Franny Choi explores queerness, femininity, identity and autonomy as an Asian American woman in Soft Science, a book of poems that often center on futurism and technology in a remarkably human manner. While cyborgs feature as a vehicle for otherness, Choi also uses them in many other nuanced ways. Rhythmic and melodic, her poems enthrall readers.
A portrait through poetry of a trans person’s experience, Kayleb Rae Candrilli’s Water I Won’t Touch runs powerful, emotion-laden language through moments of trauma, tenderness and joy. Candrilli’s accolades—as a 2019 Whiting Award Winner in poetry, a 2017 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in transgender poetry, and many more—are deserved, and this latest 96-page book further reveals their distinct, necessary voice.
Poet Kaveh Akbar’s Pilgrim Bell embarks on a divine journey, meditating on his family’s life as Muslims in America, the immigrant experience and struggles with addiction. Once again, the award-winning writer proves his masterful control over language, finding faith within darkness and the self beneath the surface of his work. Fiercely intimate and lyrically vivid, this book of poems is a moving and memorable read.