New month, new poetry! August brings us new poems from the first Native American Poet Laureate herself, Joy Harjo, along with works that explore violence against women and our current American political climate. From spirituality to technology to survival to perseverance, here are five new poetry collections to read this month.
An American Sunrise by Joy Harjo
Two hundred years after the Mvskoke people were forcibly removed from their original lands east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory, the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States, Joy Harjo, returns to her family’s lands in her new poetry collection An American Sunrise. From her memory of her mother’s death to her beginnings in the native rights movement, Harjo confronts the site where her people, and other indigenous families, essentially disappeared. Intertwined with Harjo’s personal life and tribal histories, this collection is about survival, beauty, blessings, spiritual connections to ancestors, injustice, and anger.
Pillow Thoughts III by Courtney Peppernell
In this third installment of the Pillow Thoughts series, Courtney Peppernell continues to explore themes of love and heartbreak, fear and courage, depression and hope. This tribute to her readers is geared towards their healing journey, with her empowering, inclusive voice as a guide to the light. Backed with raw emotion, powerful imagery and meticulously crafted vignettes, Pillow Thoughts III is made to warm the soul.
Limelight by Solli Raphael
Limelight is a unique collection of slam poetry paired with inspirational writing techniques, written by thirteen-year-old award-winning slam poet Solli Raphael. With over 30 original poems in different forms, the book features the viral video sensation ‘Australian Air’, which has been viewed 3.5 million times via Facebook. Solli’s work tackles current social concerns for his generation, such as sustainability and social equality, all the while amplifying his uplifting message of hope. This collection also looks at traditional poetry forms and slam poetry, as well as tips on developing writing ideas and performing so it is the perfect read for poets looking for some creative inspiration.
Be Recorder by Carmen Giménez Smith
Be Recorder explores rebellion, complacency in the media, and self-delusion. Smith reckons with self and nation, with personhood and belonging. These investigative and vital poems are full of power, rage, truth, and beauty. If you are looking for a collection that delves into our current political climate, this is the book of poetry for you.
Life of the Party by Olivia Gatwood
Known for her online fan base of millions for her spoken-word performances, Olivia Gatwood’s new collection Life of the Party weaves together her own coming-of-age with an investigation into our culture’s romanticization of violence against women. These poems ask, How does a girl grow into a woman in a world racked by violence? Where is the line between perpetrator and victim? Gatwood’s powerful, searing voice and raw, precise prose explore boundaries and how what happens to our bodies can make us who we are. This timely collection is a must-read this month.
The Grace of Distance by Matthew Thorburn
Set in China and America, in the present and the distant past, The Grace of Distance explores the ways in which we try to close the distances we experience in modern life―between doubt and faith, between cultures, between ourselves and those we love. By examining both Eastern and Western ideas of spirituality, Thorburn seeks to gain a greater sense of perspective, understanding, and peace through these joyful, honest and complex poems.
Extravagant Rescues by Brett Foster
How far from our imperfect human selves have we traveled? That is the question Brett Foster’s Extravagant Rescues seeks to answers as this collection of poetry. Immersed in the concept of human mortality and frailty among the age of technology, this collection explores our human history with compassion and humor as he exposes our flaws and the choices we have made along the way that have distance us from our own true natures.