The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Poetry

There Are Trans People Here by H. Melt

H Melt’s poetry collection talks about pivotal moments in trans and queer history and honors those who came before them. Beautiful and touching, this collection shows another side to the struggles trans people continue to face.

There Are Trans People Here by H. Melt, (List Price: $16.00, Haymarket Books, 9781642595727, November 2021)

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Refractive Africa by Will Alexander

These odes to African intellectuals by Will Alexander are so rich in imagery and sound that every line has something you’ve never read before. I’m not kidding! Refractive Africa is of the highest caliber of poetry on offer in these times.

Refractive Africa by Will Alexander, (List Price: $16.95, New Directions, 9780811230278, November 2021)

Reviewed by Conor Hultman, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

Some Things I Still Can’t Tell You by Misha Collins

I loved this collection. Collins lets his reader know that he is writing for himself, fully knowing he is not an established poet. I normally do not read poetry, and I felt relaxed and ready to see what he had to say. It was a treat to see a very public person open up like this.

Some Things I Still Can’t Tell You by Misha Collins, (List Price: $14.99, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 9781524870546, October 2021)

Reviewed by Sissy Gardner, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

My Darling from the Lions by Rachel Long

These poems were enchanting and brilliant, forcing you to think and interact with the stories being told. Once you sit down with this book, you won’t be able to get back up until you’ve closed it and long after, too consumed with every single word. Carefully crafted, and perfectly balanced, this book of poetry is perfect for newcomers to poetry, or those well versed in it.

My Darling from the Lions by Rachel Long, (List Price: 16.95, Tin House Books, 9781951142711, September 2021)

Reviewed by Caitlyn Vanorder, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Field Study by Chet’la Sebree

I love anything that blurs genre lines, so I loved the way this book is an experiment of blending poetry and prose, memoir and fiction. There’s a dash of collective storytelling here, too, in the way the author brings in the words of Black feminist poets and writers. A beautiful and earnest exploration of relationships, love, and desire.

Field Study by Chet’la Sebree, (List Price: 16, FSG Originals, 9780374539023, June 2021)

Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night by Morgan Parker

I loved Morgan Parker’s collections There are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce and Magical Negro so I was excited to go back and read her debut collection in its new re-released form. It comes with a lovely foreword by Danez Smith, whose observations enhanced my reading experience. From her other two collections, I knew I loved the way Parker combines poetry and music; I loved seeing in this collection how she brings the visual arts into her world, too.

Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night by Morgan Parker, (List Price: 16.95, Tin House Books, 9781951142568, July, 2021)

Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night by Morgan Parker

I loved Morgan Parker’s collections THERE ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAN BEYONCE and MAGICAL NEGRO so I was excited to go back and read her debut collection in its new re-released form. It comes with a lovely foreword by Danez Smith, whose observations enhanced my reading experience. From her other two collections, I knew I loved the way Parker combines poetry and music; I loved seeing in this collection how she brings the visual arts into her world, too.

Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up At Night by Morgan Parker, (List Price: 16.95, Tin House Books, 9781951142568, July 2021)

Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Sparrow Envy by J. Drew Lanham

I found myself underlining something on nearly every page of this slim volume—Lanham’s distinctive voice sings with awe of the natural world and clear-eyed candor of the obstacles a Black man faces in engaging this awe. Here is a writer who can perfectly express the emotive effect of a wood thrush’s 3-part song, someone who finds joy the exuberance of wrens, someone who finds solace in (and solidarity with) winged beings. This is a beautiful, necessary book.

Sparrow Envy by J. Drew Lanham (List Price: $16, Hub City Press, 9781938235818, 4/13/2021)

Reviewed by Hannah DeCamp, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Make Me Rain: Poems & Prose by Nikki Giovanni

A Read This Next! Fall 2020 Title

I would not call myself a poetry reader, but there is something about Nikki Giovanni’s poetry that speaks to me so deeply. Sentimental and comforting, Make Me Rain covers a wide range of topics from quilts and rising bread to the social change we so desperately need in our world. Giovanni’s wisdom and understanding once again prove why she is such a poetic powerhouse – and leave the reader wanting to explore her past work again, too.

Make Me Rain: Poems & Prose by Nikki Giovanni (List price: $24.99, William Morrow, 9780062995285, October 2020), recommended by Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

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