6 Stand-Out October 2021 Poetry Releases to Expand Your Shelf

As the weather cools down, poetry offers coziness and comfort. This month’s releases place readers among lush and overgrown trees, in the sterile realm of a hospital, and in the classic tales of Greek mythology, finding opportunities for reflection and emotion in each of these unique settings. Reach for these six reads to transport you this October.


1. flower crowns & fearsome things by Amanda Lovelace

Release date: Oct. 5, 2021


Readers familiar with Amanda Lovelace’s best-selling women are some kind of magic series will be enchanted by the similarly powerful and poignant themes in flower crowns & fearsome things, her latest collection. Once again, Lovelace draws an evocative parallel between women and the natural world—this time, celebrating femininity through the enduring imagery of wildflowers and wildfires. The collection showcases that women’s wildness can manifest in both gentle and ferocious ways, prompting readers to find beauty and strength in both.


2. Self Love Poetry by Melody Godfred

Release date: Oct. 5, 2021


With work described as “pandemic medicine,” Melody Godfred has been featured in Oprah Magazine and on The Today Show. Now, even more readers can incorporate her ritualistic and radically authentic words into their daily lives. With Self Love Poetry, her debut collection, Godfred has crafted a collection for “thinkers and feelers”: Poems alternate between right brain and left brain sensations to depict the full impact of cultivating self-love. 


3. The Flesh Between Us by Tory Adkisson 

Release date: Oct. 11, 2021


Tory Adkisson’s The Flesh Between Us won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award, joining well-known, prolific names like Camille Dungy and Victoria Chang. The collection centers around eroticism, exploring how our ideas about the erotic intersect with cultural scripts and with tradition. Adkisson looks at intimacy and queerness through the lenses of Greek mythology and Judaism, depicting these experiences with sharp, exacting honesty and without shame. 


4. My Wilderness by Maxine Scates

Release date: Oct. 12, 2021


My Wilderness marks Maxine Scates’s fourth book, and perhaps her most personal. Scates delves into luscious and wild nature poetry, using the images of wooded Oregon to reflect the turmoil within her own life. Just as this cherished landscape transforms due to human activity and climate change, the collection’s speaker grapples with her own life changes—namely, the illness of a partner and her mother’s death. My Wilderness is a moving journey through grief and an unflinching exploration of our effect on the world. 


5. Little Pharma by Laura Kolbe

Release date: Oct. 26, 2021


In addition to her work as a poet, Laura Kolbe is a physician and a professor of medicine, an interdisciplinary background that richly informs Little Pharma. Kolbe guides readers through a hospital landscape and through the very portal between life and death in this searing collection, which won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. Along the way, Kolbe reckons with the inherent juxtaposition of grief and joy, stopping to marvel at ongoing life even in the midst of ever-present mortality. 


6. Winter Recipes from the Collective by Louise Glück 

Release date: Oct. 26, 2021


Louise Glück continues to cement herself as one of the most prominent and vital voices in American poetry, a feat that’s most emphasized through her 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature win. This collection’s title comes from a previously published poem by Glück, which states, “The book contains / only recipes for winter, when life is hard. In spring, anyone can make a fine meal.” In this spirit, Glück has written a collection to sustain readers—one that’s life-giving and hearty.


Happy reading!