top of page

2023 Forthcoming Poetry Books by Queer People of Color

Full-length and chapbooks are included in this list. Last updated: 1/6/2023





Alice James Books


Feast by Ina Cariño (March, $17.95). About Feast, Ilya Kaminsky writes, "I love the vividness of these poems, the language of the senses that's so alive on each page of FEAST. But these poems aren't just beautiful, sensual lyrics. There is more at stake here. Cariño is a kind of poet who claims family and identity with style that's akin to spell-making. ‘I dream in a tongue not my own’ the poet says—and we see it instantly: Here, even a simple act of cooking rice can become a ceremony, a rhapsody of liberation. All of this is done not with literary pretension but with vulnerability and honesty. If Ina Cariño says ‘names are spells,’ it is because this poet aims to write actual spells, and not just with the pen, but with breath: ‘I am the last spell, the only song left. deliberate utterance of bone’. Here, we are in presence of something special, I think. Bravo.”


Orders of Service by Willie Lee Kinard III (November, $17.95). About Orders of Service, Yona Harvey writes, "Willie Lee Kinard III’s astonishing debut collection braids mythology, sex and desire, gutbucket and gospel—defying outdated notions of bodies, binaries, the black church, and the natural world. These verses render testimonies so electric, you can’t help but shout. Kinard knows caring begins in language. He knows black boys crafted of fable can become sharp-witted and tender lovers and loving men. Orders of Service cuts so clean and deep you’ll find yourself several pages in before you notice blood on your fingers."


I Am the Most Dangerous Thing by Candace Williams (May, $17.95). Over the course of these poems, the Black, queer protagonist begins to erase violent structures and fill the white spaces with her hard-won wisdom and love. I Am the Most Dangerous Thing doesn't just use poetry to comment on life and history. The book is a comment on writing itself. What have words done? When does writing become a form of disengagement, or worse, violence? The book is an exercise in paring the state down to its true logic of violence and imagining what can happen next. There are many contradictions—Although the protagonist teaches the same science that was used to justify enslavement and a racial caste system, she knows she will die at the hands of science and denies the state the last word by penning her own death certificate. As an educator and knowledge worker, she is an overseer of the same racist, misogynistic, and homophobic systems that terrorize her. Yet, she musters the courage to kill Kurtz, a primordial vision of white terror. She is Black and queer and fat and angry and chill and witty and joyful and depressed and lovely and flawed and an (im)perfect dagger to the heart of white supremacist capitalism.


Andrews McMeel Publishing


God Themselves by Jae Nichelle (March 14, $14.95). Nichelle taps into her experiences of growing up in the South as a queer Black woman to courageously confront the affects of a forced religion and the inherent dangers of living life in a female body. God Themselves is divided into three equally moving sections: Everything, Everywhere, and Love. Nichelle braids her wisdom––as seen in the poem “What to Do When There’s Nothing You Can Do”––and witty generational humor––seen in "Sanctity: An Exposé"––into every poem. If you’ve ever contemplated who, what, and where God is, find comfort in these words.


Autumn House Press


Discordant by Richard Hamilton (Fall, price TBD). Richard Hamilton (he-they-them) was born in 1975 and grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey and Columbus, Georgia. They are the author of Rest of US published by Re-Center Press (2021). They are the 2022 winner of the Center for African-American Poetry and Poetic’s (CAAPP) book prize for their poetry manuscript Discordant selected by judge Evie Shockley. They are also the recipient of fellowships and support from the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson City, Vermont and the Cave Canem Foundation in Brooklyn, NY. Hamilton holds and MFA in poetry from the University of Alabama and currently lives in Washington, DC.


Black Lawrence Press


Hood Vacations by Michal "MJ" Jones (January, $14.95) is a rhythmic & quiet rumbling – an unflinching recollection of Blackness, queerness, gender, and violence through lenses of family lineage and confessional narrative. A nostalgia for an unreachable home permeates these poems: “We were mighty beautiful once, in golden dust.” The speaker of Hood Vacations tells of magic: of praying mantises, bathtub octopuses, Black ghosts, & bringing back “rainbow soap colors”. It is a book of passing – as, through, and on. Hop on in.


