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Many poets and writers scrambled to finally release delayed books, collections of poetry and anthologies this year that were put off due to the effects of the pandemic. But as production lines are starting to clear up, readers across the globe have been anticipating some fresh poetics from their favorite writers and authors.
From acclaimed social media pioneer poets like Rupi Kaur to spoken word geniuses like Rudy Francisco, there’s plenty to choose from when it comes to new collections of poetry for 2021. So, if you’re looking for the latest poetry to form meaningful interpretations with or just want some of this year’s best poetry books, we got some recommendations for you to choose from.
“Helium” by Rudy Francisco
Rudy Francisco is one of the literary scene’s most renowned names in spoken word poetry. Although “Helium” was originally released in 2017, fans are looking forward to his comical, yet critically honest introspect on everyday life once again – this time in a limited edition release with alternate cover.
Francisco’s poetry blends the rhythmic qualities of the Beats with his own unique sound that has an even bigger impact when heard aloud. Look out for voice audios to really embrace the sharp hitting breaks and emotions that come out of Francisco’s lyrics. Expect this collection to be a self-reflective journey that narrates the ugly truths behind race, politics and humanity in today’s world.
“Pilgrim Bell” by Kaveh Akbar
Born in Tehran, Iran, Kaveh Akbar is an Iranian-American poet that has been a major voice in contemporary poetry since receiving his Pushcart Prize back in 2017. After his award-winning chapbook “Portrait of the Alcoholic” received so much recognition, Akbar’s forthcoming second collection is expected to take readers on a spiritual journey with his honest take on political views and sense of self-revelation.
“The New Yorker” raves that “Akbar is exquisitely sensitive to how language can function as both presence and absence … His practice of taking language apart, and harnessing the empty space around it, makes even the most familiar words seem eerie and unexpected.” Released by Graywolf Press on August 3, prepare to read the raw experience of a Muslim an in Islamophobic nation while dealing with a loved one’s absence.
“Black Girl, Call Home” by Jasmine Mans
Jasmine Mans’s “Black Girl, Call Home” explores the experience of being a queer Black woman in modern Newark, NJ while dealing face-to-face with issues of feminism, race and queer identity. Mans highlights the untold agenda she’s witnessed growing up as well as the current realities she faces across the city streets of Newark.
Her stylistic mix of traditional poetic stanzas along with her own performative voice has helped her receive recognizable notice from other poets in the community. Named a “Most Anticipated Book of 2021” by “Oprah Magazine,” this reflection on how queer Black women have been dealing with everyday life should be on your list of books to read.
“How Far You Have Come: Musings on Beauty and Courage” by Morgan Harper Nichols
After the first release of Morgan Harper Nichols “All Along You Were Blooming,” a collection of poetry and prose that speaks volumes to appreciating the little things in life, Nichols has gained a huge following on the internet and social media platforms like Instagram. Because her first book received so much positive feedback on her blending of illustrations and poetics, Nichols’ new collection is anticipated to be just as beautifully illustrated. This collection encourages readers to embrace moments of pain and suffer to re-envision them as experiences of rebirth, hope and acceptance.
“Buzz Words: Poems About Insects” by Kimiko Hahn & Harold Schechter
Having already established nine collections of poetry, Kimiko Hahn gets into celebrating a diverse collection of poems that delves into the many lives of insects in this release. Hahn is able to put emphasis on the beauty of the natural world while giving significant meaning and life to creatures like crickets, caterpillars, butterflies, moths and many more. The collection speaks volumes to our love-hate relationship we have with insects and with Hahn and Schechter’s adopting the cultural styles of traditional Chinese insect poetry, Buzz Words is predicted to be praised among fans of this genre.
“Wolf Lamb Bomb” by Aviya Kushner
Author of “The Grammar of God” and National Jewish Book Award Finalist, Aviya Kushner draws attention to the Book of Isaiah in “Wolf Lamb Bomb,” and she praises him as not only a prophet but as a poet in his own spiritual realm. This complex, yet intimate relationship the narrator is trying to showcase between woman and prophet is guided through the author’s own religious history growing up in a Hebrew-speaking home in New York.
“Wolf Lamb Bomb” puts emphasis on the complicated relationship one has with a high-praised prophet such as Isaiah. Kushner reflects on her past self with the present moment while trying to re-imagine the biblical understandings of her culture and religion. “The Jewish Exponent” explained: “[it] feels like a chevruta session with an especially humane and close reader … deeply affecting … Kushner’s fluency with her source text is something to behold."
“Homebody” by Rupi Kaur
Although being released toward the end of 2020, the critically acclaimed social media poet Rupi Kaur has made her name recognizable across platforms across the United States with her collections of poetry. Her newest collection “Homebody” is said to walk readers through an intimate journey of self-acceptance, growth and change.
Every page is accompanied by emotional vulnerability paired with Kaur’s recognizable line drawn sketches. Kaur is known for the accessibility her short form possesses. Because her poetry deals with the everyday experiences of womanhood, love, trauma and migration, her followers are excited to see another one of her anthologies released.
“The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman
One of the youngest inaugural poets in US history, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman has already become a national poetry phenomenon. Being invited to perform the inaugural poem for President Biden really reaffirmed her dedication to fixing a broken America.
“The Hill We Climb” tackles the theme of unity and togetherness in a time of such disarray and chaos while also being a voice for many minorities still struggling in America. Delivering powerful and poetic speeches, Gorman is able to compassionately conceptualize the racial injustices of modern day America.
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