every library where poetry is found.

The World Behind the World: Poems

Bernard has a sharp, critical eye and an ability to paint a scene quickly while also coloring it with social resonance. Similar word choices occasionally get repeated from poem to poem, but this collection is a marvel, gifting the reader with new subjects, unique perspectives, and an exuberant musicality that nearly leaps across the page. Highly recommended.

Wind, Trees

A fine collection recommended for any library.


A powerful document of social injustice, BISACed as social science but of crucial interest for arts and poetry collections; pricey but worth it for many libraries.

Best Poetry of 2022


A Fire in My Head: Poems for the Dawn

It’s “time to write on the face of the earth/ the value and meaning of every name,” Okri writes. Globally engaged, accessible, and relevant.

Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems To Open Your World

With his intimate tone, Ó Tuama takes poetry out of the classroom and puts it back into the hands of the reader. He thereby makes the world a better place. Recommended for poetry collections everywhere.

Weaving Sundown in a Scarlet Light: Fifty Poems for Fifty Years

Harjo is a national treasure, perhaps even a national resource, and this important book is an essential addition to contemporary poetry collections everywhere.

Smoking the Bible

A masterly and distinctive study of the travails of leaving home; highly recommended.

Event Horizon

Many readers will appreciate the way Marvin’s bang-on honesty reframes the ordinary; an enlightening, accessible tome.

The Waste Land: A Biography of a Poem

Highly recommended for readers interested in the details behind the creation of this literary landmark and the times in which it was composed.

Content Warning: Everything

Though lacking the lushness of Emezi’s best fiction, these poems urgently communicate a relatable search for identity and safety and will resonate with a wide range of readers wanting to undertake that search, too. Especially important in presenting another dimension of this gifted writer.

Now Do You Know Where You Are

Even as it lofts us on high to see the warp and weft of the universe and our own troubled place therein, this collection turns out to be a strangely reassuring read. A satisfying work from an accomplished poet.


A visceral collection with the “I” at its center blazing and brave; highly recommended.


Harbinger: Poems

Though a few are not fully realized, in general these poems balance the dire and dystopian with the joyful and caring, inviting the reader to stay onboard for each new voyage. A collection that should not be missed.

The Symmetry of Fish

These resonant poems of heritage and self are recommended for all collections.

Relinquenda: Poems

Beautiful in form and content, Regalado’s lyrical work will appeal broadly to readers interested in emotional connection.

Migrations: Poem, 1976–2020

Readers will not find a direct narrative here, as the verses don’t always flow seamlessly from one section to the other, but they can nonetheless bask in a remarkable poetic experience.

Extinction Theory: Poems

A fine, fresh consideration of how we live; for most collections.

Draw Me After: Poems

Coming from Cole’s fascination with word play and paradox, the best of these poems are laced with alliteration and rhyme, shape-shifting as they focus on the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and the creative process. For poetry readers who like pondering deep questions.


Ask the Brindled: Poems

Aiming high and occasionally staggering under the weight of its linguistic and formal experimentation, this vivid work should be read as an advance on aesthetics and the excavation of colonialism.

The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On

A collection that will startle readers.

The Rupture Tense: Poems

An elegy for Xie’s grandmother points out, “Nowhere goes clean through the static of decades without hitting a nerve,” and Xie hits nerves throughout in stunning and evocative language. Highly recommended.

In a Few Minutes Before Later

Occasionally these poems feel full to overflowing, but Hillman’s majestic new work belongs in most poetry collections.

The Hurting Kind

An accomplished volume highly recommended for both neophytes and poetry lovers.


Despite its challenges, a book to be appreciated by poetry sophisticates.


Armantrout at her most thoughtful; highly recommended.

Belly to the Brutal

Givhan’s strong, vibrant writing can also be dense and layering, sometimes slowing up an understanding of her meaning, but the result is great for the word-hungry and readers interested in the female experience.

I Wore This Dress Today for You, Mom

Lit up with sudden lyricism (“Her body releasing mist from the hurricane inside her”), Dower’s sharply observed quotidian detail will draw in even casual readers of poetry.

Bad Poetry, Vol. 1: Tumbleweed

Recommended for those who want a straightforward, heartfelt read in tumultuous times, including YAs looking for resonance and anyone appreciating the insouciance of Rodriguez’s title.

