Five poetry books to read this summer

Sanni Kanervo, Staff Writer

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Summer is time for a lot of activities such as reading. These five books give you something to think about. While you explore life and relationships through these books, take a cup of lemonade with you, sit in the sun, and enjoy.

Poetry is art, and humans have been writing poems for a long time. Poetry usually brings up some issues people don’t want to talk about. Poetry is form of free speech which can lead to problems in countries where free speech is not a right. Poetry is also a sword against injustice just like many of these books in this article. Many of them look life through the eyes of a person from a minority culture, such as immigrant or the LGBTQ+ community.

“Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundation for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before,” says writer Audra Lorde.

Here are five books you can read over the summer:

1. Lord of the Butterflies by Andrea Gibson

Gibson’s latest poetry collection that dives into a world of gender, romance, loss and family. Some of these poems bring up issues, and some of them are clearly just the poet’s own experience.

Read this book if you want to learn more and understand some of the issues in today’s world.

“Gibson pulls you out of your head and tosses you into that flowy, meditative musical state where you are not trying to control or analyze your emotions, you’re just letting them gently wash over you like waves,” writes Zara Barrier in the magazine GOMAG.

Example: “When they told me God was always watching I said, who wants to worship a diary thief?

I didn’t dare say who wants to worship anyone

who would see everything and just sit there doing nothing

while the devil flossed his teeth with the bow of my prettiest violin.”

  1.  If they come for us by Fatimah Asghar

This debut collection of Asghar’s poetry takes the reader to a journey through America as a young Pakistani Muslim woman. Her poems are joyful, but also bring up the other side of the life: violence.

Read this book if you want something to think about.

“Ultimately, Asghar’s words are poignant and immediate, echoing days after each reading,” writes Ronnie K. Stephens writer in Los Angeles Review.

A poem from the book:

From the poem For Peshawar:

“Every year I manage live on this Earth I collect more questions than answers.”

  1. Don’t Tell Me Not To Ask Why by Samantha King Holmes

Holme’s second solo collection is full of mini stories that allow the reader to think about issues such as body image, family, relationships, loneliness, failed relationships and finding belonging.

Read this book if you want something that will reach you at many levels.

Example:

“Guess you made me stronger

Guess I should thank you

Truth is though

You should have just loved me”

  1. Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong

This is his first full length collection taking a direct route to a conversation about romance, family, memory, grief, war and melancholy. This book is also the winner of the 2016 Whiting Award.

Read this book if you are interested in something that has a emotional undertow. He also has an amazing ability to capture moments of life and make them live again.

“There are several allusions to Shakespeare’s “Tempest” in these pages – the possibilities of a “sea change” and Prospero’s sorcerer abilities to enchant,” writes Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times.

Example:

In the body , where everything has a price,

I was a beggar. On my knees,

I watched, through the keyhole, not

the man showering, but the rain

falling through him: guitar strings snapping

over his globed shoulders.

  1. She Felt Like Feeling Nothing by R.H Sin

This poetry book is about self discovery, self love and heartbreak. Sin has written other famous books such as Whiskey Words and The Shovel series.

Read this book if you need support or you are lost with yourself.

“The structure of She Felt Like Feeling Nothing is pretty straightforward, with simple writing, not punctuation and just line breaks,” writes Kirsty Hanson on the Bibliophile Girl.

Example:

“Do you know how beautiful you are

how the stars envy you

full of light that shines through darkness

full of life in a dead of a night”

Books are always another world that just opens up when you open the book. Through poetry you can find more of them. It is the change that we need in this world.