Vulnerable AF paperback book

5 Poetry Debuts to Look Forward to This Summer

Ready to add to your summer TBR list? This season comes with a new crop of exciting debut collections. From Grammy-nominated singers to award-winning writers and journalists, you’re sure to find a new name to add to your favorite poets list. So stake out a shady spot in the grass and get ready to fall in love with one (or all) of these five summer poetry debuts. 


Vulnerable AF by Tarriona Ball

Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Tarriona “Tank” Ball (lead singer of the four-piece group Tank and the Bangas) brings her talent to the art of poetry with her debut collection Vulnerable AF. The New Orleans-based poet tells the story of a real-life relationship in verse and short prose. Through her story, readers can gain insight into the difference between love and infatuation, the danger of losing yourself in someone else, and coming out on the other side of heartbreak with a stronger, more beautiful sense of self (and sense of humor). Available June 8. 


Worldly Things by Michael Kleber-Diggs

Poet, essayist, and literary critic Michael Kleber-Diggs releases his debut poetry collection this summer with Wordly Things, which won the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize. The collection celebrates moments of love—teaching his daughter to drive, watching his grandmother bake a cake, waking beside his beloved—alongside moments of grief—a father’s life ended by a gun, Freddie Gray’s death in police custody, a man calling the police on his Black neighbor. In juxtaposing these two realities, Kleber-Diggs candidly documents the many ways America has failed those who call it home. Worldly Things is a call for racial kindness and social responsibility. Available June 8. 


Small Cures by Della Hicks-Wilson

London-born poet and writer Della Hicks-Wilson releases her highly anticipated debut collection with Small Cures. Empowering and lyrical, this collection extends a tender hand to anyone struggling with heartbreak, mental health, or trauma. Over 100 poems blend seamlessly together to tell the story of diagnosis, treatment, and recovery in an honest, memorable, and gentle way. Small Cures is a soulful reminder to readers that they are not alone. Available June 15. 


Call Me Athena: Girl from Detroit by Colby Cedar Smith

Midwest-raised poet Colby Cedar Smith transports readers to 1930s Detroit in her young adult debut novel-in-verse Call Me Athena. This enchanting book tells the story of a young woman’s struggle for independence, equality, and identity as the daughter of Greek and French immigrants. Written from three profoundly different perspectives, the novel examines life in the great depression, tells a story of tradition and heritage, and—above all—explores themes of freedom, love, and equality. Available Aug. 17. 


I Am Not Young and I Will Die With This Car in My Garage by Blake Z. Rong

Brooklyn-based writer and journalist Blake Z. Rong compiles 37 thought-provoking poems in his debut collection I Am Not Young and I Will Die With This Car in My Garage. With honestly, humor, and tenderness, Rong examines who we are as a country, what it means to feel lonely, and who we are when we dare to love—and even dare to fail. Available Aug. 28.