Poetry for the Rest of Us 2022

The Feminist Know-It-All: You know her. You can’t stand her. Good thing she’s not here! Instead, this column by gender and women’s studies librarian Karla Strand will amplify stories of the creation, access, use and preservation of knowledge by women and girls around the world; share innovative projects and initiatives that focus on information, literacies, libraries and more; and, of course, talk about all of the books.

April is National Poetry Month!

Since my dormant love of poetry was reignited, I’ve found it so refreshing and inspiring to read beautiful collections each year and share my thoughts with you.

Below are some of the most exciting and necessary collections published late last year and forthcoming in 2022. 

Last year I tried something a bit different with the poetry list: Instead of the usual blurb, I focused my thoughts about each collection into three words (okay, or phrases—this is hard!). Readers responded so well to it that I am doing it again this year! Sometimes the words are nouns, sometimes verbs, sometimes adjectives, and I may have just made up some words too. Since I find it challenging to be succinct, this is a valuable exercise in imagination, reflection and, well, restraint.  

Speaking of restraint … I have to seriously think about which titles to include on this list. Many fantastic collections are being released, but unfortunately, I couldn’t include them all. I’ve included the 66 below for a variety of reasons: because they meet my criteria (above), because they are especially unique, because I wanted to shine a light on them, they are from debut authors, indie publishers, or because they stood out to me for any other reason. The ones that are currently available are presented first in alphabetical order; forthcoming titles are then listed by on-sale date.

So I hope you enjoy and find some collections below that will have you reflecting on how poetry moves you, challenges you and represents you. 


Against Heaven: Poems 

By Kemi Alabi (@kemiaalabi). Graywolf Press. 80 pages. Out now.

Choral, righteous, regenerative. 

All the Flowers Kneeling 

By Paul Tran (@speakdeadly). Penguin Poets. 112 pages. Out now. 

Deliberate, immediate, ash.

antes que isla es volcán / before island is volcano

By Raquel Salas Rivera (@rugamarspr). Beacon Press. 160 pages. Out now.

Colonized, treated, unchained.

Beast at Every Threshold 

By Natalie Wee (@natweewriter). Arsenal Pulp Press. 80 pages. Out now. 

Form, echo, affect.

Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Poems

By Brionne Janae (@BreezyJanae). Northwestern University Press. 80 pages. Out now.

Confession, heirloom, bloom. 

Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head: Poems 

By Warsan Shire (@warsan_shire). Random House. 96 pages. Out now. 

Evocative, kaleidoscopic, transcendent.


By Ebony Stewart (@ebpoetry). Button Poetry. 112 pages. Out now.

Discovery, understanding, power.

The Blood Poems

By Jessica Helen Lopez. University of New Mexico Press. 112 pages. Out now.

Fresh, sharp, guttural.

Born in a Second Language

By Akosua Afiriyie-Hwedie (@akosuazah). Button Poetry. 48 pages. Out now.

Voice, self, birthwrite.


By Betsy Aoki (@baoki). Tebot Bach. 69 pages.  Out now.

Integral, functional, game face. 

Broken Halves of a Milky Sun: Poems 

By Aaiún Nin (@aaiun_nin). Astra House. 96 pages. Out now.

Love, audacity, bravery.

Casual Conversation 

By Renia White (@reniawhite). BOA Editions Ltd. 80 pages. Out April 19.

Collective, unrest, choice.

Cipota under the Moon: Poems 

By Claudia Castro Luna (@ClaudiaC_L). Tia Chucha. 80 pages. Out now.

Witness, testament, space. 

collective madness

By adrienne danyelle oliver (@dr.adriennedanyelle)*. Finishing Line Press. Out now.  (Also check out oliver’s the body has memories out now from Nomadic Press.)

Fragility, embodiment, light.

Content Warning: Everything 

By Akwaeke Emezi (@azemezi). Copper Canyon Press. 64 pages. Out now.

Spirit, source, sanctuary. 

Customs: Poems 

By Solmaz Sharif (@solmazny). Graywolf Press. 72 pages. Out now.

Possibilities, waiting, shimmering. 

Father / Genocide 

By Margo Tamez (@indigifem). Turtle Point Press. 152 pages. Out now.

Timebending, landguage, sovereignty.

Fire Is Not a Country: Poems 

By Cynthia Dewi Oka (@freedewi). TriQuarterly. 112 pages. Out now.

Aunties, interludes, thorns.  

Focal Point 

By Jenny Qi (@JQiii). Steel Toe Books. 98 pages. Out now.

