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April 3, 2024 – April is National Poetry Month, and we're celebrating with this reading list of new poetry available at the library. These collections from a diverse array of voices were all published in the last two years.

National Poetry Month was created by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, and they have curated a list of activities to celebrate the month, including signing up for "poem a day" emails and activities for students. Find them all here. Then check out some poetry to enjoy all month.

Book descriptions are excerpted from the library's catalog, which includes information from publishers. Browse the books below and click on their covers to put titles on hold.

"Spectral Evidence" by Gregory Pardlo (2024)

Moving fluidly between considerations of the hip-hop group NWA, Tituba, the only Black woman to be accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials, MOVE, the movement and militant separatist group famous for its violent stand-offs with the Philadelphia Police Department ("flames rose like orchids... blocks lay open like egg cartons") and more, Pardlo ponders the development of his own identity and sense of self as it was shaped against the glaring forces of whiteness. At times challenging and at other times warm, inviting, and deeply personal ("Only by loving every child of this earth / can we be worthy of loving our own"), Spectral Evidence forces us to consider how we think about devotion, beauty and art, about the criminalization and death of Black lives, about justice and how these have been inscribed into our present, our history, and the Western canon.

"A Year of Last Things" by Michael Ondaatje (2024)

In pieces that are sometimes wittily funny, moving, and always wise, we journey back through time by way of alchemical leaps, unearthing writings by revered masters, moments of shared tenderness, and abandoned landscapes we hold onto to rediscover the influence of every border crossed. Moving from a Sri Lankan boarding school to Moliere's chair during his last stage performance, to Bulgarian churches and their icons, to a California coast, and his beloved Canadian rivers, Michael Ondaatje casts a brilliant eye that merges his past and present, in the way memory and the distant shores of art and lost friends continue to influence all that surrounds him.

"From From" by Monica Youn (2023)

A collection of poems that reflects the experiences of Asian Americans and the problem of creating an Asian American identity while influenced by Westerners' ideas about Asians.

"Tripas" by Brandon Som (2023)

Brandon Som follows up his award-winning debut with a book of poems built out of a multicultural, multigenerational childhood home, in which he celebrates his Chicana grandmother, who worked nights on the assembly line at Motorola, and his Chinese American father and grandparents, who ran the family corner store. Invested in the circuitry and circuitous routes of migration and labor, Som's lyricism weaves together the narratives of his transnational communities.

"Above Ground" by Clint Smith (2023)

Clint Smith's vibrant and compelling new collection traverses the vast emotional terrain of fatherhood and explores how becoming a parent has recalibrated his sense of the world.

"I Love My People" by Kim Singleton (2023)

"I Love My People" is a poetic tribute to African American history-makers and culture-shakers, complete with nostalgic photography and vibrant, playful illustration. This book captures Black joy in all its resilient splendor.

"Someone Somewhere Maybe" by Sophie Diener (2023)

For fans of Rupi Kaur, Cleo Wade, and Amanda Lovelace, "Someone Somewhere Maybe" speaks to the joys and sorrows of finding your way as a young woman today. Poignant and beautifully written, TikTok fan favorite Sophie Diener's debut poetry collection takes readers on an introspective journey through first love, first heartbreak, first loss, identity, and self-worth. Filled with honesty and warmth, each poem reveals something new about the human condition, and brilliantly captures what growing up feels like, in a way that is both relatable and affirming. 

"Suddenly We" by Evie Shockley (2023)

In her new poetry collection, Evie Shockley mobilizes visual art, sound, and multilayered language to chart routes towards openings for the collective dreaming of a more capacious 'we.' How do we navigate between the urgency of our own becoming and the imperative insight that whoever we are, we are in relation to each other? Beginning with the visionary art of Black women like Alison Saar and Alma Thomas, Shockley's poems draw and forge a widening constellation of connections that help make visible the interdependence of everyone and everything on Earth.

"Have You Been Long Enough at Table" by Leslie Sainz (2023)

Taking its title from Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea," Leslie Sainz's "Have You Been Long Enough at Table" explores the personal and historical tragedies of the Cuban American experience through a distinctly feminine lens. Formally diverse with echoes of Spanish throughout, this debut collection critiques power and patriarchy as weaponized by the governments of the United States and the Republic of Cuba. In investigating the realities of displacement and inherited exile, Sainz honors her imagined past, present, and future as a result of the "revolution within the revolution" – the emancipation of Cuban women. Through lyric and associative meditations, Sainz anatomizes the unique grief of immigrant daughters, as her speakers discover how family can be a microcosm of the very violence that displaced them. 

"An Ordinary Life" by B. H. Fairchild (2023)

In this stirring volume, award-winning poet B. H. Fairchild seeks the ironic, haunting presence imbuing each ordinary life with beauty, power, and meaning. By turns polyphonic and deeply personal, these poems range from Kansas highways and sunbaked baseball fields to secondhand memories of a World War II foxhole. They zoom in on a welder's truck, a Walmart on Black Friday, and a record store, where a chance encounter offers radiant kindness in the face of grief. In a suite of prose poems written in the returning persona of the machinist and philosopher Roy Eldridge Garcia, "a watcher of things," Fairchild finds sacred meaning in domestic scenes and expansive imagined narratives. Throughout, the poet evokes the brutal beauty of the American heartland, a morning's "sheet-metal sky" and a grandfather's farm, with its "dusty creek, damp / only when the winter wheat was bogged / in snow."