5 February 2022 Poetry Releases to Add to Your TBR List
Desire, memory, love, dreams, and rage: February’s releases illustrate complex, often intangible emotions and concepts, sharpening them into distinct images. These five new and highly anticipated titles will invite you to feel a full range of emotions, engage in radical self-care, and hope fiercely for a brighter future.
1. A Hundred Lovers by Richie Hofmann
Release date: Feb. 8, 2022
Described as “an erotic journal in poems,” Hofmann’s second collection blurs genres, leaning into autofiction and lyric essay while paying tribute to the Shakespearean sonnets and other poetic lineages. A Hundred Lovers illuminates the beauty of classical music, sculpture, and paintings, positioning love alongside these creations as a similarly immortal and exquisite work of art. Along the way, Hofmann explores the complicated, often intersecting ideas of monogamy, desire, and violence.
2. All the Flowers Kneeling by Paul Tran
Release date: Feb. 15, 2022
All the Flowers Kneeling marks Paul Tran’s debut collection, and it has already garnered praise from Alexander Chee, Natasha Trethewey, and Khadijah Queen. Tran, who has been awarded fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, crafts a poignant ode to resilience in the face of intergenerational trauma. The powerful work challenges U.S. imperialism, presenting instead a more full and wondrous idea of freedom.
3. We Are Not Wearing Helmets by Cheryl Boyce Taylor
Release date: Feb. 15, 2022
We Are Not Wearing Helmets is a collection of political love poems showcasing the beauty of those often discarded and erased from society, as well as confronting the atrocities against them. Cheryl Boyce Taylor, who has authored four previous poetry collections, honors the experiences and lives of immigrants, women of color, and seniors. In doing so, she uplifts figures like Audre Lorde, Ntozake Shage, and her own mother, looking to them as elders and inspirations.
4. Headless John the Baptist Hitchhiking by C.T. Salazar
Release date: Feb. 18, 2022
C.T. Salazar calls his debut poetry collection “the coming-of-age chronicle of a queer Latinx Southerner.” The book finds complexity, vulnerability, joy, and trauma in these identities, marveling at this striking juxtaposition. Salazar chronicles a tangled history with religion, as well as an enduring search for the spiritual and divine. Ultimately, Headless John the Baptist Hitchhiking beautifully argues that the divine can be found in everyday people.
5. Ultramarine by Wayne Koestenbaum
Release date: Feb. 22, 2022
Ultramarine is the third and final collection in Wayne Koestenbaum’s “trance poem trilogy,” an atmospheric and experimental series. The book is informed by Koestenbaum’s own background as an artist (in addition to teaching poetry at Yale, Koestenbaum also taught in their painting department and has had visual artwork exhibited nationally). Koestenbaum delves into paintings and the artistic process, using color as a metaphor through which to consider desire and memory.