Poetry to Read While Waiting for More Poetry

I rarely write about books from the Far Future in this space—I’m a big fan of instant gratification, so I like to focus on books that are either already available or almost available.

That said, you should click over to your online bookseller of choice and pre-order The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo. By the time it arrives—in early March of next year—you’ll have forgotten that you ordered it, and it’ll be like getting a surprise gift from your past self.

I’m not going to go into all of the reasons it’s wonderful because the more I tell you about it, the more you’ll want it, the more you want it, the more upset you’ll be that it isn’t March yet… and on and on and on in an endless cycle of getting more and more upset. Which, now that I think about it, is pretty on-brand for 2017.

But, again: Pre-order that book.

In the meantime—inspired by that and by the dirty limerick contest featured in the romance novel I read yesterday—let’s take a look at some other recent and upcoming poetry-related books!

Forest World, by Margarita Engle

Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots, by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez

Forest World is already available—it came out this past August—and is verse novel about a boy from Miami who goes to Cuba to meet his father for the first time… and, it turns out, the sister he never knew existed. The Kirkus reviewer praised it for the “rich juxtapositions between the real and the marvelous, technology and nature, science and art, past histories and possible futures.” I am always here for rich juxtapositions.

Jazz Owls doesn’t come out until next May, but it’s on my wishlist—I think this is the first time I’ve seen the Zoot Suit Riots front-and-center in a book for young readers.

Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds

Solo, by Kwame Alexander

I’ve talked about both of these verse novels previously—the Reynolds in a round-up of October New Releases and the Alexander in a column about two books in which characters use music as a means of exploring their own identity, family, and history. Starred reviews on both.

An Uninterrupted View of the Sky, by Melanie Crowder

I’m cheating a bit by including this historical set in 1999 Bolivia, because it’s not actually a verse novel or a collection of poetry. But! I read and wrote about Crowder’s Audacity—which is a verse novel—way back in 2015 and it’s a book that’s still seared into my brain all this time later. And! There’s a thread about the protagonist getting into writing poetry à la Pablo Neruda, so it’s still at the very least poetry-adjacent. Starred review.

When My Sister Started Kissing, by Helen Frost

Middle grade, multi-voiced verse novel about sisters and family and adolescence and summer. It sounds absolutely lovely. Starred review.

Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners, by Naomi Shihab Nye

This collection is due out this coming February, and it sounds elegant and thought-provoking and quiet and necessary. Starred review.

As always, I love recommendations—let me know if you’ve got ‘em!

In addition to running a library in rural Maine, Leila Roy blogs at Bookshelves of Doom and The Backlist, is currently serving on the Amelia Bloomer Project committee, is a contributor at Book Riot, hangs out on Twitter a lot—possibly too much—and watches a shocking amount of television. Her cat is a murderer.


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