Eve L Ewing, Penguin, RRP£9.99
Ewing, a sociologist at the University of Chicago, revisits the riots that took place in the city in 1919, during the “red summer” of unrest across the US. Her moving, vital poems contrast the voice of news reports and officialdom with that of the people responding to the injustice and sanctioned violence around them.
Will Harris, Granta, RRP£10.99
Harris’s debut, recently shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, is confident, witty and eloquent. Across a wide formal range of verse, dreams feature frequently but his sharp eye remains focused on real life, navigated with grace.
Don Paterson, Faber, RRP£14.99
Partly inspired by The Twilight Zone (hence the title), Paterson’s collection proffers the idea that the midlife crisis is a dimension in which we are stuck for a lifetime. He explores that state of permanent transition in poems that are evasive, entertaining and all too relatable.
Fiona Sampson, Corsair, RRP£10.99
The title of Sampson’s collection is an invitation to the reader, not only to join but to work alongside the poet. Sampson’s verses, laid out in words undiluted by punctuation, depend on our inner voice to set the pace and its role in their meanings. It’s a rewarding task.
Danez Smith, Chatto, RRP£10.99
Smith, who won the Forward Prize in 2018, returns with a book dedicated to friendship. In a voice that rises and falls, slows and accelerates, these poems call for standing in the face of overwhelming hate against your race and sexuality, even when every force out there seems to wish you’d just fall.
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