Formally diverse and often genre bending, this season’s collections turn to the past, myth, and travel to offer imaginative, psychologically rich depictions of the present.
Mark Bibbins. Copper Canyon, Feb. 11 ($17 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-55659-577-6)
In this elegiac collection addressed to Mark Crast, Bibbins’s friend and lover who died of AIDS at age 25 during the AIDS crisis, Bibbins grapples with personal grief set against greater societal tragedy.
Stephanie Burt. Princeton Univ., Apr. 14 ($24.95, ISBN 978-0-691-18019-9)
Burt’s translations and adaptations of the works of the ancient Greek poet Callimachus introduce new readers to the poet’s lyric writing, whose topics range from sex and gender to technology. Modern readers will find this voice stirring and relevant to the 21st century.
The Caiplie Caves
Karen Solie. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, July 7 ($25, ISBN 978-0-374-11796-2)
Juxtaposing the story of a seventh-century monk with contemporary considerations of economics and environmentalism, Solie poses questions about solitude, faith, class, and power, meditating on the personal contradictions that arise out of retreating from public life.
Every Day We Get More Illegal
Juan Felipe Herrera. City Lights, July 14 ($17.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-87286-828-1)
Former U.S. poet laureate Herrera recounts his two years on the road traveling through America, offering a portrait of struggle and violence, but also one of hope and resolution.
In the Lateness of the World
Carolyn Forche. Penguin Press, Mar. 10 ($24, ISBN 978-0-525-56040-1)
Forche sifts through history’s aftershocks and repercussions in her first new collection in 17 years. These poems investigate borders and migration, delivering a lasting record of witness and arguing for the responsibility all humans share toward one another.
The Malevolent Volume
Justin Phillip Reed. Coffee House, Apr. 7 ($16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-56689-576-7)
Reed examines the aesthetics of blackness, reclaiming a collective black spirit from public exploitation, in this collection that engages with classic and contemporary sources pulled from a variety of genres.
Pale Colors in a Tall Field
Carl Phillips. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Mar. 3 ($23, ISBN 978-0-374-22905-4)
Writing on memory’s longevity and reach with poignancy and metaphorical subtlety, Phillips explores the self through what’s retained, reflecting on the relationship of thought to the body.
Postcolonial Love Poem
Natalie Diaz. Graywolf, Mar. 3 ($16 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64445-014-7)
Diaz interrogates America’s violent past and looks unflinchingly at the statistics related to marginalized groups living in the U.S. today.
Stranger by Night
Edward Hirsch. Knopf, Feb. 11 ($27.95, ISBN 978-0-525-65778-1)
In a sequence of poems about the memories that have and continue to sustain him, Hirsch casts his eye back through the decades to reckon with the good and bad, exploring life’s many powerful joys and offering elegies—notably, in this collection, to his fellow poets.
White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia
Kiki Petrosino. Sarabande, May 5 ($15.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-946448-54-5)
Using a variety of lyric forms, Petrosino examines her genealogical and intellectual roots in Virginia while confronting its legacies of slavery and discrimination. These poems candidly tackle questions of identity, historical injustice, and suffering while suggesting the possibility of greater understanding through scientific innovation.
Prince Neptune by Cody Simpson (Apr. 7, $16.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-5248-5399-0). The debut from Australian singer and songwriter Simpson, aka Prince Neptune, uses the four elements—earth, air, fire, and water—to explore nature, love, freedom, and fame.
Smear for Girls by Greta Bellamacina (Apr. 7, $15.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-5248-5408-9). This anthology of poems by and for young women tackles the subject of feminism and resilience, introducing readers to a new generation of international poets.
Tomorrow’s Woman by Greta Bellamacina (Feb. 4, $14.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-5248-5409-6). Bellamacina—a poet, actor, filmmaker, and model—explores motherhood, female identity, and ennui in this collection.
Plunder by Dorsey Craft (Apr. 19, $17 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-87233-315-4). Winner of the 2019 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize, Craft writes from the persona of a pirate, Bonny Annie, in this debut.
