April is National Poetry Month in America, and happily there are several excellent new collections published in 2023 to dive into as we celebrate. We’ve curated a list of 10 of the best new poetry collections of 2023 (so far) that are great reads for National Poetry Month.
Celebrate National Poetry Month 2023 with 10 Best New Collections
April is our favorite month of the year. And no, it’s not because of the increased daylight hours, or because of the fragrant spring blooms – though we love those too. April is National Poetry Month, and we are delighted to spend thirty days celebrating one of our favorite artistic forms.
We don’t need to tell anyone how much we love a good novel, or a compelling book of essays. But even so, there is something special about poetry. Poetry can capture that which defies language. It can illuminate unexplored elements of the human condition. And it can do it in less than a page.
And if you love poetry too – or if you’d like to love it more – you may want to celebrate this most wonderful time of the year by reading some of the best in the genre. Well, we are here with some recommendations. We suggest checking out these ten new collections for National Poetry Month – some that have come out in the last few months, and some that you can pre-order, to keep the celebration of poetry going all year long.
10 New Collections Perfect to Read During National Poetry Month 2023
1. Above Ground by Clint Smith.
Even if you are not an avid poetry reader, you still may already know of the brilliant writer Clint Smith. His 2021 work of narrative nonfiction, How the Word is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America was named one of the best books of the year by many publications. In Above Ground, Smith returns to poetry, this time with a collection about his experiences as a father, and about the larger questions of what it means to bring a child into this world.
2. From From by Monica Youn.
One of the most anticipated books of poetry of the year, From From lives up to all expectations. Youn brings to the page the fraught reality of deracination, and the accompanying internal and external conflicts experienced by many Asian Americans. Youn has been a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry, and has received numerous other accolades; if you’ve yet to check out her latest, now is the time.
3. I’m Always So Serious by Karisma Price.
While we love reading work by poets we’ve long admired, we also love getting the chance to explore work from newer voices. I’m Always So Serious is the debut collection from Karisma Price, and its poems travel from past to present, from the personal to the political, and from New York to New Orleans. Rooted in its central musings on Blackness, on grief, and on family, I’m Always So Serious marks the arrival of a marvelous new literary voice.
4. Couplets: A Love Story by Maggie Millner.
If you’re someone who tends to prefer narrative fiction to poetry, you must give Couplets: A Love Story a try. This is a love story that begins when its main character falls for a woman she meets at a bar, and the two begin an all-consuming affair. Poetry is the perfect vehicle for this take of seduction and desire, and the interspersed prose vignettes make it a must even for those who consider themselves reluctant readers of the form.
5. Rose Quartz: Poems by Sasha taqwšəblu LaPointe.
This is another stunning debut collection to add to your reading list this April. LaPointe’s poetry is full of life, treating the reader to an experience that is as much about healing as it is about trauma. Here you’ll find familiar stories and myths, as well as an intimate glimpse into LaPointe’s own life and history.
6. Chrome Valley by Mahogany L. Browne.
In Chrome Valley, acclaimed poet Mahogany. L. Browne puts to paper a portrait of Black womanhood in America. The collection makes space for both beauty and pain, with poems about Browne’s mother, about her Browne’s childhood and adolescence, and about so much more. As well as other books of poetry, Browne has also written two young adult novels, and in 2021, was named the first-ever poet-in-residence at Lincoln Center.
7. Was It For This: Poems by Hannah Sullivan.
Sullivan’s debut collection Three Poems was the recipient of the T.S. Eliot Prize and the John Pollard International Prize; the poet now returns with a second collection that is no less mesmerizing. The poems of Was it For This include a meticulous attention to detail, yet another reminder that poetry allows for a luscious specificity – the reader can visualize each place Sullivan describes.
8. How to Write a Poem by Kwame Alexander.
No one is ever too young to get in the spirit of National Poetry Month. If you’re celebrating this April with young children, you must check out Kwame Alexander’s How to Write a Poem. A companion to their picture book How to Read a Book, How to Write a Poem is playful and immersive, and will help your young readers to see the world with wide eyes – and to appreciate some poetry.
9. Negative Money by Lillian-Yvonne Bertram.
Of course, we don’t want to stop reading poetry at the end of April. That’s why we’re recommending two books that are available for pre-order – so you can keep the magic of poetry in your life all year long. Negative Money portrays a protracted coming of age – one that is forever impacted by race, by gender, and by money. Bertram experiments with form throughout the collection, making plain the flawed systems under which we are all forced to experience our lives. Bertram has previously been nominated for a National Book Award.
10. Yours, Creature by Jessica Cuello.
Recipient of the Barrow Street Book Prize, poet Jessica Cuello returns with a new collection in the voice of writer Mary Shelley. Yours, Creature is a book of epistolary poems, many of which are addressed from Shelley to her mother, Mary Wollstencraft. This is a project that reminds us of all the poetic form can accomplish, as it makes the past feel present and tangible while also treating the reader to a feast of lyricism. Available now for pre-order, to be released on May 15th.
Celebrate National Poetry Month 2023 with Best New Collections
Those are our picks for the best new collections of 2023 so far, including highly anticipated debuts and new works from well-known poets, just in time for National Poetry Month. What’s at the top of your reading list?