West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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Modern Poetry

April is National Poetry Month! Celebrate with one of these modern poetry collections.

Reflection by Tyler Lockett

"The debut poetry book from All-Pro NFL wide receiver Lockett is a reflective and positive journey through faith, identity, and life's many challenges and rewards. A scorching read, an evocative portrait of a professional athlete, and a captivating exercise in rhythm and verse, Reflection strives above all else to be a force for positivity."--Publisher's description

Dear girl by Aija Mayrock

From a poet and celebrated spoken-word performer comes a debut poetry collection that takes readers on an empowering, lyrical journey exploring truth, silence, wounds, healing, and the resilience we all share.

We inherit what the fires left : poems by William Evans

"William Evans, the award-winning poet and cofounder of the popular culture website Black Nerd Problems, offers an emotionally vulnerable poetry collection exploring the themes of inheritances, dreams, and injuries that are passed down from one generationto the next and delving into the lived experience of a black man in the American suburbs today"--

Make me rain : poems & prose by Nikki Giovanni

The seven-time NAACP Image Award-winning poet unapologetically celebrates her heritage in a deeply personal collection of verse that speaks to the injustices of society and the depths of her own heart

I hope you stay by Courtney Peppernell

I Hope You Stay is a reminder of the resilience and hope needed after heartache and pain. The book is divided into five sections, with poems ranging from free verse to short form. These words are a light in the deepest hours of the night: Hold on. The sun is coming

When the stars wrote back : poems by Trista Mateer

Combines original material with fan favorites in a compilation of short, evocative poems on such subjects as growing up, healing from trauma, and the many forms of love.

Postcolonial love poem by Natalie Diaz

Postcolonial Love Poem is an anthem of desire against erasure. Natalie Diaz’s brilliant second collection demands that every body carried in its pages―bodies of language, land, rivers, suffering brothers, enemies, and lovers―be touched and held as beloveds. Through these poems, the wounds inflicted by America onto an indigenous people are allowed to bloom pleasure and tenderness: “Let me call my anxiety, desire, then. / Let me call it, a garden.” In this new lyrical landscape, the bodies of indigenous, Latinx, black, and brown women are simultaneously the body politic and the body ecstatic. In claiming this autonomy of desire, language is pushed to its dark edges, the astonishing dunefields and forests where pleasure and love are both grief and joy, violence and sensuality.

Words like thunder : new and used Anishinaabe prayers by Lois Beardslee

I would leave me if I could : a collection of poetry by 1994- author Halsey

"Grammy Award-nominated, platinum-selling musician Halsey is heralded as one of the most compelling voices of her generation. In I Would Leave Me If I Could, she reveals never-before-seen poetry of longing, love, and the nuances of bipolar disorder"--

Borderland apocrypha by Anthony Cody

"Borderland Apocrypha is centered around the collective histories of Mexican lynchings following the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, and the subsequent erasures, traumas, and state-sanctioned violences committed towards communities ofcolor in the present day. Cody's debut collection responds to the destabilized, hostile landscapes and silenced histories via an experimental poetic that invents and shapeshifts in both form and space across the margin, the page, and the book's axis in aresistance, a reclamation and a re-occupation of what has been omitted. Part autohistoria, part docupoetic, part visual monument, part myth-making, Borderland Apocrypha exhumes the past in order to work toward survival, reckoning, and future- building"--

Fantasia for the man in blue by Tommye Blount

"An examination of a brutal America through the voices of its most vulnerable sons. In his debut collection, Fantasia for the Man in Blue, Tommye Blount orchestrates a chorus of distinct, unforgettable voices that speak to the experience of the black, queer body as a site of desire and violence. A black man's late-night encounter with a police officer - the titular "man in blue" - becomes an extended meditation on a dangerous, erotic fantasy. The late Luther Vandross, resurrected here in a suite of poems,addresses the contradiction between his public persona and a life spent largely in the closet: "It's a calling, this hunger / to sing for a love I'm too ashamed to want for myself." In "Aaron McKinney Cleans His Magnum," the convicted killer imagines thebarrel of the gun he used to bludgeon Matthew Shepherd as an "infant's small mouth" as well as the "sad calculator" that was "built to subtract from and divide a town." In these and other poems, Blount viscerally captures the experience of the "other" and locates us squarely within these personae"--

