August is right around the corner and what better way to spend it than by reading a poetry collection every single day? That’s right, 31 poetry books in one month. Nicole Sealey, poet, professor, and the namesake, in 2017, invented the seemingly impossible -- but completely doable! -- challenge to read a book every single day for the whole month of August.
How can this be done?
Here are some tips:
Obtain 31 books
This is the part that most skeptics are concerned about. Yes, that is a lot of books! And books are not cheap these days. But there are some ways to make the task manageable.
Read 31 books:
Another daunting task! But! There are work-arounds.
One last tip!
The goal is to read new poetry and build community! If you miss a day or cannot find that many books, no sweat! We just want people to experience the joy of reading poetry. Reading any number of poetry books during this month is a win! The Sealey Challenge creates and encourages the opportunity to support marginalized poets by reading their work, supporting independent bookstores and local libraries, and cultivating a community of poetry readers. There is a strong emphasis on community during this challenge --which social media helps facilitate. Look up #TheSealeyChallenge on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! And post photos of your books as you read them.The first year I completed the challenge I posted and tagged on Twitter each book I read, sometimes tagging the authors and presses or publishers. They loved seeing people read their books!
Bless the Daughter Raised by a Voice in Her Head by Warsan Shire
Or listen to the audiobook!
Audiobook length: 1 hour, 7 min
Page count: 96
I enjoyed this collection as an audiobook from Libro.fm! Read by Shire, this collection both destroyed and reassembled me. The vibrant lyrical language will please poetry aficionados as well as those new to the craft.
The audiobook is also narrated by the poet! Elhillo’s collection is spellbinding and effuses vulnerability.
Content Warning: Everything by Akwaeke Emezi
Page count: 64
I am so excited to read this collection! I love Copper Canyon Press and Emezi’s writing! You surely will not be able to put this down until you finish reading.
I Wear My Face in the Field by Ryan Downum
Page count: 40
Bookseller Emmy wrote a beautiful staff pick for this book and now I want to read it! (You can click the link to read the review!)
Page count: 112 pages
A new collection of a beloved Persian poet! Translated by poet and vocalist Haleh Liza Gafori.
I am looking forward to reading this one too! I have heard only praise for Tran’s forms, language, and lyrical qualities in their poetry.
These collections are relatively new, but you can read your old favorites too! Again, this is not meant to be stringent, but an enjoyable experience.