Burning Eye Books


Supervillain Origin Story by Rick Dove (May 25, price TBD) is a mischievous, seditious, and often incendiary exploration of trauma, loss, and erasure. Drawing strength and forging defiant triumph from the myriad provocations that could spin a soul into darkness, but somehow didn’t. Dove’s sophomore poetry collection weaves the ethereal from the light falling through cracked panes, taking inspiration from both personal experiences, and the political turmoil of the pandemic era, to create a collection that unsettles as it thrills.

Echoing his educational psychologist’s advice to “Use your words” Rick Dove picks up diverse narrative strands touching on queer love, reconciling abusive relationships, and demanding social justice, Dove’s Supervillain Origin Story, demonstrates effectively just how disruptive words can be.

No one was harmed in the creation of this collection...


My Achilles by Stanley Iyanu (October, £6.99) is the debut pamphlet by performance poet and writer, Stanley Iyanu. It explores vulnerability through the myth of Achilles. Focusing on four pivotal characters within his life: Thetis, Achilles, Patroclus and Hector. Aligning mythology, queer culture and black British-Nigerian identity this collection encourages the reader to embrace all the sides of one self. The complex and the ugly, the bold and brilliant. Full of love, hope and yearning, My Achilles aims to be more than a myth but a legend.


the heart is a holding by Lateisha Davine Lovelace-Hanson (Date TBD, £6.99) is a visceral journey through birth, life and death cycles across personal, intergenerational and ancestral time. A journey to call in states of repair and collective liberation. These words call us into relationship, inviting us into the role of witness, to set intention and feel into the echoes and desires of Freedom. Lateisha speaks into the waves, currents and somatic archive of the runaway, the fugitive, the marooned ones to help them return to their dreams and no longer shoulder the traumas of erasure. Each poem, text and world-building script is ritual, meditation to alchemise pain, loss and grief as intimate reflections of love, anger and hope through the medicine of connection. ~ the heart is a holding~ is a generous offering that caresses the inner and outer natures of interdependence. Moving through landscapes of spirituality, earth futurity and memory. As a pathway to call in and embody the present moment, guiding feeling and action to move through the ever present hauntings of social-climate injustices as apocalyptic reality. And invite knowledges that speak to healing through the lens of survivorship and legacy. As transformation. As the gathering of love, holding and dignity for Black mothers, earthworkers and care-givers beyond gendering, beyond racialisation, beyond this time.


Game Over Books


Shrines by Sagaree Jain (June, $18). Sagaree Jain (they/them) is a poet, writer, artist, and queer from the Silicon Valley. Their writing has been featured in Autostraddle, The Margins, them. magazine, and The Offing, where they’re also an Assistant Editor. Their collaborative poetry collection with Arati Warrier, Longing and Other Heirlooms, was published with Eggtooth Editions in April 2022. When not writing, they work as a community based researcher at the Othering and Belonging Institute. They are class and caste privileged and tweet at @sagareej.


Graywolf Press


Saltwater Demands a Psalm by Kweku Abimbola (April 4, $16). In Ghana’s Akan tradition, on the eighth day of life a child is named according to the day of the week on which they were born. This marks their true birth. In Kweku Abimbola’s rhapsodic debut, the intimacy of this practice yields an intricately layered poetics of time and body based in Black possibility, ancestry, and joy. While odes and praise songs celebrate rituals of self- and collective-care—of durags, stank faces, and dance—Abimbola’s elegies imagine alternate lives and afterlives for those slain by police, returning to naming as a means of rebirth and reconnection following the lost understanding of time and space that accompanies Black death. Saltwater Demands a Psalm creates a cosmology in search of Black eternity governed by Adinkra symbols—pictographs central to Ghanaian language and culture in their proverbial meanings—and rooted in units of time created from the rhythms of Black life. These poems groove, remix, and recenter African language and spiritual practice to rejoice in liberation’s struggles and triumphs. Abimbola’s poetry invokes the ecstasy and sorrow of saying the names of the departed, of seeing and being seen, of being called and calling back.