Dissolve by Sherwin Bitsui

A sand book by Ariana Reines

A Sand Book is a poetry collection in nine parts, a travel guide that migrates from wildfires to hurricanes, tweety bird to the president, lust to aridity, desertification to prophecy, and mother to daughter. It explores the negative space of what is happening to language and to consciousness in our strange and desperate times. From Hurricane Sandy to the murder of Sandra Bland to the massacre at Sandy Hook, from the sand in the gizzards of birds to the desertified mountains of Haiti, from Attar's "Conference of the Birds" to Chaucer's "Parliament of Fowls" to Twitter, A Sand Book is about change and quantification, the relationship between catastrophe and cultural transmission. It moves among houses of worship and grocery stores, flitters between geological upheaval and the weird weather of the Internet. In her long-awaited follow-up to Mercury, Reines has written her most ambitious work to date, but also her most visceral and satisfying

Library of small catastrophes by Alison C Rollins

"Library of Small Catastrophes, Alison Rollins’ ambitious debut collection, interrogates the body and nation as storehouses of countless tragedies. Drawing from Jorge Luis Borges’ fascination with the library, Rollins uses the concept of the archive to offer a lyric history of the ways in which we process loss. “Memory is about the future, not the past,” she writes, and rather than shying away from the anger, anxiety, and mourning of her narrators, Rollins’ poetry seeks to challenge the status quo, engaging in a diverse, boundary-defying dialogue with an ever-present reminder of the ways race, sexuality, spirituality, violence, and American culture collide."--Amazon.com

Life of the party : poems by Olivia Gatwood

"A dazzling debut collection of raw and explosive poems about growing up in a sexist, sensationalized world, from a "ferocious" (BBC), "beautifully vulnerable" (Nylon) new talent. i'm a good girl, bad girl, sad girl, dream girl girl next door sunbathingin the driveway i wanna be them all at once, i wanna be all the girls i've ever loved Lauded for the power of her writing and having attracted an online fan base of millions for her extraordinary spoken-word performances, Olivia Gatwood is a thrilling new voice in contemporary feminist poetry. In Life of the Party, she weaves together her own coming of age with an investigation into our culture's romanticization of violence against women. In precise, searing language--at times blistering and riotous, attimes soulful and exuberant--she explores the boundary between what is real and what is imagined in a life saturated with fear. How does one grow from a girl to a woman in a world wracked by violence? Where is the line between perpetrator and victim? What is the meaning of bravery? Visceral and haunting, this multifaceted collection illustrates that what happens to our bodies makes us who we are"--

Disintegrate/dissociate : poems by Arielle Twist

"In her powerful debut collection of poetry, Arielle Twist unravels the complexities of human relationships after death and metamorphosis. In these spare yet powerful poems, she explores, with both rage and tenderness, the parameters of grief, trauma, displacement, and identity. Weaving together a past made murky by uncertainty and a present which exists in multitudes, Arielle Twist poetically navigates through what it means to be an Indigenous trans woman, discovering the possibilities of a hopeful future and a transcendent, beautiful path to regaining softness."--

A fortune for your disaster by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib

Battle dress : poems by Karen Skolfield

"In her prize-winning collection, U.S. Army veteran Karen Skolfield explores the narratives of a young soldier, her older counterpart, and her fellow soldiers, offering a rare glimpse of a female soldier's training and mental conditioning in a poetic voice that is at once accessible and otherworldly, gutsy and insightful."--

Eyes bottle dark with a mouthful of flowers by Jake Skeets

Be recorder : poems by Giménez Smith

Daring to demand renewal for a world made unrecognizable, the author offers readers a blazing way forward into an as yet unmade world. The many times and tongues in these poems investigate the precariousness of personhood in lines that excoriate and sanctify

Everything must go : the life and death of an American neighborhood by Kevin Coval

"Everything Must Go is an illustrated collection of poems in the spirit of a graphic novel, a collaboration between poet Kevin Coval and illustrator Langston Allston. The book celebrates Chicago's Wicker Park in the late 1990's, Coval's home as a young artist, the ancestral neighborhood of his forebears, and a vibrant enclave populated by colorful characters. Allston's illustrations honor the neighborhood as it once was, before gentrification remade it. The book excavates and mourns that which has been lost in transition and serves as a template for understanding the process of displacement and reinvention currently reshaping American cities."--Provided by publisher

