National Poetry Month hits the United States every year in April. It’s a month to set aside poems and poets all across the planet. It’s a great time to try reading something new. According to the Academy of American Poets, this month is set aside for several reasons:
— encourage the reading of poems
— highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets
— to assist teachers bringing poetry into their classroom
— encourage support for poets and poetry
— increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media outlets
— encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry and poetry books
(information shared from poets.org/national-poetry-month/faq)
The Scott County Public Library over the last few years has been working to grow the poetry collections that we have available for all ages of readers. Poems are out there for all ages of readers, from children to adults. Today, we are going to share some recent additions for adults to our poetry collections. Look for a about poetry for children and teens early next week.
If you’ve never tried poetry before, give it a shot. You might find something you really enjoy. Have something you want us to add to the poetry collection? Stop by any of our three locations at the reference desk and our friendly staff can fill out a purchase request for you for us to consider adding to our collection.
And also don’t forget that poetry is also available for download on our Hoopla app as well as our Libby / OverDrive app with your Evergreen Indiana library card.
American Melancholy: Poems
Joyce Carol Oates
A new collection of poetry from an American literary legend, her first in twenty-five years
Joyce Carol Oates is one of our most insightful observers of the human heart and mind, and, with her acute social consciousness, one of the most insistent and inspired witnesses of a shared American history.
Oates is perhaps best known for her prodigious output of novels and short stories, many of which have become contemporary classics. However, Oates has also always been a faithful writer of poetry. American Melancholy showcases some of her finest work of the last few decades.
Covering subjects big and small, and written in an immediate and engaging style, this collection touches on both the personal and political. Loss, love, and memory are investigated, along with the upheavals of our modern age, the reality of our current predicaments, and the ravages of poverty, racism, and social unrest. Oates skillfully writes characters ranging from a former doctor at a Chinese People’s Liberation Army hospital to Little Albert, a six-month-old infant who took part in a famous study that revealed evidence of classical conditioning in human beings. — Goodreads
After her mother died, poet Victoria Chang refused to write elegies. Rather, she distilled her grief during a feverish two weeks by writing scores of poetic obituaries for all she lost in the world. In Obit, Chang writes of “the way memory gets up after someone has died and starts walking.” These poems reinvent the form of newspaper obituary to both name what has died (“civility,” “language,” “the future,” “Mother’s blue dress”) and the cultural impact of death on the living. Whereas elegy attempts to immortalize the dead, an obituary expresses loss, and the love for the dead becomes a conduit for self-expression. In this unflinching and lyrical book, Chang meets her grief and creates a powerful testament for the living. — Goodreads
Dynamic poems that celebrate the Black vernacular and engage with the world through the lens of Hip Hop as well as America’s vast reserve of racial and gendered epithets–from an award-winning author and poet.
fin-na /ˈfinə/ contraction: (1) going to; intending to. rooted in African American Vernacular English. (2) eye dialect spelling of “fixing to.” (3) Black possibility; Black futurity; Blackness as tomorrow.
A lyrical and sharp celebration, these poems consider the brevity and disposability of Black lives and other oppressed people in our current era of emboldened white supremacy. In three key parts, Finna explores the mythos and erasure of names in the American narrative; asks how gendered language can provoke violence; and finally, through the celebration and examination of the Black vernacular, expands the notions of possibility, giving us a new language of hope. — Goodreads
I Would Leave If I Could
Grammy Award–nominated, platinum-selling musician Halsey is heralded as one of the most compelling voices of her generation. In I Would Leave Me If I Could, she reveals never-before-seen poetry of longing, love, and the nuances of bipolar disorder. — Goodreads
Runaway: New Poems
An NPR Best Book of the Year
A new collection of poetry from one of our most acclaimed contemporary poets, Pulitzer Prize winner Jorie Graham
In her formidable and clairvoyant new collection, Runaway, Jorie Graham deepens her vision of our futurity. What of us will survive? Identity may be precarious, but perhaps love is not? Keeping pace with the desperate runaway of climate change, social disruption, our new mass migrations, she struggles to reimagine a habitable present—a now—in which we might endure, wary, undaunted, ever-inventive, “counting silently towards infinity.” Graham’s essential voice guides us fluently “as we pass here now into the next-on world,” what future we have surging powerfully through these pages, where the poet implores us “to the last be human.” — Goodreads
How to Carry Water: Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton
Edited with a Foreword by Aracelis Girmay, How to Carry Water: Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton celebrates famous poems and shines light on lesser-known poems by poet―and national treasure―Lucille Clifton (1936–2010).
