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PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

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.

Finalists

Armantrout at her most thoughtful; highly recommended.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

Lapis

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

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.”]

PREMIUM

Time Is a Mother

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

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.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

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.”
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

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

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

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.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

Black Swim

A lyrical, nuanced, and inventive debut.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

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.

Black Roses: Odes Celebrating Powerful Black Women

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

O

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.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

Sugar Work

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

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.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

Gold

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.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

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.
PREMIUM

a Year & other poems

Not as strikingly original in concept and language as feeld, this new collection adheres to a more personal, intimate aesthetic (“Our separate smoke/ caught/ in the same ascent”) that may or may not connect with any given reader. Still, Charles remains a serious experimental poet who has tasked herself with the challenge of creating “a language capable of itself.”
PREMIUM

Glory in the Margins: Sunday Poems

Grimes’s unfussy verse, at once personal in faith and public in delivery, will find an audience among Christian readers and a place in the worship services of congregations looking for artistic expressions of the Church’s year.
PREMIUM

To Shatter Glass

Despite its recounting of the author’s early troubles, this volume is a pleasure to read, with its marriage of verse and painting; many readers, especially survivors of alcohol-addicted families, will respond to Hunter’s direct approach.

[WHITE]: Poems

“White is not blank nor is it pure,” notes Ketner in a formally striking work that moves beyond the personal to a larger understanding of the world. A National Poetry Series selection; poetry fans will want.

Best Poetry of 2021

Ghenghis Chan on Drums

An absolute delight for the politically engaged or anyone who loves edgy, energized verse.

If This Makes You Nervous

Rich and exciting; poetry fans should grab it.

Spot Weather Forecast

Excellent poetry; engaging for all readers and especially resonant in these wildfire times.

Creeland

Well-crafted poetry that adds admirably to the growing body of Indigenous literature; for most readers.

All the Names Given

A fluidly written understanding of self, history, and oppression from a fast-rising poet.

You Better Be Lightning

An accomplished collection from queer feminist poet Gibson; for all audiences.

Lightning Falls in Love

Inventive, if more unsettling than whimsical, these top-notch poems acutely observe an unpredictable world. Highly recommended.

Gut

The violence is omnipresent yet held at bay; the poet gifts us (and herself) with her story. For smart poetry readers and anyone interested in feminist issues.

My Darling from the Lions

Several poems here catch the poet asleep, her posture expressing the abandon that characterizes the easy flow of her language. But there’s pain here, and the prickly wit can’t be denied. For most readers.

Gentefication

Chosen by Gregory Pardlo for the publisher’s Levis Prize; important reading.

Dreaming of You

Crackly and energetic, with poignancy beneath; for Latinx and millennial readers, plus poetry lovers interested in new voices.

Gumbo Ya Ya

Admirable work for Black gxrls and anyone interested in strong new writing.

PREMIUM

Winter Recipes from the Collective: Poems

Inherently reticent, like oysters opening ever so slowly, these poems are reluctant to display their pearls, but patient readers will discern an opalescence they may have missed on the first reading.
PREMIUM

America

With subject matter as contemporary as today’s headlines, Valverde shows that poetry has never been more relevant and immediate.
PREMIUM

How To Not Be Afraid of Everything

The collection often surprises in its playfulness or self-deprecation, given the weight of the poems’ subject matter, and is a solid addition to poetry collections.
PREMIUM

Requeening: Poems

These highly descriptive poems evoke a dreamlike state, one that is quick-moving and evocative, temporarily erasing actual and imagined boundaries.
PREMIUM

The Collection Plate: Poems

Recommended for all collections.

Jim Harrison: Complete Poems

This immense volume will bring great pleasure to readers of James Wright and John Haines and may be the perfect lure for ardent readers of Harrison’s fiction; they will find many poems to cherish.
PREMIUM

What To Miss When: Poems

The power in this collection lies in the way Stein serves her feelings on ice. Although she never mentions T. S. Eliot, her writing style is influenced by his notion that poetry is not a turning loose of emotion but an escape from it.

Dear Specimen: Poems

In mostly short poems, Herbert describes a vibrant yet highly vulnerable world. Occasionally, the writer focuses too much on scientific nomenclature, but usually she breathes life into fossils, skeletons, and nature today, even our world in its current damaged state. A unique and thrilling collection that pulses with wonder; not to be missed.

Cutlish

Rich with history, layered, and likely to enthrall seasoned and newer readers of poetry. Highly recommended.

PREMIUM

Borderline Fortune

For most readers of poetry, Miller will be a new and invigorating voice, fully conversant with the ambiguities of our present day.

