The Best Poetry Books of 2019 (A Year-End List Aggregation)

“What are the best Poetry books released in 2019?” We looked at 137 of the top Poetry books, aggregating and ranking them so we could answer that very question!

The top 16 books, all appearing on 2 or more “Best Poetry” book lists, are ranked below by how many times they appear. The remaining 100+ titles, as well as the sources we used, are in alphabetical order on the bottom of the page.

Our other Best Of 2019 Articles:

Our Other Years: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015

Happy Scrolling!



Top 16 Best Poetry Books From 2019



16 .) After the Formalities written by Anthony Anaxagorou

After the Formalities

Lists It Appears On:

  • Guardian
  • Telegraph

After the Formalities explores ideas of division and dominance, incorporating history, science and philosophy alongside autobiographical narratives to examine how race, class and masculinity is shaped in contemporary Britain. Technically achieved, emotionally transformative and razor-sharp.



15 .) An American Sunrise: Poems written by Joy Harjo

An American Sunrise: Poems

Lists It Appears On:

  • City of Asylum Bookstore
  • NPR

A stunning new volume from the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States, informed by her tribal history and connection to the land. In the early 1800s, the Mvskoke people were forcibly removed from their original lands east of the Mississip



14 .) Be Recorder written by Carmen Giménez Smith

Be Recorder

Lists It Appears On:

  • Entropy
  • NPR

Finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry Carmen Giménez Smith dares to demand renewal for a world made unrecognizable Be Recorder offers readers a blazing way forward into an as yet unmade world. The many times and tongues in these poems investigate



13 .) Dunce written by Mary Ruefle

Dunce

Lists It Appears On:

  • NPR
  • Entropy

“A new collection of poems by Mary Ruefle, the author of My Private Property, Trances of the Blast, Madness, Rack, and Honey, Selected Poems, The Most of It, and A Little White Shadow”–



12 .) Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers written by Jake Skeets

Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers

Lists It Appears On:

  • Entropy
  • BookMarks

“A major debut that feels timely and timeless.” –KATHY FAGAN



11 .) Invasive Species written by Marwa Helal

Invasive Species

Lists It Appears On:

  • Entropy
  • BookMarks

A vernacular debut that uncompromisingly journeys towards its sole destination: the decolonization of the imagination



10 .) Lima :: Limón written by Natalie Scenters-Zapico

Lima :: Limón

Lists It Appears On:

  • NPR
  • BookMarks

In her striking second collection, Natalie Scenters-Zapico sets her unflinching gaze once again on the borders of things. Lima :: Limón illuminates both the sweet and the sour of the immigrant experience, of life as a woman in the U.S. and Mexico, and of t



9.) Surge written by Jay Bernard

Surge

Lists It Appears On:

  • Guardian
  • Telegraph

*Shortlisted for Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2019* *Winner of the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry* Jay Bernard’s extraordinary debut is a fearlessly original exploration of the black British archive: an enquiry into the New Cross Fire o



8.) A Fortune for Your Disaster written by Hanif Abdurraqib

A Fortune for Your Disaster

Lists It Appears On:

  • City of Asylum Bookstore
  • Goodreads
  • Entropy

“When an author’s unmitigated brilliance shows up on every page, it’s tempting to skip a description and just say, Read this! Such is the case with this breathlessly powerful, deceptively breezy book of poetry.” —Booklist, Starred Review In his much-antici



7.) Hybrida written by Tina Chang

Hybrida

Lists It Appears On:

  • Publishers Weekly
  • BookMarks
  • NPR

A stirring and confident examination of mixed-race identity, violence, and history skillfully rendered through the lens of motherhood. In this timely, assured collection, Tina Chang confronts the complexities of raising a mixed-race child during an era of



6.) Magical Negro written by Morgan Parker

Magical Negro

Lists It Appears On:

  • Goodreads
  • Entropy
  • BookMarks

From the breakout author of There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé comes a profound and deceptively funny exploration of Black American womanhood. ‘2019 justly belongs to Morgan Parker. Her poems shred me with their intelligence, dark humor and black



5.) The Octopus Museum written by Brenda Shaughnessy

The Octopus Museum

Lists It Appears On:

  • Publishers Weekly
  • Goodreads
  • Library Journal

This collection of bold and scathingly beautiful feminist poems imagines what comes after our current age of environmental destruction, racism, sexism, and divisive politics. Informed by Brenda Shaughnessy’s craft as a poet and her worst fears as a mother,



4.) Oculus written by Sally Wen Mao

Oculus

Lists It Appears On:

  • Library Journal
  • Entropy
  • BookMarks
  • NPR

A brilliant second collection by Sally Wen Mao on the violence of the spectacle—starring the film legend Anna May Wong In Oculus, Sally Wen Mao explores exile not just as a matter of distance and displacement but as a migration through time and a reckoning



3.) Soft Science written by Franny Choi

Soft Science

Lists It Appears On:

  • City of Asylum Bookstore
  • Goodreads
  • Entropy
  • BookMarks

Choi pairs complex pain with striking images, wrapping readers in mystical interpretations and then captures them within reality.



