Sarah Browning's National Poetry Month Recommendations – Pandemic Version

By The Head and The Hand Books

By The Head and The Hand Books

Curated by Sarah Browning, cofounder, Split This Rock and MFA candidate, Rutgers University-Camden

"I’m grateful to the good folks at The Head & The Hand for inviting me to curate a list of poetry collections for National Poetry Month. I’ve chosen 15 books, many by poets from populations most grievously affected by the coronavirus pandemic and by the policies of our nation, and others’, that have rendered them so vulnerable: Native peoples, people with disabilities, the incarcerated, and immigrants, especially our undocumented kin. Each of these collections brings poetry’s power – as a challenge and a balm both, reminding us, with ferocity and tenderness, of our common humanity."

Birthright

George Abraham

$16.00 $14.72

Debut collection of poems of protest and praise by a queer Palestinian-American writer and activist.

Felon: Poems

Reginald Dwayne Betts

$26.95 $24.26

Winner of the 2019 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry, Felon is the third collection by acclaimed writer and Yale Law School graduate Betts, who was tried as an adult at age 16 and incarcerated for nine years.

The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: Latinext

$19.95 $18.35

A wide-ranging anthology of contemporary Latinx voices, fourth in a series inflected by the global hip hop movement and aesthetic.

Salvage: Poems

Cynthia Dewi Oka

$16.95

Cynthia Dewi Oka, Philly/South Jersey local hero originally from Bali, Indonesia, brings us a collection that salvages the fierce and beautiful self from the ravages of imperialism.

Cenzontle

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

$17.00 $15.64

Award-winning poems that cross borders personal and political, by a formerly undocumented poet, author of the brand-new memoir, Children of the Land, and cofounder of the activist group, the Undocupoets.

Postcolonial Love Poem: Poems

Natalie Diaz

$16.00 $14.72

Diaz, Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe, has rewritten the love poem as full embrace – of queer women of color, of the ravaged land, of the self – transforming the reader with the transcendent power of the erotic.

In the Lateness of the World: Poems

Carolyn Forché

$24.00 $21.60

The first collection in 17 years by the writer who coined the term “poetry of witness,” a work lush with love and anguish that NPR calls, “An undisputed literary event.”

Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude

Ross Gay

$17.00 $15.64

The book I give as a gift to everyone I love, published in 2015 and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude wrestles joy from grief, locating our salvation in our attention to one another and to the natural world.

A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland

Damaris Hill

$25.00 $22.50

Chronicling the history of Black women’s resistance to their incarceration and oppression, this powerful book includes archival documents, biographical sketches, and photographs in addition to poetry.

Flare

Camisha Jones

$14.99

Urgent poems of disability and difficulty, self-reinvention, and joy, from my former colleague, Split This Rock Managing Director Camisha Jones.

Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry

John Murillo

$16.95 $15.59

Wrested from the story of American violence against Black men, these poems are testimony to resistance, survival, and tenderness – gorgeous manifestos.

Have You Seen This Man?: The Castro Poems of Karl Tierney

Karl Tierney

$18.00 $16.56

Tierney’s poems – gathered and published for the first time in book form – are love letters and urgent dispatches from another pandemic, the early days of the AIDS crisis in San Francisco.

Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology

$42.95

The first anthology that includes a wide diversity of voices tracing the links between environmental degradation and other critical social issues such as war and violence, forced migration, food and agriculture, and human-animal relations.

More Than Organs

Kay Ulanday Barrett

$18.00 $16.56

Poems of vulnerability and resistance – “the kinship of hunger and pain” – by a self-described queer brown Filipinx disabled transgender boi.

Unaccompanied

Javier Zamora

$16.00 $14.72

Zamora charts the journey he took as a nine-year-old from El Salvador who crossed the border undocumented and alone, with language made rich by the lived experience of desert and diaspora.