6 Poetry Collections by Asian Americans for a Summer of Inspiration

Poetry takes the tediousness and drudgery of life and turns it into something beautiful, and these six Asian American poets are especially skilled at transforming life into art. Here are six poetry collections to add to your summer reading list!

“An Ocean of Grey” – Kamalia Hasni

Experience the healing power of art and friendship in Kamalia Hasni’s “An Ocean of Grey,” which explores heartache and the aftermath of love’s destruction. The collection also includes intricate illustrations by Hasni’s friends that perfectly capture the tone of her words in a way that only true friends can.

“A Distant Center” – Ha Jin

Chinese American poet and author Ha Jin focuses on the rich history and culture of China while also attempting to reckon with the country’s complicated political past. Ha Jin’s poetry will strike his readers with stark language and the sober, introspective voice of someone who has personally experienced both the beauty and trauma of his own culture and politics.

“Yesterday I Was the Moon” – Noor Unnahar

This collection of poems by Pakistani American poet Noor Unnahar explores themes like culture and self-love. Black-and-white photo accompaniments lend the collection a more personal, diary-like vibe.

“Go Home” – Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

This poetry and short story anthology edited by “Harmless Like You” author Rowan Hisayo Buchanan examines the Asian diasporic experience in the United States and touches upon a wide range of themes and topics. Participating poets and authors include Alexander Chee and Amitava Kumar.

“Synecdoche” – Sneha Subramanian Kanta

Like the titular figurative device, Kanta’s short poetry chapbook attempts to capture the wholeness of abstract concepts such as nationhood and womanhood by telling short, poetic stories about her own experience.

“The Sun and Her Flowers” – Rupi Kaur

After the success of her poetry collection “milk & honey,” Rupi Kaur returns with even more poignant and deeply personal verses in “The Sun and Her Flowers.” Much like the titular flowers, Kaur’s poetry centers on themes of growth, healing and finding the light.