2.) The Tradition written by Jericho Brown

The Tradition

Lists It Appears On:

  • City of Asylum Bookstore
  • Guardian
  • Publishers Weekly
  • Goodreads
  • Library Journal
  • NPR
  • Entropy
  • BookMarks

Jericho Brown’s daring poetry collection The Tradition details the normalization of evil and its history at the intersection of the past and the personal. Brown’s poetic concerns are both broad and intimate, and at their very core a distillation of the inc



1.) Deaf Republic written by Ilya Kaminsky

Deaf Republic

Lists It Appears On:

  • Guardian
  • Publishers Weekly
  • Library Journal
  • Telegraph
  • Entropy
  • BookMarks
  • City of Asylum Bookstore
  • Goodreads
  • NPR

Finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry Ilya Kaminsky’s astonishing parable in poems asks us, What is silence? Deaf Republic opens in an occupied country in a time of political unrest. When soldiers breaking up a protest kill a deaf boy, Petya, the




The 100+ Additional Best Poetry Books Released In 2019



# Books Authors Lists
17
A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland
  Goodreads
18 A PLACE TO RETURN TO John Allison
New Zealand Listener
19 A Sand Book Ariana Reines Entropy
20 Advantages of Being Evergreen Oliver Baez Bendorf Entropy
21 All That Beauty Fred Moten Entropy
22 Almost Home: Poems   Goodreads
23 American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin Terrance Hayes Five Books
24 Aphrodite Made Me Do It   Goodreads
25 Austerity Marion Bell Entropy
26 Black Is The Body: Stories From My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, And Mine Emily Bernard NPR
27 Blood Box Zefyr Lisowski Entropy
28 Brute Emily Skaja Entropy
29 Careen Grace Shuyi Liew Entropy
30 Casting Deep Shade: An Amble C.D. Wright Entropy
31 COLLECTED POEMS Fleur Adcock
New Zealand Listener
32 Collected Poems: In English Arun Kolatkar Five Books
33 Contains Mild Peril   Telegraph
34 Coventry: Essays Rachel Cusk NPR
35 Cyborg Detective Jillian Weise NPR
36 Doomstead Days Brian Teare Entropy
37 EEK, YOU REEK!: POEMS ABOUT ANIMALS THAT STINK, STANK, STUNK Eugenia Nobati
Kirkus Reviews
38 Empty Bottles Full of Stories   Goodreads
39 Erato   Guardian
40 Everything Inside: Stories Edwidge Danticat NPR
41 Exhalation: Stories Ted Chiang NPR
42 Extratransmission Andrea Abi-Karam Entropy
43 Feed Tommy Pico Entropy
44 Felon: Poems Reginald Dwayne Betts NPR
45 Furthest Ecology Adam Fagin Entropy
46
Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from Myths and Monsters
  Goodreads
47 Grief Sequence Prageeta Sharma Entropy
48 Growing Things And Other Stories Paul Tremblay NPR
49 Hall of Waters Berry Grass Entropy
50 Have You Been Feeling Blue These Days Kim Eon Hee Entropy
51 Heart Like A Window, Mouth Like A Cliff Sara Borjas Entropy
52 Hoodwitch Faylita Hicks Entropy
53 Hysteria Kim Yideum Entropy
54 I Like To Watch: Arguing My Way Through The TV Revolution Emily Nussbaum NPR
55 I Miss You When I Blink: Essays Mary Laura Philpott NPR
56 I REMEMBER: POEMS AND PICTURES OF HERITAGE Lee Bennett Hopkins
Kirkus Reviews
57 I: New and Selected Poems  
City of Asylum Bookstore
58 I’m Not Your Paper Princess: Poems   Goodreads
59 If All the World and Love Were Young   Telegraph
60 In Nearby Bushes   Telegraph
61 In the Months of My Son’s Recovery Kate Daniels
Library Journal
62 Kingdomland   Guardian
63 Knitting the Fog Claudia D. Hernández Entropy
64 LAY STUDIES Steve Toussaint
New Zealand Listener
65 Let It Ride Timothy Liu Entropy
66 Life of the Party   Goodreads
67 LION OF THE SKY: HAIKU FOR ALL SEASONS Mercè López
Kirkus Reviews
68 LISTENING IN Lynley Edmeades
New Zealand Listener
69 Lord of the Butterflies   Goodreads
70 Losing Miami Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué Entropy
71 LOST AND SOMEWHERE ELSE Jenny Bornholdt
