Author Archive

Generosity as a Social Justice Reading Practice

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There are a number of practices and resources that can encourage the practice of reading generously or introduce one to new writers.

Song for My Foe

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Hayes and Moss offer us a very different kind of engagement with literary forebears; their responses perhaps recognize how those forebears have unequivocally shaped contemporary poetry, but they also identify the canon as an imperfect, exclusionary artifice and insist that there is not a single literary tradition.

What Is Poetry?

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The question arises often in bookstore readings and writing workshops, cultural commentary and book clubs, and yet the answers remain slippery and incomplete, sometimes biased toward a particular aesthetic, other times umbrella-ed into compromising vagaries, all of which equally frustrate the long-haul poet and the beginning reader.

The Poet and the News

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More than ever, I seem to imbibe the news, allow it to become a part of me, choke my obsessive subconscious like invasive kudzu. No wonder then that I feel tempted to write about these events and their consequences.

Serious Subjects

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I learned that I could respond to poetry with a thousand times a thousand micro-emotions. I soon began to wonder what I even meant by “serious” poetry, and what constituted a poem’s artfulness. I reflected upon the fact that those initial ideas were narrow, even elitist, and they are

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not: the Love Poem and the Elegy

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All of my attempted love poems sound like elegies, and so I’ve given up trying to write them for my beloved, lest I give the wrong impression. Occasionally, however, one will come to me like a windfall, a speck of gold in the pan.

Earing the Clink of Chisels: An Imperfect Love Letter to Reading Literary Magazines

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Every time I pause in front of a stack of lit mags at my house, I find myself flipping through one for a morsel. Gimme something good. I find myself re-reading things I’ve already read and feeling surprised by them again and again, as if the magazine keeps

White-Out Conditions: Poetic Page, Scale, and Scope

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It’s snowing again, and the world contracts, like my heel’s screws in the cold. The sky and ground reflect one another, white-gray, and the space between the two becomes more tangible, more intimate in the precipitation’s revelation of how far it has to go.

Aloud Poetry

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For so long, I’ve heard academic poets and readers disparage poems written to be spoken aloud, condemning them as less thoughtful, as noisy and navel-gazey, their craft less delicate and considered.

Truth & Dread: Why Poetry Still Matters & The Risk of (Too Much) Empathy

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If the question is whether most Americans are reading poetry, the answer is—I won’t sugarcoat it or fudge the numbers—“no.” My mother doesn’t read poetry, unless it’s mine. Does yours?