10 Poetry Books to Look for this July

Whether you’re in the mood for succinct style, musical meter, or mind-blowing metaphors, July’s poetry releases offer a promising lineup. With collections from both seasoned poets and new writers, July offers a wide range of perspectives and styles—from poems of war-torn Baghdad to the American South and beyond. 


Harnessing Darkness by Caleb Woods

Available July 5, Harnessing Darkness is Woods’ debut poetry collection. In it, he explores some of his most personal thoughts and explores his struggles surrounding mental illness and growing up gay in the bible belt. Themes of loss, pain, heartbreak, and hope bring readers along for a roller coaster of emotions. 


The Government Lake: Last Poems by James Tate

Fans of Tate will feel right at home reading The Government Lake. Published posthumously, this collection displays his dark, whimsical, emotional, and absurd style. From stories of a woman who begins laying eggs to a baby born transparent, Tate explores the surreal and provocative in his final collection. The Government Lake hit shelves July 2.


Encore by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, Edited by Kathy Lohrum Cotton

If you’re looking for an array of poetry from numerous authors, Encore might be for you. The National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS) sponsored fifty contest categories to challenge poets to write in different structures like pantoum, villanelle, trimeric, sonnet, and more. Of nearly 7,000 submissions from the US and Canada, 150 poems have been selected for this anthology. Encore was released July 6. 


From the Water’s Edge by Shun P. Writes

Amazons #1 new release in African poetry, From the Water’s Edge, was published July 2. Though it is Writes’ first collection, it is only the first volume of this series. Intellectual and evocative, the collection touches on issues of racism and injustice while offering themes of faith and redemption as well.


Big Cabin by Ron Padgett

Guggenheim Fellow and Pulitzer Prize nominee, Padgett wrote the collection over three seasons in a Vermont cabin. Wry, wise, and at times absurd, Big Cabin takes a look at morality, consciousness, and time in a new light. Big Cabin was released July 2. 


No Matter by Jana Prikryl

Coming July 23, No Matter is Prikryl’s second collection. Previously appearing in The New Yorker, The London Review of Books, The Paris Review, and The New York Review of Books, Prikryl’s unique voice guides readers through both true and imagined memories. Weaving free verse, sonnet, and invented forms, this offbeat collection encourages readers to use their imaginations. 


In Her Feminine Sign by Dunya Mikhail

Renowned for her subversive, satirical, and innovative voice, Mikhail reveals her experiences growing up in a war-torn country. It is the first book she has written in both Arabic and English, and in it, she shifts between her childhood in Baghdad and her adulthood in Detroit. Reviewers acclaim her delicate style of delivering strong themes and narratives. In Her Feminine Sign will be released on July 30.


A New Silence by Joseph Massey

Available July 12, A New Silence is reviewed as observant, musical, and coherent to nature. Massey distills moments with a clear eye and careful ear. English poet Tom Pickard calls Massey “a pleasure to read” and acclaims the young poet’s ability to pare down to the essentials alone.


ell Me How You Really Feel: Haiku from the southern trash(y) queer witch frontlines by Mo Karnage

Chock-full of observations on politics, southern life, construction work, herbalism, and more, Karnage offers a look at cutting-edge “weirdo culture” at its finest. Funny, raw, and original, this collection of haiku-style poems promises a surprise on every page. 


Golden Year
by Olivia Monahan

Self-published by Monahan, Golden Year is a collection of over five years worth of poetry. In it, she chronicles her seasons of discovery, nostalgia, grief, vulnerability, and love. The New Jersey poet and aspiring social worker hopes readers find love, hope, and a home within the pages of Golden Year, released July 3.