What I am Currently Reading for May

The following books are those that I am reading and highly recommend for anyone who is interested in contemporary poetry. They range from contemporary issues on race and gender/sexuality to pop culture. Check them out!

One of my good friends and professors studied under this man and I can see much of his influence from his work in my friend’s. Galvin writes with a metaphysical touch in a contemporary syntax. The book is a collection of four of his major works and he is accessible at times and at others distant. I love the mixture of both. Highly recommend.

The concept of this first collection of poems from a veteran of PBS NewsHour is exactly about what it indicates: the news. Brown examines, with profound intimacy, what we consume as far as news and media. He works around the thematic treads of suffering and triumph, zooming in as well as abroad, in order to make our nightly rituals mean something surprising, gutting the reader with his detail and musicality.

Praised by Naomi Shihab Nye and Rigoberto González, as well as by my professor Dorianne Laux, her poems are witty, woven in love, and all objects are within reach for the taking. I recommend reading the poems “Sugar Pains Me” and “Passenger Pigeon Cloud.” These poems are filled with surprise and heartache. Sometimes formal in their construction and at other times informal, these poems are well constructed and artfully designed.

Beatty examines with almost overwhelming music and meter the value of hip-hop and Black American culture. Though first published in 1994, this book still maintains its relevance and is still sharp with humor. He has a completely hip honesty that makes the voice in these poems very likable, and easy to listen to. For avid hip-hop enthusiasts who don’t mind being “verbally mugged.”

I have always admired Hoagland’s ability to be easily accessible and yet still remain distant enough to show humanity in its futility and beauty. His fifth collection of poems, he is still showing us what it means to be American and human. “Ode to the Republic” and “Don’t Tell Anyone” are certainly two that will punch you in the gut.


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