Required Reading: National Poetry Month

Don’t let National Poetry Month end without supporting a poet. These five books are perfect for poetry lovers of every stripe, whether you’re interested in a contemporary poet’s lyrical musings or the history of marginalized poets.

Avidly Reads Poetry by Jacquelyn Ardams

Mixing literary and cultural criticism with Jacquelyn Ardams’ personal and often intimate relationship with poetry, Avidly Reads Poetry breathes life into poems of every genre—from alphabet poems and Shakespeare’s sonnets to Claudia Rankine’s Citizen and Rupi Kaur’s Instapoetry—and asks: How do poems come to us? How do they make us feel and think and act when they do? Who and what is poetry for? Who does poetry include and exclude, and what can we learn from it?

Dislocations by Karen Enns
Published by University of Regina Press

Poet Karen Enns takes the reader on a lyrical journey, wrapped in the vicissitudes of seasons and weatherwhile observing human and other-than-human lives. Enns invites us to peer and is concerned always with the locations and dislocations perspective implies and creates.

Phyllis Wheatley Chooses Freedom by G.J. Baker- Benfield

The dramatic story of Phillis Wheatley, a free Black poet who resisted the pressures of arranged marriage, truly embodies the ideals of the American Revolution. She was enslaved in Africa as a child and sold to an evangelical family in Boston. However, due to her prodigious talents as a poet, Wheatley won her freedom a year prior to Hopkins’ arrangement, allowing her to take her future into her own hands. 

The History Forest by Michael Trussler
Published by University of Regina Press

Exploring what it means to be alive in this increasingly contradictory, unjust, and frightening era in human history, award-winning poet Michael Trussler grapples with the beauty and violence of the present in his new collection, The History Forest. Trussler’s vivid, sensory, surreal writing explores the myriad ways that wonder can exist alongside suffering. He ruminates on nuclear war, school shootings, and ecological destruction, alongside his own experiences with mental health, aging, and loss.

The Queer Nuyorican by Karen Jaime

Winner of The Victor Villaseñor Best Latino Focused Non-Fiction Book Award, The Queer Nuyorican is the first queer genealogy of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and Nuyorican aesthetic practice. Initially situated within the Cafe’s physical space and countercultural discursive history, the Nuyorican aesthetic extends beyond these gendered and ethnic boundaries, broadening the ethnic marker Nuyorican to include queer, trans, and diasporic performance modalities.

Synaptic by Alison Calder
Published by University of Regina Press

This intricate, yearning work from award-winning poet Alison Calder asks us to think about the way we perceive and the ways in which we seek to know ourselves and others. In Synaptic, each section explores key themes in science, neurology, and perception.

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