Crime, Politics, and Poetry | Classic Returns

PREMIUM

Against Silence: Poems

Though sometimes uncomfortable to read, Bidart’s unleavened expressions of disillusionment, despair, and futility in the face of age (“the gnarled old hand / that one day you look down and see/ one day to see as yours”) are acts of resistance against the inevitability of death. Their blunt force may escape younger poetry lovers but will resonate poignantly with older generations of readers.

The Life and Zen Haiku Poetry of Santoka Taneda

One can hardly imagine a more accessible or authentic introduction to a remarkable seeker whose life and art were indistinguishable, nor a more essential addition to any collection of world literature.

Worldly Things

This work is highly recommended for all collections.

Vertigo & Ghost: Poems

Both a punishing and delicate collection, and one that will likely resonate with poetry novices and aficionados alike.
PREMIUM

Second Story: Poems

This book is not exactly a swan song, but in many places it feels that way. What keeps it from being heavy are Duhamel’s word play, breezy free association, and chatty poetic style. For all libraries.

Welcome to Sonnetville, New Jersey

An understated, subtle dissertation on contemporary middle-class life in verse, and a fine introduction to a rising poet.
PREMIUM

Dialogues with Rising Tides

These stunning poems question what we as individuals can do to repair or at least survive our battered world. Highly recommended.
PREMIUM

Double Trio: Tej Bet, So’s Notice, Nerve Church

At nearly one thousand pages, this work demands no small investment of time, attention, and, frankly, endurance, but immediate sonic amenities abound (“Inchworm, intaglio, tangency’s / regress”), and Mackey’s gift for deep aphorism (“We were / each only our lone apocalypse”) will reward even brief encounters with this ambitious text.
PREMIUM

Demos: An American Multitude

There are impressive moments liberally littered throughout this work, which brims with important rhetoric, but finally it feels a bit too scattered.
PREMIUM

Angel & Hannah: A Novel in Verse

Though Hannah and Angel’s story is not pure tragedy, their love’s inability to transcend the accumulated weight of history, poverty, and family will wrench readers’ hearts. A moving novel in verse, filled with energy and raw emotion.
PREMIUM

July

Figurative language, especially alliteration, repetition, and metaphor, races through these pages like the balls in a pinball machine, gathering energy and grace. For a wide range of readers.

Field Study

Black womanhood, the unyielding past, bonds forged and broken--all are powerfully explored in ways that allow the reader to feel present in each poem, walking with the narrator and bearing witness to moments of racism and violence. Highly recommended.

Randomly Moving Particles: Poems

A fine contribution to the ongoing labors of a leading poet, and a good introduction to Motion’s approach for readers new to his work.

Pilgrim Bell: Poems

Lyrical, profound, and honest, the kind of collection to which a reader will return.
PREMIUM

Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018

Borzutzky’s heavily political work wades in our collective human muck, and he continues to defy poetry expectations, to the form’s benefit.
PREMIUM

A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure

While the collection feels at times deeply personal, it is also representative of loss as a whole, and readers will find pieces of themselves in this collection while also feeling themselves immersed in Diêp Anh Nguyên’s Vietnam. Recommended for all collections.

PREMIUM

The Life

An interesting, mostly well-written collection that rewards readers with small epiphanies, especially about family life (“his body emitting // that constant low heat of the still-growing”).

PREMIUM

it was never going to be okay

An emotionally wrenching and linguistically mature work that will be particularly inviting for poetry novices, but which also suffers from structural imbalances that diminish some of its power.

The Renunciations: Poems

Kelly’s second effort feels scraped raw, seeking to understand humanity in primal terms in the same way as her debut, but here building to even grander emotional and linguistic crescendo.

The Glass Constellation: New and Collected Poems

A monumental collection from a poet whose lasting importance should now be recognized; essential for dedicated readers of contemporary American poetry.
PREMIUM

The Complete Stories

Despite the poet’s tendency to overstuff some poems, he has a distinctive voice adept at capturing the moment: about a tattoo session, he says, “I watched the needle in the mirror stitch / my mirrored skin like softly oozing silk.” The best poems change and evolve, working that synergy between brain and heart and a loved other (“I am sorry. And the child // we declined /// shivers on the long black lawn”). A worthy addition to most collections.
PREMIUM

God of Nothingness: Poems

Rising from wells of loss and loneliness (“My future is the only future”), Wunderlich’s poems may seem harsh, even bitter, but their authentic, wounded humanity is no less compelling for that.
PREMIUM

Everyday Mojo Songs of Earth: New and Selected Poems, 2001–2021

For those unfamiliar with Komunyakaa, this volume offers a rich sampling of his postmillennial work. For his fans, it further enforces his reputation as an important and necessary American poet.
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