A few days ago, I created a thread of poetry books I’d like to read in 2019. It was a list of 15 books, but I want to recreate a shorter list here, so I can focus on my reasons for wanting to read them and hopefully convince you to read them as well.
5. 1919, by Eve L. Ewing
This is Ewing’s second collection of poetry. Her first was Electric Arches, which had hits like “Shea Butter Manifesto” and “what I mean when I say I’m sharpening my oyster knife.” In her new book she covers the Chicago Race Riot of 1919. I’m intrigued to see what poems she creates from such a violent time, and what Afrofuturistic touches appear on the pages.
4. The Tradition, Jericho Brown
Claudia Rankine said reading Brown’s poems “is to encounter genius” and I trust her judgement, but I also read the titular poem online and it’s stunning. In case you need more incentive, you should know that he was included in the Black Male Writers of Our Time article that was published last month – it included a video of him reading “Cruelty” and it’s worth checking out.
3. Magical Negro, Morgan Parker
I’m interested in this book mostly because I read her other two poetry collections and enjoyed them. But that title is provocative, it calls to mind a trope used in film/fiction like The Green Mile. I haven’t seen it used much in poetry, so it’ll be cool to see how she interrogates this archetype.
2. Library of Small Catastrophes, Alison C. Rollins
Rollins is a librarian and she’s a poet. And, and, and – drum roll – she’s highly textured. Take all of my money.
1. Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love, Keith S. Wilson
I’ve been following Keith on Twitter for several years and reading his poetry for that long too. He’s like my friend in my head, though we’ve never met. Keith’s even published one of my poems and I will always be grateful.
Side note: I created a vlog of the 12 poetry books I bought in 2018.