Poetry has come a long way since you were scribbling “Roses are red, violets are blue…” in crayon and tucking the note into your crush’s cubby. Whether you’re looking for serious commentary on today’s issues, some heartbreak commiseration, or a little recognition that being a grown up is tough work, these poems will give you all the feels. Scroll on for 2017’s newest poetry offerings, and snag a collection or three to celebrate National Poetry Month.
1. The Flayed City by Hari Alluri ($17): Not only is this collection sporting a gorgeous cover, but it’s also packed full of poems that celebrate immigration, in all of its beauty and challenges.
2. There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker ($15): If you’ve read Parker’s writing in the New York Times, then you know exactly what you’re in for: powerful poems that are funny, empowering, sobering, painful, and so much more. (And if you haven’t read her New York Times pieces, what are you waiting for?!)
3. In the Language of My Captor by Shane McCrae ($25): Poetry is politics — and never is that more evident than in McCrae’s newest book of poetry, which explores the meaning of freedom though tales of captivity.
4. The Spirit Papers by Elizabeth Metzger ($20): Metzger’s debut collection of poetry is not the kind you sneak in during your lunch break… unless your lunch break is accompanied by a long reflection on the meaning of life, death, and everything in between. You’ll want to savor this with a glass of wine, is all we’re saying.
5. Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith ($16): This newest collection of Smith’s poetry tackles race, police brutality, HIV, and, yes, even Trump. Keep a copy by your phone to read and refuel before the next round of calls to your senators.
6. Neon Soul by Alexandra Elle ($17): “Self-care” is a buzzy word these days, but Elle’s take on it is anything but superficial. Read this mix of poetry and prose when your body needs a reminder that it deserves all the love in the world.
7. Marvels of the Invisible by Jenny Molberg ($17): This poetry collection lets your science-loving left brain join in on the fun, thanks to Molberg’s exploration of everything from pesky bugs to life-altering cancer.
8. When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen ($16): Do families exist without drama? Our vote is no (at least not interesting ones, anyway). In his debut collection of poetry, Chen tackles family drama — specifically his relationship with his mother, which is complicated by the many identities he juggles as a son, Asian immigrant, and queer poet.
9. Map to the Stars by Adrian Matejka ($18): Matejka is a National Book Award winner and a Pulitzer Prize finalist, so you can bet his newest collection is gonna be huge. How huge? Intergalactically so, thanks to his beautiful exploration of space through poetry.
10. My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter by Aja Monet ($16): “Nevertheless, she persisted” may have been aimed at Senator Elizabeth Warren, but this mantra easily applies to the bold women that Monet writes about. These poems are essential reading — and you’ll want two copies, one for you and one for your mom.
Who are your favorite modern poets? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!
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