Bravery, loss, love. 


By Ra Malika Imhotep (@lilcottonflower). Red Hen Press. 120 pages. Out now.

Moody, fugitive, still.

Gumbo Ya Ya: Poems

By Aurielle Marie (@YesAurielle). University of Pittsburgh Press. 120 pages. Out now.

Innovative, unapologetic, electric.

Headless John the Baptist Hitchhiking: Poems 

By C.T. Salazar (@ctsalazar_). Acre Books. 78 pages. Out now. 

Lyrical, spirited, enduring.

Her Wilderness Will Be Her Manners 

By Sarah Mangold (@sarahemangold). Fordham University Press. 96 pages. Out now. 

Wild, evocative, seen.

How to Not Be Afraid of Everything

By Jane Wong (@paradeofcats). Alice James Books. 100 pages. Out now.

Legacy, survival, joy. 

Kaddish: Before the Holocaust and After 

By Jane Yolen. Holy Cow! Press. 88 pages. Out now. 

Faith, insight, urgency.

The Kissing of Kissing 

By Hannah Emerson (@hannah.emerson.poetry). Milkweed Editions. 96 pages. Out now.

Flight, sense, yes yes.

let the dead in

By Saida Agostini (@saidaagostini). Alan Squire Publishing. 68 pages. Out now.

Mythology, ancestry, triumph. 

Living on Islands Not Found on Maps

By Luivette Resto (@LuivetteResto). Flowersong Press. 88 pages. Out now. 

Vulnerability, restoration, imagination.

A Long Dark Summer

By Helenna Santos (@helennamsantos). Self-published. 97 pages. Out now. 

Angst, road trip, magic. 

My Grief, the Sun 

By Sanna Wani (@sannareya). House of Anansi. 112 pages. Out now.

Risk, reach, live. 

My People Redux 

By Angela Trudell Vasquez. Finishing Line Press. 40 pages. Out now. 

Bridges, home(lands), heritage.

My Sisters’ Country 

By Alexis V. Jackson (@alexis_a_poet). Kore Press. 104 pages. Out now.

Fresh, bedeviled, sanctified.

Navigating With(out) Instruments 

By Traci Kato-Kiriyama (@traciakemi1). Writ Large Press. 264 pages. Out now.

Expansion, collectivity, ascension. 

Prelude: Poems 

By Brynne Rebele-Henry (@brynne_rh). University of Pittsburgh Press. 72 pages. Out now. 

Legacy, longing, connection.

Quarantine with Rilke 

By Asnia Asim (@asniaasim). Finishing Line Press. 44 pages. Out now.

(Dis)quiet, intimacy, longing.

Return Flight

By Jennifer Huang (@jcjklmnop). Milkweed Editions. 96 pages. Out now. 

Enveloped, exhausted, enough.

Small Altars 

By Keli Stewart (@kelistewartpoet). Bronzeville Books. 80 pages. Out now.

Born, lost, found.

Song for Almeyda and Song for Anninho 

By Gayl Jones. Beacon Press. 200 pages. Out now.

Epic, magic, revelatory.


By Jason Purcell (@jasonvpurcell). Arsenal Pulp Press. 96 pages. Out now.

Pain, precarity, invocation. 

This Is Us Losing Count: Eight Russian Poets

Two Lines Press. 192 pages. Out now. 

Memories, dreams, changes.

The Three Harriets and Others

By Glenis Redmond (@glenismakingpoetryreign). Finishing Line Press. 30 pages. Out now.

Stubborn, ancient, named.

Time Regime: Poems

By Jhani Randhawa. Gaudy Boy. 144 pages. Out now.

Fluid, cascading, transcendent. 

To Love an Island

By Ana Portnoy Brimmer. YesYes Books. 126 pages. Out now. 

Decolonialism, resistance, futurity. 


By Lindsay Choi (@exboyfriend__). Futurepoem Books. 96 pages. Out now. 

Language, layers, invention.

Two Brown Dots

By Danni Quintos (@dleighquint). BOA Editions Ltd.. 112 pages. Out now. 

Candor, courage, no joke. 


By Andrea Abi-Karam (@wolf_hour). Nightboat. 112 pages. Out now.

Unbridled, essential, queer AF.

We Are Not Wearing Helmets: Poems 

By Cheryl Boyce-Taylor (@cboycetaylor). TriQuarterly. 104 pages. Out now. 

Aging, archiving, beauty. 