The summer of dead birds by Ali Liebegott

"In a chronicle of mourning and survival, Ali Liebegott wallows in loneliness and overassigns meaning to everyday circumstance, clinging to an aging dog and obsessing over dead birds. But these vignettes are laced as she learns to balance the sting of death with the strangeness of life." --

Teacher/pizza guy by Jeff Kass

Teacher/Pizza Guy is a collection of autobiographical poems from the 2016-17 school year in which Jeff Kass worked as a full-time English teacher and a part-time director for a literary arts organization and still had to supplement his income by delivering pizzas a few nights a week. In the collection, Kass is unapologetically political without distracting from the poems themselves but rather adds layers and nuances to the fight for the middle class and for educators as a profession. As a public high school teacher in America, Kass's situation is not uncommon. In September 2018, Time published an article detailing how many public school teachers across the country and in a variety of environments work multiple jobs to help make ends meet. Teacher/Pizza Guy chronicles Kass's experience of teaching, directing, feeding people, and treading the delicate balance of holding himself accountable to his wife and kids, his students, his customers, and his own mental and physical health while working three jobs in contemporary America. The journey of that year was draining, at times daunting, at times satisfying, but always surprising. Many of the ideas for these poems were initially scribbled onto the backs of pizza receipts or scratched out during precious free moments amidst the chaos of the school day. A driving force behind the book is Philip Levine's poem "What Work Is," which Kass believes attempts to examine not only the dignity and complexity of what we think physical, tangible work is but also the exhausting, albeit sometimes fulfilling nature of emotional work

Build yourself a boat by Camonghne Felix

"A poetic exploration of trauma, healing, and survival"--Goodreads

The tradition by Jericho Brown

Jericho Brown’s daring new book The Tradition details the normalization of evil and its history at the intersection of the past and the personal. Brown’s poetic concerns are both broad and intimate, and at their very core a distillation of the incredibly human: What is safety? Who is this nation? Where does freedom truly lie? Brown makes mythical pastorals to question the terrors to which we’ve become accustomed, and to celebrate how we survive. Poems of fatherhood, legacy, blackness, queerness, worship, and trauma are propelled into stunning clarity by Brown’s mastery, and his invention of the duplex—a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues—is testament to his formal skill. The Tradition is a cutting and necessary collection, relentless in its quest for survival while reveling in a celebration of contradiction.

Come see about me, Marvin by Brian G Gilmore

"Come see about me, Marvin is accessible, honest poetry about and for real people. In the collection, brian g. gilmore seeks to invite the reader into a fantastical dialogue between himself and Marvin Gaye--two black men who here born in the nation's capital but moved to the Midwest for professional ambitions. In trying to acclimate himself to a new job in a new place--a place that seemed so different from the home he had always known--gilmore often looked to Marvin Gaye as an example for how to be. These poems were derived as a means of coping in a strange land." --back cover

Deaf republic : poems by Ilya Kaminsky

Deaf Republic opens in an occupied country in a time of political unrest. When soldiers breaking up a protest kill a deaf boy, Petya, the gunshot becomes the last thing the citizens hear--they all have gone deaf, and their dissent becomes coordinated by sign language. The story follows the private lives of townspeople encircled by public violence. At once a love story, an elegy, and an urgent plea, these poems confronts our time's vicious atrocities and our collective silence in the face of them.

Soft science by Franny Choi

"Soft Science explores queer, Asian American femininity. A series of Turing Test-inspired poems grounds its exploration of questions not just of identity, but of consciousness -- how to be tender and feeling and still survive a violent world filled with artificial intelligence and automation. We are dropped straight into the tangled intersections of technology, violence, erasure, agency, gender, and loneliness." -- Amazon.com

You can't kill me twice : (so please treat me right) by Charlyne Yi

Take me with you by Andrea (Poet) Gibson

"For readers of Rupi Kaur (Milk and Honey) and Atticus (Love Her Wild), a book small enough to carry with you, with messages big enough to stay with you, from one of the most quotable and influential poets of our time. Andrea Gibson explores themes of love, gender, politics, sexuality, family, and forgiveness with stunning imagery and a fierce willingness to delve into the exploration of what it means to heal and to be different in this strange age. Take Me With You, illustrated throughout with evocativeline drawings by Sarah J. Coleman, is small enough to fit in your bag, with messages that are big enough to wake even the sleepiest heart. Divided into three sections (love, the world, and becoming) of one liners, couplets, greatest hits phrases, and longer form poems, it has something for everyone, and will be placed in stockings, lockers, and the hands of anyone who could use its wisdom"--

