As Chris Pratt got dragged across the internet, I thought about poet friends who have told me they don’t see their own “average, blue-collar” stories reflected in what gets published. For many reasons, this is hard for me to believe.
For National Poetry Month this year, I read three poetry chapbooks that revolve around memory. Childhood memory, historical memory, the body’s learned memory, how place or sound or smell or language or popular culture evokes memory—the chapbooks here all touch on one or more or many of these themes.
The gravitational pull of reading any of Wanda Coleman's work is as elusive as it is startlingly raw and cathartic—the unofficial poet laureate of Los Angeles has always teetered between nuance and nihilism, between and distraction and destruction.
It might be the case that either our understanding of the brain or our grasp of the cosmos recapitulates the other, and it’s language that pushes us further into both—if we can bend, torque, and look behind it for what it’s concealing, we might discover how it’s holding us
In the brief back-cover description of Lauren Berry’s The Lifting Dress, we read: “Set in a feverish swamp town in Florida, The Lifting Dress enters the life of a teenage girl the day after she has been raped.”
Elizabeth Onusko’s poems are sharp-edged, sometimes bleak, but also very funny; they feel timeless, but also of the moment in their portrayal of the complicated emotions surrounding infertility, pregnancy and impending parenthood. We caught up to talk writing, editing, parenting, and how that third activity reshapes the other two.
This book is a book about heaven. It’s about the collection of human connections and love that make a heaven. In that case, The Spirit Papers is its own little immaculate heaven.
Pop culture, like poetry, can work like excavation; it authorizes us to ask questions, to uncover, and to translate.
This month, I read work from both genderqueer and transgender writers. Inspired by recent tweets, blog posts, and press releases supporting works by these writers, it seemed a good opportunity to spotlight these three chapbooks.
I stumbled upon David Orr’s work through his piece “Why Is a Poet’s First Collection So Important?” published in the New York Times at the beginning of February. The Facebook preview of the piece featured pictures of poets Donika Kelly and Max Ritvo below that earnest headline.