Lucille Clifton’s poetry defined strength through adversity focusing particularly on African-American experience and family life. Clifton’s poems were widely celebrated during her lifetime, and she received wide acclaim for her work including the National Book Award, the Robert Frost Medal, and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Her poems continue to inspire a new generation of readers and writers in the 21st century.
In How to Carry Water, formidable younger poet Aracelis Girmay (winner of the Whiting Award, GLCA Award, and the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award) introduces a selection of Clifton’s work that is simultaneously timeless and fitting for today’s tumultuous social and political moment. Goodreads
The Best American Poetry, 2020
Paisley Rekdal and David Lehman
The 2020 edition of contemporary American poetry returns, guest edited by Paisley Rekdal, the award-winning poet and author of Nightingale, proving that this is “a ‘best’ anthology that really lives up to its title” (Chicago Tribune).
Since 1988, The Best American Poetry anthology series has been “one of the mainstays of the poetry publication world” (Academy of American Poets). Each volume in the series presents some of the year’s most remarkable poems and poets.
Now, the 2020 edition is guest edited by Utah’s Poet Laureate Paisely Rekdal, called “a poet of observation and history…[who] revels in detail but writes vast, moral poems that help us live in a world of contraries” by the Los Angeles Times. In The Best American Poetry 2020, she has selected a fascinating array of work that speaks eloquently to the “contraries” of our present moment in time. Goodreads
How to Fly in Ten Thousand Easy Lessons
In this intimate collection, the beloved author of The Poisonwood Bible and more than a dozen other New York Times bestsellers, winner or finalist for the Pulitzer and countless other prizes, now trains her eye on the everyday and the metaphysical in poems that are smartly crafted, emotionally rich, and luminous.
In her second poetry collection, Barbara Kingsolver offers reflections on the practical, the spiritual, and the wild. She begins with “how to” poems addressing everyday matters such as being hopeful, married, divorced; shearing a sheep; praying to unreliable gods; doing nothing at all; and of course, flying. Next come rafts of poems about making peace (or not) with the complicated bonds of friendship and family, and making peace (or not) with death, in the many ways it finds us. Some poems reflect on the redemptive powers of art and poetry itself; others consider where everything begins.Closing the book are poems that celebrate natural wonders—birdsong and ghost-flowers, ruthless ants, clever shellfish, coral reefs, deadly deserts, and thousand-year-old beech trees—all speaking to the daring project of belonging to an untamed world beyond ourselves.
Altogether, these are poems about transcendence: finding breath and lightness in life and the everyday acts of living. It’s all terribly easy and, as the title suggests, not entirely possible. Or at least, it is never quite finished. Goodreads
A NPR Best Book of 2020
Homie is Danez Smith’s magnificent anthem about the saving grace of friendship. Rooted in the loss of one of Smith’s close friends, this book comes out of the search for joy and intimacy within a nation where both can seem scarce and getting scarcer. In poems of rare power and generosity, Smith acknowledges that in a country overrun by violence, xenophobia, and disparity, and in a body defined by race, queerness, and diagnosis, it can be hard to survive, even harder to remember reasons for living. But then the phone lights up, or a shout comes up to the window, and family—blood and chosen—arrives with just the right food and some redemption. Part friendship diary, part bright elegy, part war cry, Homie is the exuberant new book written for Danez and for Danez’s friends and for you and for yours. — Goodreads
Rupi Kaur constantly embraces growth, and in home body, she walks readers through a reflective and intimate journey visiting the past, the present, and the potential of the self. home body is a collection of raw, honest conversations with oneself – reminding readers to fill up on love, acceptance, community, family, and embrace change. Illustrated by the author, themes of nature and nurture, light and dark, rest here.
i dive into the well of my body
and end up in another world
everything i need
already exists in me
there’s no need
to look anywhere else
Every Day We Get More Illegal
Juan Felipe Herrera
A State of the Union from the nation’s first Latino Poet Laureate. Trenchant, compassionate, and filled with hope.
