BY JOANNA C. VALENTE
Here are some poetry collections I’ve enjoyed that you should also.
Ugly Music - Diannely Antigua (YesYes Books, 2019)
Antigua is a masterful writer and wrote a book that doesn’t care about treading lightly, but wants you to fully dive into the ocean of exploration; Ugly Music explores identity, sexuality, trauma, and survival. The different sections provide a distinct voice and perspective (such as “Chorus”) which also work as literary structures that draw us outside of the work and into it as observers.
Relationships with parents is extremely important, showcasing just how much our families and backgrounds mold us, especially for women and girls who are trying to just be themselves in a strange world that doesn’t want individuality to flourish.
Toy Fabels - Cass McCombs (Spurl Editions, 2019)
McCombs, a musician, wrote and illustrated his first book of poetry (coming out in October). The illustrations are simple ink drawings that also complement the realist and conversation nature of the book, often observations on the mundane around us that we live and breathe. The book explores childhood through memory and the nature of growing up in California juxtaposed with the harshness of the east coast. The book merges magic and realism in fascinating ways.
Harmattan - Adaeze Elechi (Bottlecap Press, 2019)
Adaeze Elechi, a Nigerian writer and filmmaker, beautifully explored grief and loss and death in this collection. The speaker’s loss is our loss; we are brought in as active participants and are forced to remember our own deaths and losses. Harmattan uses traditional African understanding that whatever has tasted life can never truly die, and allows sensory memory and quietude to showcase that life is full of motion; in death, this motion stops, but lingers on within our bodies.
Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. They are the author of Sirs & Madams, The Gods Are Dead, Marys of the Sea, Sexting Ghosts, Xenos, No(body) , and is the editor of A Shadow Map: Writing by Survivors of Sexual Assault. They received their MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Joanna is the founder of Yes Poetry and the senior managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine. Some of their writing has appeared in The Rumpus, Them, Brooklyn Magazine, BUST, and elsewhere. Joanna also leads workshops at Brooklyn Poets. joannavalente.com / Twitter: @joannasaid / IG: joannacvalente / FB: joannacvalente