These are the poetry collections by women of color you need to read today
Poetry is one of the most underrated forms of literature we have today. When most of us think of literature, we list titles that focus on fantasy worlds, deep political messages, or quirky self-help answers to our culture’s burning questions. But poetry helps to combine all of these ideas, creating a form of literature that highlights the best of the human experience.
Stumped on where to start? Here are four women of color poets you need to know so that you can get your poetic journey started off on the right foot.
Milk & Honey was one of the most highly anticipated poetry collections to be published in 2015. First self-published by the activist poet in 2014, it quickly became a bestseller, relaunching with Andrews McMeel Publishing in October 2015.
Rupi Kaur writes a poetry collection that speaks with universal rawness and vulnerability, tackling heavy topics like violence, abuse, and heartbreak — but in a way that is highly relatable and touching. Kaur’s way with words make this the kind of book that you can’t put down, even after you get to the end.
Salt is another highly anticipated poetry collection that works to recenter how we view society, identity, and grief. Even if you’re a fast reader, it’s one of those collections that forces you to slow down and savor the work on the page. Centered on healing and building community, Salt reminds us that one of the most important lessons we can learn from a text is that whatever you are going through, you are not alone.
London-based Somali poet Warsan Shire has been growing in popularity. Since her poetry famously appeared throughout Beyonce’s Lemonade visual album back in April, Warsan’s reputation as a poet to reckon with has simply grown. Her work reflects the nuances within identity and feminism, and deals with conflicting emotions. Though her first full collection of poetry won’t be released until later this year, 2011’s Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth is worth the read — demonstrating Shire’s ability to convey the connections we have to family and cultural ties while still discovering ourselves.
An international bestselling writer, her work has been featured in several publications and has won a variety of awards. Touching on themes such as love, loss, and understanding one’s purpose in life, Leav’s work helps those struggling to find their own way.
Memories is a collection of all of Leav’s previous work — “the best of Lullabies and Love & Misadventures” to be exact — that will serve as a good catch up guide before the release of her latest collection of poems, The Universe of Us, on October 4th.