12 New Poetry Collections Even Non-Poetry Readers Will Want To Read In 2018

by E. Ce Miller

When clocks all over the world strike midnight on December 31, 2017 it means a couple of things: one, this year of anger, confusion, and never-ending-headlines is finally over; two, you’re only 15 days away from giving up on all those resolutions you set (just kidding, I’m sure you’ll fare better than I will this year); and three — if you’re a poetry lover like me — it means that it’s time to make space on your bookshelves for all the new poetry collections coming out in 2018. And, from one poetry lover to another, let me just say: these most-anticipated poetry collections are worth the wait.

Plenty of us readers have spent this year talking about how the passion for poetry has seen a resurgence in American life in the days and weeks and months that followed the 2016 election, and inauguration day on January 20. From the poets taking social media by storm, to the snappy political poetry that could be found on protest posters throughout the year, it seems like more and more Americans are saying: “we want our poetic verse, and we want it now.” You can start by adding these collections to your TBR pile.

Here are 12 new poetry collections to keep an eye out for in 2018.

'Virgin' by Analicia Sotelo (Feb. 6; Milkweed Editions)

According to Analicia Sotelo's collection, the poet “Is Trying To Write A Poem About A Virgin And It’s Awful”. (Except, spoiler alert: it’s the exact opposite of awful.) Winner of the inaugural Jake Adam York Prize for Poetry, Virgin introduces readers to a young, Mexican-American feminist narrator who is sarcastic and unafraid, curious and self-discovering, and interested in everything from unrequited love and heartbreak to un-romanticized sex and the historically fraught terrain of virginity, and so much more. Sotelo dives headfirst into the complexities of the female experience and mind, and you’re going to love her for it.

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'Big Windows' by Lauren Moseley (Feb. 13; Carnegie Mellon University Press)

Another debut poetry collection you’ll want to add to your 2018 TBR pile, Big Windows by Lauren Moseley traverses both the real and the imagined natural world in pursuit of the sacred — exploring love, family, marriage, and self-knowledge; navigating doubt, fear, wonder, and power. Check it out.

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'The Möbius Strip Club of Grief' by Bianca Stone (Feb. 27; Tin House Books)

Described as being set in a “feminist limbo” The Möbius Strip Club of Grief by Bianca Stone takes place in an afterlife strip club, where women of all bodies and ages reveal themselves in ways they never did in their living-lives. Meditative and darkly entertaining, vivid and visceral, a little bit out-of-control, The Möbius Strip Club of Grief is filled with tired bodies, bodies with scars, other women poets, and members of Stone’s own family — including a grandmother who herself is being grieved. This is a poetry collection like few you’ll come across.

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'Wonderland' by Matthew Dickman (March 6; W.W. Norton & Company)

Wonderland, the second collection by award-winning poet and poetry editor Matthew Dickman, transports readers to southeast Portland, and into a childhood filled with skateboards, skinheads, and single mothers; drugs, racism, and fighting parents; boyish childhood afternoons interrupted by sudden violence, the trials of Catholic school days, and so much more.

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'Registers of Illuminated Villages' by Tarfia Faizullah (March 6; Graywolf Press)

Available in March, Registers of Illuminated Villages is the second collection of poetry to appear from award-winning poet Tarfia Faizullah. Playing with form and function as much as word choice and theme, Faizullah’s verse explores violence, war, and loss; discrimination, family, and memory; and so much more.

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'Wade in the Water' by Tracy K. Smith (April 3; Graywolf Press)

If you’ve been reading poetry for a while, chances are you recognize the name Tracy K. Smith — the author of collections like Duende and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Life on Mars, and the poetic memoir Ordinary Light. Coming out in April, Wade in the Water will be Smith’s first collection since being named Poet Laureate of the United States in September, and it is a striking meditation on modern American life and our fraught history, navigating everything from slavery and racism to pollution, violence, wealth inequality, and more.

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'Eye Level' by Jenny Xie (April 3; Graywolf Press)

Winner of the 2017 Walt Whitman Award, Eye Level by Jenny Xie will appear in April. Transporting readers to Phnom Penh, Corfu, Hanoi, New York, and beyond, Eye Level touches on travel and immigration, personal and cultural borders, and the solitude that can be felt even in the midst of crowded, busy spaces. This year’s Walt Whitman Award judge, the former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, chose the collection for its beauty, clarity, and expansiveness.

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'The Second O of Sorrow' by Sean Thomas Dougherty (April 10; BOA Editions Ltd.)

Giving readers a glimpse into working-class life in the Rust Belt, The Second O of Sorrow by Sean Thomas Dougherty — the award-winning author of 13 previous books, including Scything Grace and Sasha Sings the Laundry on the Line — looks at the struggle, the beauty, and the dignity of everyday life for the down-to-earth folks of the Midwest and Great Lakes regions of the United States. Look for it in April.

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'Who Is Mary Sue?' by Sophie Collins (April 24; Penguin UK)

Coming out in April, Who Is Mary Sue? is the debut collection by award-winning poet Sophie Collins. Described by Penguin Books as “eerie, witty and ferociously original, a powerful poetic meditation on the denigration of women's writing,” Who Is Mary Sue? looks at the creativity of women and the cultural assumptions that work against women artists, writers, and makers historically and today.

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'The Terrible' by Yrsa Daley-Ward (June 5; Penguin Books)

Available in June from the author of bone and one of Instagram’s most-loved poets, Yrsa Daley-Ward, The Terrible is a poetic memoir of verse and prose that shares the author’s coming-of-age journey, from Ward’s girlhood through her early twenties. A daughter of West Indian and West African heritage, Ward grew up a devout Seventh Day Adventist in small English town, and has become known for spare, sharp, unflinching, and joyous writing. Cannot wait for this one in June.

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'Three Poems' by Hannah Sullivan (Sept. 15; Faber & Faber)

As much as short and snappy poetry is all the rage these days, I still love long, meandering verse as well, and the three linked poems in Hannah Sullivan’s debut collection, Three Poems, are exactly that. Taking readers through the time and spaces occupied by a young woman, the first poem explores what it means to leave home — fraught with equal parts possibility and disappointment. The second is a meditation on returning home, and the third explores adulthood experiences of life and death, through the birth of a child and the loss of a parent. Look out for Three Poems in January.

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'The Flame' by Leonard Cohen (Oct. 4; Canongate)

Featuring previously unpublished poetry, notebook entries, illustrations, prose pieces, and more, The Flame is writer and musician Leonard Cohen’s final poetry collection — written and compiled in the months just before Cohen’s death, in November of 2016, and landing on bookstore shelves this October. In addition to the intimate work of a writer who knew he was putting together his last collection, The Flame also includes the full lyrics of Cohen’s final three albums.