Lake Michigan by Daniel Borzutzky

Lake Michigan, a series of 19 lyric poems, imagines a prison camp located on the beaches of Chicago that is privatized, racially segregated, and overrun by a brutal police force. Thinking about the ways in which economic policy, racism, and militarized policing combine to shape the city, Lake Michigan's poems explore the themes of estrangement, state violence and capitalist exploitation, and take a hard look at neoliberal urbanism in the historic city of Chicago

Virgin : poems by Analicia Sotelo

"Selected by Ross Gay as winner of the inaugural Jake Adam York Prize, Analicia Sotelo's debut collection of poems is a vivid portrait of the artist as a young woman"--Provided by publisher

Indecency by Justin Phillip Reed

Eye level : poems by Jenny Xie

"Jenny Xie's award-winning debut, Eye Level, takes us far and near, to Phnom Penh, Corfu, Hanoi, New York, and elsewhere, as we travel closer and closer to the acutely felt solitude that centers this searching, moving collection. Animated by a restless inner questioning, these poems meditate on the forces that moor the self and set it in motion, from immigration to travel to estranging losses and departures. The sensual worlds here--colors, smells, tastes, and changing landscapes--bring to life questions about the self as seer and the self as seen. As Xie writes, "Me? I'm just here in my traveler's clothes, trying on each passing town for size." Her taut, elusive poems exult in a life simultaneously crowded and quiet, caught in between things and places, and never quite entirely at home. Xie is a poet of extraordinary perception--both to the tangible world and to "all that is untouchable as far as the eye can reach.""--Amazon.com

I can't talk about the trees without the blood by Tiana Clark

"For poet Tiana Clark, trees will never be just trees. They will also and always be a row of gallows from which Black bodies once swung. This is an image that she cannot escape, but one that she has learned to lean into as she delves into personal and public histories, explicating memories and muses around race, elegy, family, and faith by making and breaking forms as well as probing mythology, literary history, her own ancestry, and, yes, even Rihanna. I Can't Talk About the Trees without the Blood, because Tiana cannot engage with the physical and psychic landscape of the South without seeing the braided trauma of the broken past--she will always see blood on the leaves."--Publisher's website

Shame is an ocean I swim across by Mary Lambert

"Beautiful and brutally honest, Mary Lambert's poetry is a beacon to anyone who's ever been knocked down--and picked themselves up again. In verse that deals with sexual assault, mental illness, and body acceptance, Ms. Lambert emerges as an important new voice in poetry, providing strength and resilience even in the darkest of times." -- Dust jacket

If they come for us : poems / Fatimah Ashgar. by Fatimah Asghar

Citizen illegal by José Olivares

Inward by author Yung Pueblo (Writer)

"From poet, meditator, and speaker Yung Pueblo, comes a collection of poetry and prose that explores the movement from self-love to unconditional love, the power of letting go, and the wisdom that comes when we truly try to know ourselves. It serves as areminder to the reader that healing, transformation, and freedom are possible."--Publisher's description.

Gmorning, gnight! : little pep talks for me & you by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Wade in the water : poems by Tracy K Smith

A Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, using her signature voice--inquisitive, lyrical and wry--mulls over what it means to be a citizen, a mother and an artist in a culture arbitrated by wealth, men and violence, boldly tying America's modern moment both to our nation's fraught founding history and to a sense of the spirit, the everlasting

Silencer by Marcus Wicker

"Welcome to Marcus Wicker's Midwest, where the muzzle is always on and where silence and daily microaggressions can chafe away at the faith of a young man grieved by images of gun violence and police brutality in twenty-first-century America. Precisely contradictory, bittersweet, witty, and heartbreaking, Silencer is where the political and the personal collide. Driven by the sounds of hip-hop and reimagined forms and structures, Wicker's explosive second book is composed of poems at war with themselves, verses in which the poet questions his own faith in God, in hope, in the American Dream, and in himself. Pushing our ideas of traditions and expectations, these poems and queries work in concert towards creating a new dialectic"--

