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Books for changing the world

“Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence.”

“Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence.” —Audre Lorde

April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate, we put together a list of poetry books that tell stories of resistance, sorrow, solidarity and hope in our struggles to change the world.  Take 40% off all the books on our list. Also enjoy a free Ebook* and free shipping on orders over $25 in the US.

A visual and verbal narrative of the grit and gentleness in Southwestern Latinx communities through photography by Antonio Salazar and poetry by José Olivarez, author of Citizen Illegal.

A rigorous and defiant collection that subverts contemporary discourse and representations of incarceration, of hip-hop, and of Asian American culture and literature. 

A collection of moving and tender poems that delves into questions of masculinity, fatherhood, home, and learning to live in and love one’s own body. 

Encompassing the breadth of Cheryl Boyce-Taylor’s astounding career, The Limitless Heart is a time capsule of the boundless love, care, grief, and fortitude that make her work so stirring.

In their latest collection of poems, Cave Canem Poetry Prize winner Brionne Janae dives into the deep, unsettled waters of intimate partner violence, queerness, grief, and survival.

A collection of poetry that moves from family history and the heartbreaks of navigating a predominantly white high school into adulthood, exploring the ways the speaker’s experiences echo those of an expansive and intricate history of Black girls and women.

A poetic sequence using the 1841 slave revolt aboard the brig Creole as a lens through which to view the vitality of Black lives and the afterlife of slavery. 

In this brave and devastatingly beautiful anthology, the illustrious poet and editor Aracelis Girmay gathers complex and intimate pieces that illuminate the nuances of personal and collective histories, analyses, practices, and choices surrounding pregnancy.  

Diamond Sharp’s Super Sad Black Girl is a love letter to her hometown of Chicago, where the speaker finds solace and community with her literary idols in hopes of answering the question: What does it look like when Black women are free? 

This lyrical and imagistic poetry collection tells the story of a family’s journey to flee the murderous reign of Uganda’s Idi Amin only to land in a racist American landscape.

In this defiant and urgent collection, Palestinian-American poet Noor Hindi interrogates Arab womanhood, migration, colonialism, and queerness with striking and evocative lyricism.

All the Blood Involved in Love is an urgent and evocative collection—featuring complex and compelling poems about the choices we make surrounding home, freedom, healing, partnership, and family. 

There Are Trans People Here is a testament to the healing power of community and the beauty of trans people, history, and culture.

Rifqa is Palestinian poet Mohammed El-Kurd’s ode to his late grandmother, and to the Palestinian struggle for liberation. ‘Jerusalem is ours.’

The long form poem is tethered in folklore and personal narrative, detailing the impact of the destructive mass incarceration system.

Merging documentary poetry from the epicenter of an epidemic with the story of viruses in the evolution of humanity, If God Is A Virus gives voice to the infected and the virus.

In his highly anticipated second poetry collection, Doppelgangbanger, Cortney Lamar Charleston examines the performance of Black masculinity in the U.S., and its relationship to family, love and community.

Smoking Lovely's explorations of poetry and the neoliberal city at the intersection of community and commodity.

Award-winning poet Cheryl Boyce-Taylor pays tribute to her departed son Malik ‘Phife Dawg’ Taylor of the legendary hip-hop trio A Tribe Called Quest in this intimate collection.

“Black Women Writers at Work serves as a much-needed reminder that the imagination always blazes trails that lead us toward more habitable futures.” —Angela Y. Davis

This easy-to-use guide explains how to recruit, nourish, and fortify writers of color through innovative reading, writing, workshop, critique, and assessment strategies.

In this spellbinding debut, Los Angeles–born poet Janel Pineda sings of communal love and the diaspora and dreams for a liberated future. Lineage of Rain traces histories of Salvadoran migration and the US-sponsored civil war to reimagine trauma as a site for transformation and healing.

Krista Franklin draws on Pan African histories, Black Surrealism, Afrofuturism, pop culture, art history, and the historical and present-day micro-to-macro violence inflicted upon Black people and other people of color, working to forge imaginative spaces for radical possibilities and visions of liberation.  

Edited by poet Annie Finch, Choice Words is a landmark literary anthology twenty years in the making. This collection of poems, stories and essays foregrounds essential voices that renew our courage in the struggle to defend reproductive rights. 

Text Messages is the first multi-genre collection by Montreal-based Iraqi hip-hop artist, activist, and professor Yassin "Narcy" Alsalman. Composed entirely on a smartphone during air travel and married to artwork from comrades, Narcy 's writing speaks of the existential crises experienced by diasporic children of war before and during imperialism in the age of the Internet.

An anthology that opposes silence and re-mixes the soundtrack of the Latinx diaspora across diverse poetic traditions. 

From award-winning poet Eve L. Ewing, reflections on race, class, violence, segregation, and the hidden histories that shape our divided urban landscapes. 

A National Book Award finalist, Build Yourself a Boat redefines the language of collective and individual trauma through lyric and memory. 

Powerhouse, world-renowned LGBTQ poet and spoken-word artist Staceyann Chin curates the first full-length collection of her poems.

Award-winning poet and playwright Idris Goodwin interrogates and remixes our cultural past in order to make sense of our present and potential futures.

Citizen Illegal is a revealing portrait of life as a first generation immigrant, a celebration of Chicano joy, a shout against erasure, and a vibrant re-imagining of Mexican American life.

A refreshing, unapologetic intervention into ongoing conversations about the line between sexual freedom and sexual exploitation.

On My Way To Liberation follows a gender nonconforming body moving through the streets of Chicago. 

An anthology to celebrate and canonize the words of Black women across the diaspora.

An anthology of writings by Muslims who are women, queer, genderqueer, nonbinary, or trans.

Original meditations on race, gender, identity, and the joy and pain of growing up, from award-winning poet Eve L. Ewing. 

Powerful, poetic meditations on motherhood, sisterhood, spirituality, solidarity, displacement/gentrification, racism, and sexism.

Before the Next Bomb Drops explores the Israeli occupation of Palestine and US militarism through a poetic lens.

“This is one of the best books on writing that I've ever read. I couldn't put it down.”
—Michelle Alexander

Reflections on the profound influence of poet, educator, and social activist Gwendolyn Brooks through examinations of her life and work. 

Faculty and instructors interested in adopting Haymarket titles for their courses can request Exam and Desk copies directly from our distributor, here