Refresh Your Shelf: New Poetry

Every time a new year rolls around we resolve to read more poetry (not in an “eating our vegetables” kind of way, either – it’s just great and we want to make the space!). If you’re like us, read on for five fresh poetry collections to help set the tone for ’24.

Refresh Your Shelf: New Poetry! Only on All Lit Up.


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Once the Smudge is Lit by Kelsey Borgford and Cole Forrest, illustrated by Tessa Pizzale (Kegedonce Press)

Kesley Borgford, a Nbisiing Nishnaabekwe artist from the Marten clan, and Cole Forrest, an Ojibwe filmmaker and programmer from Nipissing First Nation, collaborated with Moose Cree artist Tessa Pizzale on this poetry collection celebrating connection and ceremony in modern Ojibwe and Nishnaabe communities. Their multidisciplinary art practices and multiplicity of perspectives lend themselves to a beautiful volume of poems that explore love and community, bridged by a connective, illustrated motif of smudge smoke that trails from one page to the next.

Find Once the Smudge is Lit here on All Lit Up, or via your local bookseller.

Hazard, Home by Christine Lowther (Caitlin Press)

Releasing early February, Christine Lowther’s collection Hazard, Home stands in awe of the natural world and simultaneously grieves it and its inhabitants. These poems force us to bear witness, as Lowther does, of the devastating impact colonial practices have had on the environment and on displaced people and cultures. As Tofino’s former poet laureate and the editor of the anthology Worth More Standing: Poets and Activists Pay Homage to Trees, Lowther brings a special perspective, and this collection is a unique addition to the nature poetry canon: one that represents an urgent call to action.

Preorder Hazard, Home here on All Lit Up, or via your local bookseller.

Peony Vertigo by Jan Conn (Brick Books)

Peony Vertigo, poet and biologist Jan Conn’s latest book of poetry, explores the entanglements between the natural and human-made worlds. These poems find unlikely parallels in experience just as they celebrate a world that’s seemingly in its December – as Erin Robinsong says: “vivid documents of her trafficks in love for what is beyond repair and beyond compare.” Read this one if you’re looking for a little unexpected joy in these troubling circumstances we find ourselves in.

Find Peony Vertigo here on All Lit Up, or via your local bookseller.

Mechanophilia: Book One by Vi Khi Nao and Sarah Burgoyne (Anvil Press)

A collaboration between American poet Vi Khi Nao and Canadian poet Sarah Burgoyne, Mechanophilia is the first volume in an epic four-part series, whose poems employ the structure of pi (π). This first book represents the first 1,000 digits of pi, and the poems within examine the tensions between order and chaos, and the myth-making we do in attempts to ease that tension. Nao and Burgoyne queer these myths just as they force them into the pi framework, for a wholly new and exciting look at the possibilities of poetry and mathematics.

Find Mechanophilia here on All Lit Up, or via your local bookseller.

She Who Lies Above by Beatriz Hausner (Book*hug Press)

If Mechanophilia wasn’t enough poetry and math for you, try Beatriz Hausner’s She Who Lies Above. This collection represents layers of imagining: mathematician Hypatia of Alexandria’s romantic correspondence with her friend and former student Synesius of Cyrene, and the discovery and examination of their letters by a librarian and archivist named Bettina Ungaro. These poems show erotic love, literary culture through the ages, and dedication to craft (whatever it happens to be).

Find She Who Lies Above here on All Lit Up, or via your local bookseller.

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Catch up on Refresh Your Shelf with our non-fiction and fiction selections, and stay tuned for kids’ books to round out our week.