1. Venus by Vahni Capildeo
Vahni Capildeo's previous collection Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet Press, 2016) won the Forward Best Collection Prize, it explored the alienation of borders and movement in prose poem forms. The new collection from Capildeo, Venus as a Bear, is also as inventive as you would imagine, it brings to life non-living things such as glass, moss, stone, exploring how they can represent a time or period. She places them at the centre using shorter poems as main forms. Vahni Capildeo is a British Trinidadian writer, and a contributing editor for the Caribbean Review of Books. This equally striking imaginative collection is bound to pick up awards also.
(Carcanet Press, 26 April 2018)
2. Wade in the Water by Tracy K. Smith
Named in 2017 as Poet Laureate of the United States, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith's new collection Wade in the Water continues to show her signature lyrical voice that seeks to question. In this collection Smith explores what it means to be a citizen, a mother and an artist in a culture arbitrated by wealth, men and violence. The title carries connotations of slavery, a subject addressed in the book.
(Penguin, 3rd April 2018)
3. Luck Is the Hook by Imtiaz Dharker
A veteran poet, Imtiaz Dharker was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2014 for Over the Moon and for her services to poetry. Luck Is the Hook is Imtiaz Dharker’s sixth book from Bloodaxe. In these poems, chance is the main word and it plays a part in finding or losing people and places that are loved: a change in the weather, a trick of language, a bomb that misses its mark, six pomegranate seeds eaten by mistake. This collection will be undoubtedly striking.
(Bloodaxe Books, 29 Mar 2018)
4. The Terrible: A Storyteller's Memoir by Yrsa Daley-Ward
You will have undoubtably come across a quote from Yrsa Daley-Ward’s work on social media, probably while crying over a past love. The famed poet behind Bone, Daley-Ward brings us a lyrical emotional memoir on the discomfort of adolescence, taking us through her early twenties.
(Penguin Books, June 5, 2018)
5. Assembly Lines by Jane Commane
Editor and Director of Nine Arches Press, Jane Commane, has been instrumental in publishing the best of emerging and established British poets such as Roy MacFarlane Inua Ellams, and Jacqqueline Saphra's TS Elliot Prize shortlisted collection All My Mad Mothers. In Commane's first full-length collection, Assembly Lines, the poems reflect on the historical perspective of the present day in the fast-moving world. Commane seeks poems in unlikely places by re-assembling the landscape in haunting ways. One of the anticipated collections of 2018, Jane Commane is bound to leave a mark in British poetry.
(Bloodaxe Books, 22 Feb 2018)
6. A Hurry of English by Mary Jean Chan
A promising poet, and one of the fiercest voices to emerge from the UK, Mary Jean Chan will be one of the first three poets to be published by ignition press, a publisher launched by Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre. A Hurry of English traces an ongoing journey towards personal acceptance, maps the conflicts and tensions inherent within one's queer awakening, explores familial and cultural histories, and expresses the redemptive power of speech and poetry. Mary Jean Chan is a poet from Hong Kong based in England. In 2017, she was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, and is currently a Co-Editor at Oxford Poetry.
(Ignition press, 2018)
7. Eye Level by Jenny Xie
Eye Level was selected by Juan Felipe Herrera as the winner of the 2017 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets. Jenny Xie’s award-winning debut, Eye Level, has the reader travelling to various places, from Phnom Penh, to, New York, and elsewhere, taking us close to solitude in this moving restless collection. Her poems appear in Poetry magazine, the American Poetry Review, the New Republic, Tin House, and elsewhere.
(Graywolf Press, April 2018)
8. The Wound Register by Esther Morgan
The Wound Register, by Esther Morgan, is a book that records details of the casualty and sickness details for more than fifteen thousand soldiers of the Norfolk Regiment during the First World War. This collection provides an unflinching sequence written to her grandmother which explores the trauma of losing a father in combat, while other poems address the missing soldier directly as he hovers on the brink of living memory. The Wound Register grapples movingly with the question of whether it’s possible to live and love while doing no harm.
(Bloodaxe Books, 29 Mar 2018)
9. Three Poems by Hannah Sullivan
Hannah Sullivan's debut collection is exactly as the title states, three poems, this inventive collection stretches three poems into bits of startling intensity, ambition and length. 'You, Very Young in New York' is a study of romantic possibility and disillusion in a great American city. 'Repeat Until Time' begins with a move to California and unfolds into a philosophical essay on repetition. 'The Sandpit After Rain' explores the birth of a child and the loss of a father with exacting clarity. This collection is bound to explode. Be prepared for this collection to surface during awards season.
(Faber & Faber, 16 January 2018)
10. Who Is Mary Sue? By Sophie Collins
In this exciting and original debut collection, this unique and visionary poet Sophie Collins examines the politics of women's creative autonomy and the cultural expectations it is subjected to. Sophie Collins grew up in Bergen, North Holland, and now lives in Edinburgh. She is co-editor of tender, an online art quarterly. Collins uses different means to tell her story, in lyric essays, Collins considers the examples of other authors and poets of the 20th and 21st centuries. In shorter poems, she explores a series of personae, both as a means of recuperating women's writing, and as a way of writing around the blockages and silences attendant on shame and trauma.