National Poetry Month!

Article by annalia

April, how we love thee—and poetry, too! Are you a poetry connoisseur? Unsure where to begin? Somewhere in between? This week’s book list is twenty-five collections to celebrate National Poetry Month! Visit old favorites or try something new!


My Feelings: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977108
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Graywolf Press - June 2nd, 2015

Can’t have this list without MY FEELINGS, of course! The latest by Nick Flynn, in which his father Jonathan is dead and his daughter Maeve is growing up. There’s a poem in memory of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, another penned to honor the wedding of dear friends, a riff on the movie Gravity, an elegy to Lou Reed. And of course, the spirit of Jody Draper, Flynn’s mother, present and elusive as ever.

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Bluets Cover Image
ISBN: 9781933517407
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wave Books - October 1st, 2009

An essential text for not only poetry but essay, memoir, and what has become known as the lyric essay. Maggie Nelson’s BLUETS meditates on sacrifice, suffering, and stagnation. Dense and cerebral with moments of clarity so raw they’ll make you weep.

The Collected Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061558894
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - March 6th, 2018

Forget the five Sylvia Plath poems you know from your freshman english seminar! Punchy Plath can still hold her own among the best of them. A collection of maddening, bewitching, angsty poems about #DadStuff, anxiety, mania, self-loathing, and desire.

Gabriel: A Poem Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804172875
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Knopf - March 1st, 2016

In 2011, Edward Hirsch’s son Gabriel died of a drug overdose at age twenty-two. With GABRIEL: A POEM, Hirsch grieves his child and explores the way grief about losing a child has been documented through the ages. Heartbreaking and hope-making.

I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems 1975 - 2014 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062389084
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Ecco - September 29th, 2015

Of the many signs that Eileen Myles might wear above her head, one without doubt is a declaration that she is gay and couldn’t give two buckets of squirrel poo if you’ve got an opinion about it. Intimate to the edge of self-blaspheme, Myles is that friend you call to bail you out of jail.


The Night We're Not Sleeping in (Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781936747931
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Sarabande Books - December 16th, 2014

Disclaimer: this debut collection also has some big feelings, as Sean Bishop mourns his father. But THE NIGHT WE’RE NOT SLEEPING IN is just as much about Christianity, Dante, and outer space. “Somebody tell me, / where is Karen,” he writes. “Who are these tourists / pressing pennies in my hand.” Brain food for sure.

Night Sky with Exit Wounds Cover Image
ISBN: 9781556594953
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Copper Canyon Press - April 5th, 2016

Perhaps the most stunning debut collection of 2016. In NIGHT SKY WITH EXIT WOUNDS, Ocean Voung leads us through a series of dreamscapes with a myriad of voices as varied as the structures in which they present themselves. “Seventh Circle of Earth” consists entirely of numbers, with all the “poetry proper” in the footnotes, while “Thanksgiving 2006” is fifteen short lines including this battle cry: “I am ready. / I am ready to be every animal / you leave behind.”

All Pilgrim (Stahlecker Selections) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781935536598
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Four Way Books - October 6th, 2015

Originally published in October of last year, I didn’t encounter this book until I read it in anticipation of Stephanie Ford’s recent event at the store. Probably my favorite collection since Nick Flynn’s MY FEELINGS, published last June. Here, Ford shares family secrets, poems she wrote while working jobs she hated, memories of life in the wake of natural disaster. Please read just for “Hazard Map” alone.

The Dream Songs: Poems (FSG Classics) Cover Image
By John Berryman, Daniel Swift (Editor), Michael Hofmann (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780374534554
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - October 21st, 2014

What to say that hasn’t already been said? There’s probably some John Berryman you know without knowing you do, like the opening of Dream Song No. 14: “Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.” America as seen through the eyes of Berryman’s Henry. Basically the opposite of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.”


Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice (Camino del Sol ) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780816502790
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: University of Arizona Press - March 10th, 2016

It started with a protest: “On April 20, 2010, nine Latino students chained themselves to the main doors of the Arizona State Capital in an act of civil disobedience.” They were fighting Arizona’s anti-immigration law SB 1070, which “requires police to determine the immigration status of someone arrested or detained when there is ‘reasonable suspicion’ [that] they are not in the U.S. legally.” Inspired by their bravery, poet Francisco X. Alarcón wrote a poem about it then started a Facebook page called “Poets Responding to SB 1070.” This anthology is a selection of what has since grown to over three thousand contributions.

Citizen: An American Lyric Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555976903
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Graywolf Press - October 7th, 2014

You shouldn’t need more than this to know if you want to read this book or not: “Hold up, did you just hear, did you just say, did you just see, did you just do that? Then the voice in your head silently tells you to take your foot off your throat because just getting along shouldn’t be an ambition.” Anthem.

Load Poems Like Guns: Women's Poetry from Herat, Afghanistan Cover Image
By Farzana Marie (Translator)
ISBN: 9780985981884
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Holy Cow Press - April 7th, 2015

A damn badass anthology with poems by eight prominent Herati women poets. With over thirty pages dedicated to the translation and the story behind the book, LOAD POEMS LIKE GUNS showcases the contemporaries of game-changer Nadia Anjuman (d. 2005). Each poem in translation also includes the original Persian Dari beside it. Amazing!