Mathematics for Ladies: Poems on Women in Science

For science readers who love poetry, poetry readers who love science, and feminists and students of all ages. [For more on this collection, see “Curating Creativity: Jessy Randall Finds Inspiration in the Archives | Peer to Peer Review.”]

Song of My Softening

It’s not often that fat women feel such thorough representation of themselves not only in poetry but in any media and not only in the beautiful moments but in the sorrowful ones, ranging throughout life. James does a brilliant job of portraying this and all her themes brilliantly; highly recommended.

Your Face My Flag

In a collection that’s vividly detailed and layered, Gewirtz proves to be a wonderful storyteller, covering a wide range of subjects and frequently addressing social justice issues. Recommended for all collections.

Cotton Candy: Poems Dipped Out of the Air

More of the sweet stuff Kooser’s dedicated readers have come to expect from him.

A Brilliant Loss

A beautiful and accessible meditation on language and self, the very core of poetry, that will appeal to a wide range of readers.

The Study of Human Life

Though Bennett’s poems seem effortless in their lyric grace (“the vanishing/ world of living things no louder than the sound/ of insects whimpering in their dust-sized sorrows”) and organic progressions, they are better described as effortful, given memorable presence by their intimacy, mindful craft, and visionary pursuit. Expect this work to appear on many “best poetry” lists for 2022.

The End of Michelangelo

A timeless oasis of quietude in our contemporary maelstrom of uncertainty and apprehension, Gerber’s poetry vividly reminds us that while “the scale of pleasure ascends into terror…/ the pleasure is in being alive.”

Flutter, Kick

Ross’s lovely, provocative work will appeal to a wide range of readers, whether for the way she finds larger issues within the personal or her singular use of language.

Please make me pretty, I don’t want to die: Poems

A sharp, playful, and thoughtful work for poetry lovers.

Time Is a Mother

This is a timely collection of poetry and will make a great addition to any library collection.

Alive at the End of the World

Jones’s most free-flowing work yet, a centripetal collection where rage and pain and weariness swirl and coalesce with stunning emotional and conceptual clarity, yet so intimate it feels bled from the author’s very veins.

In the Bowl of My Eye

The award-winning Garebian (including honors from the Scarborough Arts Council and the Ontario Poetry Society) offers a distinctive perspective on modern life that may well prove of interest to a number of readers.

Turn Up the Ocean: Poems

Hoagland’s poetry earns the oft-misused adjective uncompromising for its directness in the face of reality’s “blithering whirlwind of wonder.” Though one wishes his life had not ended so soon, this collection will stand as a fitting capstone to a stellar poetic career.

And Yet: Poems

An uneven poetry collection, but ultimately, the author’s pulse on social mores makes for an interesting read, as does her hard-earned understanding of married love and family life during bleak pandemic times. Recommended for public libraries.

Bluest Nude: Poems

The collection’s organizing principle can feel a bit injudicious at times, with some poems easily bleeding into the next while others feel like slamming into a wall, but the potency of Codjoe’s language and keenness of her thematic renderings never fails to enthrall. Fiercely intelligent and both emotionally and formally rich.

Normal Distance

Ultimately, Gabbert writes her memoir-like poems around quotidian events such as awakening from sleep, going shopping, and contemplating boredom, loneliness, or life during the pandemic, interspersing snappy comments like “Paper or plastic?” with profundities. All of which leaves readers on edge, which is Gabbert’s intention.

Black Swim

A lyrical, nuanced, and inventive debut.

Black Roses: Odes Celebrating Powerful Black Women

Green’s writing and narration make poetry accessible to everyone.


Hashem Beck does a brilliant job of blending the personal with larger themes, and readers will find themselves transported by this collection, whether it be to a dermatologist’s office or Babel or an olive tree from the past, with initials carved into its trunk. For most collections.

Ante body

Helal is a powerful voice in poetry, and this newest work does an excellent job of challenging readers to think differently about society. Those unfamiliar with Helal’s work may benefit from reading the author’s notes before diving into the poems, to get a better understanding of the collection and the formatting.

Beyond Belief: Poems

In Koethe’s relaxed, prose-like style, long sentences meander until his thoughts, taking a philosophical turn, dead end in a reverberant image or a metaphor like the enigmatic smile in “Daddy,” one of the best poems in this striking collection.