Brand New Spacesuit by John Gallaher (Apr. 21, $17 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-950774-03-6). Gallaher’s fifth collection confronts caring for his aging parents, capturing memories of the poet’s adoption and childhood, family illness, and the raising of his own children.
Improvisation Without Accompaniment by Matt Morton (Apr. 7, $17 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-942683-95-7). Winner of the 2018 A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize, Morton’s debut reckons with life’s brevity and meaning through poems that recall the changing seasons in a small Texas town.
Rue by Kathryn Nuernberger (Apr. 7, $17 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-942683-97-1). Fact and folklore are juxtaposed in this feminist ecopoetic collection that explores scientific thought and personal trial. Nuernberger’s personal examination of plants is interwoven with biographies of female ecologists, shedding new light on the role of women in medical history.
My Second Work by Bridget Lowe (Feb. 18, $15.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-88748-654-8) discovers meaning in suffering through a metaphysical consideration of how the body, mind, and soul are shaped by daily work.
Sojourners of the In-between by Gregory Djanikian (Feb. 18, $15.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-88748-652-4). In poems that address gratitude, Djanikian finds merit in unexpected places and celebrates life’s ephemerality through meditative lyric poems.
Nineteen by Makenzie Campbell (Mar. 1, $14.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-77168-186-5). Campbell writes openly on the transition to adulthood, heartbreak, violence, and healing. 60,000-copy announced first printing.
Sincerely by F.S. Yousaf (Apr. 1, $14.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-77168-192-6). In this compilation of letters and love poems, Yousaf explores the impact one person can have on another, sending a message of enduring hope in human companionship.
Facing You: City Lights Spotlight No. 19 by Uche Nduka (June 16, $15.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-87286-830-4). These poems of love and desire investigate what goes into fabricating the public and private self in the face of war, exile, protest, and police violence.
Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod by Traci Brimhall (May 5, $17 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-55659-580-6). Transcending genre, these poems and lyric essays search for meaning amid tragedy, juxtaposing nightmares and dreams after the murder trial of a slain friend, which coincided with the poet’s own pregnancy.
Deluge by Leila Chatti (May 12, $17 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-55659-589-9). Chatti’s debut investigates faith, shame, grief, medical treatment, and gender through the lens of an Arab-American woman suffering from an extended period of bleeding.
Obit by Victoria Chang (Apr. 28, $17 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-55659-574-5) studies the sensation of grief after the death of Chang’s mother through obituaries dedicated to the unspoken people, objects, and experiences a single death impacts.
Dub: Finding Ceremony by Alexis Pauline Gumbs (Feb. 14, $24.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4780-0645-9). The last volume in Gumbs’s trilogy draws from theorist Sylvia Wynter, offering a sequence of prose poems that conceive of ways for dealing with memory, healing, and the everyday.
Mezzanine by Zoe Hitzig (June 9, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-297743-4). Hitzig’s debut inspects human certitude, power, and control over others and the natural world through poems that use scientific and lyrical enquiry to wrangle with and relish in uncertainty.
Birth Chart by Rachel Feder (May 1, $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4384-7936-1). In four sections, including a serial poem written as a conversation with the poet H.D., Feder reflects on astrology and motherhood, contemplating how astrology might serve as shorthand for cultural and personal experience.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Living Weapon by Rowan Ricardo Phillips (Feb. 18, $24, ISBN 978-0-374-19199-3). In his third collection, Phillips ruminates on violins and violence, the fragile and the fatal, through experiences shared by all people and the joint human effort at survival.
Sometimes I Never Suffered by Shane McCrae (June 2, $25, ISBN 978-0-374-24081-3). Religion, history, and politics are investigated in these poems of reckoning with American life and racial violence, ultimately claiming time’s power to repair.
The Best Poems of Jane Kenyon by Jane Kenyon (Apr. 21, $16 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64445-019-2). Selected by Kenyon’s husband, Donald Hall, just before his death in 2018, this collection celebrates Kenyon’s poems most cherished by readers, some of which confront her struggle with depression, while offering a memorable and lasting study of life.
