4 July 2022 Poetry Releases to Heat Up Your Reading List

July’s poetry releases incorporate hotly anticipated books from established voices, as well as a promising and highly personal debut collection. This summer reading list weaves together large-scale, societal themes and more interior, confessional musings, showcasing the many ways poets reckon with politics, prejudice, and more. 


Turn Up the Ocean by Tony Hoagland

Release date: July 12


Tony Hoagland, who passed away in 2018, published seven poetry collections and two books of essays throughout his long-spanning career. He also won fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and The American Academy of Arts and Letters. In the posthumous collection Turn Up the Ocean, readers once again get to experience Hoagland’s wit, authenticity, and sharp, surprising political critique. The work is an act of resistance, boldly illustrating American imperialism, consumerism, and injustice. Above all, Hoagland urges his readers to “not look away”—speaking out against the impulse to ignore our modern realities. 


Bimboland by Erin Taylor

Release date: July 12


Poet, journalist, and critic Erin Taylor breaks the silence around the sex work industry in their unique and poignant debut collection, Bimboland. As an outspoken socialist, Taylor relates their experiences as a sex worker to class theory and capitalist critique. The personal and the political are in constant dialogue throughout this collection, as Taylor connects her personal desires into a broader desire for a better world, as well as insight on how we arrive there. 


Girls That Never Die by Safia Elhillo

Release date: July 12


“What if I will not die / What will govern me then,” Safia Elhillo wonders in Girls That Never Die, raising questions of a brighter, defiant future in the midst of a violent and tumultuous present. Elhillo—who won the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets with her debut collection The January Children—writes about the ever-present dangers of being a woman in her third book, reflecting on genital mutilation, honor killings, sexual violence, and more. In spite of and perhaps because of this dark landscape, Elhillo imagines and writes toward a different reality, one defined by autonomy, true liberation, and personal power. Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic, called Girls That Never Die “a book that gives us courage.”


Whale Fall by David Baker

Release date: July 19


David Baker, whose prolific and award-winning poetry career includes honors from the Pushcart Foundation and the Poetry Society of America, returns to repeating and urgent themes with his 11th collection, Whale Day. Baker has been dubbed a “peerless poet of the natural world” by The New York Times Book Review, a reputation showcased in this book, which ruminates on geological change and environmentalism. Amidst a landscape of worldwide pollution and unsustainable warming, Baker both zooms in and zooms out—interrogating what this means for the world and also his own Midwestern hometown and current city. 


Looking for even more collections to read this summer? Check out our June 2022 poetry round-up for more recent recs.