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Poetry

Our recommendations for Poetry collections.

This list is far from exhaustive, and we suggest visiting your nearest McNally Robinson bookstore to browse our selection of Poetry in person.


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And Yet

- Kate Baer

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The second full length poetry collection from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of What Kind of Woman.

Kate Baer shot into the literary stratosphere with the publication of her debut poetry collection, What Kind of Woman, which became an instant #1 New York Times bestseller.

Kate's second full-length book of traditional poetry, And Yet, dives deeper into the themes that are the hallmarks of her writing: motherhood, friendship, love, and loss. Taken together, these poems demonstrate the remarkable evolution of a writer and an artist working at the height of her craft, pushing herself and her poetry in a beautiful and impressive way.

Intimate, evocative, and bold, Kate's beguiling poetry firmly positions her in the company of Dorianne Laux, Mary Oliver, Maggie Nelson, and other great female poets of our time.

Dearly

- Margaret Atwood

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The collection of a lifetime from the prodigious novelist and poet, now available as a paperback.

By turns moving, playful, and wise, the poems gathered in Dearly are about absences and endings, ageing and retrospection, but also about gifts and renewals. They explore bodies and minds in transition, as well as the everyday objects and rituals that embed us in the present. Werewolves, sirens, and dreams make their appearance, as do various forms of animal life and fragments of our damaged environment.
 
Before she became one of the world's most important and loved novelists, Atwood was a poet. Dearly, her first collection in over a decade, brings together many of her most recognizable and celebrated themes, but distilled--from minutely perfect descriptions of the natural world to startlingly witty encounters with aliens, from pressing political issues to myth and legend. It is a pure Atwood delight, and long-term readers and new fans alike will treasure its insight, empathy, and humour.
 
"Margaret Atwood has always been a poet; her poetry collections make visible the taproot of the wry, wise metaphysic that runs through her fiction and essays, and in a precarious time her new collection, Dearly, is a source of uncompromising elemental warmth." --Ali Smith, Observer

LVOE

- Atticus

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For the first time since he began writing, three-time New York Times bestselling author Atticus is inviting readers to take a look behind the mask as he embarks on a powerful journey inward in search of love, peace, and acceptance.

Even if you've never heard his name, you've probably met someone with his words tattooed on their skin or heard them sung at a music concert. Atticus, the young, anonymous NYT Best Selling Author, has taken the world by storm with his beautiful poetry and powerful, simple themes of love and strength of the human spirit. Dubbed "The #1 Person to Follow" by Teen Vogue. And "The World's Most Tattoo-able Poet" by Galore Magazine, he has been followed, quoted, and shared by some of the world's top superstars, from Karlie Kloss to Shawn Mendes, Emma Roberts, and Alicia Keys. His words have been tattooed by tens of thousands of his avid followers. He has been featured in Time Magazine, Elle, The Guardian, Fast Company, Publishers Weekly, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He has worked with Kygo, Maroon 5, Absolute Vodka, Stance Socks, Target, Urban Outfitters, and Refinery 29. In 2020, Atticus launched his own brand of wine, aptly called Lost Poet, which has become the #1 selling wine on Winc.com. All while wearing a mask and keeping his identity a secret. In his words, "sending love from the shadows." 
 
His fourth poetry collection, LVOE., is a study into himself. Using his instantly recognizable lyrical style, gorgeous black-and-white illustrations, and relatable themes, Atticus will once again dazzle readers, inspiring them to also look within. This collection will feature all-new poems, each paired with beautiful sketches that bring the words alive from the page.
 
An exploration of self-love, meditation, meaning, loss, and romance, LVOE. is a look forward, a look backward, but most importantly a look inward to the often confusing yet hopeful human experience.
 

Sweetest Dance On Earth, The

- Di Brandt

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Since her debut in 1987 with questions I asked my mother, Di Brandt has remained curious, still asking questions and pushing poetic bounds. Now for the first time, the best work of this Griffin Award winning poet has been gathered together in one place. Distilled into one collection is Di Brandt's insatiable desire to understand, question and show the world in a new light. From her feminist work to her eco poetics, readers will get a chance to see the breathtaking career of one of Canada's most influential poets.

Scars and Stars

- Jesse Thistle

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER

A beautiful and moving collection of poems and stories from the author of the #1 bestselling memoir From the Ashes.


Fans of Jesse Thistle's extraordinary debut From the Ashes have already had the pleasure of reading his poetry, which is sprinkled throughout this bestselling memoir. In Scars and Stars, he digs deeper into the poetic form, which is especially close to his heart.
 
Charting his own history, the stories of people from his past, the burning intensity of new and unexpected love, the complex legacies of family and community, and the beauty of parenthood, this collection is a profound mediation that expands his engagement with the ideas and experiences that have shaped his body of work thus far.
 
Throughout the collection, prose pieces complement the poems, and to bring readers into Jesse's life with greater intimacy than ever before. The result is an unforgettable furthering of his singular story, one that is sure to delight his many readers, but also serve as a perfect entry point for those new to the work of one of our most thrilling and honest writers.

