The Best Poetry Books of 2015 So Far

2015 mid year 2

As part of our look at notable works released so far this year, we thought we’d also turn our eye on poetry. Whether exploring questions of fame and celebrity or exploring memory, mortality, and loss, these books spanned geography, history, and a host of aesthetic approaches.


Mr. West, Sarah Blake
(Wesleyan University Press)

Exploring themes of celebrity and family, Sarah Blake’s Mr. West juxtaposes scenes from the life of Kanye West with her own experiences while writing the book.


A Taxonomy of the Space Between Us, Caleb Curtiss
(Black Lawrence Press)

The poems contained in this short volume delve into questions of family, memory, and grief. They’re neatly composed and hard to shake–an elegy that approaches the reader from all sides.



Swan Feast, Natalie Eilbert
(Coconut Books)

Natalie Eilbert’s Swan Feast smashes together the personal with thousands of years’ worth of history and depictions of gender. And it’s all bolstered by layers of rich imagery and a precise attention to detail.


Ban En Banlieue, Bhanu Kapil
(Nightboat Books)

Bhanu Kapil’s books don’t just defy easy classification–they carve out new spaces somewhere between poetry, nonfiction, and fiction at its most imaginative. Reading Ban En Ballieue, one can be floored by Kapil’s command of structure and then wrenched by her depictions of violence, all in the span of a page or two.


The Do-Over, Kathleen Ossip
(Sarabande Books)

Kathleen Ossip’s third book of poetry explores the nature of time, eulogizes the recently deceased, and ventures into a host of forms along the way.


What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford, Frank Stanford
(Copper Canyon Press)

If you’re seeking to get up to speed on the works of Frank Stanford–a review in TNR called it “a poetry of id and raw emotion, turning up all forms of male lust and violence”–this collection, which includes an abundance of previously-unpublished work, is a fine place to start.

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