The month of July has popped in our doorstep bringing along a wave of heat, but are you sure you didn’t miss something back in June? Of course you did! Written by poets like Aviya Kushner to Della Hicks-Wilson, these June releases are just the dose you need to fight the summer heat. Highlighting black struggles and liberation, feminist advocacy, or importance of self-reflection, they are a perfect fit for your morning coffee.
The Essential Muriel Rukeyser by Muriel Rukeyser, with a foreword by Natasha Trethewey
Engaging closely with the violence, oppression, and injustice that she witnessed in her lifetime, Muriel Rukeyser was one of the seminal poets of the mid-twentieth century. Closely informed by issues relating to equality, social justice, feminism, and Judaism, her impassioned poetry was often seen as a mode of social protest, but it was also heralded for its deep emotional impact; its personal perspective; forthright discussion of the female experience, particularly sex and single parenthood at a time when these topics were largely taboo; and its wide-ranging exploration of genre and form. As Adrienne Rich wrote: “Muriel Rukeyser’s poetry is unequalled in the twentieth-century United States…She pushes us…to enlarge our sense of what poetry is about in the world, and of the place of feelings and memory in politics.”
The Essential Muriel Rukeyser represents the curation of Rukeyser’s most enduring and urgent work, gathered in one volume that spans the many decades of her life and career, and with an introduction from Natasha Trethewey, one of our most important contemporary poets.
Wolf Lamb Bomb by Aviya Kushner
The poems in Wolf Lamb Bomb, with their radiant clarity, encompass both the daily and the spiritual while casting light on the dark moments of our recent history. They ask unanswerable questions of the biblical Isaiah, and Kushner’s tremendous power―like Isaiah’s―stems from a depth of vision that is everywhere matched by the beauty of her imagery and music. Whether describing the aftermath of September 11th in New York City, or flooding in the Midwest, or a bomb in Jerusalem, she guides us through the wilderness of despair to that place where we might imagine, in some redemptive future, the wolf and the lamb lying down together. As charged and revelatory as lightning, this is an unforgettable book.
Vulnerable AF by Tarriona “Tank” Ball
The debut poetry collection from Grammy-nominated recording artist and slam poet Tarriona “Tank” Ball about infatuation, love, and heartbreak.
The real-life story of a relationship in the author’s past told in verse and short prose pieces. Relatable and honest, with Tank’s signature mix of whimsy and realness, Vulnerable AF is about the difference between love and infatuation, the danger and confusion of losing yourself in the idea of someone else, and coming out on the other side of heartbreak with your sense of self-worth—and your sense of humor—stronger for it.
Worldly Things by Michael Kleber-Diggs
In these poems, Kleber-Diggs names delight in the same breath as loss. Moments suffused with love―teaching his daughter how to drive; watching his grandmother bake a cake; waking beside his beloved to ponder trumpet mechanics―couple with moments of wrenching grief―a father’s life ended by a gun; mourning children draped around their mother’s waist; Freddie Gray’s death in police custody. Even in the refuge-space of dreams, a man calls the police on his Black neighbor.
But Worldly Things refuses to “offer allegiance” to this centuries-old status quo. With uncompromising candor, Kleber-Diggs documents the many ways America systemically fails those who call it home while also calling upon our collective potential for something better. “Let’s create folklore side-by-side,” he urges, asking us to aspire to a form of nurturing defined by tenderness, to a kind of community devoted to mutual prosperity. “All of us want,” after all, “our share of light, and just enough rainfall.”
Sonorous and measured, the poems of Worldly Things offer needed guidance on ways forward―toward radical kindness and a socially responsible poetics.
Small Cures by Della Hicks-Wilson
In this beautifully tender and ambitious debut collection, Hicks-Wilson weaves together more than 150 poems written over the course of seven years into a single one – to form an unforgettable and empowering book-length ode to self-love in three lyrical parts (diagnosis, treatment and recovery), perfect for fans of bestseller Milk and Honey and Warsan Shire’s For Women Who Are Difficult To Love.
Featuring never-before-seen poems and follower favourites, Small Cures is the transformative and soothing bite-sized prescription to both read and gift, every person craving to fall in love after love with themselves has been waiting for.