In 2020, I decided to read some poetry. Not the old white men that I was taught in school, but today’s poetry—poetry that introduced me to new and fresh things with language. I mean, reading classics is fun and all, but I wanted that new new stuff. As a big fan of books I want to support today’s writers.
At the beginning, I especially struggled to find poetry titles online that centered poetry collections written by writers of color, Queer writers, and immigrant writers. I, however, knew that those books were out there so I went on a hunt. I found myself looking at recent literary awards like the National Book Awards, National Book Critics Circle Awards, and the Pulitzer Prize. But I mainly found the poetry titles that I was looking for on Twitter, like Saeed Jones, Danez Smith, Natalie Diaz, Donika Kelly, Benjamin Garcia, Eduardo C. Corral, and many more. And all those poets exposed me to new poets that I should be reading.
At SheReads, we’re so excited to share this list of poetry books that you should be reading and anticipating in 2022. I hope this lists helps readers expand their poetry TBR—because it has sure helped me.
Don’t miss these must-read poetry collections>>
Return Flight by Jennifer Huang (January 18, 2022)
A debut collection, Return Flight plays with magical realism and mythology to bring a collection of poems that looks and feels illuminating.
Constellation Route by Matthew Olzmann (January 18, 2022)
Using the epistolary form, this book is a love song to letter writing. It sounds spectacular and totally immersive.
Broken Halves of a Milky Sun by Aaiun (February 1, 2022)
Nin has been compared to the likes of Ocean Vuong and Natalie Diaz, two giants in the poetry world. This international debut from Aaiun Nin talks about colonialism, trauma, exile and love.
Claim Tickets For Stolen People by Quintin Collins (February 7, 2022)
I first heard about this collection from the publisher and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. In 2022 you can’t miss Quintin Collins’ collection of poems. Terrance Hayes says, “This is a marvelous book. Claim Tickets for Stolen People gives shape to our magical, mercurial world.”
A Hundred Lovers by Richie Hifmann (February 8, 2022)
One of the most highly acclaimed book of poems this year, A Hundred Lovers has been getting all the love from every corner. You simply can’t miss this one. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jericho Brown says, “A book of love poems that consciously and subversively hearken back to Shakespeare’s sonnets, marking Hofmann’s position as one of our necessary poets of erotic desire.”
All the Flowers Kneeling by Paul Tran (February 15, 2022)
Tran’s newest collection has been called visceral, grand and intimate. Alexander Chee says, “Paul Tran’s debut collection of poems is indelible, this remarkable voice transforming itself as you read, eventually transforming you.”
Headless John the Baptist Hitching by C.T. Salazar (February 18, 2022)
A queer Latinx Southerner, C.T Salazar uses his relationship with religion and place to bring forth a collection of poems that sound gripping and, equally, wonderful.
Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head by Warsan Shire (March 1, 2022)
Most well known for her work and collaboration with Beyonce’s Lemonade and Black Is King, Warsan Shire is blessing us with a collection of poems that sound just as brilliant as her previous work. Roxane Gay says, “The beautifully crafted poems in this collection are fiercely tender gifts.”
Dream of the Divided Field by Yanyi (March 1, 2022)
Yanyi’s voice sounds electric and we can’t wait to be immersed in this collection about home, the self, and the body.
Customs by Solmaz Sharif (March 1, 2022)
This collection of poems by Solmaz Sharif are about American borders, surveillance, and a poet writing themselves towards freedom.
a Year & other poems by Jos Charles (March 15, 2022)
If there is something Jos Charles will do, it is to give us all the lyricism we need to survive. In their new collection, we’re looking forward to that and more.
Best Barbarian by Roger Reeves (March 22, 2022)
Roger Reeves is a poet that has been getting nonstop praise, and we’re super excited to get into their newest collection of poems that has been praised by Terrance Hayes, Cathy Park Hong, Tracy K. Smith, and Natasha Trethewey.
Why the Assembly Disbanded by Roberto Tejada (March 22, 2022)
Mainly grappling with the relationship between the United States and Latin America, this collection of poems introduces us to a Latinx voice that we should all hear.
Let the Dead In by Saida Agostini (March 26, 2022)
This collection is about Black womanhood, love, mythologies, colonization and queerness. Teri Ellen Cross Davis says, “each poem is a hallelujah, a salve, a prayer, and a benediction finely wrought from a ferocious poet who is just beginning to bless us.”
Content Warning: Everything by Awaeke Emezi (April 5, 2022)
Award-winning author of Freshwaterm PET, The Death of Vivek Oji, and Dear Senthuran, Akwaeke Emezi returns with a poetry collection that sounds electrifying. Emezi is one of our favorite writers today and we are lucky enough to get blessed with a poetry collection from them.
Against Heaven by Kemi Alabi (April 5, 2022)
Kemi Alabi newest collection is the perfect place to start to get familiar with her work. Franny Choi says, “With abundant sonics, formal virtuosity, and a rigorous queer erotic, Alabi proves that every inheritance can be both wound and portal. Against Heaven is a stunning debut from one of our most talented emerging voices.”
Antes Que Isla Es Volcan/Before Island is Volcano by Raquel Salas Rivera (April 5, 2022)
This National Book Award nominated writer returns with a love letter to Puerto Rico. Written in both Spanish and English, this collection sounds like a wonderful experience with language and its power.
