Best 2019, Best Books, Best Year-End, Poetry

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



#BooksAuthorsLists
17
A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland
 Goodreads
18A PLACE TO RETURN TOJohn Allison
New Zealand Listener
19A Sand BookAriana ReinesEntropy
20Advantages of Being EvergreenOliver Baez BendorfEntropy
21All That BeautyFred MotenEntropy
22Almost Home: Poems Goodreads
23American Sonnets for My Past and Future AssassinTerrance HayesFive Books
24Aphrodite Made Me Do It Goodreads
25AusterityMarion BellEntropy
26Black Is The Body: Stories From My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, And MineEmily BernardNPR
27Blood BoxZefyr LisowskiEntropy
28BruteEmily SkajaEntropy
29CareenGrace Shuyi LiewEntropy
30Casting Deep Shade: An AmbleC.D. WrightEntropy
31COLLECTED POEMSFleur Adcock
New Zealand Listener
32Collected Poems: In EnglishArun KolatkarFive Books
33Contains Mild Peril Telegraph
34Coventry: EssaysRachel CuskNPR
35Cyborg DetectiveJillian WeiseNPR
36Doomstead DaysBrian TeareEntropy
37EEK, YOU REEK!: POEMS ABOUT ANIMALS THAT STINK, STANK, STUNKEugenia Nobati
Kirkus Reviews
38Empty Bottles Full of Stories Goodreads
39Erato Guardian
40Everything Inside: StoriesEdwidge DanticatNPR
41Exhalation: StoriesTed ChiangNPR
42ExtratransmissionAndrea Abi-KaramEntropy
43FeedTommy PicoEntropy
44Felon: PoemsReginald Dwayne BettsNPR
45Furthest EcologyAdam FaginEntropy
46
Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from Myths and Monsters
 Goodreads
47Grief SequencePrageeta SharmaEntropy
48Growing Things And Other StoriesPaul TremblayNPR
49Hall of WatersBerry GrassEntropy
50Have You Been Feeling Blue These DaysKim Eon HeeEntropy
51Heart Like A Window, Mouth Like A CliffSara BorjasEntropy
52HoodwitchFaylita HicksEntropy
53HysteriaKim YideumEntropy
54I Like To Watch: Arguing My Way Through The TV RevolutionEmily NussbaumNPR
55I Miss You When I Blink: EssaysMary Laura PhilpottNPR
56I REMEMBER: POEMS AND PICTURES OF HERITAGELee Bennett Hopkins
Kirkus Reviews
57I: New and Selected Poems 
City of Asylum Bookstore
58I’m Not Your Paper Princess: Poems Goodreads
59If All the World and Love Were Young Telegraph
60In Nearby Bushes Telegraph
61In the Months of My Son’s RecoveryKate Daniels
Library Journal
62Kingdomland Guardian
63Knitting the FogClaudia D. HernándezEntropy
64LAY STUDIESSteve Toussaint
New Zealand Listener
65Let It RideTimothy LiuEntropy
66Life of the Party Goodreads
67LION OF THE SKY: HAIKU FOR ALL SEASONSMercè López
Kirkus Reviews
68LISTENING INLynley Edmeades
New Zealand Listener
69Lord of the Butterflies Goodreads
70Losing MiamiGabriel Ojeda-SaguéEntropy
71LOST AND SOMEWHERE ELSEJenny Bornholdt
New Zealand Listener
72Lot: StoriesBryan WashingtonNPR
73Love Looks Pretty on You Goodreads
74Love Poems For Married PeopleJohn KenneyNPR
75Make It Scream, Make It Burn: EssaysLeslie JamisonNPR
76Meet Me There: Normal Sex & Home in three days. Don’t wash.Samuel Ace & Linda SmuklerEntropy
77Mitochondrial NightEd Bok LeeEntropy
78Moira of Edges, Moira the TartMoina Pam DickEntropy
79MOTH HOURAnne Kennedy
New Zealand Listener
80NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the FieldBilly-Ray Belcourt
Library Journal
81Near, AtJennifer SoongEntropy
82NIGHT AS DAYNikki-Lee Birdsey
New Zealand Listener
83NightingalePaisley RekdalNPR
84Nobody’s Looking At You: EssaysJanet MalcolmNPR
85NoxAnne CarsonFive Books
86OceanicAimee NezhukumatathilEntropy
87One Lark, One HorseMichael HofmannFive Books
88Orange World And Other StoriesKaren RussellNPR
89Other Words For HomeJasmine WargaNPR
90Our Weather Our SeaSamuel AceEntropy
91Personal VolcanoLaura MoriartyEntropy
92Ridiculous Light: PoemsValencia Robin
Library Journal
93Several RotationsJesse SeldessEntropy
94SHOUT Goodreads
95Significant Other Telegraph
96Sing To It: New StoriesAmy HempelNPR
97Skin Can Hold Telegraph
98Someone Who Will Love You In All Your Damaged Glory: StoriesRaphael Bob-WaksbergNPR
99Song For The Unraveling Of The WorldBrian EvensonNPR
100SONGS IN THE SHADE OF THE CASHEW AND COCONUT TREES: LULLABIES AND NURSERY RHYMES FROM WEST AFRICA AND THE CARIBBEANJudith Gueyfier
Kirkus Reviews
101Space StruckPaige LewisEntropy
102Street GlossBrent ArmendingerEntropy
103SyncopeAsiya WadudEntropy
104Take Me With You, Wherever You’re GoingJessica Jacobs
Library Journal
105The Caiplie Caves Telegraph
106The Collected Schizophrenias: EssaysEsmé Weijun WangNPR
107THE DAY THE UNIVERSE EXPLODED MY HEAD: POEMS TO TAKE YOU INTO SPACE AND BACK AGAINAnna Raff
Kirkus Reviews
108The Forward Book of Poetry Telegraph
109The Girl Aquarium Goodreads
110The Half-God of Rainfall Telegraph
111The House With Only an Attic and a BasementKathryn MarisFive Books
112The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One Goodreads
113THE PROPER WAY TO MEET A HEDGEHOG: AND OTHER HOW-TO POEMSPaul B. Janeczko
Kirkus Reviews
114The Tiniest Muzzle Sings Songs of FreedomMagdalena ZurawskiEntropy
115The Truth About Magic Goodreads
116The Twenty-Ninth YearHala AlyanBookMarks
117The Unexploded Ordnance BinRebecca FoustEntropy
118The Witches Are ComingLindy WestNPR
119The World Doesn’t Require You: StoriesRion Amilcar ScottNPR
120The Year of Blue WaterYanyiEntropy
121Thick: And Other EssaysTressie McMillan CottomNPR
122TimeEtel AdnanEntropy
123TO THE OCCUPANTEmma Neale
New Zealand Listener
124To the Wren: Collected & NewJane Mead
Publishers Weekly
125Trick Mirror: Reflections On Self-DelusionJia TolentinoNPR
126TWO OR MORE ISLANDSDiana Bridge
New Zealand Listener
127UNDER GLASSGregory Kan
New Zealand Listener
128ValuingChristopher Kondrich
Library Journal
129Vertigo & Ghost Telegraph
130What I KnewEleni SikelianosEntropy
131What My Mother And I Don’t Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break The SilenceMichele Filgate (editor)NPR
132What’s in a NameAna Luísa AmaralEntropy
133When You Ask Me Where I’m Going Goodreads
134while they sleep Entropy
135Whip-hot & Grippy Telegraph
136Witch Telegraph
137Woods and Clouds InterchangeableMichael 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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