Exceptional Poetry From Around the Web: May 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.


from “R E D”

by Chase Berggrun in Poetry Magazine

I softened into a swollen confusion
only slightly solid    I was shining
He beckoned
His hands    a dark mass like a thousand rats

Berggrun read this poem for the Poetry Magazine‘s podcast, wherein Don Share called it a tour de force of erasure poetry. The poem is an excerpt from Berggrun’s debut, a full length erasure of Bram Stoker’s Dracula—a profound and delicate excavation of the original text, revealing hidden threads of the original work that confront gender and violence and “monsterhood.”


Dearest Thanatos,

by Traci Brimhall in American Poetry Review

On my knees I wished for tempest,

for rack and screw. I asked for churchless pleasures to disturb my
numb comfort, wanted lick and wallow,

wished to swallow the laugh out of my child’s mouth, and—my God—
wished for even the shame of an apple.

An epistle letter, Brimhall’s poem doesn’t necessarily venture far from one of the most basic instincts of poets: confront death. But there’s courage and daring here—a poet has to be bold to think they have something new to say to death—and it pays off. “Dearest Thanatos,” is fresh, evocative, and wholly its own in the face of the eternal Thanatos.


Get Out

by Matthew Minicucci in The Believer

Salvation in occlusion; the ear’s stuffed buck; bark like some bloodied tree of fear, luminous and white. Catharsis either chokes or does not choke. Binary.

“Get Out” burns across the prosaic lines with a compact and deliberate energy usually reserved for tight poetic forms like the sonnet. Minicucci also performs a delicate ekphrasis here, as the poem speaks within and around the Academy Award winning movie, Get Out—taking hold of the film’s language and imagery to produce something new.


The Right Light to See the Dust Move

by Alicia Mountain in Sycamore Review

I haven’t flipped the mattress since I bought it,
alone at a Costco, the worst place to be alone.

If you see Costco in a poem, it’s a good bet that the poet has a great sense of humor. “The Right Light” doesn’t disappoint—the banality of chores and big box stores is the perfect backdrop for Mountain’s middle-class American ennui, and the satire of it.


Wren Anting

by Dean Young in Nashville Review

How small I am in the fly’s eye
but many, many.  How cool I am to the fire
but tasty, tasty.  You lie in the dust
with your wings open and the ants clean you.

Dean Young’s new poetry rarely appears online, so “Wren Anting” is a special treat this month. A master of the associative leaping, Young packs so many disparate objects into the poem. A lesser poet—with less charm, less insight into the symbolic unconscious, and less guts for daring into the unknown—would fall flat immediately.



by Kavi Kshiraj in PØST

you’re grotesque. my blown-pupils are fixed to you and your gruesome form and the valleys between your vertebrae in the landscape of your back and i could say something about the duality of humanity

The raw obsession with a body is at peak display in Kshiraj’s “Duality.” The lover’s body is terrain to conquer, enemy to battle, blade to hold, rorschach test and clue to self. Kshiraj performs a state of arousal and fear with highest anxiety—the reader can’t help but be affected in their own guts and skin.

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