Two adjacent poems in Tarfia Faizullah’s new collection reckon with the ways in which others—readers, peers, and perhaps mentors—respond to and even challenge the traumatic subjects about which a poet writes.
My earliest memories of the poetic representations of other cis women, like me, were highly sexualized. It seemed that women’s bodies, rather than the women, were (cis male) poets’ muses.
The ethics of reviewing poetry have recently reemerged as a hot-button issue in the literary community. Many writers have discussed the efficacy and aims of the “negative” review—how and if it impacts poetry and its readership in general.
Perhaps it’s paradoxical to want to define bewilderment, much less bewilderment as a poetics, given that the word generally refers to a state of confusion, an unmooring from the resolute signifiers that compose our comfortable, if not tidal and illusory, understanding of reality.
Anaphora reiterates the musicality of language, pushing it beyond its status as a collection of signifiers and demands that we hear, not just understand, the poem.
How might the practice of scansion as a tool toward understanding and crafting poetry become more equitable and expansive so as to allow for poets’ and readers’ different fundamental orientations toward language?
There are a number of practices and resources that can encourage the practice of reading generously or introduce one to new writers.
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.
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.
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.