Poetry, Reading list

What to Read for National Poetry Month

In honor of National Poetry Month, celebrated every April, we’re sharing a roundup of poetry collections that have been published within the last year. Featuring Chicago’s Phoenix Poets Series as well as books from our distributed client presses, these books touch on subjects like race, identity, and queerness, national borders and the limits of language, the beauty of nature, and the challenges of illness and caretaking. You’ll find moving collections from up-and-coming poets at Acre Books, Autumn House, CavanKerry Press, Omnidawn, and Seagull Books—and new to us this year, Tupelo Press.

Not sure where to get started? We’ve put together some thematic highlights in this post, showcasing books that touch on some key topics. Shop our collection of new poetry books on Bookshop, or order directly from our website using the promo code POETRYMONTH to take 40% off all month long.

Books on Nature

These evocative books explore experiences with nature, from the climate crisis to deeply personal connections and disconnections to landscapes of southern Appalachia and the American West.

The Upstate by Lindsay Turner 

In a Cabin, in the Woods by Michael Krüger

Beachlight by Cyril Wong

THINE by Kate Partridge

as mornings and mossgreen I. Step to the window by Friederike Mayrocker

Books on Queerness

Both tender and illuminating, the poems in these collections turn their gaze toward the natural world, explore complicated rural relationships to queerness, and celebrate the warmth that humanity is capable of. 

You Bury the Birds in My Pelvis by Kelly Weber

Taking to Water by Jennifer Conlon

Nest of Matches by Amie Whittemore

The Curve of Things by Kathy Kremins

Country Songs for Alice by Emma Binder

Books on Race and Identity

Highlighting collections that deal with race and identity in a variety of ways, from deep history to Black joy to an exploration of Mexican and American culture.

Negro Mountain by C. S. Giscombe

Tell it Slant by John Yau

Looking and Seeing/Seeing and Looking by Damon Potter

Seraphim by Angelique Zobitz

Bad Mexican, Bad American by Jose Hernandez Diaz

Books on Borders

Thes books investigate and challenge borders of all kinds, from linguistic and technological structures, the limits of the body, and diasporic literatures.

Mandible Wishbone Solvent by Asiya Wadud

PORTAL by Tracy Fuad

Asterism by Ae Hee Lee

The Wandering Life: Followed by “Another Era of Writing” by Yves Bonnefoy

Psyche Running by Durs Grünbein

Books on Illness and Caretaking

Rich in empathy, patience, and insight, these collections give us new ways of speaking about grief, illness, and the act of caretaking.

Survivor’s Notebook by Dan O’Brien

Limited Editions by Carol Stone

absolute animal by Rachel DeWoskin

Murmur by Cameron Barnett

Vexations by Annelyse Gelman

These titles are available now from our website or from Bookshop. Happy National Poetry Month!