From Persephone to Lovecraft via Boris Johnson’s appalling mismanagement of the pandemic, here are the upcoming poetry releases that recently caught my eye.
Can You Sign My Tentacle? by Brandon O’Brien
The delightfully sinister Can You Sign My Tentacle is a collection of horror poetry, inspired by the stories of H. P. Lovecraft. Poet Brandon O’Brien has an agile, fast-paced and witty writing style that lends itself particularly well to the combination of Victorian horror motifs with contemporary social mores. Poems like because who she is matters more than her words, Kanye West’s Internet Bodyguard Asks Hastur to Put Away The Phone and Cthylla Asks for J.Cole’s Autograph are standouts. Overall it’s a really interesting, intelligent collection that has the power to move the heart and fire up the brain.
This collection will be published on 20th August 2021 by Interstellar Flight Press
Born in Lockdown by Tolu’ A. Akinyemi
Born in Lockdown was the first pandemic-inspired poetry collection I’ve read. And it won’t be the last, although the short length and narrow focus of a lot of the poems did leave me hungry for a longer, epic retelling. That said, Tolu’ A. Akinyemi is a skilled, nimble poet who does a great job evoking the stress, chaos and boredom that enfused the early days of the pandemic. Individually the poems are Insta-style snapshots of fleeting moments, collectively they create a howl of outrage that rattles the reader’s skull. In a good way.
This collection will be published on 8th September by BooksGoSocial
Flower Crowns and Fearsome Things by Amanda Lovelace
If Akinyemi’s social media-friendly poems add up to something greater as a whole, flower crowns and fearsome things goes in the opposite direction. Amanda Lovelace’s poems light up my social media feeds by always managing to take a clever, beautiful way to articulate something I didn’t even realise I was feeling. Read all in one go, however, I found that they quickly become repetitive and lose their impact. As we see more and more poets coming out of social media, I think this reading experience is going to become common. Given the chance to reread with fresh eyes, I’d make sure to take regular breaks while reading.
This collection will be published on 5th October 2021 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
Mother/land by Ananda Lima
A prize-winning collection from Ananda Lima, Mother/land explores the way becoming a parent and an immigrant impact our identities. Lima weaves together English and Portuguese to tell stories about what we carry with us from the past, what happens when a new life (physical and metaphorical) arrives to push out the old and the feelings of discombobulation, joy and loss this brings. The result is a confident, skillful collection that gives a personal twist to a universal story.
This collection will be published on 15th October by BooksGoSocial