Help Us Stay Paywall-Free

We rely on readers to keep our website open to all. Help sustain a public space for collective reasoning and imagination—make a tax-deductible donation today.

Poetry Collection: Award-Winning Poets

The fourth in our series of reading lists to celebrate National Poetry Month.

Editor’s Note: This is the final collection in Boston Review’s series of poetry reading lists for National Poetry Month. You can read the others on belongingempathy, and womanhood

Since Boston Review’s Arts in Society feature launched in 2019, the magazine has proudly published the voices of award-winning poets who have used verse to speak to the deep injustices of our time. Their unique visions have been recognized with numerous awards, from presses, journals, and the National Book Foundation.

In November, Boston Review contributor Don Mee Choi won the National Book Award for her collection DMZ Colony, and in December, recent contributor Destiny O. Birdsong’s debut, Negotiations: Poems was longlisted for the PEN/Voelcker Award for PoetryWe are honored to celebrate emerging and established talent alike and are always on the hunt for new and bold voices.

And don’t forget that our 2021 contests close soon. If you need some creative inspiration, settle down with the award-winning poets featured below, who differ in their subject matter but unite in their masterful play with language and imagination.

—Meghana Mysore

Don Mee Choi

Excerpted from “The Apparatus," from the forthcoming DMZ Colony.

Destiny O. Birdsong
E. J. Koh

At Icicle Creek, I find the fox dead and gray.
I see a woman standing over his corpse.

Her tail whips behind her, stirring air.
I pray to be harmless.

Reuben Jackson
Reginald Dwayne Betts
I have called, in my wasted youth, the concrete slabs
Of prison home. Awakened to guards keeping tabs
On my breath.
Hua Xi

Winner of the 2019 Boston Review Annual Poetry Contest

Michael Wasson

Our weekly themed Reading Lists compile the best of Boston Review’s archive. Sign up for our newsletters to get them straight to your inbox before they appear online.

Boston Review is nonprofit and reader funded.

We believe in the power of collective reasoning and imagination to create a more just world. That’s why we’re committed to keeping our website free and open to everyone, regardless of ability to pay. But we can’t do it without the financial support of our readers.

Help sustain a public space for collective reasoning and imagination, without ads or paywalls:

Become a supporting reader today.

Get Our Newsletter

Sign up to get vital reading on politics, literature, and more sent straight to your inbox.

Donate Today

Most Recent

Lewis Gordon and Nathalie Etoke discuss the space for freedom opened up by Black existentialist thought.

Nathalie Etoke, Lewis Gordon

The post-work movement reckons with reproductive labor.

Rachel Fraser

Melvin Rogers and Neil Roberts discuss the difficulty of keeping faith in a foundationally anti-Black republic.

Melvin Rogers, Neil Roberts

We can't publish without your support.

For nearly 50 years, Boston Review has been a home for collective reasoning and imagination on behalf of a more just world.

But our future is never guaranteed. As a small, independent nonprofit, we have no endowment or single funder. We rely on contributions from readers like you to sustain our work.

If you appreciate what we publish and want to help ensure a future for the great writing and constructive debate that appears in our pages, please make a tax-deductible donation today.

"An indispensable pillar of the public sphere."

That’s what sociologist Alondra Nelson says of Boston Review. Independent and nonprofit, we believe in the power of collective reasoning and imagination to create a more just world.

That’s why there are no paywalls on our website, but we can’t do it without the support of our readers. Please make a tax-deductible donation to help us create a more inclusive and egalitarian public sphere—open to everyone, regardless of ability to pay.