If you enjoyed the poetry of Amanda Goodman at President Joe Biden's inauguration, there here is a list of five POC poets with books publishing or forthcoming this year.
Indie presses need all the support they can get to continue producing quality work that may not always be for the mass market. Indie presses represent the value and autonomy art has in this country—the industry is not fueled by the market, the reader, and the demands of what may or may not sell. It is art for art's sake. And let's not forget that art has a way of only accruing its true value over time and endurance.
Who's Your Daddy, Arisa White
A coming-of-age lyrical poem about a queer, Black, Guyanese-American woman and her father.
Imperial Liquor, Amaud Jamaul Johnson
Described as "part remembrance, part swan song " for Compton in the 1980s, this book of poems is about fatherhood, the black male body, the city torn by repetitive acts of racism, and what happens when love love doesn't do what it is meant to do.
Homie, Danez Smith
The critic Parul Sehgal writes Homie is "full of the turbulence of thought and desire". In many ways, this book is about a lost friendship, and the anxiety of being intimate in a country wrinkling with violence, blunt racism, and economic craters. There is no shortage of humor and witty, one-line zingers.
Here Is The Sweet Hand, francine j. harris
The polyphonic poems in this book capture the many manifestations of loneliness. The way it lurks in the body as it ages; in the land as it erodes carefully and spontaneously, without permission; and art, its traditions corrupted by power. At the heart of harris's meditative book about "unorthodox election commemoration, subway panic, zoomorphism, and linguistic battlefields" seems to be a search for what we've lost in the noise of it all.
Glaring, Benjamin Krusling
A book constructed around understanding anger, or rather, glaring at anger itself. "Through anti-blackness, militarism, surveillance, impoverishment, and interpersonal abuse and violence," Krusling excavates and shines a big fat light on the necessity of love.