April is National Poetry Month. Launched by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month has become one of the largest literary celebrations in the world, reminding us that poetry is an art form for everybody. There is a plethora of events in Seattle to check out, and with spring beginning to show its pink and green colors, it’s a perfect time to sit under one of those blooming trees and read or write some lines of your own. Whether you’re a poet yourself, a reader or listener of poetry, or just interested in dipping your toes into the vast ocean of poetry, here are six new and forthcoming collections to enjoy this spring.
“The Necessity of Wildfire: Poems”
by Caitlin Scarano (Blair, $16.95; out April 5)
This second full-length collection from Scarano, who is based in Bellingham, was selected for the Wren Poetry Prize by Ada Limón. While Scarano was raised in the South, their art and aesthetics are shaped by the Pacific Northwest. In these poems, they explore legacies of violence in families and land, the complexity of sexuality, and the idea of mercy for the living and the dead. This is a good one to read for a feeling of catharsis and awe at the intertwined nature of beauty and pain.
“The Hurting Kind: Poems”
by Ada Limón (Milkweed, $22; out May 10)
Speaking of Ada Limón, the decorated poet has five other collections under her belt and hosts the American Public Media weekday poetry podcast “The Slowdown.” A National Book Critics Circle Award winner and finalist for the National Book Award, Limón brings her nuanced and thoughtful lens to the idea of interconnectedness between the human and nonhuman, between people, between the living and the dead, and with ourselves. The interconnectedness of our world is both a potent reminder of the meaning of our home on this earth, and rich territory for art. Limón’s art is indeed a rich and deeply moving experience.
“Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head: Poems”
by Warsan Shire (Random House, $17)
Shire put her name on the map as the writer behind the poetry in Beyoncé’s 2016 visual album “Lemonade,” but her work extends to filmmaking — she wrote the short film “Brave Girl Rising,” about Somali girls in Africa’s largest refugee camp — and is the author of two chapbooks. In this first full-length collection, Shire, a Somali British poet born in Nairobi and raised in London, draws on pop culture and news to explore coming of age into womanhood, migration, resilience and the layered cacophony of life.
by Jennifer Huang (Milkweed, $16)
This gorgeous book of poems about familial, cultural, inherited and created lineages won the 2021 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry from Milkweed Editions. Huang, who was born in Maryland to Taiwanese immigrants, joyfully and deftly weaves together mythology, objects, landscapes, food, violence and intimacy across time and space into an immersive collection that hits every pleasure center and deeply felt emotional beat.
“Spot Weather Forecast”
by Kevin Goodan (Alice James Books, $17.95)
Goodan was born in Montana and raised on the Flathead Indian Reservation, where his stepfather and brothers are enrolled tribal members. He worked as a firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service for 10 years. “Spot Weather Forecast” is his sixth book, and it brings the reader into the heart of the fire, creating a viscerally searing experience for anyone who, like all of us in the western part of the country, live with, think about, fear or otherwise have feelings about the wildfires that worsen every year.
“Path of Totality: Poems”
by Niina Pollari (Soft Skull, $16.95)
This book walks a line between poetry and prose, but there’s room for all of it under the name “poetry.” In this book, Pollari, a poet and Finnish translator based in North Carolina, renders the labyrinthine grief of the before, during and after of losing a child. It is also a book about loss in general, especially when it comes to surprising desires and expectations, and the complex nature of the word “motherhood.”