April is National Poetry Month. This year, like every other year, there are a lot of live events such as open mics, book fairs, and workshops organized for every poetry lover out there. But COVID-19 will likely postpone these events. But fret not, you can still take part in the month-long celebration while you’re quarantined. Here are five recently-released poetry audiobooks to listen to, just in time for the National Poetry Month, while keeping yourself safe.
If Men, Then: Poems by Eliza Griswold, read by the author
From a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist comes a humorous but profound collection.
Albeit short (47 minutes), Griswold narrates with a strong voice and moderate pacing. “What can we offer the child at the border,” she begins with her poem “Prayer.” Then she continues with her other pieces about race, immigration, and spirituality.
If Men, Then is Griswold’s second poetry collection after Wideawake Field.
Homie: Poems by Danez Smith, read by the author
The National Book Awards finalist for Don’t Call Us Dead is back with their new poetry collection.
Smith, who uses the gender-neutral pronouns they/them/their, celebrates queer friendships. The collection actually has a “real” title that Smith reveals in the audiobook, but they didn’t want to be straightforward. In an hour and a half, they narrate about their political beliefs and their HIV condition among others, but they also talk about violence.
This is Smith’s full-length poetry collection after [insert] boy and Don’t Call Us Dead.
Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn, read by the author
Known for a viral video of him performing “OCD” in 2013 that garnered millions of views, Hilborn released Our Numbered Days back in 2015 under Button Poetry.
Five years later, it is now available on audio. This audiobook has 45 poems in it including his viral poem “OCD.”
As with other works published by Button Poetry, this collection is accessible and perfect for audio listening.
1919: Poems by Eve L. Ewing, read by the author
Distinguished poet Eve L. Ewing narrates poems about the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 in this new collection.
Also known as the “Red Summer” of 1919, riots sparked in Chicago after authorities refused to arrest some white men who drowned an African-American teenager at a beach reserved for white people.
It’s usually a challenge for poets to narrate their own poetry collections, especially as provocative and poignant as this one, but Ewing vividly evokes images of the historical riots.
We Want Our Bodies Back by jessica Care moore, read by the author
Spoken word performer and activist moore’s latest poetry collection is an ode to every Black woman.
In 120 minutes, she narrates poems that are against all the prejudices felt by Black women in society. Despite the unflinching impression of the poems, her tone is mostly calm and confident, which creates an uplifting mood.
Raw and unapologetic, this is a must-listen.
While it’s true that written poetry can be complex to understand, spoken poetry can facilitate comprehension. If you haven’t already tried listening to a poetry audiobook, this is the best time to do it while stuck at home and while social distancing.
Want more poetry audiobooks to celebrate National Poetry Month? You’re in luck! Here is an extensive poetry audiobooks coverage of Book Riot just for you: