The Volta Book of Poets

The Volta Book of Poets
6.75 in x 9 in
367 pages

Edited by Joshua Marie Wilkinson

The Volta Book of Poets gathers together the work of 50 talented poets of disparate backgrounds and traditions, providing a constellation of the most exciting, innovative poetry evolving today. Named for the online poetics archive The VoltaThe Volta Book of Poets navigates contrasting styles and forms to showcase poetry in its dissimilar pleasures, presenting difference as a means for inspiring a new way to think about poetry, and to inspire readership for the poetry communities and presses radiating out from the poets collected in this essential anthology, including:

Rosa Alcalá • Eric Baus • Anselm Berrigan • Edmund Berrigan • Susan Briante • Sommer Browning • Julie Carr • Don Mee Choi • Arda Collins • Dot Devota • Tsering Wangmo Dhompa • Graham Foust • C.S. Giscombe • Renee Gladman • Noah Eli Gordon • Yona Harvey • Matthew Henriksen • Harmony Holiday • Cathy Park Hong • Bhanu Kapil • John Keene • Aaron Kunin • Dorothea Lasky • Juliana Leslie • Rachel Levitsky • Tan Lin • Dawn Lundy Martin • J. Michael Martinez • Farid Matuk • Shane McCrae • Anna Moschovakis • Fred Moten • Sawako Nakayasu • Chris Nealon • Hoa Nguyen • Khadijah Queen • Andrea Rexilius • Zachary Schomburg • Brandon Shimoda • Evie Shockley • Cedar Sigo • Abraham Smith • Christopher Stackhouse • Mathias Svalina • Roberto Tejada • TC Tolbert • Catherine Wagner • Dana Ward • Ronaldo V. Wilson • Lynn Xu

Funding for The Volta Book of Poets was made in large part by donations to our Indiegogo campaign. Our sincerest gratitude to the 80 donors who contributed. This book would not have been possible without the community’s generous support!

Cover art by Mark Warren Jacques and Meryl Pataky

The Volta Book of Poets seeks to present not a closed list of must-reads, but a field of work that, like language and identity, is ever-expanding. ... The Volta Book of Poets keeps turning back on itself, looking in and out and through. It leads me to consider anthology as voice activation system (Alcalá), border town (C.S. Giscombe), the archive (Harmony Holiday), speculative city (Cathy Park Hong), colony and/or hospital (Bhanu Khapil), traffic (Dawn Lundy Martin), “the body electric-chaired, charred, pepper-sprayed, bruise-hued, blackened” (Evie Shockley), a field (Tolbert), Sears (Dana Ward), a person named Lucy (Ronaldo V. Wilson).” —Laura Kochman, PANK

“The variety, as well as the quality, is remarkable, and move through the lyric fragment, confession and prose poems to more formal experiments with the line, breath and subject matter. ... Part of what really makes the anthology exciting, especially for readers already familiar with a number of the poets included, is the fact that each individual section opens with a “poetic statement,” with pieces running the range from the lyric and the experimental to more formal critical prose. Given that each poet is allowed both poems and statement, it makes the collection a fantastic introduction to contemporary American poetry.” rob mclennan

From Joshua Marie Wilkinson’s introduction:

“My goal in gathering poems for this anthology began as a relatively modest one: to cite a constellation of what is being written today by poets whose work I love. Anybody familiar with poetry is readily stunned by the sheer number of poets currently writing and publishing. But for those unfamiliar with poetry, finding a place to start can be intimidating to say the least. I work at a large public university, so I encounter the curious-yet-uninitiated by the dozens: who to read, where to begin, what websites and journals to follow—let alone what to value and why to value it—all become very tricky questions indeed. It’s hardly a failing of theirs, or ours, as educators; whether you think of it as glut or a golden age of poetry, it’s pretty cacophonous out there. Named for The Volta—an online journal and archive for poetry and poetics I continue to run—this anthology aims, in part, to embrace that cacophony and aid anyone looking to get acquainted with an unusual mix of poets writing today.”

To request a desk/exam or review copy of The Volta Book of Poets contact us at sidebrow (at)


Sample Pages