Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong

When I [intentionally] decided to explore depth in poetry, Ocean’s book was the first I was exposed to. This book helped me began my writing journey.

Calling a Wolf a Wolf by Kaveh Akbar

Apart from Kaveh’s kindness to me, this book is a book I return to: for language, for voice and for clarity.

Wade in the Waters by Tracy K Smith

I love Tracy’s simplicity, and the way her poems always have a bend at the end.

The Kitchen Dweller’s Testimony by Ladan Osman

Ladan’s diction, the poems come alive.

The January Children by Safia Elhillo

Safia’s poetry opened me up to possibilities. The book is both a work of history, and a work of truth.

Wale Ayinla is a Nigerian poet, essayist, and editor. He is the author of To Cast a Dream (Jai-Alai Books, 2021), selected by Mahogany Browne for the 2020 Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize. His works recently appeared on Guernica, South Dakota Review, TriQuarterly, Rhino Poetry, UpTheStaircase Quarterly, Column Weekly, Cimarron Review, Ruminate Magazine, McNeese Review, Poet Lore, and elsewhere.

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