Winter Reads: 6 Superb December Poetry Releases
The year may be wrapping up, but there’s still time for plenty of 2020 poetry releases. December offers poetry from both emerging and established voices, making room for collections ranging from stark to hopeful. When you need to reflect or to see the world through a new lens, poetry arises as the perfect companion. Cozy up with these anticipated and unique selections.
1. I’ll Fly Away by Rudy Francisco, releasing Dec. 8.
Originally a spoken word poet, Francisco catapulted to fame with stand-out performances and the release of his first collection, Helium. Its follow-up, I’ll Fly Away, keeps the poet’s trademark honesty and flair for detail, pairing it with the theme of everyday joys. Though the collection discusses gun violence, mental health, and divorce, Francisco buoys these personal and global tragedies with his beloved brand of unrelenting optimism. For those seeking encouragement and inner-strength at the end of the year, I’ll Fly Away is a must-read.
Order I’ll Fly Away here.
2. Pushcart Prize XLV: Best of the Small Presses 2021 Edition edited by Bill Henderson, releasing Dec. 8.
Rather than providing a compelling portrait of one poet, the Pushcart Prize anthology invites readers to consider the genre’s overall landscape and direction. It gathers more than 70 poems from 50 different small presses, with nominations decided by some of today’s most acclaimed editors. Pushcart Prize XLV: Best of the Small Presses 2021 Edition includes long-time poets alongside rising writers, giving readers a sneak-peek into poetry’s future.
Order Pushcart Prize XVL here.
3. Systems for the Future of Feeling by Kimberly Grey,
releasing Dec. 8.
Recently chosen for The Rumpus’s poetry book club, Systems for the Future of Feeling promises to inspire discussion. The collection, authored by former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, confronts loneliness, heartbreak, and fear in modern society. Out of this devastating setting, Grey calls for empathy and questions the existing language’s ability to deliver it. The boundary-breaking collection strives to invent newfound vocabulary and language systems to answer pressing societal questions. An avant-garde release, Systems for the Future of Feeling shows Grey following in the innovative footsteps of Anne Carson and Gertrude Stein.
Order Systems for the Future of Feeling here.
4. The Lyme Letters: Poems by C.R. Grimmer, releasing Dec. 10.
Written as an epistle, or a letter in verse, The Lyme Letters shines an intimate spotlight on disease and recovery. This raw honesty, which also explores disabled and queer identity, won the manuscript the Walt McDonald First-Book Series award in poetry from Texas Tech University.
Order The Lyme Letters: Poems here.
5. Ghost Hour by Laura Cronk, releasing Dec. 15.
What does it mean to be a girl and a woman, growing up amidst both joy and violence? Cronk delves into this question throughout Ghost Hour, a coming-of-age collection that will read like a diary. The poems in Ghost Hour may vary in their length and in their many forms, but a distinct and relatable voice sparkles throughout.
Order Ghost Hour here.
6. Wound from the Mouth of a Wound by torrin a. greathouse, releasing Dec. 22.
Selected by Aimee Nezhukumatathil as the winner of the 2020 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry, this ambitious collection follows greathouse’s many poetic accomplishments. An MFA student at the University of Minnesota, greathouse has already been published in Poetry and The New York Times. Wound from the Mouth of a Wound weaves together previously published and new poems about transgender identity and living as an act of resistance.
Order Wound from the Mouth of a Wound here.