Poetry News

Get Clarity in the Contemporary Moment With These 11 New Poetry Collections

By Harriet Staff
Fatimah Asghar, If They Come for Us, cover

At Signature, Tobias Carroll recommends 11 new poetry collections that provide both solace and clarity in these politically complex times. "At a point in time when complex sociopolitical issues are omnipresent, the right poem might help the right reader come to a greater understanding of an issue, or discover an increased amount of empathy within themselves," Carroll notes. From there: 

This isn’t the only time in history that this has happened – and these are far from the only books of poetry dealing with these issues right now – but the present moment has abounded with stunningly good poetry that address subjects from feminism to institutional racism, to gender and the devastation of the environment. Here’s a look at 11 collections of poetry that make impressive use of the form and offer readers an increased perspective on the contemporary world.

If They Come for Us
Fatimah Asghar

The stark poems in Fatimah Asghar’s collection If They Come For Us examine conflicts around the globe, from the repressive violence of the Taliban to the echoes of the Partition of India across the decades and the restrictive immigration policies enacted by the Trump administration. Asghar’s precise use of language and talent with imagery creates an unnerving contrast between the beauty of the form and the horrors these poems depict.

Trickster Feminism
Anne Waldman

Formally inventive and frequently searing, the poems in Anne Waldman’s Trickster Feminism provide a striking and sometimes thrilling mirror to contemporary American politics. Waldman blends references to names recognizable from the news with classical allusions, creating a deeply relevant dialogue between the state of the world and the means by which writers have interpreted it for centuries.

Something Bright, Then Holes
Maggie Nelson

This recently-reissued collection of poetry by Maggie Nelson, whose writings frequently bridge the sociopolitical with the deeply personal, offers a powerful distillation of her strengths as a poet. Here, she focuses on topics as disparate as the changing nature of city life and the difficulties that can accompany emotional intimacy, hearkening to some of her past and future work as well.

Learn more at Signature.

Originally Published: July 19th, 2018