Voyage of the Sable Venus: and Other Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101875438
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
Published: Knopf - September 29th, 2015

An ode to the archive and a testament to both the persistence and erasure of black women. The title poem, two thirds of the collection, is composed entirely of titles, captions, and descriptions from depictions of black women in galleries and museums around the world. If I can only make you read one book on this list, it would be this one.


Olympic Butter Gold: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9780810132221
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Northwestern University Press - November 30th, 2015

Who says rap can’t be poetry? Seriously, though: the best emcees use rhythm, metaphors, syntax, and juxtaposition as much as any poet. No wordsmith illustrates this better than Fresno’s own Jonathan Moody. Conjuring 2pac and James Brown, roos shoes and agent orange, OLYMPIC BUTTER GOLD is poetry for the people! Outcasts and hip-hop fans, take note.

I'm Your Huckleberry Cover Image
ISBN: 9781936767328
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Brooklyn Arts Press - December 1st, 2014


Erika Jo Brown is a:
a) faerie
b) girl wonder
c) poet you should read
d) PhD Candidate at the University of Houston
e) all of the above

E! The answer is E (for Erika). Unguarded, snark-tastic, and wholly unpretentious, I’M YOUR HUCKLEBERRY is a quirky collection of love poems for everyone (skeptics included!).

SKU: r9780996316729

A profound departure from his chapbook DEAR MARK, a collection of ekphrastic poetry inspired by Mark Rothko’s paintings. RESIDUUM is a debut with ambition: full photos of cells, DNA, and data are spliced between sections of text. Erasure upon erasure, Martin Rock does not limit himself to the micro.

Textu Cover Image
ISBN: 9781556594762
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Copper Canyon Press - December 23rd, 2014

Finally—a poetry collection for millennials! Probably not the blurb Fady Joudah was hoping for but these poems are all the length of a standard text message. The book itself, too, is as small as an old-school iPhone. When not writing poetry, Joudah serves Houston as an E.R. physician.

Houston poets on Houston! Published by local publisher Mutabilis Press, UNTAMEABLE CITY contains poems by EIGHTY-THREE poets about our fair city. Also included in this anthology are full color photos of familiar H-town haunts, including some trees at Rice University, snapshots of the medical district, graffiti. Come and read it!


New and Selected Poems, Volume One Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807068779
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Beacon Press - April 15th, 2004

Nature poems are not everyone’s thing, I know, but if you read only read one nature poet, go with Mary Oliver. This collection of hers from the 90s is a good place to start. There’s poems about animals, landscapes—I don’t know how to make this more than what it is. But that’s the great thing about nature poems: they don’t have to be!

Shaler's Fish: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802124630
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - February 2nd, 2016

Yes, it’s the same Helen Macdonald of H IS FOR HAWK fame! Like fellow memoirist Mary Karr, Macdonald also writes poetry. Also published in the 90s, this debut collection is about nature, science, and of course, Shaler’s Fish.

From the New World: Poems 1976-2014 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062315441
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Ecco - February 16th, 2016

Jorie Graham is one of those poets that remains incomprehensible to me, though I mean that in the most generous way possible. Many times, I read a poem of hers and respect its greatness without comprehending a word of it. The nature pieces, though, are easier, which is why I put her here. A collection of her works from 1976 to the present. Check this out if you need a dare.


Pearl: A New Verse Translation Cover Image
By Simon Armitage (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780871407184
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Liveright - April 11th, 2016

Translated by one of my favorite English poets Simon Armitage, PEARL is a beloved English masterpiece believed to be written by the same poet who wrote Sir Gawain. Part fever dream, part ghost story, PEARL follows a father mourning the loss of his dear “Perle.” She appears, reassuring him that she has found peace in Heaven with Jesus. When the father goes to meet her, he wakes from the dream only to lose her again. Each poem is alongside the original.

Map: Collected and Last Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544705159
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Ecco - April 12th, 2016

A Nobel Prize Winner and one of Europe’s most beloved poets. Rumor has it that a Polish critic once said, “If you want the world in a nutshell, try Szymborska.” MAP is a new edition of Szymborska’s collected works, including over thirty poems that were never previously translated into English.

in field latin (The Seagull Library of German Literature) Cover Image
By Lutz Seiler, Alexander Booth (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780857423368
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Seagull Books - May 15th, 2016

From one of our favorite publishers, the phenomenal Seagull Books: a collection by Lutz Seiler, Berlin native and child of the country formerly known as East Germany. IN FIELD LATIN draws on the long tradition of German nature writing and contextualizes it for the modern audience.

The Curved Planks: Poems Cover Image
By Yves Bonnefoy, Hoyt Rogers (Translated by), Richard Howard (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780374530754
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - March 20th, 2007

Hailed by readers and critics for decades as France’s greatest living poet, THE CURVED PLANKS is Yves Bonnefoy’s second most recent collection, translated by Hoyt Rogers. According to American poet and critic Richard Howard, this collection is “an excellent, even an ideal, entrance into [Bonnefoy’s] vast creation.” A March Brazos BFFs pick!

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