Poetry Collections Getting Rave Reviews on NetGalley

A collage of the covers included in this article

Happy National Poetry Month, NetGalley members! Whether you read poetry voraciously or are looking to start your poetry journey, this is a perfect month to explore all this art form has to offer. Here are eight 2024 poetry collections that NetGalley members are raving about! 

Want more poetry for #NationalPoetryMonth? Join the Academy of American Poets for celebrations throughout the month of April, including its signature gala reading on April 30 featuring Meryl Streep, Courtney B. Vance, Paul Giamatti, Sterlin Harjo, and other legendary voices reading favorite poems. Register for free: https://pcm24.eventbrite.com.

Instructions for Traveling West by Joy Sullivan

NetGalley Librarians pitch this book better than we ever could so we’ll let them take it away. “To say Joy Sullivan’s Instructions for Traveling West is uplifting (it is!) is too easy. It is a ferocious call to experience joy and embrace change told from the perspective of a paving tiger. Sullivan instructs through story and metaphor in these fine poems,” says Librarian Laura H. Meanwhile Librarian Erienne J recommends the collection for fans of Mary Oliver, saying, “Joy Sullivan’s debut book of poems was an absolute delight and one that I will revisit often… Joy’s words are a balm for the soul.”

The Moon That Turns You Back by Hala Alyan

NetGalley Librarians have nothing but praise for Hala Alyan’s poetry collection about grappling with the past, present, and future when you’re displaced from your home. “What a beautiful and heartbreaking collection of poems. There were some that quite literally took my breath away,” writes Librarian Lindy W. Librarian Gabriel J agrees: “A gorgeous poetry collection about diaspora and the conflicts in the Middle East. Alyan breathes life into the memories of her lost loved ones and weaves pictures of her travels and homes… This is a book you’ll want to read more than once.”

Rangikura by Tayi Tibble

Indigenous New Zealand writer Tayi Tibble’s second book of poetry draws from her Māori ancestors and explores the desire for freedom against a backdrop of colonization and violence against Indigenous women. “This collection of poetry is BEAUTIFUL,” says Reviewer Victoria W. “I was captivated from the opening lines. There’s a lyricism to Tibble’s work that invokes the reader’s raw emotions and it seems as if you were the one experiencing the situations Tibble writes about. The language was lyrical and propelled you forward into the next poem while still paving a way to tell the entire story.”

Pleasure Principle by Madeleine Cravens

Madeleine Cravens’ collection of poems explore desire in all of its complexity through the lens of a young woman coming into adulthood and trying to understand herself. “An emotional debut with an incredible mastery of language, Madeleine Cravens’ collection will resonate with readers long after they’ve finished the last poem,” says Media/Journalist Moriah R in a 5-star review. “Cravens is a must-watch poet, and Pleasure Principle is a must-read for all lovers of poetry.”

Magic Enuff by Tara M. Stringfellow

NetGalley members loved Tara M. Stringfellow’s debut novel Memphis, and now Stringfellow is back with a poetry collection inspired by Black Southern womanhood. “Stringfellow DELIVERS here,” raves Educator Sacha M. “This collection is extremely accessible. I planned to read a couple of poems and then come back to the rest over a few days, but I instead read the entire batch in one sitting… Throughout, there’s a strong sense of speaker/persona, characterization, setting, and theme, and while the poems stand out individually, I also really appreciate the messaging they reinforce as a group. I truly cannot wait to share these with my students, and I anticipate strong, positive reactions.”

Children in Tactical Gear by Peter Mishler

If Children in Tactical Gear winning the the Iowa Poetry Prize doesn’t convince you to pick it up, we’ll let Bookseller Luke M sell you on it: “A short but electric collection of poems; these verses explore ideas of selfhood, violence and the capitalist industrial-complex. Infinitely re-readable due to their sharp use of language and incisive, evocative imagery, these poems are to be cherished.”

Scattered Snows, to the North by Carl Phillips

Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Phillips returns with a poetry collection themed around human memory and the vulnerability of admitting what we don’t know. “I have long been a fan of Carl Phillips,” Bookseller Linda G says in a glowing review. “In his latest collection Scattered Snows, to the North, he has once again proven himself to be a maestro of eloquence and virtuoso of all matters of the heart. I can honestly say that this is my favorite book of his yet. His thoughts on memory, the passage of time, nature and dreaming all resonated with me in a way that I will not only be recommending it to customers in the store, but my friends and family may very well find themselves receiving copies as gifts!”

Good Grief by Brianna Pastor

This expanded edition of Brianna Pastor’s self-published poetry collection exploring mental health, trauma, and grief is earning high praise from NetGalley reviewers. “Brianna Pastor turns decidedly inward and invites the audience to share in their pain,” writes Reviewer Allison B. “The author’s writing style… lends itself to a certain rawness that complements their reflections on grief and despair. About 70% of the way through, a lightness emerges and the reader senses that hope and self-forgiveness are possible. Perfect read for someone who is on a healing journey and feels alone on that path.”

What’s the last poetry book you read?

Please note that some reviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.
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Stuff Your Shelves

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.

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