Fall is just around the corner, and we envision curling up under a blanket with a mug of coffee and a stack of books. And as the season changes, our TBR list shifts along with it. Summer is for beach reads and feel-good fiction. But fall is all about gritty honesty and self-reflection; we’re craving books that will seriously make us think.
What better way to welcome fall than with a brand new book of poetry?
Poetry is incredibly empowering. It makes us feel heard and inspired. When a poet finds the words to express raw emotion about difficult topics, it’s like something clicks. Plus, we love a good line break.
These new and upcoming poetry collections will definitely make you feel all the feels!
1. ARRIVAL: Poems by Cheryl Boyce-Taylor
ARRIVAL: Poems is Cheryl Boyce-Taylor’s fourth collection. It tells the story of her relationship with her mother and her late son. Boyce-Taylor has a gift for cutting sadness with humor, and this collection is a must-read.
2. Hothouse by Karyna McGlynn
Hothouse is not your average book of poetry. But then again, Karyna McGlynn is not your average poet. She literally divided the collection into sections of a house. There’s the bedroom, library, parlor, wet bar, bath, and basement. Each contains works that quietly comment on American excess and overconsumption.
3. MyOTHER TONGUE by Rosa Alcalá
Rosa Alcalá’s latest poetry collection is all about language. MyOTHER TONGUE reminds us that language — its syllables, its cultural references — shapes who we are and how we’ll be remembered.
4. Thousand Star Hotel by Bao Phi
Bao Phi is a Vietnamese-American spoken word artist. His work centers around topics like racism, police brutality, and urban poverty. But Phi doesn’t just tackle these topics — he talks about the silence around them. His long titles will make you laugh (“Ego-Tripping as Self-Defense Mechanism for Refugee Kids Who Got Their Names Clowned On”) but will also make you think.
5. Lessons on Expulsion by Erika L. Sánchez
Erika Sánchez just became one of our favorite writers. Her powerful debut collection of poetry tackles difficult subjects like race, religion, immigration, and sexuality. Oh, and she’s releasing a YA novel this fall too, called I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. Trust us: You’re just about to see Sánchez’s name everywhere.
6. Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems by Danez Smith, out September 5
Danez Smith is a voice we should all be listening to. The award-winning poet writes urgently and passionately about violence, grief, police brutality, and mortality. This expertly crafted collection will make you think long after you reach the back cover.
7. Calling a Wolf a Wolf by Kaveh Akbar, out September 12
Kaveh Akbar’s highly-anticipated debut is bold and deeply personal. He takes us on a journey through his mind, confronting addiction, battling alcoholism, fighting for control, and keeping the course on the road to recovery. We’re still thinking about his poem “No is a Complete Sentence.”
8. Unaccompanied by Javier Zamora, out September 12
Unaccompanied is another collection that covers hot-button political issues like immigration and border crossings. And that’s exactly why you should pick it up. Javier Zamora’s debut is an intimate, moving collection written from the heart. It’s filled with personal reflections that everyone needs to hear.
9. bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward, out September 26
If you liked feminist poet Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, you’ll flip for Yrsa Daley-Ward’s bone. Daley-Ward, born of Nigerian and Jamaican heritage and raised in England, built a fan base of followers on social media. She self-published her collection a few years ago. Now, she’s re-releasing it in its entirety with 40 pages of new poems. You’ll want this one on your bookshelf.
10. Madness by Sam Sax, out September 12
How are desire, addiction, and mental health linked? Madness examines sanity, heterosexuality, masculinity, and health through the lens of language. You’ll learn a lot about the history of mental health — plus plenty of tidbits about Sam Sax’s own family history too.
11. Inheriting the War edited by Laren McClung, out November 7
It’s been 50 years since the Vietnam War. But veterans and their descendants remain scarred by its devastating aftermath. Inheriting the War: Poetry and Prose by Descendants of Vietnam Veterans and Refugees is a selection of work that confronts the war and its traumatic aftermath head on. It’s a difficult read, but it also offers comfort and closure.