Here we are again. National Poetry Day – or, as I like to think of it, National Day of Everyone in Your Twitter Timeline Swooning Over Frank O’Hara (hi, guilty. ‘Having a Coke With You’; what a dream). That name’s not quite as catchy though, is it? Bit long.
Every now and then, somebody will pop up like a jack-in-the-box from hell to claim that poetry is 1) boring, 2) dated, or 3) stuffy. Yawn. Spoiler alert: these people are wrong, and we have a veritable tower of books on hand to prove it. Poems are small miracles. Conveniently, the theme for National Poetry Day 2018 is ‘change’, so we’ve put together a list of titles to help shift perspectives, create converts, and win hearts.
Be kind to the poets in your life today.
Black Queer Hoe by Britteney Black Rose Kapri
In this stunning debut, Britteney Black Rose Kapri lends her unmistakable voice to fraught questions of identity, sexuality, reclamation, and power, in a world that refuses Black Queer women permission to define their own lives and boundaries. ‘Black Queer Hoe’ also includes a foreword by the excellent Forward Prize winner Danez Smith.
The Hate Poems by John Tottenham
In his third collection John Tottenham proves that a poète maudit can survive, alive and unwell, in this benighted age, and that the dregs can sometimes be the cream.
Lord of the Butterflies by Andrea Gibson
Andrea Gibson’s latest is a masterwork of imagery and emotion, taking a nuanced look at gender, romance, loss, and family.
Citizen Illegal by José Olivarez
In this stunning debut, José Olivarez explores the contradictions that embody life in the spaces between Mexico and America. Drawing on the rich traditions of writers like Sandra Cisneros and Gwendolyn Brooks, Olivarez creates a home out of life in the in-between.
Raise Up the Low Bring Down the Mighty by Asher Hoyles
Asher Hoyles has been composing and performing poetry for 25 years, from Glastonbury to Westminster Abbey and all manner of stages in between. Her latest collection demonstrates the variety of her style, by turns funny and moving but always true.