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Top Ten Poetry Books of 2022

Top Ten Poetry Books of 2022
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Top Ten Poetry Books of the Year

Make sure to add these best of 2022 books to your #tbrpile 📚

 

Still Life by Jay Hopler

BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY NPR AND TIME MAGAZINE
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

Confronted with a terminal cancer diagnosis, Jay Hopler – author of the National Book Award-finalist The Abridged History of Rainfall – got to work. The result of that labor is Still Life, a collection of poems that are heartbreaking, terrifying, and deeply, darkly hilarious. In an attempt to find meaning in a life-ending right before his eyes, Hopler squares off against monsters real and imagined, personal and historical, and tries not to flinch.

 

Duende by Quincy Troupe

Quincy Troupe is not a wordsmith. He’s a shaman conjuring long repetitive lines, cadences of looking across the sea towards Africa and haunted by the legacy of slavery and racism, or of remembering fellow conjurers, poets and musical artists, celebrating, always celebrating, but never only that. This offering from Troupe includes many new poems, as well as a selection chosen from across his eleven previously published volumes from the past fifty years.

 

 

Golden Ax by Rio Cortez

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR POETRY

Golden Ax invites readers to re-imagine the West, Black womanhood, and the legacies that shape and sustain the pursuit of freedom. It is a groundbreaking collection about Afropioneerism from Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and New York Times bestselling author Rio Cortez.

 

 

Look at This Blue by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

FINALIST FOR THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR POETRY

Interweaving elegy, indictment, and hope into a love letter to California, Look at This Blue examines America’s genocidal past and present. It warns of a future threatened by mass extinction and climate peril. An assemblage of historical record, these poems form a taxonomy of threatened lives in a century marked by climate emergency.

 

 

Mummy Eaters by Sherry Shenoda

2022 LONGLIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS
WINNER OF THE SILLERMAN FIRST BOOK PRIZE FOR AFRICAN POETS

Sherry Shenoda’s collection Mummy Eaters follows in the footsteps of an imagined ancestor from the house of Akhenaten. Shenoda juxtaposes this reverence for the human body as sacred matter and a pathway to eternal life. She explores the European fascination with ingesting Egyptian human remains as medicine and using exhumed mummies as paper, paint, and fertilizer.

 

The Rupture Tense: Poems by Jenny Xie

FINALIST FOR THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR POETRY

Xie voices what remains irreducible in our complex entanglements with familial ties, language, capitalism, and the histories in which we find ourselves lodged. This extraordinary collection records the aftershocks and long distances between those years and the present. Echoing out toward the ongoing past and a trembling future.

 

 

Punks: New and Selected Poems by John Keene

A landmark collection of poetry by acclaimed fiction writer, translator, and MacArthur Fellow John Keene, PUNKS: NEW & SELECTED POEMS is a generous treasury in seven sections that spans decades and includes previously unpublished and brand new work. With depth and breadth, PUNKS weaves together historic narratives of loss, lust, and love. It reconfirms John Keene as one of the most important voices in contemporary poetry.

 

 

Balladz by Sharon Olds

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

“At the time of have-not, I look at myself in this mirror,” writes Olds in this self-scouring, exhilarating volume. It opens with a section of quarantine poems. At its center, boasts what she calls Amherst Balladz (whose syntax honors Emily Dickinson) and many more in her own contemporary, long-flowing-sentence rhythm.

 

 

Best Barbarian by Roger Reeves

FINALIST FOR THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR POETRY 
NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK 

Best Barbarian asks the reader to stay close as it plunges into catastrophe and finds surprising moments of joy and intimacy. This fearless, musical, and oracular collection announces Roger Reeves as an essential voice in American poetry.

 

 

As She Appears by Shelley Wong

Shelley Wong’s debut, As She Appears, foregrounds queer women of color in their being and becoming. Wong writes in the space where so many do not appear as an invitation for queer women of color to arrive in love, exactly as they are.

 

 

 

 

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