5 Dazzling December 2022 Poetry Releases

The end of the year may be nearing, but that doesn’t mean that the poetry world is winding down. In fact, some of the year’s most exciting releases hit shelves this month. Queer poets, Jewish poets, and poets of differing abilities are in the spotlight this season, a testament to the value of deeply personal stories and diversity in the genre. Check out our five must-read recommendations. 


1. Invisible History: The Collected Poems of Walta Borawski

Release date: Dec. 1


A queer poetry reading list would be incomplete without Walta Borawski, a bold political poet whose writing powerfully responded to and characterized the post-Stonewall era and AIDS crisis. Borawski was known for his writing in zines and activist newspapers, and he’s been anthologized in a collection of “gay writers who changed America.” That call for change, from a writer whose verse pairs striking honesty and vivid musicality, is preserved and meditated upon in this book.


2. MOPES: A Book in Three Acts by Kenneth Reveiz 

Release date: Dec. 6


MOPES: A Book in Three Acts is the latest release from the Fence Modern Poets series, a radical and prestigious poetry prize dedicated to queer writers of color who challenge systems of power within their work. In this award-winning book, Kenneth Reveiz vulnerably and bravely contrasts the world as it is versus the world as it should be. The collection opens with a devastating and unflinching illustration of America’s racialized and homophobic violence, then envisions the struggle and vision it will take to overcome this. Ultimately, MOPES: A Book in Three Acts moves through the classic dramatic structure, arriving at a utopia and inspiring us to fight for it


3. Her Birth and Later Years: New and Collected Poems by Irena Klepfisz 

Release date: Dec. 6 


A childhood Holocaust survivor and lifelong Jewish lesbian activist, Irena Klepfisz’s work is one of the most compelling examples of the personal intertwining with the political. Though she’s written unforgettable poetry for more than 50 years—work with Adrienne Rich praised for its mastery of line and shifting tone—Her Birth and Later Years is the first and only full collection of Klepfisz’s poetry. Its pages call us back into the past, with poems memorializing those lost to violence and urgently carving out their legacies. 


4. How to Communicate by John Lee Clark

Release date: Dec. 6


Ahead of its release, How to Communicate has been called “a masterpiece” by Kaveh Akbar and “a living classic” by Ilya Kaminsky. Alternating between quiet and loud moments and finding power in both, deafblind poet John Lee Clark has written a collection that defies the literary canon and establishes a new, much-needed position within it. Clark makes an indisputable and heartbreaking argument about the lack of accessibility and inclusion in poetry, contrasting this with his poems that incorporate Braille and erasure. Though he reimagines forms throughout the collection, much of Clark’s collection is not a reimagining, but instead a diaristic look at ordinary life. As Clark visits a museum and sits at the gas station, he invites readers to accompany him and learn how he interacts with the world. 


5. 100 Poems That Matter by the Academy of American Poets

Release date: Dec. 13


The holiday season is all about reuniting oneself with classics and tradition, making December the perfect release month for the much-anticipated 100 Poems That Matter. In this beautiful collectible from the revered Academy of American Poets, readers can revisit or learn about the poets who defined the genre, from Emily Dickinson to Langston Hughes. 100 Poems That Matter showcases how poetry has carried us throughout history. 


Happy reading!