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Book recommendations: Poetry to look forward to in 2022

2022 is a huge year for Scottish poetry releases and here’s a selection that is just the tip of the iceberg on what to look forward to.

★ Denotes a book published by a Publishing Scotland member.

At Least This I Know by Andrés N. Ordorica
404 Ink

It starts neither here nor there, a liminal space between two states of being. A life captured within his lines, At Least This I Know guides the reader through Andrés N. Ordorica’s own story, of ancestry, nationhood, activism and queerness, through childhood photographs, across international highways, to tales of love and loss, and beyond. These poems are a means of working through the belonging in both the physical sense and emotional, be it the belonging of immigrant bodies in new countries, or that of the queer self within found families and safe spaces.

Navigating his family origin and personal journey to belonging, from Mexico, the USA, to Scotland, it’s a story to be welcomed into, one that flows from the page and envelops you.

Limbic by Peter Scalpello
Cipher Press

Glaswegian poet Peter Scalpello’s Limbic is a glittering ode to sex, intimacy and queer discovery. From slippery nights out fuelled by chemsex, to the quiet violence of small domestic moments, it’s an exploration of masculinity, addiction and trauma. It is at once a therapy and a celebration, showing how queer learning can be both soft-edged and brutal at once.

Another Way to Split Water by Alycia Pirmohamed

Edwin Morgan Poetry Award winner Alycia Pirmohamed’s Another Way to Split Water meditates on how we inherit the lived experiences of our ancestors. Said to be surreal and imagistically innovative, these poems reflect on wider themes of womanhood, belonging, inheritance, loss, beauty and spirituality.

Blood Salt Spring by Hannah Lavery

Edinburgh Makar Hannah Lavery’s Blood Salt Spring is a meditation on where we are, exploring ideas of nation, race and belonging. With much of the collection written in lockdown, it speaks to the moment while looking to find meaning and make an attempt to heal the pain and vulnerabilities picked and cut open again in the recent cultural shifts and political wars. It seeks to heal salted wounds, and move towards hope.

The Fire People: A Collection of Black British Poetry, edited by Lemn Sissay

The Fire People is the seminal collection of Black British poetry, edited by Lemn Sissay. Not only is it being republished in this form, it joins the scorching sequel More Fiya, featuring contemporary poets. This original 1998 collection was inspired and influenced by roots, reggae and hip-hop, and featured many rising stars of the time, many of whom have gone on to become established names.

Contributors include: Former Makar Jackie Kay, Salena Godden, Malika Booker, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Patience Agbabi, John Siddique, SuAndi, Akure Wall and many, many more.

Kinsey Scale for the Emotionally Fragile Queer by Bibi June
Burning Eye Books

In Bibi June’s Kinsey Scale for the Emotionally Fragile Queer, our lives are not represented by rigid numbers, but by poetry on queer love, happiness, protest, friendships, and the ability of queers to adapt to a changing world. The pamphlet will be publishing in Spring 2022.

Love the Sinner by Imogen Stirling
Verve Poetry Press

Acclaimed spoken word performer Imogen Stirling releases Love The Sinner, the next step in the work’s evolution from its beginnings as poetry and music fusion, taking it from the stage in front of a live audience and crafting it for the page.

Re·creation: An Anthology of Queer Poetry edited by Éadaoín Lynch and Alycia Pirmohamed
Stewed Rhubarb Press

Named for the Audre Lorde poem of the same name, the collection is an anthology of poems by queer poets. The collection is bursting with brilliant contributors with ‘headliners’ including Mary Jean Chan, Dean Atta, Harry Josephine Giles, and Joelle Taylor, and contributors including Mae Diansangu, Olawaseun Olayiwola, Kira Scott, Lilidh Jack and many more.

More Fiya: A New Collection of Black British Poetry edited by Kayo Chingonyi

A scorching new anthology of Black British poetry, edited by poet Kayo Chingonyi, which follows in the footsteps of the seminal 1998 collection The Fire People.

A poetry mix-tape of cross-generational poets, it includes work from Raymond Antrobus, Warsan Shire, Yomi Sode, Keisha Thompson, Rachel Long, Vanessa Kisuule, Inua Ellams and many, many more fantastic poets.

Life Goals of the Millennials or the Commune Manifesto by Ross McFarlane
Burning Eye Books

Scottish poet Ross McFarlane’s Life Goals of the Millennials or the Commune Manifesto will be published in Spring, acting as a personal statement of intent, an affirmation, a life goal to retain the joy that comes from our hard fought and close-knit bonds.

Memo for Spring: 50th Anniversary Edition by Liz Lochhead

Liz Lochhead is one of the leading poets in the country today. Her debut collection, Memo for Spring, was a landmark publication back in 1972. 50 years on, and introduced by Ali Smith, it is a collection that’s as honest as it is hopeful, navigating pain, acceptance, lost and triumph, and repackaged for new readers.

In public / in private by Leyla Josephine
Burning Eye Books

Leyla Josephine, known widely for her performances as well as her poetry, will be releasing her debut collection of poetry this year, where she writes about secrets, faith, shame, list and death unapologetically. She fearlessly reaches through every page and asks, ‘Have you felt this too?’

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