Orlam

- PJ Harvey

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A simply breathtaking long-form poem written in the Dorset dialect, Orlam is a mesmerising coming-of-age tale from acclaimed songwriter and musician PJ Harvey. Nine-year-old Ira-Abel Rawles lives on Hook Farm in the village of Underwhelm. Next to the farm is Gore Woods, Ira's sanctuary, overseen by Orlam, the all-seeing lamb's eyeball who is Ira-Abel's guardian and protector. Here, drawing on the rituals, children's songs, chants and superstitions of the rural West Country of England, Ira-Abel creates the twin realm through which she can make sense of an increasingly confusing and frightening world. Orlam follows Ira and the inhabitants of Underwhelm month by month through the last year of her childhood innocence. The result is a poem-sequence of light and shadow, suffused with hints of violence, sexual confusion and perversion, the oppression of family, but also ecstatic moments in sunlit clearings, song and bawdy humour. The broad theme is ultimately one of love - carried by Ira's personal Christ, the constantly bleeding soldier-ghost Wyman-Elvis - who bears 'The Word': Love Me Tender. Orlam is not only a remarkable coming-of-age tale, but the first full-length book written in the Dorset dialect for many decades. Orlam also reveals P J Harvey as not only one of the most talented songwriters of the age, but a gifted poet - whose formal skill, transforming eye and ear for the lyric line has produced a strange and moving poem like no other.

The Best American Poetry 2022

- David Lehman, Matthew Zapruder

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Matthew Zapruder picks the poems for the 2022 edition of The Best American Poetry, "a 'best' anthology that really lives up to its title" (Chicago Tribune).

Since 1988, The Best American Poetry series has been "one of the mainstays of the poetry publication world" (Academy of American Poets). Each volume presents a selection of the year's most brilliant, striking, and innovative poems, with comments from the poets themselves lending insight into their work.

For The Best American Poetry 2022 guest editor Matthew Zapruder, whose own poems are "for everyone, everywhere...democratic in [their] insights and feelings" (NPR), has selected the seventy-five new poems that represent American poetry today at its most dynamic. Chosen from print and online magazines, from the popular to the little-known, the selection is sure to capture the attention of both Best American Poetry loyalists and newcomers to the series.

The series and guest editors contribute valuable introductory essays that illuminate the current state of American poetry.

Nomenclature

- Dionne Brand

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An immense achievement, comprising a decades-long career--new and collected poetry from one of Canada's most honoured and significant poets.

Spanning almost four decades, Dionne Brand's poetry has given rise to whole new grammars and vocabularies. With a profound alertness that is attuned to this world and open to some other, possibly future, time and place, Brand's ongoing labours of witness and imagination speak directly to where and how we live and reach beyond those worlds, their enclosures, and their violences.
 
Nomenclature: New and Collected Poems begins with a new long poem, the titular "Nomenclature for the Time Being," in which Dionne Brand's diaspora consciousness dismantles our quotidian disasters. In addition to this searing new work, Nomenclature collects eight volumes of Brand's poetry published between 1982 and 2010 and includes a critical introduction by the literary scholar and theorist Christina Sharpe.
 
Nomenclature: New and Collected Poems, features the searching and centering cantos of Primitive Offensive; the sharp musical conversations of Winter Epigrams and Epigrams to Ernesto Cardenal in Defense of Claudia; the documentary losses of revolutions in Chronicles of the Hostile Sun, in which "The street was empty/with all of us standing there." No Language Is Neutral reads language, coloniality, and sexuality as a nexus. Land to Light On writes intimacies and disaffections with nation, while in thirsty a cold-eyed flâneur surveys the workings of the city. In Inventory, written during the Gulf Wars, the poet is "the wars' last and late night witness," her job not to soothe but to "revise and revise this bristling list/hourly." Ossuaries' futurist speaker rounds out the collection, and threads multiple temporal worlds--past, present, and future. 
 
This masterwork displays Dionne Brand's ongoing body of thought--trenchant, lyrical, absonant, discordant, and meaning-making. Nomenclature: New and Collected Poems is classic and living, a record of one of the great writers of our age.
 

The 2022 Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology

- Adam Dickinson

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The prestigious and highly anticipated annual anthology of the best Canadian and international poetry from the 2022 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist. Each year, the best books of poetry published in Canada and internationally in English are honoured with the Griffin Poetry Prize, one of the world's richest literary awards. Since 2001, this annual prize has spurred interest in and recognition of poetry, focusing worldwide attention on the formidable talent of poets.The Griffin Poetry Prize Anthology features the work of extraordinary poets shortlisted for the awards and introduces us to some of the finest poems from their collections. Featuring works from shortlisted poets Sharon Dolin, Gemma Gorga, Douglas Kearney, Ali Kinsella, Dzvinia Orlowsky, Natalka Bilotserkivets, Ed Roberson, David Bradford, Liz Howard, and Tolu Oloruntoba.