Haymarket Books


ballast by Quenton Baker (April 4, $18). A poetic sequence using the 1841 slave revolt aboard the brig Creole as a lens through which to view the vitality of Black lives and the afterlife of slavery. In 1841, the only successful, large-scale revolt of American-born enslaved people erupted on the ship Creole. 135 people escaped chattel slavery that day. The event was recounted in US Senate documents, including letters exchanged between US and British consulates in The Bahamas and depositions from the white crew on the ship. There is no known record or testimony from the 135 people who escaped. Their story has been lost to time and indifference. Quenton Baker’s ballast is an attempt at incomplete redress. With imagination, deep empathy, and skilled and compelling lyricism, Baker took a black marker to those Senate documents and culled a poetic recount of the Creole revolt. Layers of ink connect readers to Baker’s poetic process: (re)phrasing the narrative of the state through a dexterous process of hands-on redactions. ballast is a relentless, wrenching, and gorgeously written book, a defiant reclamation of one of the most important but overlooked events in US history, and an essential contribution to contemporary poetry.


Because You Were Mine by Brionne Janae ($17, July 4). In their latest collection of poems,Cave Canem Poetry Prize winner Brionne Janae dives into the deep, unsettled waters of intimate partner violence, queerness, grief, and survival. “I’ve decided I can’t trust anyone who uses darkness as a metaphor for what they fear,” poet Brionne Janae writes in this stunning new collection, in which the speaker navigates past and present traumas and interrogates familial and artistic lineages, queer relationships, positions of power, and community. Because You Were Mine is an intimate look at love, loneliness, and what it costs to survive abuse at the hands of those meant to be “protectors.” In raw, confessional, image-heavy poems, Janae explores the aftershocks of the dangerous entanglement of love and possession in parent-child relationships. Through this difficult but necessary examination, the collection speaks on behalf of children who were left or harmed as a result of the failures of their parents, their states, and their gods. Survivors, queer folks, and readers of poetry will find recognition and solace in these hard-wrought poems—poems that honor survivorship, queer love, parent wounds, trauma, and the complexities of familial blood.


JackLeg Press


False Offering by Rita Mookerjee (Fall, price TBD). About False Offering, Simone Muench writes, "Rita Mookerjee’s False Offering, while providing a trenchant critique of the oppressiveness of “white space,” is also glittery, culinary sumptuous, and scythe sharp. Shot through with equal parts “nectar and venom,” Mookerjee’s poems pirouette with muscular grace in a kaleidoscopic whirl of myth and alchemy, gods and feasts, rot and rose gold. False Offering is a feminist ledger of “battle armor meeting ballet.” Like a medieval tapestry, it is piped through with an elaborate galaxy of nightviolets, rosewater, bonedust, “snakes and shibari,” origami, and the KKK. It is a rare book in that even while flipping the middle finger; it has its hands held out in tenderness to those in need.


New Delta Review


MISEDUCATION by Aerik Francis (Spring/Summer, price TBD). About MISEDUCATION, Dorothy Chan writes, "'This is the future' is what I kept saying to myself while reading Aerik Francis' MISEDUCATION. This is a radical contemporary love letter to the queer BIPOC lineage that reminds us of the importance of community, the expansiveness of family, and of course, the power of both resilience and resistance in taking back what is rightfully ours. Francis' speaker carries the greatest internal strength through this high confrontation and abolition of irrelevant canonical standards, such as 'biective beauty.' I've been waiting for this collection. I'm in awe of what Francis does to language, through its decolonization, as well as its infinite innovation. Through textures and hybridity, their voice has simultaneously redefined what a collection can do, while paying homage to the critical voices who came before them. Francis is an artist who will keep pushing poetry anew--there are absolutely no limitations this is an important book.


Nomadic Press Oak


MY BOYFRIEND APOCALYPSE by antmen pimentel mendoza (February, $15). With a disco ball as a north star, MY BOYFRIEND APOCALYPSE responds to the myriad, simultaneous apocalypses we are and are not surviving, from the everyday crises of being a body to the global emergencies of devastating climate change and unfettered white supremacy. These poems ask what it would be like to make out with the end of the world: Who slipped tongue first? Is the apocalypse a good kisser? Are you?


Grown-Up Elementary by D'mani Thomas (February, $15) is a critique of, and reflection on, growing up in the midst of this wicked world. The transition from childhood to adulthood is often shepherded through a way of learning, through a curriculum, through lessons that aren’t always the same for everyone. This collection asks , what will you do with what you’ve learned?