Cinderbiter: Celtic Poems by Martin Shaw and Tony Hoagland (July 7, $16 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64445-027-7). These new retellings of Celtic poetry’s great lyrics and legends offer readers previously unseen bardic lyrics, folkloric sagas, and heroes’ journeys.
The More Extravagant Feast by Leah Naomi Green (Apr. 7, $16 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64445-018-5). Winner of the Walt Whitman Award, this collection investigates the human body’s exchange with the world via pregnancy and motherhood, connecting this motif to Earth’s ecology and its power to create and renew.
And the Prophet Said: Kahlil Gibran’s Classic Text with Newly Discovered Writings by Kahlil Gibran, edited by Dalton Hilu Einhorn (Apr. 1, $14.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64297-016-6). Offering a complete gift edition of Gibran’s classic text with more than 150 newly discovered poems, aphorisms, and epigrams, this collection revisits an educational fable that has long been cherished by millions.
The Death of Sitting Bear: New and Selected Poems by N. Scott Momaday (Mar. 10, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-296115-0). Collecting more than 200 new and selected poems and spanning nearly 50 years, this book gathers the illuminating writings of Pulitzer Prize–winning Momaday, a unique voice in American letters born into the Kiowa tribe and raised in the Southwest.
The Breakbeat Poets, Vol. 4: Latinext, edited by Felicia Chavez, Jose Olivarez, and Willie Perdomo (Apr. 7, $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64259-129-3). Celebrating the narratives of Latinidad, this anthology collects poems across nationalities, genders, sexualities, races, and writing styles.
Text Messages by Yassin Alsalman (May 5, $16 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64259-150-7). Alsalman, an Iraqi-Canadian rapper and founding member of WeAreTheMedium, provides a multimedia, cross-genre guide to survival in a post-9/11 world that reckons with, among other things, looming catastrophes in technology.
House of Anansi
2020 Griffin Poetry Prize: A Selection of the Shortlist, edited by Hoa Nguyen (June 2, $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4870-0731-7). This annual anthology of the best Canadian and international poetry recognizes the poets shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize, introducing readers to some the finest poems in their collections.
Junebat by John Elizabeth Stintzi (Apr. 7, $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4870-0784-3). Stintzi’s debut contends with doubt, pain, and isolation, mapping the poet’s depression during the time they questioned and came to terms with their gender identity.
Ledger by Jane Hirshfield (Mar. 10, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-525-65780-4). Through an ecological and political meditation that is part personal reckoning, part public record, Hirshfield investigates the present-day, delivering a call to action and a reminder of the common responsibility shared by all people.
dayliGht by Roya Marsh (Mar. 31, $16 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-374-53889-7). In her debut, Marsh, considered a “tomboy” growing up, vividly details the aesthetics of difference during an era in which gender and sexuality were seldom addressed.
Riven by Catherine Owen (Apr. 14, $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-77041-524-9). Cataloguing her young spouse’s death by drug addiction and her subsequent relocation to Fraser River in Vancouver, British Columbia, Owen’s collection is a story of witness and recovery helped by walking and watching the river, providing a tribute to the natural world and a record of transformation.
A Treatise on Stars by Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge (Feb. 25, $16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-8112-2938-8). Organized as a continuous poetic sequence with each poem made up of numbered serial parts, Berssenbrugge takes the reader from the desert arroyo of New Mexico to the white-tailed deer of Maine in a work that celebrates daily experience and sensory attention.
New York Review Poets
Medusa Beach by Melissa Monroe (May 12, $14.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68137-458-1). Drawing from a variety of printed texts, including technical manuals, books of spells, and dictionaries of slang, Monroe contemplates the oddities of the mind and the world in these adventurous, contemplative poems.
The Absurd Man by Major Jackson (Feb. 11, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-324-00455-4). Inspired by the philosophy of Albert Camus, Jackson’s fifth volume paints the poet as “absurd hero” enjoying the interplay between perception and reality, and contemplating desire, technology, and accountability.