Bear Bones and Feathers

- Louise B Halfe

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In this new edition of her powerful debut, Plains Cree writer and National Poet Laureate Louise B. Halfe - Sky Dancer reckons with personal history within cultural genocide. Employing Indigenous spirituality, black comedy, and the memories of her own childhood as healing arts, celebrated poet Louise B. Halfe - Sky Dancer finds an irrepressible source of strength and dignity in her people. Bear Bones and Feathers offers moving portraits of Halfe's grandmother (a medicine woman whose life straddled old and new worlds), her parents (both trapped in a cycle of jealousy and abuse), and the people whose pain she witnessed on the reserve and at residential school. Originally published by Coteau Books in 1994, Bear Bones and Feathers won the Milton Acorn People's Poet Award, and was a finalist for the Spirit of Saskatchewan Award, the Pat Lowther Award, and the Gerald Lampert Award.

Flyway

- Sarah Ens

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This Meditation on the impact of human and ecological trauma explores the cost of survival for three generations of women living between empires. Writing from within the disappearing tallgrass prairie, Sarah Ens follows connections between the Russian Mennonite diaspora and the disrupted migratory patterns of grassland birds. Drawing on family history, eco-poetics, and the rich tradition of the Canadian long poem, Flyway migrates along pathways of geography and the heart to grapple with complexities of home.

Allodynia

- Nisa Malli

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Rooted in the indescribability and disembodiment of pain, Nisa Malli's Allodynia looks outward to space and the future of humankind, as well as inward to the body. In "Pain Log", a suite of body-horror poems, she explores illness as a haunting or possession: "At home, my stitches / undid themselves, fevers pet me // like a dog, my eyes opened / backwards. Sleep ghosted me // more than usual." In "Ships's Log," a near-future speculative suite of poems, Malli turns to themes of alienness, artificial intelligence, and the impossibility of translation; danger, intimacy, and war; as well as the worlds we choose to build together. Allodynia is a highly anticipated poetic debut that more than fulfills the promise of its author's bpNichol award winning chapbook Remitting.

Standing in a River of Time

- Jonina Kirton

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Standing in a River of Time merges poetry and lyrical memoir on a journey exposing the intergenerational effects of colonization on a Métis family. Kirton does not shy away from hard realities, meeting them head on, but always treating them with respect and the love stemming from a lifetime of spiritual healing and decades of sobriety. This collection unravels painful memories and a mixed-blood woman's journey towards wholeness. The Ancestors whisper to Kirton throughout, asking her to heal, to bring them home, so that within these stories of redemption and loss the dead walk with us, their presence felt as the story unfurls in unexpected ways. Kirton does not offer false hope, nor does she push us towards answers we are not yet ready for. Instead, she gestures towards the many healing modalities she has explored as she discovers that the path to reconciliation is not only a long and winding road, but also that it begins with those closest to us.

Miskwagoode

- Annharte

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Taken from the Anishinaabe for "woman wearing red," Miskwagoode is an unsettling portrayal of unreconciled Indigenous experience under colonialism, past and present. Miskwagoode, the woman in the red dress, is Annharte, and she is Annharte's mother, who disappeared when the poet was a girl. Miskwagoode is Annharte's new book about her mother loss, her "mothermiss", about all the women "buried in common enough / cross-generational graves". Marked with her characteristic sharp eye and humour, and hard earned wisdom about the "ominous progress ahead", Annharte's fifth collection encompasses the poet's experiences as an Anishinaabe Elder, "witness not survivor", writing of the weight of a present and persisting colonialism. In her sly, cheeky riffs on life behind the "buckskin curtain" at the margins of settler society, Annharte tells us about granny circles, the horny old guys, and getting your hair done. But these poems about rez life and the community and belonging it offers are set against the background radiation of the poverty and the sicknesses, despair, violence, sexism, and sexual abuse, the legacies of unequal relations. Miskwagoode concludes with "Wabang," a suite of short poems comprising Annharte's own thumbnail transcontinental Indigenous mythology.

Quiet Night Think

- Gillian Sze

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"Quiet Night Think is a stunning work." -- Madeleine Thien, author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing "One function of the poet at any time is to discover by his own thought and feeling what seems to him to be poetry at that time," writes Wallace Stevens. In Quiet Night Think, award-winning poet Gillian Sze expresses her own definition. During the remarkable period of early parenthood, Sze's new maternal role urges her to contemplate her own origins, both familial and artistic. Comprised of six personal essays, poems, and a concluding long poem, Quiet Night Think takes its title from a direct translation of an eighth-century Chinese poem by Li Bai, the subject of the opening essay. Sze's memory of reading Li Bai's poem as a child marks the beginning of an unshakable encounter with poetry. What follows is an intimate anatomization of her particular entanglement with languages and cultures. In her most generically diverse book yet, Sze moves between poetry and prose, mother and writer, the lyrical and the autobiographical, all the while inviting readers to meditate with her on questions of emergence and transformation: What are you trying to be? Where does a word break off? What calls to us throughout the night?

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