Looking for a new book of poems to fall in love with? Lucky for you our 2017 chapbook authors are here with their recommendations!
Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong (Copper Canyon Press, 2016)
I love the huge range of form in these poems and how the form always lends itself well to the content, often giving lots of space for multiple meanings or for contemplation of the tough subject matter.
Tributaries by Laura Da’ (University of Arizona Press, 2015)
I bought this book in anticipation of Laura Da’s reading at WordsWest Literary Series last May and loved the resurfacing characters within the selection. She is a school teacher, so at times she reflects on the effects of education on our understanding of the Native American experience.
The Collected Works of Billy the Kid by Michael Ondaatje (Random House, 1970).
It is actually a novel in verse from the perspective of Billy the Kid and other members of his era. I read it back to front, front to back and loved the scenery and mood of every poem.
Nature Poem by Tommy Pico (Tin House, 2016)
This book balances humor and a harsh examination of colonialism from native and queer perspective. “I can’t write a nature poem/ bc it’s fodder for the noble savage/ narrative.” I can rarely finish a poetry book in one sitting but this book pulled me through with embarrassing coffee shop laughter and Beyoncé lyrics. Tommy Pico brings the epic poem to the modern age.
Portrait of the Alcoholic by Kaveh Akbar (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017)
I can’t say enough about this book and the full length, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, that follows it (which I am still slowly working through). Kaveh’s poems are pretty in the most sincere way possible. While I have very few of the same experiences as Kaveh Akbar he writes with such honesty that I felt as if he was sharing something that ties all of humanity together.
Fruit Mansion by Sam Herschel Wein (Split Lip Press, 2017)
This book saw me. This book is my chubby childhood and my ever-expanding future. Sam Herschel Wein wrote a poetry book that feels both immediate and timeless. This collection is one of the most cohesive chapbooks I’ve ever read. Every poem expands on the feast of themes present and every fork and knife is meticulously placed. I lovingly called this book my book’s boyfriend because they both have a lot to say about food and what it’s like to be queer.
The Country of Planks by Raúl Zurita, translated by Daniel Borzutzky (Action Books, 2015)
Run the Red Lights by Ed Skoog (Copper Canyon Press, 2016)