Home » Publishers’ Picks: Poetry

Share this post!

Publishers’ Picks: Poetry

Rounding out Read Alberta’s annual holiday gifts lists is Publishers’ Picks: Poetry— a curated selection of poetry books recommended by Alberta book publishers. Exploring a range of topics with bold, unique perspectives, these poetry collections are a thoughtful gift for everyone remaining on your holiday gift list.

Remember: Shop early and shop local this holiday season! You can find a list of Alberta independent bookstores here. And if the book you want is no longer available, ask a bookseller for a recommendation!


By Patrick Horner

A hallucinatory journey through scientific exploration and discovery, Refugia is a poetic novel told through field notes, letters, and data. Following two scientists on a journey to a remote archipelago — a refugium where extinct species may still exist and unique species may have evolved — this book challenges the idea that humans are at the center of the natural world. 


Patrick Horner (CA)

Published: Oct 15, 2022 by University of Calgary Press
ISBN: 9781773853727


By Ouanessa Younsi, Translated by Rebecca L. Thompson

In this intensely personal recitation on identity and ethnicity, Ouanessa Younsi takes the reader on a surreal odyssey through a liminal world of belonging and unbelonging, absence and presence, mind and body. Her visionary work, first published in French and translated here by Rebecca Thompson, is unsettling, riveting and guaranteed to leave readers contemplating the existential mysteries of “self.”

Little Wet-Paint Girl Book CoverLittle Wet-Paint Girl

Ouanessa Younsi (CA)

Published: Oct 31, 2022 by Athabasca University Press
ISBN: 9781778290060


By Gavin Bradley

This poignant debut by Gavin Bradley explores the emotional toll of different kinds of separation: from a partner, a previously held sense of self, or a home and the people left behind. The main narrative describes the deterioration of a long-term relationship, interweaving poems dealing with the loneliness of immigration and the anxiety of separation from Northern Ireland, the poet’s homeland.

Separation Anxiety

Gavin Bradley

Published: Mar 18, 2022 by University of Alberta Press
ISBN: 9781772126013


By Jan Zwicky and Robert V. Moody

Sixty-Seven Ontological Studies is a double-stranded book of intense lyric reflections on the fundamental essences of things. The two modes of attention — Jan Zwicky’s words and Robert V. Moody’s photographs — are presented as fully co-equal. Neither one serves as an illustration of the other, yet there are many deep connections between the two. They are brought together here in a resonant conversation, steeped in the pregnant silence of the living world.

Sixty-Seven Ontological Studies

Jan Zwicky (CA), Robert V. Moody

Published: Oct 01, 2022 by Freehand Books
ISBN: 9781990601095


By Nisha Patel

In her debut collection, Canadian National Slam Champion Nisha Patel commands her formidable insight and youthful, engaged voice to relay experiences of racism, sexuality, empowerment, grief, and love. These are vitally political, feminist poems for young women of colour, with bold portrayals of confession, hurt, and healing.


Nisha Patel (CA)

Published: Apr 01, 2021 by NeWest Press
ISBN: 9781774390238


By Jaspreet Singh

How to Hold a Pebble—Jaspreet Singh’s second collection of poems—locates humans in the Anthropocene, while also warning against the danger of a single story. These pages present intimate engagements with memory, place, language, migration; with enchantment, uncanniness, uneven climate change and everyday decolonization; with entangled human/non-human relationships and deep anxieties about essential/non-essential economic activities.

How to Hold a Pebble

Jaspreet Singh (CA)

Published: Oct 15, 2022 by NeWest Press
ISBN: 9781774390535


By Nancy Holmes

Arborophobia, the latest collection by award-winning poet Nancy Holmes, is a poetic spiritual reckoning. Its elegies, litanies, and indictments concern wonder, guilt, and grief about the journey of human life and the state of the natural world. Taking a hard look at what we have done to this beautiful planet and to those we love, Arborophobia is a companion for all who grapple with the problem of hope in times of crisis.


Nancy Holmes (CA)

Published: Mar 29, 2022 by University of Alberta Press
ISBN: 9781772126020


By Michael Leeb

Ringing with deep appreciation for Indigenous culture and history, Spirit of Place captures the author’s outdoor experiences. The interplay of nature and spirituality will get readers off the couch and outside to appreciate the wild environment of Alberta that persists around us.

Spirit of Place: Earth, Wind, Sky and Water

Michael Leeb (CA)

Published: Jul 15, 2016 by Eschia Books
ISBN: 9781926696317


By Farzana Doctor

This debut poetry collection from acclaimed novelist Farzana Doctor is both an intimate deep dive and a humorous glance at the tumultuous decade of her forties. Through crisp and vivid language, Doctor explores mid-life breakups and dating, female genital cutting, imprints of racism and misogyny, and the oddness of sex and love, and urges us to take a second look at the ways in which human relationships are never what we expect them to be.

You Still Look the Same

Farzana Doctor (CA)

Published: May 01, 2022 by Freehand Books
ISBN: 9781990601057



In An Orchid Astronomy, Calgary poet Tasnuva Hayden presents the story of Sophie, a young woman in Veslefjord, deep in the Norwegian North, as she struggles with the death of her mother and the existential horror of climate change. Challenging, powerful, and beautiful, these poems wrestle with grief, both for the loss of those close to us, and for the changing world. 

An Orchid Astronomy

Tasnuva Hayden (CA)

Published: Jul 15, 2022 by University of Calgary Press
ISBN: 9781773852713