6 Spectacular February 2023 Poetry Releases
February 2023 marks yet another exciting month in poetry. As winter continues, warm up with a hot new release from some of the genre’s most established voices, including Patricia Smith, Mahogany L. Browne, and Alice Notley. Whether you’re looking for inspiration, narrative intrigue, or societal examination, you’ll find it in this month’s newly published collections.
1. Meet Me at the Lighthouse by Dana Gioia
Release date: Feb. 7
Dana Gioia stands out as one of the most highly regarded modern-day lyric poets, inspired by weighty, poignant themes like nostalgia, family, and grief. A former chairperson for the National Endowment of the Arts and Poet Laureate of California, Gioia already has a remarkable poetic legacy—one he only advances in Meet Me at the Lighthouse, his sixth collection. Perhaps his most personal release yet, the collection peers into the past, illuminating the lives of Gioia’s immigrant ancestors and their storied, working class Los Angeles neighborhood. Place plays an unforgettable and iconic role in this book, with each poem promising to truly transport the reader.
2. Couplets: A Love Story by Maggie Millner
Release date: Feb. 7
Couplets: A Love Story is Maggie Millner’s debut book, and it’s already garnered praise from Elif Batuman and Aria Aber, as well as been named a most-anticipated release by Electric Literature. Considered a novel in verse, the collection spotlights the expansive, hybrid nature of poetry, with an intriguing, character-driven plot advancing alongside rich, sparkling language. Couplets follows a young woman in Brooklyn as she separates from her boyfriend and enters a surprising coming-of-age era defined by queerness and desire. Through fast-paced, daring narrative, Millner brings new life to themes like gender roles, jealousy, and identity.
3. Chrome Valley by Mahogany L. Browne
Release date: Feb. 7
The winner of an NAACP Image Award for her literary work, as well as a political organizer, Mahogany L. Browne shows that poetry is deeply tied to policy, history, and identity. Chrome Valley examines Black womanhood in America through Browne’s own lineage, with poems that pay tribute to the poet’s mother and their family rituals. Browne pairs these personal and familial role models with writing about larger cultural influences and historical figures. Through all these inspirations, Browne considers the inheritance that young Black girls receive, juxtaposing equal parts pain and fierce, distinct beauty.
4. You Are Only Just Beginning: Lessons for the Journey Ahead by Morgan Harper Nichols
Release date: Feb. 14
With her nearly two million followers on Instagram, Morgan Harper Nichols has related to a wide audience through her signature blend of artistry, vulnerability, and inspiration. In You Are Only Just Beginning: Lessons for the Journey Ahead, Nichols builds upon the legacy of her previous titles, taking readers on a journey through their pasts and helping them arrive at a more confident, healed future. Nichols pairs her honest and symbolic verses with colorful, botanical drawings, both of which will delight readers.
5. Unshuttered by Patricia Smith
Release date: Feb. 15
Patricia Smith has been nominated for all of the biggest awards in poetry, from the National Book Award to the Ruth Lilly Poetry Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In Unshuttered, Smith once again showcases this unparalleled talent, revealing poetry’s nearly photographic power. Smith’s personal collection of 19th century photos of Black women, men, and children serve as the inspiration for her latest book. In these poems, she digs into a painful, fascinating history to imagine these subject’s lives, challenges, and triumphs.
6. Early Works by Alice Notley
Release date: Feb. 21
Alice Notley’s bold, confessional verse helped establish her as a member of the acclaimed New York School poets, but—like many other women poets of the period—she never quite carved out the reputation or fame she deserved. Early Works, a collection of previously unpublished poems from Notley’s early writing career, takes a crucial step in rewriting this story, drawing attention to Notley’s wholly singular voice and perspective. From sonnets to free verse, Early Works gathers together some of Notley’s best, most wide-ranging work.