With National Poetry Month going on right now, we figure there’s no better time to look ahead to what brilliant poetry collections are coming soon from the Latina poetry community this year. Contrary to popular belief, poetry isn’t just for white men anymore (dead or alive)! It’s important to see the voices of Latina poets uplifted in these literary spaces that have historically gatekept us out of it and even convinced us to gatekeep ourselves. Poetry is for everyone and we’re excited about what’s to come and what new books we need to add to our TBR lists this year. This is by no means an exhaustive list but is a good starting place as you place your pre-orders and put together your reading lists. Read on to learn more about 12 poetry collections by Latina poets that we’re excited to read in 2023.
Future Botanic by Christina Olivares
Release Date: January 15, 2023
Future Botanic by Christina Oliveras, who also is the author of the award-winning collection No Map of the Earth Includes Stars and the chapbook Interrupt, continues the explorations of her previous work including nature, history, place, queer love, liberation, and legacy. Spanning across Bronx and Cuba, Oliveras utilizes her identity as a queer Cuban-American to also speak on issues of American colonization over Latin America, the complex, layered geography of the region, and where she fits in giving the history of herself and her family.
Auto/Body by Vickie Vertiz
Release Date: February 1, 2023
Auto/Body by Vickie Vertiz is the poet’s second full-length collection of poetry that uses the settings of an auto body shop and a queer nightclub to speak to issues of survival, pleasure, patriarchy, violence, incarceration, and bodily autonomy across borders. Using her personal experiences of growing up working-class in and around auto body shops, Vertiz takes the metaphor of fixing a car and applies it to fixing, changing, and transcending our bodies, identities, wants, and ways of being. Upon its release, the book won the Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry, with critical acclaim. You can also check out her debut collection, Palm Frond with Its Throat Cut, which won a 2018 PEN America literary prize.
Dear Outsiders by Jenny Sadre-Orafai
Release Date: March 7, 2023
Dear Outsiders by Jenny Sadre-Orafai is her fourth poetry collection, following her debut Paper, Cotton, Leather, as well as her projects Malak and Book of Levitations. Her follow-up utilizes both traditional and contemporary forms of poetry. The book centers on two siblings in a small tourist town whose parents’ deaths cause an immense amount of trauma and pain, especially in a new, unfamiliar place. Touching on themes of family, identity, grief, loss, and longing, this is a stunning meditation on the ways we are shaped by place, both where we come from and where we end up.
Vessels: A Memoir of Borders by Michelle Otero
Vessels by Michelle Otero is a testament to the ways Chicanxs move through the world as existing “ni de aquí, ni de allá”, being embodiments of both their cultures while also missing important parts of each. Similarly, the book straddles the line between poetry and memoir. Drawing on her mixed-race identity, she uses memories, poems, dreams, and letters to explore the past and future of herself and her ancestors, dissect harmful relationships, remember traumas, invoke prayers, and provide a path to healing.
Where My Umbilical is Buried by Amanda Galvan Huynh
Release Date: March 28, 2023
Where My Umbilical is Buried is Amanda Galvan Huynh’s debut poetry collection that celebrates and uplifts the beauty of her Xicana identity. From games of lotería to Texas-set stories, dancing to La Reina de Cumbia to mournful moments with her mother, she uses these markers of identity to explore larger themes of heritage, assimilation, family, music, generational trauma, and healing. But at its heart it’s a powerful, moving depiction of a mother-daughter relationship, formed at birth and transformed by her mother losing both parents at sixteen and passing that pain on to her daughter. If you’re looking for even more of her work, look no further than her debut chapbook, Songs of Brujería.
Gemini Gospel by Bianca Alyssa Pérez
Release Date: April 8, 2023
Gemini Gospel by Bianca Alyssa Pérez is the poet’s debut collection that has already received praise and acclaim. Using her roots as a Latina and identity as a Gemini, Pérez takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery, grief, memory, love, tenderness, and how good it is to be kind to ourselves. She also takes a moment to elegize and honor her father, showcasing the importance of sharing our love with our loved ones while we can, showing gratitude to all living things, and immortalizing the people who have shaped us and made us who we are.
Tourist by Tak Erzinger
Release Date: April 11, 2023
Tourist by Tak Erzinger, an American/Swiss poet with a Colombian background, uses the metaphor of travel to explore the poet’s past guilt, trauma, and relationships. Wading through the deep waters of memories, she takes the reader on a journey through the cultures, places, and stages of her life as she reaches revelations, learns to listen to her inner voice, searches for her identity, and carves out her own path toward celebration and healing. From the seaside to the forest, prepare to travel the world without leaving your seat.
Dream of Xibalba by Stephanie Adams-Santos
Release Date: May 2, 2023
Dream of Xibalba by Stephanie Adams-Santos is an epic poem that tests the boundaries of life and death, reality and the dream world, ancestors and spirits and ghosts. Using Cecilia Vicuña, Federico García Lorca, and Yvan Goll as poetic influences, the poet explores the consequences of a history of violence, erasure, and invisibility, but ultimately focuses on the beauty, resilience, and strength that can be salvaged from the rubble. It was selected by poet Jericho Brown as the winner of the The 2021 Orison Poetry Prize, already marking its significance in the canon as an important cultural and spiritual work.
Visitas inesperadas by Ariadna Sánchez Hernández
Release Date: May 23, 2022
Visitas inesperadas by Oaxacan-born poet Ariadna Sánchez Hernández, translated as Unexpected Visits, is a collection that unites the power of poetry and photographs to welcome the reader into the poet’s memories and love for the natural earth in all its scents, sounds, and colors. Written completely in Spanish, this is a stunning ode to our world and the beauty within it.
Plantains and Our Becoming by Melania Luisa Marte
Release Date: August 22, 2023
Plantains and Our Becoming by Melania Luisa Marte is a collection that spans time and place to explore and celebrate the Afro-Latina and Black diasporic experiences she comes from. From New York to Texas, the Dominican Republic to Haiti, the collection touches on themes of self-love, nationalism, displacement, colonialism, racism, generational trauma, ancestors, and ancestral knowledge all to celebrate with greater volume Black identity, personhood, and futures.
Have You Been Long Enough at Table by Leslie Sainz
Release Date: September 26, 2023
Have You Been Long Enough at Table is a debut poetry collection by Leslie Sainz that takes on the Cuban American experience from a female perspective. Using prose poems, persona poems, and sonnets, and incorporating Spanish, she uses words to resist systems of power, patriarchy, displacement, and exile in the U.S. and Cuba. With the past and present as a reference, she asks herself and the reader to imagine a future where every Cuban woman experiences revolution, receiving emancipation and liberation from violence, grief, and trauma.
Desire Museum by Danielle Cadena Deulen
Release Date: September 26, 2023
Desire Museum by Danielle Cadena Deulen is a powerful collection speaking on various issues including love, friendship, sexuality, lesbian relationships, climate crisis, and the detainment and imprisonment of children at the U.S.-Mexico border. Over the course of four sections, readers will get a close insight into the poet’s explorations of sex, motherhood, memory, borders, dreamscapes, and the unique traumas women face throughout their lives personally, sociopolitically, and environmentally. Above all, she centers desire in all its forms: desire for love, for freedom, for safety, for renewal, and what it looks like to let these desires go.