Exceptional Poetry From Around the Web: April 2018

Here’s a short selection of some of the best new poems hitting the web. These six poets, both established and emerging, all have talent worth enjoying (& copying). Enjoy, and be grateful, knowing so many awesome poets are making our community beautiful.



by Elizabeth Acevedo in Poetry Magazine

my hands are not an iron, but look, they’re hot, look
how I place them           in love           on his skin

We first heard Acevedo read this on Poetry’s weekly podcast—probably should have pulled the car over. Heartwrenching and beautiful, “Iron” explores the tenderness and the pain of loving black bodies in America today. One of our favorite poems of 2018 so far.


Hearts Amiss

by Gerald Stern in American Poetry Review

but what we didn’t know then was they were emblems,
signs, of something deeper and more discordant
for they—the lovers—had turned to sacrifice

Stern’s grammatically ascending “Hearts Amiss” lands with a punch to the teeth. Beginning slowly, the poem races from love to death with abandon—leaving the wet and messy feeling of broken relationships in between laid bare.



by Emma Jeremy in Poetry London

Later that week, I followed a trail of milk through
the supermarket to find him at the checkout, buying
milk, and I realised my question had been insensitive.

Like a wonderful piece of surrealist fiction, Jeremy’s poem gracefully blends the bizarre with the mundane, in both content and form. The relationship between the man who leaks milk and his admirer unfurls in a series of tercets, with character arcs and dialogue—a wonderful narrative in poetic form.


Wife in Reverse

by Hala Alyan in The Believer


Things we talked about in courtship: superpowers, cities, what makes our fathers cry, the grandmother you hadn’t met, how Palestine isn’t a theory, love as binocular, love as fishhook, alcoholism.


Finding a piece by Hala Alyan is always a pleasure —her poetry bridges cultures and geography and bodies in ways original and emotionally honest. “Wife in Reverse” is no exception.



by Grady Chambers in Nashville Review

Time passed as slow as a hair
trying to grow through skin.

Snow fell.

Time passed
fast as that same hair
cut by a razor.

Long poems arrive all too rarely, and “Dragons” is the proof. Chambers has sketched out years of a life in this poem, years of a family, an illness—with the finesse of a memoirist or fiction writer, the poem keeps the reader hooked from the beginning to the emotionally satisfying end.


Asking for a Friend

by Abby E. Murray in RHINO

because you’ve tried to say
war is necessary
but the words are like
spiders in the shower
they have every right
to be there and yet
you are crawling up
the side of yourself
trying to get clean
without howling

Winner of the RHINO Poetry‘s 2018 Founder’s Prize, this poem chews unrelenting on the interior life of a veterans and their families. War is hell, Murray affirms, and adds: in more places than just the battlefield.

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