“Many poets since the 1960s have dreamed of a new hybrid art, part oral, part written, part English, part something else: an art grounded in ethnic identity, fueled by collective pride, yet irreducibly individual too. Many poets have tried to create such an art: Herrera is one of the first to succeed.”—New York Times
“Herrera has the unusual capacity to write convincing political poems that are as personally felt as poems can be.”—NPR
In this collection of poems, written during and immediately after two years on the road as United States Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera reports back on his travels through contemporary America. Poems written in the heat of witness, and later, in quiet moments of reflection, coalesce into an urgent, trenchant, and yet hope-filled portrait. The struggle and pain of those pushed to the edges, the shootings and assaults and injustices of our streets, the lethal border game that separates and divides, and then: a shift of register, a leap for peace and a view onto the possibility of unity. Every Day We Get More Illegal is a jolt to the conscience–filled with the multiple powers of the many voices and many textures of every day in America. Goodreads
What He Did in Solitary: Poems
The prize-winning poet reflects on what sustains us in a sundered world.
With his dazzling ability to set words spinning, Amit Majmudar brings us poems that sharpen both wit and knives as he examines our “life in solitary.” Equally engaged with human history and the human heart, Majmudar transfigures identity from a locus of captivity to the open field of his liberation. In pieces that include a stunning central sequence, “Letters to Myself in My Next Incarnation,” the poet is both the Huck and Jim of his own adventures. He is unafraid to face human failings: from Oxycontin addiction to Gujarat rioting, he examines–often with dark comedy–the fragility of the soul, the unchartability of pain, and the reasons we sing and grieve and make war. All-American and multitudinously alone, dancing in his confinement, Majmudar is a poet of exuberance and transcendence: “What I love here, / Poems and women mostly, / I know you can’t remember,” he tells his future self. “But they were worthy of my love.” Goodreads
Swimming Lessons: Poems
The debut collection of poetry from Lili Reinhart, the actress and outspoken advocate for mental health awareness and body positivity.
Swimming Lessons explores the euphoric beginnings of young love, battling anxiety and depression in the face of fame, and the inevitable heartbreak that stems from passion. Relatable yet deeply intimate, provocative yet comforting, bite-sized yet profound, Lili’s poems reflect her trademark honesty and unique perspective. Accompanied by striking and evocative illustrations, Swimming Lessons reveals the depths of female experience, and is the work of a storyteller who is coming into her own. — Goodreads
Named after a magical textbook, Cherene Sherrard’s Grimoire is a poetry collection centered on the recovery and preservation of ancestral knowledge and on the exploration of black motherhood. Incorporating experiences of food preparation, childrearing, and childbearing, the book begins with a section of poems that re-imagine recipes from one of the earliest cookbooks by an African-American woman: Mrs. Malinda Russell’s A Domestic Cookbook. Mrs. Russell’s voice as a nineteenth century chef is joined in conversation with a contemporary amateur cook in poetic recipes that take the form of soft and formal sonnets, introspective and historical lyric, and found poems. In the second section, the poet explores black maternal death and the harrowing circumstances surrounding birth for women of color in the United States.
Even while confronting the dangers and tragedies of contemporary black life, Sherrard creates hopeful projections of the future. She imagines an afterlife in which souls of black mothers who have died in childbirth get to travel into space with the reluctant help of the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and she positions a doula as a figure of salvation who intervenes and advocates for black mothers, challenging the dehumanizing practices of early obstetrics, genetics, and pseudo-science. Throughout Grimoire, Sherrard explores the precarity of black mothering over the last two centuries and the creative and ingenuous modes of human survival. Goodreads