Red Hen Press


apocrifa by Amber Flame (May 16, $13.95) is a nongendered love story told in verse, the journey of a lover and their beloved finding each other, falling apart, and then creating their own way to love together.

APOCRIFA imagines a love that sits comfortably at the crossroads of commitment and freedom. The developing intimacy between a lover and their beloved is propelled by a compendium of words for love, romance, sex, relationships, and affection that do not lend to direct translation in English. Serving as both titles and markers of the progression of time, these poetically defined words highlight the growing tension of one who claims “i cannot love you enough/to unlove the wide world” and yet is inextricably drawn to the offer of “a place of sustenance, rest, and my delight in your very bones.” Heavily inspired by the metaphors and structures of Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon), from the Apocryphal books of the Bible, the characters speak to each other with contrapuntal call-and-response while letting us into their private thoughts through epistles, sestinas, odes, and other poetic forms.


Sampaguita Press

Pisces Urges by Czaerra Galicinao Ucol (date and price TBD). Czaerra Galicinao Ucol is a queer Filipino writer from Chicago. A graduate of the Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program at New York University, their work has appeared in Locked Horn Press, Marías at Sampaguitas, and beestung. Their debut poetry chapbook PISCES URGES is forthcoming from Sampaguita Press in 2023. They were a nominee for Best New Poets 2021 and Best of the Net 2021. They are the Programs and Communications Director of Luya, a Chicago-based grassroots poetry organization centering people of color. Find them on Twitter and Instagram @czaerra.


Tin House Press


Trace Evidence by Charif Shanahan (March 21, $16.95). In Trace Evidence, the urgent follow-up to his award-winning debut Into Each Room We Enter without Knowing, Charif Shanahan continues his piercing meditations on the intricacies of mixed-race identity, queer desire, time, mortality, and the legacies of anti-Blackness in the US and abroad. At the collection’s center sits “On the Overnight from Agadir,” a poem that chronicles the poet’s survival of a devastating bus accident in Morocco, his mother’s birth country, and ruminates on home, belonging, and the mysteries of fate. With rich lyricism, power, and tenderness, Trace Evidence centers the racial periphery and excavates the vestiges of our violent colonial past in the most intimate aspects of our lives. In a language yoked equally to the physical and metaphysical worlds, the poet articulates the need we all share for real intimacy and connection, and proves, time and again, that the true cost of our separateness is the love that our survival requires.


Have You Been Long Enough at Table by Leslie Sainz (Fall, price TBD). Leslie Sainz is the author of the debut poetry collection Have You Been Long Enough at Table, forthcoming from Tin House in 2023. The daughter of Cuban exiles, she is the recipient of a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship. Her work has appeared in the Yale Review, New England Review, Kenyon Review Online, AGNI, jubilat, Narrative, and others. A three-time National Poetry Series finalist, she’s received scholarships, fellowships, and honors from CantoMundo, The Miami Writers Institute, The Adroit Journal, and The Stadler Center for Poetry & Literary Arts at Bucknell University. She is the managing editor of the New England Review.


Write Bloody Publishing


Heirloom by Ashia Ajani (Spring, price TBD). Ashia is a storyteller and environmental educator born and raised in Denver, CO, unceded territory of the Arapahoe, Cheyenne and Ute peoples. Writing as a queer Black femme, Ashia works to preserve, interrogate and imagine how the Black diaspora has shaped and continues to shape land stewardship in the Western hemisphere. Ashia has been published in Sierra Magazine, Atlas&Alice Magazine, The Journal, Sage Magazine, Them.us, and The Hopper Literary Magazine, among others. Ashia released a first chapbook, We Bleed Like Mango, in October of 2017. Their debut full length poetry collection, Heirloom, will be published in Spring 2023 with Write Bloody Publishing.’ As an environmental justice educator with Mycelium Youth Network, Ashia believes in the power of participatory action research and cultural organizing in order to adapt to and mitigate the ongoing climate crisis. Ashia believes in the transformative power & imaginations of Black & Brown youth to shape our ecological futures. As a book reviewer, Ashia seeks exhilarating language that makes life possible.



*All writers have agreed to be on this list. If you want to recommend someone for this list, please email Luther the author name, title, price, press (self-published is fine), drop date. If recommending someone other than yourself, please include contact information. Email Luther at luther@shadeliteraryarts.org.

bottom of page