Exceptional Poetry From Around the Web: November 2017

Here’s a short curation of some of the best new poems hitting the web recently. These seven poets, both established and emerging, all have talent worth stealing learning from. Enjoy, and be grateful, knowing so many more poems deserve to be on this list!


by Jenny Xie in Poetry Magazine

“Nowhere in those kerosene years/ could she find a soft-headed match.”

Jenny Xie’s latest poem gives a masterclass in the couplet: each one succinct, surprising, and wise. www.jennymxie.com.

Check (Incantation Composed on the Occasion of Being Classified as Inadmissible)

by Patrick Rosal in The American Poetry Review

“Too rowdy for the hallowed/ galleries      Too/      taciturn/ for the slaughters    /      Too toothsome/ for daughters   Too/      couth    to dig/ what’s hip”

“Check” is exceptional in its endurance with anaphora, reminding us of a maddened Whitman raging. http://www.patrickrosal.com/

Morning in Galilee

by Brian Tierney in Cincinnati Review

“downward where the Greeks believed every face was// just a bruised translucence of a flower nibbled/ through—& each wrong committed equal to each face.”

“I saw            what I saw,” the poem declares. Brian Tierney delivers excellent faith writing here—ambivalent, fresh, revelatory.

You’ll Never Love Me

by Luther Hughes in The Adroit Journal

“Is that what makes art/ so desirable? What makes the under-wine flesh tasteful?”

So much subtle movement from the first line of the sonnet to the last, until where you’re standing at the end of the poem comes as an inevitable surprise—Hughes delivers perfectly a wide drama in 14 lines. https://lutherxhughes.com/

Spotting a Spotted Forktail

by Nitoo Das in Plume

“He is alone and at leisure. He is/ talking to himself, pecking at the waterfall,/ questioning the mud, stepping/ towards the centre.”

Because what list of exceptional poetry would be complete without an exceptional poem by a self-titled birder?


by Cecily Parks in New Republic

“as if the grass/ Were a feeling they’d been feeling, greenly/ Reckoning the evening”

Cecily Parks delivers that Frost maxim: delight, delight, delight. “Harvest” is a feast of perfect imagery.


by Natasha Tretheway in The New Yorker

Pentimento/ the word       for a painter’s change     of heart    revision/ on canvas     means the same    as remorse     after sin”

Natasha Tretheway leans her tremendous talent on an ekphrastic poem, creating a piece with as much emotional authenticity as technical skill.

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