Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué: Madness

I must confess. I have many thoughts on my mind; therefore, I haven’t been able to focus. I read through Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué Madness, but I could not pay attention to the poems. Since the collection is selected from 1976–2035, the poems are too ahead of my knowledge.

Safia Elhillo: Girls That Never Fear

A fierce, fearlessness collection about body, shame, and violence. The metaphor of “Pomegranate” to a woman’s body is fascinating. I enjoyed and comprehended most of the poems.

Tayi Tibble: Poūkahangatus

This collection took me a bit to feel the vibes. Tibble’s poems are honest, heartfelt, and humorous. She is a young poet with so much potential. I’ll definitely go back for a second read.

Chen Chen: Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency

Chen Chen writes about being a queer Chinese American. He opens up about his identity and family. His interactions with his mother on his sexual preference are hilarious. His honesty and humor come to across in this collection.

Stephanie Burt: We Are Mermaids

We Are Mermaids from Stephanie Burt, a Professor of English at Harvard, is compelling, thrilling, and daring. She writes openly about trans sex and literature. What I loved most from this collection are poems on punctuation marks. I’ll definitely reread this book again in the near future.

Alice Fulton: Coloratura On A Silence Found In Many Expressive Systems

One of my favorite pieces is “Beauty School.” I love the way Alice Fulton compares lyrical poetry to Miles Davis: “you don’t have to write your poem every day. You just have to touch your poem every day.” This collection is filled with dark beauty with music poetry for your reading pleasure.

Zeina Hashem Beck: O

In O, Zeina Hashem Beck addresses white critic in both English and Arabic. She writes, “If I told you these words are not in English, would you believe me?” I am not a white critic or a poetry critic for that matter. I am just a novice poetry reader and I don’t understand most of her poems. That’s OK. I read them with curiosity whether in English or Arabic.

Peter Cole: Draw Me After

I read the entire collection. I had some vague understanding of the works, but I couldn’t pick out anything to share. Another day, another book of poetry red. Moving to the next one.

Taneum Bambrick: Intimacies, Received

In her intimate collection of poems, Taneum Bambrick shares personal stories of sex, heartbreak, and rape. Bambrick is a brilliant lyricist and storyteller. I read the book twice and jotted down few favorites to share.

Nguyễn Du: Truyện Kiều

I am ashamed to confess that I had to read Truyện Kiều in English in order to understand Nguyễn Du’s epic poem—thanks to the skillful translation from Vương Thanh. I tried to read Vietnamese several times, but I gave up on the poetic language. Now that I know the story, I will go back to read Vietnamese.

You can read both the original version as well as the English translation right on a sample webpage I designed to showcase Vietnamese typography. I took 6,508 lines of poetry (Vietnamese and English) and put them all in one single webpage. That is the power of the web. I read it on my iPhone, but you can read it on any of your favorite device.