Welcome to part 2 of my top 2020 reads! Poetry! This one was tough because as you may know, I read over 120 books this year, including poetry, and discovered so many cool poets. I felt bad leaving out some that came so close to making the list, that I also included some honorable mentions at the end. Also shoutout to Button Poetry, who introduced me to many great writers this year. 4 of them are on this list!
“Blake Auden's debut poetry collection features 170+ poems across three distinct chapters, telling the story of true love lost. You can follow his work on Instagram @blakeaudenpoetry”
“This collection is just the beginning of my testimony. This is me trying to explain my faith and my hope that this world is not only full of monochromatic dark and light. This is how I came to love myself. I gave up one part of who I am, so that another part could live.”
"The Crown Ain't Worth Much, Hanif Abdurraqib's first full-length collection is a sharp and vulnerable portrayal of city life in the United States. A regular columnist for MTV.com, Abdurraqib brings his interest in pop culture to these poems, analyzing race, gender, family, and the love that finally holds us together even as it threatens to break us. Terrance Hayes writes that Abdurraqib "bridges the bravado and bling of praise with the blood and tears of elegy." The poems in this collection are challenging and accessible at once, as they seek to render real human voices in moments of tragedy and celebration."
"Women’s sexuality is often used as a weapon against them. In this powerful debut, Britteney Black Rose Kapri lends her unmistakable voice to fraught questions of identity, sexuality, reclamation, and power, in a world that refuses Black Queer women permission to define their own lives and boundaries."
"Falkner’s first full-length poetry collection, offers a sharp and vulnerable portrait of the journey into queerhood in America. Departing from a more familiar coming out narrative he centers the stories of dueling selves. Masquerading white boy. Child of an addict. Closeted varsity athlete."
"In poems that dig deep into sexuality, acceptance of the body, survival of trauma, and learning to love yourself in spite of everything telling you not to, Baird's voice is a rich addition to her generation. Searing, soaring, and heartbreaking, If My Body Could Speak balances the softness of femininity with the sharpness that girls are forced to become."
"Phil Kaye’s debut collection is a stunning tribute to growing up, and all of the challenges and celebrations of the passing of time, as jagged as it may be. Kaye takes the reader on a journey from a complex but iridescent childhood, drawing them into adolescence, and finally on to adulthood. There are first kisses, lost friendships, hair blowing in the wind while driving the vastness of an empty road, and the author positioned in the middle, trying to make sense of it all."
"Homie is Danez Smith’s magnificent anthem about the saving grace of friendship. Rooted in the loss of one of Smith’s close friends, this book comes out of the search for joy and intimacy within a nation where both can seem scarce and getting scarcer. In poems of rare power and generosity, Smith acknowledges that in a country overrun by violence, xenophobia, and disparity, and in a body defined by race, queerness, and diagnosis, it can be hard to survive, even harder to remember reasons for living."
Jessica Moore's heart-rending debut, describes an untimely death and the journey of going on alone. The book stares down loss and struggles to transform that loss into language that can pass through boundaries of intricate sorrow."
"In this debut collection, Halsey bares her soul. Bringing the same artistry found in her lyrics, Halsey’s poems delve into the highs and lows of doomed relationships, family ties, sexuality, and mental illness. More hand grenades than confessions, these autobiographical poems explore and dismantle conventional notions of what it means to be a feminist in search of power."
Well, there you have it! My top 10 favorite poetry reads from this year. Below are some that came close to making my list. Also, stay tuned for my top 10 fiction list, and check out my top 10 picks for non-fiction.
Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass by Lana Del Rey
Love Her Wild by Atticus
Vulgar Wisdoms by Meaghan Curley
We Want Our Bodies Back by Jessica Care Moore
God Is Not An American by Jessica Care Moore
Nothing is Okay by Rachel Wiley
Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn
Citizen Illegal by José Olivarez
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