Debut authors play a pivotal role in the poetry community. Their new and innovative collections show us where the genre is heading, speaking to literary movements and trends, as well as the future of the genre. You can buy some of these collections now, while others are still hotly anticipated. These five books with release dates in 2022 are the best of what’s new and what’s next.
Swollening by Jason Purcell
Release date: March 22, 2022
Queer writer Jason Purcell writes about their experience living with chronic illness in Swollening, a debut collection called “haunting and strange” by Alex Dimitrov and “lucid and fearless” by Leah Horlick. Purcell makes unexpected connections between queerness and physical health, vividly illustrating the effects of homophobia and repressed desire on the body. Swollening also exemplifies finding hope and tenderness even in the midst of personal sickness and a sick world.
Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear by Mosab Abu Toha
Release date: April 26, 2022
Mosab Abu Toha’s first collection has been praised by everyone from reviewers at The New York Times to beloved poets Kaveh Akbar and Naomi Shiab Nye. It’s also been shortlisted for the 2022 Palestine Book Awards, a tribute to the book’s strong focus on Palestinian identity, resilience, and humanity. Toha writes from the perspective of living under siege in Gaza, juxtaposing repeated and traumatizing violence with the lush, joyful imagery that still persists in everyday life. He showcases the students that pursue higher education and the families that continue meaningful traditions, among other daily miracles, even as they struggle under the weight of brutality.
Outlandish by Jo Clement
Release date: May 26, 2022
Jo Clement takes her readers on a journey across St. Cuthbert’s Way, a walking trail spanning from North East England to South East Scotland. This serves as a method of tangibly charting the Roma and Traveller diaspora. A self-described “British Gypsy,” Clement reclaims the Gyspy identity and pushes back against colonial forces and mindsets. Through the poems in Outlandish, Clement sheds light on an overshadowed and threatened identity.
Door to Door by Emma Walton Hamilton
Release date: Sept. 13, 2022
Door to Door marks Emma Walton Hamilton’s first foray into poetry, but it’s far from her first success as a writer. Hamilton has written for the stage and screen, as well as published multiple best-selling children’s books. The 49 sonnets in Door to Door sparkle with Hamilton’s distinctly whimsical sense of voice, at turns playfully and reverently exploring subjects like childhood, motherhood, and aging.
Concentrate by Courtney Faye Taylor
Release date: Nov. 1, 2022
Courtney Faye Taylor’s Concentrate won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, with judge Rachel Eliza Griffiths hailing it as “breathtaking, brilliant, and radical.” Taylor’s examination of violence between women of color is daringly multimodal, delving into the charged and complex subject through visual poetry, lyric essay, found poetry, and even journalistic reportage. Through this bold, collage-like approach, Taylor confronts the culture of white supremacy and sexism that fuel this violence. Though she focuses on the 1992 Los Angeles uprising, Taylor interweaves this historic milestone with more modern events and with her own personal experiences, illuminating the courage, strength, and vulnerability of Black womanhood.
Looking for more reading recs to add to your TBR? Check out our roundup of escapist and evocative summer poetry.
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