Sometimes, it will only take a few words on a page, carefully chosen and arranged for their meaning, rhythm and sound, to evoke the biggest emotions. If you love poetry, you don’t want to miss these poignant new releases; and for those of you who have never picked up the genre, it’s never too late to escape in some lyrical verse.
On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. Taking the stage after the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, Gorman captivated the nation and brought hope to viewers around the globe. Including an enduring foreword by Oprah Winfrey, this celebrates the promise of America and affirms the power of poetry.
A literary coming-of-age poetry collection, an ode to the places we call home, and a piercingly intimate deconstruction of daughterhood, Black Girl, Call Home is a love letter to the wandering black girl and a vital companion to any woman on a journey to find truth, belonging, and healing.
The Renunciations is a book of resilience, survival, and the journey to radically shift one’s sense of self in the face of trauma. Moving between a childhood marked by love and abuse and the breaking marriage of that adult child, Donika Kelly charts memory and the body as landscapes to be traversed and tended. These poems construct life rafts and sanctuaries even in their most devastating confrontations with what a person can bear, with how families harm themselves. With the companionship of “the oracle”–an observer of memory who knows how each close call with oblivion ends–the act of remembrance becomes curative, and personal mythologies give way to a future defined less by wounds than by possibility.
Beginning in 2018, Ahmed M. Badr–an Iraqi-American poet and former refugee–traveled to Greece, Trinidad & Tobago, and Syracuse, New York, holding storytelling workshops with hundreds of displaced youth: those living in and outside of camps, as well as those adjusting to life after resettlement.
Combining Badr’s own poetry with the personal narratives and creative contributions of dozens of young refugees, While the Earth Sleeps We Travel seeks to center and amplify the often unheard perspectives of those navigating through and beyond the complexities of displacement. The result is a diverse and moving collection–a meditation on the concept of “home” and a testament to the power of storytelling.
National Book Award winner Arthur Sze is a master poet, and The Glass Constellation is a triumph spanning five decades, including ten poetry collections and twenty-six new poems. Sze began his career writing compressed, lyrical poems influenced by classical Chinese poetry; he later made a leap into powerful polysemous sequences, honing a distinct stylistic signature that harnesses luminous particulars, and is sharply focused, emotionally resonant, and structurally complex. Fusing elements of Chinese, Japanese, Native American, and various Western experimental traditions—employing startling juxtapositions that are always on target, deeply informed by concern for our endangered planet and troubled species—Arthur Sze presents experience in all its multiplicities, in singular book after book. This collection is an invitation to immerse in a visionary body of work, mapping the evolution of one of our finest American poets.
I am the Rage is not just a poetry book. It is a call-to-action.
This evocative collection of thirty poems puts readers in the position of feeling, reflecting, and empathizing with what it means to be Black in America today. Dr. Martina McGowan, a doctor and grandmother who has been a victim of and an advocate against social, racial, and sexual injustices, uses powerful free verse poetry to express the range of emotions, thoughts, and grief she had following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests, and the ongoing attacks against the Black community.
For those who are moved by the poetry of Amanda Gorman and Maya Angelou, Dr. McGowan’s poems are a glimpse into the Black experience and will stay with you long after you’ve read them.