New Zealand Listener
72 Lot: Stories Bryan Washington NPR
73 Love Looks Pretty on You   Goodreads
74 Love Poems For Married People John Kenney NPR
75 Make It Scream, Make It Burn: Essays Leslie Jamison NPR
76 Meet Me There: Normal Sex & Home in three days. Don’t wash. Samuel Ace & Linda Smukler Entropy
77 Mitochondrial Night Ed Bok Lee Entropy
78 Moira of Edges, Moira the Tart Moina Pam Dick Entropy
79 MOTH HOUR Anne Kennedy
New Zealand Listener
80 NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field Billy-Ray Belcourt
Library Journal
81 Near, At Jennifer Soong Entropy
82 NIGHT AS DAY Nikki-Lee Birdsey
New Zealand Listener
83 Nightingale Paisley Rekdal NPR
84 Nobody’s Looking At You: Essays Janet Malcolm NPR
85 Nox Anne Carson Five Books
86 Oceanic Aimee Nezhukumatathil Entropy
87 One Lark, One Horse Michael Hofmann Five Books
88 Orange World And Other Stories Karen Russell NPR
89 Other Words For Home Jasmine Warga NPR
90 Our Weather Our Sea Samuel Ace Entropy
91 Personal Volcano Laura Moriarty Entropy
92 Ridiculous Light: Poems Valencia Robin
Library Journal
93 Several Rotations Jesse Seldess Entropy
94 SHOUT   Goodreads
95 Significant Other   Telegraph
96 Sing To It: New Stories Amy Hempel NPR
97 Skin Can Hold   Telegraph
98 Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory: Stories Raphael Bob-Waksberg NPR
99 Song For The Unraveling Of The World Brian Evenson NPR
100 SONGS IN THE SHADE OF THE CASHEW AND COCONUT TREES: LULLABIES AND NURSERY RHYMES FROM WEST AFRICA AND THE CARIBBEAN Judith Gueyfier
Kirkus Reviews
101 Space Struck Paige Lewis Entropy
102 Street Gloss Brent Armendinger Entropy
103 Syncope Asiya Wadud Entropy
104 Take Me With You, Wherever You’re Going Jessica Jacobs
Library Journal
105 The Caiplie Caves   Telegraph
106 The Collected Schizophrenias: Essays Esmé Weijun Wang NPR
107 THE DAY THE UNIVERSE EXPLODED MY HEAD: POEMS TO TAKE YOU INTO SPACE AND BACK AGAIN Anna Raff
Kirkus Reviews
108 The Forward Book of Poetry   Telegraph
109 The Girl Aquarium   Goodreads
110 The Half-God of Rainfall   Telegraph
111 The House With Only an Attic and a Basement Kathryn Maris Five Books
112 The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One   Goodreads
113 THE PROPER WAY TO MEET A HEDGEHOG: AND OTHER HOW-TO POEMS Paul B. Janeczko
Kirkus Reviews
114 The Tiniest Muzzle Sings Songs of Freedom Magdalena Zurawski Entropy
115 The Truth About Magic   Goodreads
116 The Twenty-Ninth Year Hala Alyan BookMarks
117 The Unexploded Ordnance Bin Rebecca Foust Entropy
118 The Witches Are Coming Lindy West NPR
119 The World Doesn’t Require You: Stories Rion Amilcar Scott NPR
120 The Year of Blue Water Yanyi Entropy
121 Thick: And Other Essays Tressie McMillan Cottom NPR
122 Time Etel Adnan Entropy
123 TO THE OCCUPANT Emma Neale
New Zealand Listener
124 To the Wren: Collected & New Jane Mead
Publishers Weekly
125 Trick Mirror: Reflections On Self-Delusion Jia Tolentino NPR
126 TWO OR MORE ISLANDS Diana Bridge
New Zealand Listener
127 UNDER GLASS Gregory Kan
New Zealand Listener
128 Valuing Christopher Kondrich
Library Journal
129 Vertigo & Ghost   Telegraph
130 What I Knew Eleni Sikelianos Entropy
131 What My Mother And I Don’t Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break The Silence Michele Filgate (editor) NPR
132 What’s in a Name Ana Luísa Amaral Entropy
133 When You Ask Me Where I’m Going   Goodreads
134 while they sleep   Entropy
135 Whip-hot & Grippy   Telegraph
136 Witch   Telegraph
137 Woods and Clouds Interchangeable Michael Earl Craig
Library Journal


12 Best Poetry Book Sources/Lists



Source
BookMarks
City of Asylum Bookstore
Entropy
Five Books
Goodreads
Guardian
Kirkus Reviews
Library Journal
New Zealand Listener
NPR
Publishers Weekly
Telegraph

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