6 Alluring August Poetry Releases

As the summer heats up, relaxing indoors with a new poetry collection becomes an even more appealing option. August releases explore topics from democracy to addiction and self-love, prompting readers to think deeply and find inspiration. Clear space on your shelf for these six upcoming releases. 


1. Pilgrim Bell by Kaveh Akbar 

Release date: Aug. 3


Kaveh Akbar, Pushcart Prize-winning author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf and Portrait of the Alcoholic, continues to reflect on themes like addiction and self-forgiveness in his third collection. In Pilgrim Bell, Akbar considers these ideas through the form of prayer, looking at recovery through the lens of Muslim identity. Akbar struggles to reconcile finding comfort in religious practices with an increasingly Islamaphobic society, questioning what it means to seek and discover holiness. 


2. Bikeman, Commemorative Edition by Thomas F. Flynn

Release date: Aug. 3


Nearly 20 years after the historic and haunting September 11 attacks, the commemorative edition of Bikeman—an epic poem chronicling that day—revisits writer Thomas F. Flynn’s personal experience. As the events of September 11 unfolded, Flynn set off on his bike to cover them from a journalist’s perspective. Bikeman: Commemorative Edition captures this sudden shift from reporter to survivor, detailing Flynn’s unexpected fight for his own life. This republished collection includes a new forward from revered news anchor Dan Rather.


3. Superdoom by Melissa Broder

Release date: Aug. 10


This collection weaves together poems from Melissa Broder’s three out-of-print poetry books—When You Say One Thing but Mean Your Mother, Meat Heart, and Scarecrone—as well as poems from her most recent collection, Last Sext. This makes it a must-read for those who are already fans of Broder, as well as those wanting to become more familiar with her surreal and visceral style. The Pushcart-winning poet is known for delving into themes like depression and sexuality with a bold, unabashed focus. 


4. What to Miss When by Leigh Stein

Release date: Aug. 10


A master of poetry that packs both poignancy and humor, Leigh Stein’s sharp and unique voice guides readers through the beginning days of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. From the first announcement of shut-downs to finding distraction in celebrity culture, the images, themes, and experiences in What to Miss When somehow meld horror and dark, undeniable hilarity. 


5. Playlist for the Apocalypse by Rita Dove

Release date: Aug. 17


In this sprawling poetry volume, which marks Rita Dove’s first collection in 12 years, the former U.S. Poet Laureate and Guggenheim fellow considers how social upheaval and America’s moral compass impact individual lives. The urgent and pivotal collection depicts modern-day movements, like Black Lives Matter, alongside references to World War II and 16-century Jewish ghettos. In doing so, Dove celebrates resiliency and the “lifetime of song” that arises from speaking truth to power.


6. Watering the Soul by Courtney Peppernell

Release date: Aug. 17


With her fifth collection, Courtney Peppernell promises to return to the themes that have made her so relatable to her 150,000 Instagram followers: self-love, self-forgiveness, and gratitude. Watering the Soul shows Peppernell at her most creative, with the collection acting as a step-by-step “recipe” instructing readers on not only how to water the soul, but also on its importance. With sections like “slow down,” “take a breath,” and “overcome your fear,” readers are sure to learn valuable lessons from Watering the Soul, as well as feel like empathetic Peppernell is walking alongside them on this journey. 


Need more reading recommendations? Check out our July poetry release round-up.