Foreign Bodies by Kimiko Hahn (Mar. 3, $35.95, ISBN 978-1-324-00521-6). Inspired by Chevalier Jackson’s collection of ingested curiosities, Han’s 10th collection investigates the grip that insignificant objects have on human life.
For the Ride by Alice Notley (Mar. 3, $20 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-14-313457-2) takes the reader on an adventure with the protagonist “One,” who, having survived global disaster, boards a ship made of words to flee to another dimension. The ambition on this Ark is to save language, and One and others compile words that need saving, changing language in the process.
In the Field Between Us by Molly McCully Brown and Susannah Nevison (June 2, $15.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-89255-514-7). An exchange of poem-letters between two disabled writers sensitively recounts the social and emotional difficulties they’ve experienced, meditating on trauma and cultural inclusion in light of disability.
All Heathens by Marianne Chan (Mar. 24, $15.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-946448-52-1). Chan’s exploration of her Filipino-American identity revisits Magellan’s voyage around the world, contending with themes of family, discovery, and migration.
Night Animals by Yusef Komunyakaa, illus. by Rachel Bliss (June 2, $15 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-946448-58-3). Komunyakaa viscerally assumes the persona of creatures and beasts—among them owls, crickets, and leopards—in poems paired with Bliss’s surreal, startling animal images.
Simon & Schuster
We Inherit What the Fires Left by William Evans (Mar. 24, $16 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-982127-39-8). Evans, cofounder of the Black Nerd Problems website, offers a collection that connects themes of inheritance, dreams, and generational injuries with the contemporary experience of a black man in the American suburbs.
Good Boys by Megan Fernandes (Feb. 18, $15.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-947793-40-8). Fernandes’s complex—at times humorous, at others accusatory—depiction of feminist rage shadows a speaker as she negotiates adulthood in various cities.
Univ. of Chicago
Two Menus by Rachel DeWoskin (Mar. 20, $20, ISBN 978-0-226-68217-4). Exploring dualities through the language of her family (English) and that of her new country (Chinese), DeWoskin considers contrasts: youth and adulthood, safety and danger, humor and sorrow.
Univ. of Nebraska
Exodus by Gbenga Adeoba (Mar. 1, $17.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4962-2117-9). Winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry, this debut explores themes of forced and free migration, recollection, and transition, questioning the juncture between the imagined and the historic.
Univ. of Pittsburgh
Holiday in the Islands of Grief by Jeffrey McDaniel (Mar. 17, $17 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-8229-6610-4) tackles the inward-looking capaciousness of loss through surrealistic imagery, weaving childhood and adulthood in poems about middle age and domestic life, tragedy, and innocence.
Brook the Divide by Rebecca A. Spears (June 2, $16 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-950730-26-1). Through an imaginary friendship with Vincent Van Gogh, the speaker of Spears’s poems uncovers the difficulties of joining the artistic and the everyday.
God’s Green Earth by Noelle Kocot (May 5, $17 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-950268-02-3). With an ecstatic literary sensibility, Kocot addresses the penetrating spiritual qualities of the everyday and its inherent surprise and astonishment.
The Sky Contains the Plans by Matthew Rohrer (Apr. 7, $16 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-950268-04-7) examines hypnagogia, the slip from consciousness between wakefulness and sleep, in these poems that assess the line between dreaming and waking life.
Wayne State Univ.
Words Like Thunder: New and Used Anishinaabe Prayers by Lois Beardslee (Apr. 28, $18.99 trade paper,
ISBN 978-0-8143-4748-5) celebrates the indigenous peoples of the Great Lakes, addressing climate change and socioeconomic equality, as well as the ordinary and the sacred.
Mezzaluna by Michele Leggott (Feb. 4, $24.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-8195-7907-2). Gathering work from Leggott’s nine books, this selection features a wide sampling of poems that explore paradoxes, family history, and memory.
The Solace Is Not the Lullaby by Jill Osier (Mar. 17, $20 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-300-25034-3). Winner of the 2019 Yale Series of Younger Poets, Osier’s poems offer a brief, poetic record of what has been lost and reimagined.