9 Fresh New Poetry Releases This May

May has officially begun, and with it comes no shortage of exciting new poetry collections to add to your bookshelf. From themes of family, love, and loss to ideas about philosophy and the economy, there’s something to stimulate every reader in this month’s lineup. We’ve selected nine fresh highlights to check out this May. 


Chariot by Timothy Donnelly 

Release Date: May 2

For readers inspired by life’s biggest questions, Chariot by Timothy Donnelly should be next on the TBR list. This philosophical and deeply embodied collection guides readers to consider how we got here, where we’re going, and what truly matters. Brooklyn-based poet Timothy Donnelly is the Director of Poetry at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. This is his fourth collection. 


Dream of Xibalba by Stephanie Adams-Santos

Release Date: May 2

Spice up your May reading list with this incantatory epic. This collection is actually a single poem set in a dreamlike world where the boundary between life and death becomes blended. Selected by Jericho Brown as the Winner of The 2021 Orison Poetry Prize, Dream of Xibalba is an exciting spiritual journey. 


West: A Translation by Paisley Rekdal

Release Date: May 2

History buffs will love this multi-modal collection. Made of many voices, languages, literary, forms, and documents, West: A Translation uses the transcontinental railroad to explore what unites and divides America. 


Catch Me When I Fall: Poems of Mother Loss and Healing by Donna Stoneham

Release Date: May 9

A moving collection of poems and letters, this collection tells the story of grief, healing, and love between an adult daughter and her elderly mother. Four years of conversations are chronicled in this collection to contextualize the author’s grief after the loss of her mother. This transformational and transcendent collection shows the power of love and relationships to help us transform into our authentic selves. 


Fever of Unknown Origin by Campbell McGrath

Release Date: May 9

From Pulitzer Prize finalist Campbell McGrath comes a new profound and piercing collection. Fever of Unknown Origin analyzes the complexities of navigating the modern world and searching for the beauty within it. 


Many Small Hungerings by William Bortz

Release Date: May 9

Explosive and elevated, this exciting collection is a timely exploration of love, longing, and loss. A follow-up to writer William Bortz’s 2021 The Grief We Are Given, Many Small Hungerings embraces the ever-elusive grip of nostalgia and memory. 


Things I Didn’t Do with This Body by Amanda Gunn

Release Date: May 23

This exciting debut collection from poet Amanda Gunn pulls no punches. Told in six parts, Things I Didn’t Do with This Body plays with form and lyricism to explore family, history, and the body. 


Softening Time by Elena Brower

Release Date: May 16

Yogi, teacher, and artist Elena Brower offers readers a lyrical exploration of grief, compassion, and learning with this enchanting new collection. Drawing on events from her role as a mother, sister, daughter, and friend, Brower takes readers on a journey of deep and gentle self-awareness. 


Bread and Circus by Airea Dee Matthews

Release Date: May 30

This powerful autobiographical collection analyzes the economics of class and how it affects those who are made invisible by it. Author Airea D. Matthews uses his background in economics to reveal the shortcomings in Adam Smith’s theory of the invisible hand and the impacts of its failures.