What better way to celebrate the arrival of Spring than by spending some time outside, armed with a cool drink and a book of poetry? While there’s nothing wrong with revisiting a favorite collection or author, if you want to explore some new volumes of poetry, take a look at some of the most exciting new collections of 2017!
Morgan Parker’s latest collection is kaleidoscopic, constantly interweaving new themes and influences in its discussion of what it is to be a black woman in America. Her poems are filled to the brim with pop culture references, from jazz to visual art to hip hop, and Parker channels the voices of powerful women–Michelle Obama, Nikki Giovanni, Queen Latifah, and more–as she explores the struggles and the beauty of black women in a society that is hostile at worst and indifferent at best.
In his impressive 18th collection, Stephen Dunn uses everyday objects and experiences–like looking up at the moon–as the gateway into profound reflections on life. Many of the poems address how people’s perceptions of themselves and the world they inhabit over time; in “An Evolution of Prayer,” Dunn discusses the cynicism and jaded outlook that come with age through the lens of an old man who feels his prayers have grown more complicated and less simply answered as he has grown. In Whereas, Dunn touches on our human instinct to grow while retaining our sense of wonder.
Curated by Katie Peterson, this collection repackages one of America’s best known poets on the occasion of the centenary of his death. Peterson offers a reverent look back on Lowell, but what she hopes will resonate with a contemporary audience, perhaps, is how he embraced the complexities of life rather than resisting them.
Edited by Peter Kahn, Patricia Smith, and myself, The Golden Shovel Anthology is a collection featuring some of today’s most talented and acclaimed poets from Rita Dove, Billy Collins, and many others celebrating the life and work of the legendary Gwendolyn Brooks, whose poetry and message of social justice still resonates today. Each contributing author submitted a poem known as a “golden shovel,” a poetic form developed by Terrance Hayes where the last word of each line is taken from a Brooks’ poem so that a reading of the right-hand margin of the “golden shovel” poem allows for a reading of the Brooks’ poem upon which it is inspired.