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.
Listed below are some of the most exciting and necessary collections published late last year and forthcoming throughout 2021.
I’m trying something a bit different with this poetry list: Instead of the usual blurb, I am attempting to focus my thoughts about each into three words (okay, or phrases—this is hard!). Sometimes the words are nouns, sometimes verbs, sometimes adjectives, and I may have just made up some words too. Since I can find it challenging to be succinct, this was a valuable exercise in imagination, reflection and, well, restraint.
Speaking of restraint… I had to seriously think about which titles to include on this list. There are so many fantastic collections being released, but unfortunately I couldn’t include them all and apologies to those I needed to cut. Some titles aren’t included because they are so obvious! So be sure to read Amanda Gorman’s The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country (Viking Book, out now), The Essential Muriel Rukeyser: Poems (Ecco, out June 1), Sonia Sanchez’s Collected Poems (Beacon Press, out now), The Essential June Jordan (Copper Canyon Press, out May 4), How to Carry Water: Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton (BOA Editions, out now) and the reissue of Morgan Parker’s Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night (Tin House, July 2021). And a shout-out to my friend and colleague, Nina Clements, on the publishing of her first collection out now from Urban Farmhouse Press, Our Mother of Sorrows.
I included these 53 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, or because they stood out to me for any other reason.
So I hope you enjoy and find some collections below that will leave you at a loss for words.
Girl, embodiment, exploration.
Pathways, coming of age, queer tenderness.
Capitalism, interrogation, profundity.
By Olivia Keenan. The Unapologetic Voice House LLC. 134 pages. Out now.
Declarative, celebratory, commanding.
Childhood, consciousness, reimagination.
By Heather Cahoon (Confederated Salish and Kootenai). University of Arizona Press. 88 pages. Out now.
Suffering, tradition, transformation.
Vivid, intimate, transcendent.
Survival, voice, illumination.
Complex identities, rage, empowerment.
By jaye simpson (@fka_jayesimpson). Nightwood Editions. 96 pages. Out now.
Sovereignty, vulnerability, honesty.
Desire, ordinariness, enlightenment.
Transformation, beauty, environment.
Golden Shovel poetry, original art, visibility.
Jubilation, laughter, decolonized desire.
Embodiment, continuums, exploration.
By Nica Bengzon. Gaudy Boy LLC. 136 pages. Out now.
Care, dichotomy, healing.
Relationships, secrets, evolution.
Queerness, surprising, the calm and the storm.
Translation, feminism, linguistic resistance.
Kaleidoscopic, ecological, immediate.
Dreamworlds, resistance, renewal.
Art for justice, intersections, humanitarianism.
Space, self-discovery, returning.
Longing, learning, self-love.
Biography, archive, atmosphere.
by Caridad Moro-Gronlier. Texas Review Press. 118 pages. Out now.
Lesbian, Cuban, deliciously shameless.
Ancestry, migration, power.
Grief, fluidity, connection.
Groundbreaking, urgent, liberating.
By Angela Narciso Torres. Four Way Books. 110 pages. Out now.
Loss, meditation, memory.
Absence, autonomy, reimagination.
Daring, voice-full, consoling.
Demanding, supple, vast.
Cultivation, collective, consciousness. [Hat tip to Publisher’s Weekly for their help on this one!]
Navigation, possibility, thriving.
Family, faith, unfettered.
By Kayleb Rae Candrilli. Copper Canyon Press. 96 pages. Out April 20.
Healing, wholeness, future.
Fleeting, wondrous, clear.
Space, form, forgiveness.
Collected by Joy Harjo (Muscogee (Creek)). W. W. Norton & Company. 240 pages. Out May 4.
Place, heritage, life.
Trauma, power, joy.
By Rosie Stockton. Nightboat Books. 120 pages. Out May 11.
Queerotic, cheeky, extra.
By Miranda Mellis. Solid Objects. 128 pages. Out June 1.
Expansion, perspective, wisdom.
Vulnerability, exploration, discovery.
Movement, attention, intimacy.
Erasure, voice, endless possibility.
Evocative, elegant, cathartic.
By Shara McCallum. Alice James Books. 100 pages. Out August 10.
Mythology, exodus, reclamation.
Migratory, devastating, unyielding.
Activism, bilingualism, belonging.
By Mahogany L. Browne. Haymarket Books. 100 pages. Out September 14.
Incarceration, injustice, indignation.