Woman, Eat Me Whole: Poems 

By Ama Asantewa Diaka. Ecco. 96 pages. Out now. 

Heartbreaking, fist-clenching, redemption.

The Body Family

By Hope Wabuke (@hopewabuke). Haymarket Books. 80 pages. Out April 26.

“Black/Mother/Diaspora” – Matthew Shenoda, author of Tahrir Suite

Girl’s Guide to Leaving

By Laura Villareal (@earthandstars). University of Wisconsin Press. 80 pages. Out April 26.

Sharp, celestial, free.


By Emily Rose Cole (@EmilyColeWrites). University of Wisconsin Press. 80 pages. Out April 26. 

Scars, separation, spells.

The Trees Witness Everything 

By Victoria Chang (@vchangpoet). Copper Canyon Press. 144 pages. Out April 26.

Waka, ache, release.

You Still Look the Same 

By Farzana Doctor (@farzanadoctor). Freehand Books. 96 pages. Out May 1. 

Ageing, searching, never alone. 

Ante Body 

By Marwa Helal (@marwahelal). Nightboat. Out May 3. 

White space, omission, (de)limitation.

Love, Lyric, and Liberation

By Asantewaa Boykin (@asantewaarn). Nomadic Press. 80 pages. Out May 7.

Impermanence, warning, divinity. 

As She Appears: Poems

By Shelley Wong (@shhellywong). YesYes Books. 81 pages. Out May 10.

Expansion, revision, realization.

The Hurting Kind

By Ada Limón (@adalimon). Milkweed Editions. 120 pages. Out May 10.

Brittle, solitude, flight. 

You Can Be the Last Leaf: Selected Poems 

Written by Maya Abu Al-Hayyat (@mayaabualhayyat) and translated by Fady Joudah. Milkweed Editions. 88 pages. Out May 10. 

Wide, witty, defiant.

Dear God. Dear Bones. Dear Yellow. 

By Noor Hindi (@MyNrHindi). Haymarket Books. 80 pages. Out May 31.

Interrogation, intersection, provocation.


By Kamden Ishmael Hilliard. Nightboat Books. 98 pages. Out May 31.

Singular, multiple, full.

Still Water: Poems

By Jewelle Gomez (@VampyreVamp). BLF Press. Out June 7.  

Streetcars, sovereignty, sisters.

The Wet Hex

By Sun Yung Shin (@sunyungshin). Coffee House Press. 128 pages. Out June 14.

Origins, threshold, descent. 

All the Blood Involved in Love

By Maya Marshall (@mayaamarshall). Haymarket Books. 80 pages. Out June 28. 

Justice, rage, peace.


By Zeina Hashem Beck (@zeinabeck). Penguin. 112 pages. Out July 5. 

Vagabond, revolutionary, unbreakable.

Girls That Never Die: Poems 

By Safia Elhillo (@mafiasafia). One World. 144 pages. Out July 12.

Rebellion, liberation, multitudes.

La Movida 

By Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta. Nightboat Books. 106 pages. Out July 12.

Struggle, submission, survival.

And coming in fall:

  • Always a Relic Never a Reliquary by Kim Sousa, Black Lawrence Press, out in August.
  • Ask the Brindled by Noʻu Revilla, Milkweed Editions, our August 9.  
  • Song of My Softening by Omotara James, Alice James Books, out August 16.
  • Urbanshee by Siaara Freeman, Button Poetry, out August 22. 
  • Golden Ax by Rio Cortez, Penguin, out August 30. 
  • The Rupture Tense: Poems by Jenny Xie, Graywolf Press, out September 6. 
  • Togetherness by Wo Chan, Nightboat Books, out September 6.
  • Bluest Nude: Poems by Ama Codjoe, Milkweed Editions, out September 13.
  • summonings by Raena Shirali, Black Lawrence Press, out in October.
  • Relinquenda by Alexandra Regalado, Beacon Press, out October 11. 
  • The Symmetry of Fish by Su Cho, Penguin, out October 11.
  • Bittering the Wound by Jacqui Germain, Autumn House Press, out October 15.
  • The Threshold: Poems, written by Iman Mersal and translated by Robyn Creswell, FSG, out October 18. 
  • Concentrate: Poems by Courtney Faye Taylor, Graywolf Press, out November 1.


Karla J. Strand is the gender and women’s studies librarian for the University of Wisconsin. She completed her doctorate in information science via University of Pretoria in South Africa with a background in history and library science, and her research centers on the role of libraries and knowledge in empowering women and girls worldwide. Tweet her @karlajstrand.