5 June 2022 Poetry Releases to Shop Now

June 2022 poetry releases promise to represent the height of the genre, with highlights including classic anthologies, prize-winning collections, and much-anticipated books. These collections explore weighty, ever-present themes like the role of human connection, gender, religious identity, and more. 


1. The True Account of Myself as a Bird by Robert Wrigley 

Release Date: June 14


In his twelfth published collection, Robert Wrigley takes inspiration from the classic poetry of W.H. Auden, crafting the book around Auden’s famous musing, “All we are not stares back at what we are.” Yet for Wrigley, this line comes to embody urgent, modern concerns—like an ever-changing planet and how humans cope with the climate crisis—alongside more timeless questions of mortality.


2. Human Resources by Ryann Stevenson

Release Date: June 14


Ryann Stevenson’s innovative and surprising Human Resources won the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize and was selected by Henri Cole. In the debut collection, Stevenson considers gender, loneliness, consumerism, and self-improvement through the lens of technology and AI. The speaker of the collection creates female-coded “bots,” including a floating head and a smart oven. Through this futuristic approach, Stevenson contemplates societal and capitalist influences on gender, both charting a horror-filled, likely path forward and daring to resist and reimagine it.


3. Lives by C.J. Evans

Release Date: June 14


Selected by the beloved Victoria Chang as the winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry, Lives considers the poetic nuance and significance of everyday, ordinary realities, finding beauty in these small, simple details. These poems linger in a kiss, a sip of tea, and a look out the window, using these seemingly inconsequential moments as opportunities to ponder larger questions.


4. Our Ancestors Did Not Breathe This Air by Afeefah Khazi-Syed, Aleena Shabbir, Ayse Angela Guvenilir, Maisha Munawwara Prome, Mariam Eman Dogar, and Marwa Abdullhai 

Release Date: June 15


Written by six college friends who met as students at MIT and now live in different cities across the country, Our Ancestors Did Not Breathe This Air is an ambitious example of collective poetry, with each piece sparking conversation and connection. Since the poems harken back to an earlier friendship, they’re laced with nostalgia and reverence for the past: The collection not only revisits college, but also immigration journeys, religious traditions, and family histories, from Venezuela to India. The result is a poignant exploration of diaspora and identity. By exploring their rich and complicated origins, these poets gain a deeper understanding of their present and write toward their futures. 


5. If We Must Die: The Essential Claude McKay by Claude McKay

Release Date: June 28


While Claude McKay’s poems date back to the Harlem Renaissance, this new anthology—with an introduction by former Cave Canem director Nicole Sealey—showcases their continued relevance and power. As someone who lived in both Jamaica and the U.S., McKay’s poetry considers Black identity, prejudice, and the concept of race across different countries, both celebrating African heritage and striking back at bigotry. This anthology is an enduring, evocative volume fit for any collector of poetry. 


Happy reading!