9 Best Poetry Books to Read Right Now

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Curl Up with These New Poetry Collections

The li Squad is always on the lookout for new poetry. This week, we’ve gathered a variety of incredible contemporary collections. Lose yourself in one of our new favorites on a cold, winter night!

Representation is undeniably important, especially in literature! We’ve carefully curated the list ahead to include a wide range of subjects and perspectives to help every reader feel seen or to expose them to new worlds and insights. The selected books below include varying perspectives- Asian American, African American and Black, LGBTQ+, women authors, male authors, award-winning poets and debut poets. The themes include love and loss, grief and the afterlife, color and race, family and motherhood, and more. Whatever your soul may be in need of, we’ve got the poetry to match right here! Happy reading!

And Yet: Poems by Kate Baer

And Yet: Poems by Kate Baer

#1 New York Times best-selling author of What Kind of Woman, Kate Baer, returns with her second poetry collection

And Yet: Poems explores marriage, motherhood, love, and loss. Each page serves as evidence of Baer’s evolution as a writer in beautiful detail.

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“Baer is a different kind of Instagram poet, not only in that her poems convey a depth of emotion more cutting than the spare, self-help word-art characteristic of so many social media-propelled poet phenomena. But she also distinguishes herself by acknowledging the self-seriousness of the genre (particularly among those who are their own greatest promoters) and gently poking a hole in it.” –Vogue


The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On by Franny Choi

The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On by Franny Choi

One of Time’s “100 Must-Read Books of 2022″
One of NPR’s 2022 “Books We Love”

From acclaimed poet Franny Choi comes a poetry collection for the ends of worlds past, present, and future. Choi’s third book features poems about historical and impending apocalypses, alongside musings on our responsibilities to each other and visions for our collective survival.

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The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On reminds us that apocalypse has already come in myriad ways for marginalized peoples.

As she wrestles with the daily griefs and distances of this apocalyptic world, Choi also imagines what togetherness could look like. Togetherness between Black and Asian and other marginalized communities, between living organisms, and between children of calamity and conquest. Bringing together Choi’s signature speculative imagination with even greater musicality than her previous work, The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On ultimately charts new paths toward hope in the aftermaths and visions for our collective survival.

Sweet, Young, and Worried by Blythe Baird

Sweet, Young, & Worried by Blythe Baird

The highly anticipated sophomore collection by author Blythe Baird has arrived

Following her widely successful debut, Baird wastes no time as she reels in her reader with breathtaking imagery and punching narratives. With expert precision and vulnerability, Baird guides us on an expedition embracing queerness, love, loss, mental health, feminism & healing along the way.

Concentrate: Poems by Courtney Faye Taylor

Concentrate: Poems by Courtney Faye Taylor

Winner of the 2021 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, selected by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

In her debut, Courtney Faye Taylor explores the under-told history of the murder of Latasha Harlins–a fifteen-year-old Black girl killed by a Korean shop owner after being falsely accused of shoplifting a bottle of orange juice. Harlins’s murder and the following trial were inciting incidents of the 1992 Los Angeles uprising exemplifying the long-fraught relationship between Black and Asian American communities in the United States. Through a collage-like approach to collective history and storytelling, Taylor’s poems present a profound look into the insidious points at which violence originates against–and between–women of color.

Taylor’s inventive, intimate book radically reconsiders the cost of memory, forging a path to a future rooted in solidarity and possibility. “Concentrate,” she writes. “We have decisions to make. Fire is that decision to make.”

To the Realization of Perfect Helplessness by Robin Coste Lewis

To the Realization of Perfect Helplessness by Robin Coste Lewis

A genre-bending exploration of poetry, photography, and human migration

We have a new, revolutionary visual expedition from the National Book Award-winning poet who changed the way we see art, the museum, and the Black female figure!

25 years ago, Lewis stumbled upon a trove of images from her late grandmother’s life tucked away in a suitcase. This collection of photographs showed the experience of 20th-century African Americans and was an undiscovered account of the migration of millions of Southerners escaping white terrorism. Lewis’s poetry challenges the traditional narrative of race and migration from her rare perspective.

Lewis powerfully reframes what it means to be human and alive with Blackness at its center. “I am trying / to make the gods / happy,” she writes amid these portraits of her ancestors. “I am trying to make the dead / clap and shout.”

This Afterlife: Selected Poems by AE Stallings

This Afterlife: Selected Poems by A.E. Stallings

A selection of sharp, witty, and impeccably crafted poems from A. E. Stallings, the award-winning poet, and translator.

This Afterlife: Selected Poems brings together poetry from A. E. Stallings’s four acclaimed collections: Archaic Smile, Hapax, Olives, and Like, as well as outlier poems.

Themes and characters reappear, speaking to one another across years and experience. They create a music of harmony, dissonance, and counterpoint. Stallings writes about the richness of lived experiences. The pleasure of these poems, fierce and witty, lies in a timeless precision that will outlast the fickleness of fashion!


Dereliction by Gabrielle Octavia Rucker

Dereliction by Gabrielle Octavia Rucker

A Captivating Debut Collection of Poems by Gabrielle Octavia Rucker.

Dereliction moves through childhood and into the afterlife with poems that evoke an artful sense of the author’s insatiable wandering.

The bracing intimacy of Rucker’s voice invites us into a carefully constructed world. She asks readers to question what it means to live this human life and all it encompasses. Eventually the poet asks the reader the rich question, “What bloody lens holds firm between this mystery & us?”

Dot by Ron Padgett

Dot by Ron Padgett

Pulitzer Prize finalist Ron Padgett illuminates the wonders inside things that don’t even exist…until they suddenly do.

“Reading Padgett one realizes that playfulness and lightness of touch are not at odds with seriousness. . . . As is often the case, leave it to the comic writer to best convey our tragic predicament.”
–Charles Simic, The New York Review of Books

Musical Tables: Poems by Bill Collins

Musical Tables: Poems by Billy Collins

From the former United States Poet Laureate and New York Times bestselling author of Aimless Lovea collection of more than 125 small poems, all of them new.

This collection proves that the best things often do come in small packages. Filled with topics ranging from love to absurdity to nature and morality, every quick poem packs a poetic punch!

“Whenever I pick up a new book of poems, I flip through the pages looking for small ones. Just as I might have trust in an abstract painter more if I knew he or she could draw a credible chicken, I have faith in poets who can go short.”
–Billy Collins

“The poetry of Billy Collins has a kindness that glitters with hard truth, and in Musical Tables he gives us a book of short, witty, often luminous snapshots of our sad and funny world.”
–Paul Simon

“Collins’s short poems warm the soul. Like koans and haiku, these micro-lyrics roam a range of tone and feeling, from elegies to epiphanies to bone-dry witticisms. . . . His formal compression is deft; his insights, arresting.” –Oprah Daily

*Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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