5 Fierce July 2021 Poetry Releases

From pandemic reflections to poems that depict protest and unrest, July’s poetry collections speak out on important and urgent topics. If you’re wanting to be moved, inspired, and understood, these five forthcoming collections are likely to have just the right effect.


1. The Collection Plate by Kendra Allen

Release date: July 6


Poet and essayist Kendra Allen previously won the 2018 Iowa Prize for Literary Nonfiction for her collection When You Learn the Alphabet. Following this success, The Collection Plate presents a similar appreciation for both complexity and juxtaposition. Allen’s work considers the dualities of beauty and violence, prison and freedom, and life and death, exploring the full spectrum of these themes. Most of all, The Collection Plate is a collection about the body and about identity, communicating what it means to feel underrepresented, as well as the body’s capacity for both pleasure and pain. 


2. Somebody Else Sold the World by Adrian Matejka

Release date: July 6


Adrian Matejka has previously been a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In his fifth collection, he continues to write about timely and universal themes. Somebody Else Sold the World reckons with daily existence in an uncontrollable landscape, revealing the loneliness, exhaustion, terror, and even joy that accompany this reality. With the coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests serving as the collection’s tumultuous, emotional backdrop, Matejka considers what it means to live amidst global struggle and revolution. 


3. Low by Chrissy Williams

Release date: July 6


Chrissy Williams’s work has been described as “inventive, goofy, and oddly moving” by the Telegraph, and the British poet’s offbeat, confessional second collection certainly fits this characterization. Throughout Low, Williams employs deft and unexpected humor to process a miscarriage and its resulting grief. Using the vocabulary of improvisation, clownery, and drag, Williams harkens back to the traditional language and voices associated with comedy. In doing so, Williams reveals how humor can sometimes mark a way of avoiding pain, but can also help us more bravely face it. 


4. Stereo(type) by Jonah Mixon-Webster

Release date: July 13


Stereo(type) is the first collection by Jonah Mixton-Webster, a hybrid and conceptual artist. In the creative, genre-bending work, Mixton-Webster pushes the barriers of both sound and visual form, stretching poetry past its comfortable limits and into a bolder future. This mirrors the subject matter of Stereo(type), which asks readers to deconstruct ideas surrounding race, sexuality, religion, and government in order to build a way of life that liberates everyone. A native of Flint, Mich., Mixon-Webster writes about these themes through the lens of the Flint water crisis, bringing a personal angle to events that will go down in history. 


5. Goldenrod by Maggie Smith

Release date: July 27


Best known for her bestseller Keep Moving, which provided poetic affirmation and encouragement, Smith has helped millions find poetic moments in the everyday. Goldenrod promises to do the same, finding a rare mix of gentleness and undeniable power in its imagery and metaphor. An exploration of parenthood, love, and memory, Goldenrod spotlights universal themes and bittersweetly captures the fleeting, intangible nature of some of life’s best moments. 


Happy reading! While you’re waiting for these titles, check out our June 2021 poetry recs.