If you're having a rough go of it this spring, don't worry. I've got 11
poetry collections to read that will reflect your inner world and open you up to a whole new outer world. These books are some of the best the poetry world has to offer in 2019, so even if you're having a fantastic new year, you can't go wrong adding a few of these to your reading rotation. Poetry is experiencing a resurgence in popularity right now. If you haven't already started reading today's hot wordsmiths, like Ocean Vuong and Morgan Parker, there's still time to get caught up on the poetry beat and start living your best life.
Like short fiction, poetry has an advantage over the novel, particularly for busy readers. The vast majority of poetry books can be read in installments without losing track of the narrative or message. For readers whose long work hours, family obligations, or other circumstances get in the way of reading, poetry can offer a fulfilling alternative to traditional prose. Plus, these collections are typically slim enough to pop in your coat pocket.
Check out the 13 poetry collections I've picked out for you below:
'Lima :: Limón' by Natalie Scenters-Zapico
In this follow-up to
The Verging Cities, Natalie Scenters-Zapico tackles the border experience, drawing on details from her own life in the U.S. and Mexico. Lima :: Limón lands in stores on May 14. Click here to pre-order.
'Soft Targets' by Deborah Landau
Out on April 30, Deborah Landau's
Soft Targets reckons with impending doom — from climate change, regressionist politics, and widespread violence, among other sources. This is the poet's first book since the much-lauded The Uses of the Body, which was one of The New Yorker's favorite poetry books of 2015. Click here to pre-order.
'Magical Negro' by Morgan Parker
NEA Fellow and
There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé author Morgan Parker returns with this collection, one of two books she has slated for publication in 2019. Hailed by Time as "a riveting testimony to everyday blackness," Magical Negro explores black womanhood on levels personal and political, private and public. Click here to buy.
Emily Skaja's debut poetry collection,
Brute, won the 2018 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, and for good reason. Available April 2, this intimate examination of gender and violence will fill you with a sense of righteous fury at the state of the world. Click here to pre-order.
'The Twenty-Ninth Year' by Hala Alyan
If you're going through a period of uncertainty in life, the poems of transformation and transition in Hala Alyan's latest collection are exactly what you need to read this spring. Documenting the trials and tribulations of age 29,
The Twenty-Ninth Year is a testament to chaos and whatever lies on the other side of it. Click here to buy.
'Deaf Republic' by Ilya Kaminsky
A narrative collection that traces the reverberations of a deaf boy's death at the hands of the state, Ilya Kaminsky's
Deaf Republic is a must-read in an age when police brutality has become all-too-common. Click here to buy.
'Brother Bullet' by Casandra López
Another narrative collection, Casandra López's
Brother Bullet explores her brother's murder and its aftermath, moving through and around the trauma in lyric fashion. Brother Bullet is the first monograph from the co-founder of the literary journal As/Us: A Space for Women of the World. Click here to buy.
'The Octopus Museum' by Brenda Shaughnessy
A new collection of feminist poetry exploring the anxieties of motherhood and existence in the age of mass shootings and climate change, Brenda Shaughnessy's
The Octopus Museum also imagines a world in which cephalopods have wrested control of the globe away from humans. Click here to buy.
'Soft Science' by Franny Choi
Out on April 2, this highly anticipated poetry collection from
Floating, Brilliant, Gone author Franny Choi mixes technological advancement with Asian-American, feminine queerness. Don't sleep on this one. Click here to pre-order.
'Tonguebreaker' by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Lambda Literary Award-winner Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha's fourth poetry collection,
Tonguebreaker, revolves around identity and place. Working class, disabled, queer, brown, and femme, Piepzna-Samarasinha knows exactly who she is and whom society has made her out to be. Tonguebreaker comes to stores on April 9, but you can pre-order your copy today. Click here to pre-order.
'Maafa' by Harmony Holiday
Landing in stores on June 18, Harmony Holiday's
Maafa creates and follows an epic hero in the form of a black femme. With an eponymous heroine named for the Swahili word for holocaust, Maafa is a new exploration of black femininity and heroism. Click here to pre-order.