Time is a Mother by Ocean Voung (April 5, 2022)
Ocean Voung is back with a second poetry collection tackling grief, loss, memory and restoration. TIME says, “Tender and heartbreaking . . . this collection of poems thoughtfully considers grief, both as an emotion and a sacred act, revisiting the history he shared with his mother and the understanding of family they forged together.”
Mausoleum of Flowers by Daniel B. Summerhill (April 12, 2022)
A collection about Black culture and love, Summerhill has poems from Kendrick to Kanye, to friendship to spirituality. This collection looks and sounds incredible. Jasmine Mans says, “What a blessing it is to see Daniel B. Summerhill render his memory, in grace, in ugliness, and most importantly, in hue.
Fighting is Like a Wife by Eloisa Amezcua (April 12, 2022)
Amezcua’s second poetry collection is about the complex and violent relationship between two-time world boxing champion “schoolboy” Bobby Chacon and his first wife, Valorie Ginn. Laura van den Berg says, “Eloisa Amezcua writes into the histories of the fighter Bobby Chacon and his wife, Valorie Ginn, with striking electricity and sensitivity, illuminating how the violent intertwining of two paths in the ring can have profound consequences for the lives lived outside it.”
Girl’s Guide to Leaving by Laura Villareal (April 26, 2022)
Covering Mexican folklore, queerness, intergenerational trauma, Latinx identity and healing, Villareal’s collection is one to look forward to.
The Trees Witness Everything by Victoria Chang (April 26, 2022)
Victoria Chang previous collection of poems Obit was long-listed for the 2020 National Book Awards, and now she’s is a back with another collection that sounds equally original and moving.
Diaries of a Terrorist by Christopher Soto (May 3, 2022)
In his debut collection, Christopher Soto shows vulnerability and humor to talk about some of issues affecting the world today, from queerness to identity to police violence.
The Hurting Kind by Ada Limon (May 10, 2022)
Ada Limon is at the top of the top for us when it comes to poetry, and her new collection sounds stunning. If you are a fan of poetry this should be on your radar.
Smoking The Bible by Chris Abani (May 17, 2022)
These poems follow the story of two brothers and a man in exile; but reader beware: this award-winning poet’s Chris Abani’s words can move anyone to their core.
The True Account of Myself as a Bird by Robert Wrigley (June 7, 2022)
Acclaimed poet Robert Wrigley returns with a collection of poems about planet Earth and the humans that live in it.
Sugar Work by Katie Marya (June 7, 2022)
This poetry collection explores race, gender, womanhood and violence on the female body. We need this collection today.
All the Blood Involved in Love by Maya Marshall (June 28, 2022)
Tackling queerness, race, family mythography, and love, this collection looks and sounds incredible, from a poet that we can’t wait to discover.
O by Zeina Hashem Beck (July 5, 2022)
In this collection, Zeina Hashem Beck explores memory, home, motherhood and more. It is a collection that plays with language and looks absolutely stunning. Ilya Kaminsky says, “O is so full of music and passion for life . . . Zeina Hashem Beck’s poems unfold the abundance of our world.”
Civil Service by Claire Schwartz (August 2, 2022)
In these poems by Schwartz, we get a deep examination of state violence and people in power. This collection looks and sounds revolutionary. Jackie Wang says, “More than a book of poems, Civil Service is a profound statement on the nature of power, written as a fable about freedom in an unfree land.”
Song of My Softening by Omotara James (August 16, 2022)
A visual artist and editor, Omotara James discusses the relationship with their body, Black queerness, and other things. This collection sounds like a captivating experience.
Golden Ax by Rio Cortez (August 30, 2022)
New York Times best-selling writer Rio Cortez returns with a collection of poems about Afropioneerism and her family’s history in the American West.
Bluest Nude by Ama Codjoe (September 13, 2022)
Codjoe’s collection is all about vulnerability and the act of being seen. These are poems that examine the expectations that society has of women. Ed Roberson says. “Ama Codjoe’s writing is too eloquent not to hear.”
Alive At The End of the World by Saeed Jones (September 13, 2022)
Saeed Jones is one of our favorite voices in literature today. His writing shakes readers to the core, so many have been anticipating this collection.
Brother Sleep by Aldo Amparan (September 13, 2022)
In Amparan’s debut collection, they tackles queerness, the loss of a brother, the U.S Mexico border, and more. Jericho Brown says, “Each poem is an example of a poet who’s mastered his craft well enough to retrace steps back to the place where family, nationhood, and exile meet…This is a beautiful debut.”
The Study of Human Life by Joshua Bennett (September 20, 2022)
Bennett’s new collection talks about various topics including abolition, parenthood, and Black ecological consciousness. This is a poet where we always know we are going to get something special.
Call It in the Air by Ed Pavlic (October 11, 2022)
Part memoir and part poetry, this new collection from Ed Pavlic sounds absolutely remarkable. Acclaimed poet Don Mee Choi says, “Call It in the Air is an intimate record of grief and turmoil within family, sister, and self…As he traverses between place and memory, his dying sister and himself, Ed Pavlić paints an intensely beautiful self-portrait.”
I absolutely loved this article– definitely found some collections to put on my reading list. Thank you!