Exceptional Poetry From Around the Web: June 2018

Here’s a short selection of some of the best new poems hitting the web. These five 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.


Man and the Moon

By Kate MacLan in Waxwing


they must have blue eyes;

they must be hairless

all over their bodies

they must be sad but look very happy.


Uniquely delightful for poets, conspiracy theorists, and cinephiles alike, Maclan’s “Man and the Moon” is a thoughtful treat. In part, it is written in the voice of Stanley Kubrick. It is also a meditation on America and its innumerable injustices. The poem—packing so many powerful, yet playful lines—reduces an iconic American moment to a portrait of betrayal that represents all our misgivings.


The Coffee Aisle

By Graham Barnhart in Tinderbox Poetry


anything that didn’t taste

like dust was saffron or jasmine

under the tongue—even dirt

sometimes, even blood


In the spirit of Italo Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, Graham Barnhart’s “The Coffee Aisle” is a tour de force of the second-person narrator. “You step back always to a boiling / black froth in a tin cup” writes Barnhart, using the sense of taste and coffee as the backbone to a war story. How can civilian life following war be more immediate than by placing a reader in their kitchen, drinking coffee? Simply put, the “The Coffee Aisle” is masterfully crafted.


Classification and Dissection

By Xandria Phillips in Nat. Brut


The mulatto walks on two legs                           has two arms, a thorax, three

Gills on either side of the                                     trachea, and two hands to run

the blood mill frothing in the chest.


Many elements of Phillips’ “Classification and Dissection” are impressive. It explores the meaning of the body in relation to history, the meaning of the body as subject to anyone who sets eyes on it. However, it goes further. How is the body treated when perceived as ambiguous, as nonbinary, when the body becomes a 2 in a language of 1’s and 0’s?


In a Different Country

by Ricardo Hernandez in Foundry


I was not envious of the tress,

the certainty with which they know


to be trees.

It was almost spring.


The story of “In a Different Country,” holds something back, from both itself and the reader. While a love story, that something behind held back may be the love. It is longing—even lustful, but it isn’t loving. The poem is more about loving when you shouldn’t be, when you can’t.


Lessons for Bike Riding Before Dawn to Pilgrim’s First Landing Park, Provincetown, MA

By Ta Burkholder in [PANK]


If you don’t have woods, have water. Have ocean. Have wave.

If you don’t have dapple, have starlight.


Picturesque and part vignette, “Lessons for Bike Riding” reads like a bike ride. It’s brisk, fluid, and traveling, but to what end? Burkholder writes about finding and holding onto beauty, when there is none. Sometimes, you need to take a bike ride at 4:30 AM and make your own.

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