Aaron's Poetic Picks 2022

Alive at the End of the World By Saeed Jones, D. a. Powell (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Saeed Jones, D. a. Powell (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781566896511
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - September 13th, 2022

Paying homage to black heroes such as Luther Vandross and Diahann Carroll, the sensational Saeed Jones delivers yet another masterful piece in Alive at the End of the World. With gut-wrenching and electric passages of growing up as a black boy in America, underlining current events of shootings and killings and overarching failures, his protest is as amplified as if Baldwin and Morrison decided to release modern poetry.

Time Is a Mother By Ocean Vuong Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593300237
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - April 5th, 2022

Ocean Vuong is the poet who will effortlessly wreck your heart, ruin your day, and leave you with no tears left to cry—and yet, you cannot help but thank him for the art you have just read. Intimately and introspectively, these poems boldly spell the atrocities of war and interrogate how we approach simple commonalities such as laughter and interaction with literature. I cannot recommend Ocean Vuong highly enough—and his first collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, is just as gorgeous.

All the Flowers Kneeling (Penguin Poets) By Paul Tran Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143136842
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - February 15th, 2022

Fans of Ocean Vuong, you're going to love this one. In Paul Tran's creative first work of poetry, they collectively annotate the disturbances surrounding sexual violence in such a close, fearful way, leaving the reader with no choice but to break down and consider their sympathies.

Line and Light: Poems By Jeffrey Yang Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450864
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - May 3rd, 2022

A wonderful collection of poetry with occasional photos delineating the apocryphal lines of the preceding pages.

Refractive Africa By Will Alexander Cover Image
ISBN: 9780811230278
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions - November 2nd, 2021

For fans of Olio by Tyehimba Jess, this is a must-read. History-themed poetry is not as prevalent as other types of collections, but here Will Alexander delineates his vision with excellent precision. With riveting analysis, striking diction, and agonizing emotions, Alexander takes his endearing readers through a three-part book exploring the haunting nature of colonialism and the African diaspora as a whole.

frank: sonnets By Diane Seuss Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450451
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - March 2nd, 2021

My goodness, can I recommend this book enough?! Disregarding its well-deserved Pulitzer Prize nomination, this epic poem ripped endless tears from my eyes and did not allow me to put the book down from the moment I opened it. Diane Seuss is brilliant, and her cross-references and allusions reminded me of my own encounters with my mother growing up. With letters of self-sabotage and intimate reflection, Seuss absolutely deserves the attention of anyone looking to reminisce.

Yellow Rain: Poems By Mai Der Vang Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450659
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - September 21st, 2021

This collection is inventive. Every page you turn, you must take a second to absorb every word, every texture, every piece in every picture, and just allow yourself to be drenched in the impeccable imagery imagined in these haunting fragments of the Vietnam War. Well deserving of her Pulitzer Finalist status, Mai Der Vang creates a viciously refined world that is not often seen in poetry books today.