Atlantis – Mark Doty
This elegy to a lover dying during the late 20th century AIDS epidemic is still the most breathtaking and moving book I’ve ever read. Doty writes with both devastating tenderness and an eye attuned to beauty and joy.
The Country Between Us – Carolyn Forche
This slim book of poems is so powerful and focused, with beautifully crafted language. Forche’s poetry of witness is more relevant than ever.
Gabriel – Edward Hirsch
An elegy to his son who died at 22, this book-length poem unfolds with harrowing precision, charting a life vibrating with both ebullience and a troubling complexity. If ever a book had a beating heart, it’s this one.
Don’t Call Us Dead – Danez Smith
I don’t know what I could say about Danez Smith that hasn’t already been said, but Don’t Call Us Dead is a masterful, joyous, heart-howling ride. We are so lucky to get to read their work. Inadequate Grave by Brandon Courtney A chapbook-length elegy to a drowned U.S. Navy shipmate, Inadequate Grave is simply masterful. No one writes quite like Courtney, with a mixture of sublime lyricism, deft control, and gutting imagery.
Kate Gaskin is the author of Forever War (YesYes Books 2020), which won the Pamet River Prize. Her poems have recently appeared in Pleiades, Passages North, and The Southern Review, and her work has been anthologized in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2019. She’s received support from both the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Vermont Studio Center. In 2017 she won The Pinch’s Literary Award in Poetry. firstname.lastname@example.org