Woman Without Shame: Poems

Woven with perspective, melded by dual languages and countries, attuned to sense and place, this generously alive collection--sin censura ni vergüenza--will delight both devoted fans and those who may not often read poetry.

Before Island Is Volcano

The anti-imperialist theme, reminiscent of Neruda’s Canto general, will be especially appealing to Latinx readers in general and to the Borinquen community in particular.

Sugar Work

A psychologically and narratively sophisticated exploration of desire, family, memory, pleasure, and love.

Midwood: Poems

The mostly short poems featured here often exhibit lively, inviting language, but too many of the poems focus on description, leaving readers hungry for more narrative, more emotion, or the zinging of Prikryl’s best poems. Recommended for larger public libraries and some university collections.

Dream Drawings: Configurations of a Timeless Kind

Momaday’s poems are rich with description, lush with dreaming, and filled with magic. Essential for Indigenous collections and highly recommended for poetry lovers generally.

The Place One Is

Slowly drawing readers into the subject with two or three scenes, Ronk doesn’t stop until all eyes and ears are opened to the narrator’s circumstance. Then, in the best of these poems, she makes the scene universal, taking readers by surprise as she launches into the stratosphere--which, as one can imagine, is breathtaking.

The Necessity of Wildfire

In stunning language, with line breaks that lead readers to yet one more harrowing moment, Scarano shows us that it’s important to understand the nature of violence and its passage through a family. Violence always begets violence.

Against Heaven: Poems

Alabi’s confident debut recommends them as a name to follow, but this collection is a mixed bag of forceful but too often scattershot and hyperactive poems.

Best Barbarian: Poems

Rich and cohesive, with remarkable depth and lyrical command, this work offers manifold discoveries. A book that reveals more with each reading.


Both the authority and musicality of Gafori’s translation, and her artful selection of excerpts from Rumi’s vast and intensely personal Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi amply justify this book’s place in any Rumi collection, where it is sure to provide seeds for contemplation and kindling for spiritual fire.

Cain Named the Animal: Poems

Readers will marvel at McCrae’s ability to achieve Miltonic scope with such economy of expression. His is an original voice well worth close reading.

Prelude: Poems

Built on a fascinating history while creating a fresh and heartbreaking perspective, Rebele-Henry’s poetry brings to life an LGBTQ+ experience. Highly recommended.

Vinegar Hill: Poems

A novelist’s poetry is, with a very few exceptions, a pleasure for the completist, but in this collection Tóibín supplies poems that should interest readers beyond his usual audience.

Water the Rocks Make

A must-read for those looking for a fine storyteller with something important to say.

Gut: Poems

Threaded with myth and ghosts, marvelously present to the senses, with wordsmithing so inventive as to thrill, this exciting work is recommended wherever poetry is read.

Zoom Rooms: Poems

Salter’s “fine high language of address and dress” may not appeal to everyone, but those who lament the current dearth of old-school verse will find much to admire here.

A Country of Strangers: New and Selected Poems

In intelligent, lyrical poems often tapping into deep emotion, Nurske brings humanity to his subjects. He could be describing the writing process itself when he says: “When I skipped rope before memory/ the song was already in my mouth.” Highly recommended.

In a Time of Distance: And Other Poems

Meeting the creator of Mma. Ramotswe in another guise, as a gentle guide through life in many climates, is likely to prove irresistible for Alexander McCall Smith’s dedicated fan base.

Time Is a Mother

Enriching Vuong’s already sterling early career, this new collection feels abraded by both the weight of loss and of living, yet is cut with a profusion of affecting beauty and humor.

Customs: Poems

Blistering in its clear-sightedness (“No crueler word than return./ No greater lie”), this collection offers a fierce, beautiful closing that dares to imagine “a beckoning, a way.” A bold and uncompromising book with virtuosic emotional range; highly recommended.

Duende: Poems, 1966–Now

A highly recommended work from a master poet.

Headless John the Baptist Hitchhiking: Poems

A gorgeous, open-hearted debut.

All the Flowers Kneeling

Readers will be sure to find connection and refuge within Tran’s standout collection. Highly recommended for all collections.

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