6 December 2021 Poetry Releases You Shouldn’t Miss

Poetry adds extra coziness and comfort to the holidays. Whether you’re wanting to curl up by the fireplace with a new collection, gift poetry to a friend or family member, or accomplish your reading goals before the new year, these six collections should be part of your season. 


1. Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman

Release date: December 7

Amanda Gorman served as the 2021 inaugural poet, expanding interest in the art form and making a powerful statement about poetry’s role in history. In Call Us What We Carry, Gorman addresses many of the weighty and universal themes she spotlighted on Inauguration Day–political turmoil, social issues, and collective grief–and transforms outrage into a unifying cry for hope. With her bold and confident voice, Gorman leads readers into a visionary future. 


2. The Pushcart Prize XLVI: Best of the Small Presses 2022 Edition edited by Bill Henderson 

Release date: December 7

Small, independent literary magazines and presses have an undeniable impact on poetry. The Pushcart Prize’s annual anthology has been gathering the best works from these publications for 46 years, bringing short fiction, poems, and essays into one diverse and striking volume. The Pushcart Prize XLVI is a must-read for anyone curious about poetry’s current moment. 


3. The Patron Saint of Making Curfew by Tim Stafford 

Release date: December 14

A new release from Haymarket Books, a leading publisher in Chicago devoted to “books for changing the world,” Tim Stafford’s The Patron Saint of Making Curfew embodies a radical and soulful spirit. Stafford gives voice to the Chicago punk scene, making this collection both a mixtape and an ode to a complex, creative city. 


4. Runes and Chords by Alice Notley

Release date: December 14

Alice Notley, one of the most influential New York School poets, has been a trailblazing and electric voice in the poetry genre since the 1970s. Her more than 40 collections helped popularize confessional poetry, illuminating subjects like childbirth and motherhood. Notley has already delved beyond poetry into literary criticism, and Runes and Chords marks her foray into visual art. In the highly anticipated release, Notley pairs her original drawings with lyrical free verse, offering a fascinating glimpse into her inspirations and multimodal creative process. 


5. Best New Poets 2021: 50 Poems from Emerging Writers edited by Kaveh Akbar and Jeb Livingood

Release date: December 17

What’s next for the genre of poetry? Publisher’s Weekly has called the Best New Poets series–which has now entered its 17th year–“a reminder that contemporary poetry is not only alive and well but continuing to grow.” This vital anthology weaves together 50 poems from writers who have not yet published a full-length book.


6. The Sonnets of Rainer Maria Rilke translated by Rick Anthony Furtak

Release date: December 17

Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke authored more than 15 books throughout his lifetime. His deeply felt influence has revolutionized poetry, with poets like W.H. Auden and John Ashbery citing Rilke as a role model. Rilke’s mystical and romantic themes, which emphasize love and communion with nature in an age of anxiety, are now accessible to a new, wider range of readers thanks to Rick Anthony Furtak’s pioneering translation. 


Need more reading recommendations? Check out our November 2021 poetry selections.