Poetry and Album Pairings: Maggie Rogers Edition

As we enter the last month of Spring, the weather is heating up and so is your reading list. This month’s poetry collections promise much-anticipated follow-ups from leading poets, stand-out releases from new voices, and more. Get ready to dive into themes of spirituality, joy, queerness, working through trauma, and more in these five May poetry collections. 


Gospel of a Whole Sun by Katerina Jeng

Release date: May 7


Katerina Jeng’s debut release marks the musician and activist’s foray into poetry, where she explores what it means to be queer, neurodivergent, and her journey navigating these experiences while facing anti-Asian racism and prejudice during the height of the pandemic. Alongside these identities and their intersections, Jeng also chronicles a breakup and the process of falling back in love with life. The collection is a testament to what it means to be in pursuit of liberation—both for oneself and for one’s community. 


The Invention of the Darling by Li-Young Lee

Release date: May 14


Li-Young Lee, who has authored six poetry collections, returns to his characteristically timeless and spiritual themes in The Invention of the Darling. Lee has noted that he sees poems as “descendants of God.” This philosophy comes alive in The Invention of the Darling, which doesn’t shy away from confronting mortality, consumerism, or fear, yet emphasizes love in the face of these dark forces. Li-Young Lee is best known for his ability to effectively enforce and weave together silences in poetry, making this sixth release an opportunity for quietness, solitude, and reflection. 


Good Want by Domenica Martinello

Release date: May 21


What does it mean to be “good” or “bad?” How does one reckon with a shifting definition of religion, belief, and God? In Good Want, Domenica Martinello bravely contends with these questions and others, reflecting on the experience of outgrowing blind faith and the painful aftermath that accompanies this loss. She connects the experience of deconstructing religion to deconstructing family, upbringing, and intergenerational trauma, with both of these experiences serving as lenses through which to cultivate empathy and self-love. 


But I Don’t Feel Empowered by Suri Chan

Release date: May 21


Another debut collection, Suri Chan’s But I Don’t Feel Empowered pairs poetry and illustration to encourage ease in a world of expectation and pressure. But I Don’t Feel Empowered walks the reader through Chan’s l healing journey, where readers can no doubt find parallels to their own. Chan also counters the typical archetype and narrative of healing, accepting emotions as they are, and refusing to present as empowered and courageous at all times. 


Acts: Poems by Spencer Reece

Release date: May 28


A painter, poet, and priest, Spencer Reece’s devotion and appreciation for the sacred shines through in Acts, his third collection. His first collection in ten years, the book traces the last decade of Reece’s life, serving as a notable love letter to setting and place. It veers between Spain, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, with the language, literature, and faith of each different places leaving a deep influence. Reece exemplifies how poetry can bridge distances, including both physical and emotional. 


Happy reading!