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Books of Poetry by Local Writers

There is no question that Washington, D.C. is a political and cultural capital. The city also happens to be a hub for the written word, being the home of many writers and literary events and festivals.
 
In the spirit of celebrating the literary heritage of D.C., here is a list of books of poetry available at DC Public Library written by local authors.
 
The Collected Poems of E. Ethelbert Miller by E. Ethelbert Miller, edited by Kirsten Porter
Though born in New York, writer, educator and literary activist E. Ethelbert Miller has been a longtime resident of DC. The poems in this compendium cover Miller’s whole career, from his time as a student at Howard University to the present day, and come from previous collections as well as unpublished material. The poems represent the intersection of advocacy and art, showcasing work that serves as a call to action.
 
Count the Waves by Sandra Beasley
D.C. native Sandra Beasley tackles the efficiency of language in this witty and rich collection of poems. In experimenting with how meaning is conveyed, she also plays with the possibilities of poetry itself. This book challenges readers to explore every line, inviting multiple reads.
 
Mortal Trash by Kim Addonizio
As the title might suggest, poet Kim Addonizio (born in Bethesda) takes on the big issues in her most recent book of poetry: death, sexuality and relationships. Addonizio navigates in this collection everything from her parents’ passing to her desires and the poetic life. Look out for references to other literary greats, including Shakespeare, Dante and Walt Whitman. Readers who enjoy feminist works will appreciate this book.
 
Speaking Wiri Wiri by Dan Vera
A poet of Cuban descent, Dan Vera weaves history, language and culture into this collection of poems. The phrase “wiri wiri” was made up by Vera’s father to describe nonsense talk, and the poetry in this book wryly uses the power of words to conjure memory and explore the many identities of the Latino-American.
 
Full Moon on K Street, edited by Kim Roberts
A local poet and founder of the online literary journal Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Kim Roberts compiles in this anthology a diverse collection of poems organized by the birth date of the featured writers. Many explore the geography of D.C. as well as the social issues that affect it, like gentrification and political uncertainty. The poems in this book also show how current events have affected the city over the years. A recommended read for enthusiasts of D.C. history.