Harborless by Cindy Hunter Morgan

When I grow up I want to be a list of further possibilities by Chen Chen

"In this ferocious and tender debut, Chen Chen investigates inherited forms of love and family -- the strained relationship between a mother and son, the cost of necessary goodbyes -- all from Asian American, immigrant, and queer perspectives. Holding allaccountable, this collection fully embraces the loss, grief, and abundant joy that come with charting one's own path in identity, life, and love. When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities. To be a season of laughter when my father sayshis coworker is like that, he can tell because the guy wears pink socks, see, you don't, so you can't, you can't be one of them. To be the one my parents raised me to be. A season from the stormiest planet. A very good feeling with a man. Every feeling,in pink shoes. Every step, hot pink."--

My mother was a freedom fighter by Aja Monet

"My Mother Was a Freedom Fighter is poet Aja Monet's ode to mothers, daughters, and sisters--the tiny gods who fight to change the world. Textured with the sights and sounds of growing up in East New York in the nineties, to school on the South Side of Chicago, all the way to the olive groves of Palestine, these stunning poems tackle racism, sexism, genocide, displacement, heartbreak, and grief, but also love, motherhood, spirituality, and Black joy."--Amazon.com

Whereas by Layli Long Soldier

WHEREAS confronts the coercive language of the United States government in its responses, treaties, and apologies to Native American peoples and tribes, and reflects that language in its officiousness and duplicity back on its perpetrators

Calling a wolf a wolf by Kaveh Akbar

This highly-anticipated debut boldly confronts addiction and courses the strenuous path of recovery, beginning in the wilds of the mind. Poems confront craving, control, the constant battle of alcoholism and sobriety, and the questioning of the self and its instincts within the context of this never-ending fight. From "Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before": Sometimes you just have to leave whatever's real to you, you have to clomp through fields and kick the caps off all the toadstools. Sometimes you have to march all the way to Galilee or the literal foot of God himself before you realize you've already passed the place where you were supposed to die. I can no longer remember the being afraid, only that it came to an end.

Milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look

HOME BODY by Rupi Kaur

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey and the sun and her flowers comes her greatly anticipated third collection of poetry. Rupi Kaur constantly embraces growth, and in home body, she walks readers through a reflective and intimate journey visiting the past, the present, and the potential of the self. home body is a collection of raw, honest conversations with oneself - reminding readers to fill up on love, acceptance, community, family, and embrace change. illustrated by the author, themes of nature and nurture, light and dark, rest here. i dive into the well of my body and end up in another world everything i need already exists in me there's no need to look anywhere else - home

The sun and her flowers by Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur's second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself. Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms

Break your glass slippers by Amanda Lovelace

From the two-time winner of the Goodreads Choice Award comes first installment of the 'break your glass slippers' series, a collection of poems about overcoming those who dont see your worth, even if that person is sometimes yourself

The mermaid's voice returns in this one by Amanda Lovelace

"The mermaid is known for her siren song, luring bedroom-eyed sailors to their demise. However, beneath these misguided myths are tales of escapism and healing, which Lovelace weaves throughout this empowering collection of poetry, taking you on a journey from the sea to the stars. They tried to silence her once and for all, but the mermaid’s voice returns in this one"--Goodreads.com

The witch doesn't burn in this one by Amanda Lovelace

"The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now--indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn't burn in this one"--Publisher's website

The princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace

To make monsters out of girls by Amanda Lovelace

Lovelace explores the memory of being in an abusive relationship. She poses the eternal question: Can you heal once you've been marked by a monster, or will the sun always sting? -- from goodreads.com

Whiskey, words, and a shovel by R Sin

Collection of short first-person poems about relationships

Planting gardens in graves by R Sin

Falling toward the Moon by Robert M Drake

A joint poetry collection from the virally popular and bestselling poets r. h. Sin and Robert M. Drake. The heart will ache, the soul will feel weary, and the mind will be weighed down by the things you wish to forget. There will be nights when all you have is yourself and the moon. There will be nights when silence will exist in abundance. And even though you may feel lonely at first. You must understand that the solitude is a gift; you must understand that even when alone, you are more than enough

Empty bottles full of stories by Robert M Drake

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National Medal Recipient of the National Medal, the nation's highest honor for libraries.