Poets have long addressed social issues. In the current, highly charged climate, such works feel as urgent as ever. Below, books that speak to the times we live in.

American Ills

Good Stock Strange Blood
Dawn Lundy Martin
Coffee House, Aug.

I Know Your Kind
William Brewer
Milkweed, Sept.

Map to the Stars
Adrian Matejka
Penguin, Apr.

Nature Poem
Tommy Pico
Tin House, May

My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter
Aja Monet
Haymarket, May

Spirit Boxing
Afaa Michael Weaver
Univ. of Pittsburgh, out now

There Are More Beautiful Things than Beyoncé
Morgan Parker
Tin House, out now

We’re On: A June Jordan Reader
Edited by Christoph Keller and Jan Heller Levi
Alice James, Sept.

Bodies & Borders

Mai Der Vang
Graywolf, Apr.

Heaven Is All Goodbyes
Tongo Eisen-Martin
City Lights, Sept.

Invocation to Daughters
Barbara Jane Reyes
City Lights, Nov.

The January Children
Safia Elhillo
Univ. of Nebraska, out now

Lessons on Expulsion
Erika L. Sánchez
Graywolf, July

Ordinary Beast
Nicole Sealey
Ecco, Sept.

Transnational Battle Field
Heriberto Yepez
Commune, Aug.

Javier Zamora
Copper Canyon, Sept.

When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities
Chen Chen
BOA, Apr.

Past's Presence

Dead White Men
Shane Rhodes
Coach House, Apr.

A People’s History of Chicago
Kevin Coval
Haymarket, Apr.

Thousand Star Hotel
Bao Phi
Coffee House, July

Layli Long Soldier
Graywolf, out now

Return to the main feature.