5 New Poetry Collections to Brighten Your Bookshelf This May

While at home this May in self-quarantine, there is no better time to explore new poetry. With the latest from Jenny Zhang, and collections exploring sexuality, injustice, mental health, and healing, there is something new for everyone within the words of these wonderful and inspiring poets. Here are five new poetry collections that will brighten up your bookshelves this May 2020. 


White Blood: A Lyric Of Virginia By Kiki Petrosino — May 5 

Using a variety of lyric forms, Petrosino examines her genealogical and intellectual roots in Virginia while confronting its legacies of slavery and discrimination. These poems candidly tackle questions of identity, historical injustice, and suffering while suggesting the possibility of greater understanding through scientific innovation.


My Baby First Birthday by Jenny Zhang — May 12

My Baby First Birthday is a collection that examines innocence, asking us who gets to be loved and who has to deplete themselves just to survive. Jenny Zhang writes about accepting pain, about the way we fetishize womanhood and motherhood and reduce women to their violations, traumas, and body parts. She questions the way we feminize and racialize nurturing, and live in service of other people’s dreams; how we idealize birth and infancy, how it’s only in our mothers’ wombs that we’re still considered innocent, blameless, and undamaged because it’s only then that we don’t have to earn love. Her poems explore the obscenity of patriarchy, whiteness, and capitalism, the violence of rescue and heroism. Her tender yet fierce language will make you never forget this book. 


Only as the Day Is Long by Dorianne Laux — May 12 

Earthy and lyrical, Only as the Day Is Long draws from Dorianne Laux’s five expansive, award-winning volumes and includes twenty new odes that pay homage to the poet’s mother. Exploring experiences of survival and healing, of sexual love and celebration, Only as the Day Is Long represents a bold and brilliant body of work from a “poet of immense insight and masterful craft” 


Becoming. by Renaada Williams — May 19

Becoming. is a beautiful debut collection of poetry centering around themes of feminism, sexuality, race, and mental health. Renaada Williams’s 100+ poems are short, personal, emotional tributes to the things that make us different and a celebration of all the things that make us the same. A journey through life, love, and loss, becoming. reminds the reader that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. 


Be Straight With Me by Emily Dalton — May 19 

A memoir-in-verse, Be Straight with Me is about a love that blurs the boundaries of gender and sexuality—told from the perspective of a young, straight woman who finds herself in a serious relationship with her gay male best friend. With honesty and emotional clarity, Emily Dalton brings to life this timely, true story about a nonconforming romance and its consequences, in “this bizarre, beautiful thing” they call love.