A curated booklist by your favorite SPL librarians!

April 2023

Alive at the End of the World Alive at the End of the World by Saeed Jones

Poet Jones explores his gay, Black identity, societal tension in America, and his relationship with his deceased mother in this culturally significant collection of lyrical, playful, musical, and political poetry. Touching on topical issues like gun violence, homophobia, racism, and grief, sets Jones’s voice apart from his contemporaries.

All Along You Were Blooming: Thoughts for Boundless Living All Along You Were Blooming: Thoughts for Boundless Living by Morgan Harper Nichols

This illustrated collection of poetry by Instagram poet Morgan Harper Nichols (@morganharpernicols) aims to inspire readers with its thoughtful prose and spiritual musings. Full of grace and beauty, Nichols encourages readers to slow down and linger in her sun-dappled ruminations.

All the Flowers Kneeling All the Flowers Kneeling by Paul Tran

Transgender, nonbinary poet Paul Tran’s stunning debut collection speaks to trauma, telling of their own traumatic experiences as well as ways that trauma impacts any person’s sense of self. Booklist Review calls All the Flowers Kneeling a “darkly intelligent and exquisite debut.”

Black Queer Hoe Black Queer Hoe by Britteney Black Rose Kapri

A powerful debut touching on themes of sexual freedom versus sexual exploitation, women’s sexuality weaponized against them, and personal agency for Black women in a world that challenges their boundaries and identity. Kapri writes that to be a “hoe” is to defy an unattainable vision of womanhood.

Crossbones on My Life Crossbones on My Life by Mason J.

Queer, Black, Indigenous San Francisco-born artist Mason J. honors the memory of “snap queens, Black lesbians, gay latinos, two-spirit natives, feral city youth, trans icons, and ‘round the way girls” with their debut collection of poems.

Golden Ax Golden Ax by Rio Cortez

Nominated for multiple literary awards, this visionary book of poetry by New York Times bestselling author Rio Cortez writes of her family’s legacy as "Afropioneers" in the American West, Black womanhood, and other personal, political, and artistic frontiers.

If They Come For Us If They Come For Us by Fatimah Ashgar

In her soulful debut, poet Fatimah Ashgar describes what it’s like being a young Pakistani Muslim woman in modern-day America. Orphaned from a young age, Ashgar explores coming to terms with complicated thoughts around sexuality, race, identity, and belonging, without the love and guidance from her parents.

Musical Tables Musical Tables by Billy Collins

Themes of nature, animals, poetry, mortality, absurdity, and love abound in beloved American poet Billy Collins newest collection. Composed of small poems (different from Haiku and limericks), this concise, poignant, and clever prose will delight and astound you.

There Are Girls Like Lions There Are Girls Like Lions foreword by Cole Swensen; illustrations by Karolin Schnoor

A celebration of womanhood, this anthology of 30 empowering poems includes a foreword by award-winning American poet Cole Swensen, striking metallic ink illustrations by artist Karolin Schnoor, and works by women poets including Margaret Atwood, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Kimiko Hahn, Elisabeth Hewer, Rachel Zucker, Emily Dickinson, and Naomi Shihab Nye.

Walking Gentry Home: A Memoir of My Foremothers in Verse Walking Gentry Home: A Memoir of My Foremothers in Verse by Alora Young

An American epic in verse, detailing the rich history of writer Alora Young’s ancestors, bringing to life the unnamed women in long-forgotten historical records like foremother Amy, who died enslaved and was buried in an unmarked grave, great-great grandmother Gentry, who was married during her childhood, and Young’s own mother, a former teenage beauty queen.

Weaving Sundown in a Scarlet Light: Fifty Poems for Fifty Years Weaving Sundown in a Scarlet Light: Fifty Poems for Fifty Years by Joy Harjo

These 50 poems by former three-term US Poet Laureate and member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Joy Harjo commemorate her fifty years as a writer. Spanning her career, these prophetic, personal, and deeply spiritual poems transcend culture and genre and speak to the human experience with the utmost sensitivity and brilliance.

When Angels Speak of Love When Angels Speak of Love by bell hooks

Best known for her cultural critiques and feminist and racial justice writing, this volume of poetry by the late bell hooks delves into the topic of love in all its stages. Book List Review says hook’s “careful word choice and clever rhythms are refreshingly original” and offer an “intoxicating essence that can thoroughly nourish readers, heart and soul.”

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