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DMZ Colony

Don Mee Choi (Wave)

Choi’s captivating collection is a cross-genre achievement in docupoetics, offering a voice to those silenced in the Korean War and the Park Chung Hee military dictatorship. Choi’s personal narrative (including her family’s flight from South Korea and her father’s work as a photojournalist) is contextualized through larger considerations of political history, making this a vital investigative work.

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The Historians

Eavan Boland (Norton)

Throughout her career, Boland (1944–2020) was committed to documenting the interior lives of women in their full complexity, as well as the richness of daily life. This posthumous collection showcases Boland’s vivid imagery and singular intelligence, humility, and lyric power through poems that address memory, political citizenship, and the greater role of poetry and writing.

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Homie

Danez Smith (Graywolf)

Smith’s poems celebrating Black culture and experience powerfully deliver testaments to the importance of friendship and community. The distinctive use of language, punctuation, and form amplifies the collection’s vision of a country plagued by violence and bigotry, but saved by the grace of fearless resistance and the joy of individual connections.

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Obit

Victorian Chang (Copper Canyon)

Exploring and riffing on the newspaper obituary form, Chang’s lyrical prose block poems and tankas pay witness to grief and endurance. Life’s cycles play out in exquisite, detailed language that considers how death gives new meaning to memory, and how losses outlast and impact the living.

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Runaway

Jorie Graham (Ecco)

In this dazzling collection, Graham considers humanity’s future survival in poems that address and interrogate the mind, body, and spirit of the collective, as well as the power and language of hope. In characteristically intellectual and contemplative style, Graham’s urgent and formally distinctive poems consider the sacrifice of the natural world and the risks to future generations.

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