5 Books of Poetry for Your Summer Reading List

Get a taste of contemporary poetry that is getting a boost from modern-day technology.

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Poetry seems to scare people who aren’t familiar with it, but it shouldn’t. One thing the internet has done is to create space for poetry to be shared and accessed by everyone. Many independent publishing companies have given popular internet poets, as well as those without a strong online presence, a chance to publish their work in the tangible form of chapbooks. Being able to actually hold a publication by the poet you love from YouTube shows how the internet has brought poetry full circle, and with poetry made visible online, doors have opened for many poets to share their work through independent publishing houses. Take a look at these five impressive poetry books that explore themes that anyone can relate to and appreciate.

1. Getting Stitches by Rudy Francisco 

PUBLISHED BY: the author via CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
A FEW WORDS: Owned by Amazon, CreateSpace provides a way for authors to self-publish their work easily. For authors like Rudy Francisco, who is well known on the poetry slam circuit and whose poetry performances have views in the hundred thousands. His poems tend to be humorous, relatable, and perfect for someone who isn’t sure yet if they like poetry.

2. Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire  

PUBLISHED BY: Flipped Eye publishing limited
A FEW WORDS: Flipped Eye publishing is a UK based independent publisher that launched the mouthmark series in 2005 with the goal of promoting poets from “non-mainstream backgrounds.” Warsan Shire is a fantastic and inspiring writer who is anything but mainstream.
 Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth explores the pain that the author feels while wondering how she fits into the world as a Somalian refugee living in London. Since the publication of the chapbook, Shire has been selected as the first ever Young Poet Laureate of London.

3. No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay 

PUBLISHED BY: Write Bloody Publishing 
A FEW WORDS: Sarah Kay’s poetry is the perfect blend of classic and modern. She explores themes like family and love, and uses heavy imagery and descriptive language, but each piece is reflective of modern life. She is a skilled live performer, and even did a TED talk about storytelling. Illustrations by Sophia Janowitz animate and enhance the words on the pages of
 No Matter the Wreckage. Write Bloody Publishing books are printed in the USA and for each book printed during the first run, they plant a tree.

4. Chalk Outlines of Snow Angels by Jasmine Mans 

PUBLISHED BY: Thorn10 Publishing 
A FEW WORDS: Jasmine Mans is a unique poet and activist who should really be on everyone’s reading list. In
 Chalk Outlines, Mans covers everything from her own personal relationships to historical events to American society today. An excellent live performer formerly part of the well-known collective The Striver’s Row, Mans also experiments with different mediums for delivering her poetry. She released a mixtape called Black Boy Gold, which features her poems over music.

5. The Heart That Lies Outside the Body by Stephanie Lenox 

PUBLISHED BY: Saperling Holl Press 
A FEW WORDS: Stephanie Lenox uses the same metaphor throughout this chapbook, The Guinness Book of World Records. Using world record holders as inspiration, she writes poems about their unique accomplishments, abnormalities, and skills. This extended metaphor works well to allow her to touch on many aspects of human nature, while tying each piece together.


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This article by Rachel Wallace was originally published on The Culture-ist, and appears here with permission.