Exceptional Poetry From Around the Web: July 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.
By torrin a. greathouse in Ghost Proposal
i hid the bleeding for [ ]s. i do not remember
who or why they first [ ] i only
remember screaming to my brother to [ ]
“Post-Traumatic Amnesia” is a near perfect example of harmonizing content and form. Playing on the title, the poem is sprinkled with empty brackets, that would otherwise contain details to flesh out the poem. As a result, the use of empty brackets forces the reader to engage with the work in even greater depth. It’s a fill-in-the-blank, choose your own adventure experience, unlike any other poem I’ve seen.
The Soul Wishes It Could Blow on the Wound
By Jabari Jawan Allen in VQR
His teeth are lilies bursting from asphalt—white, many petaled opulences;
Amid danger, there is also beauty.
Jabari Jawan Allen’s “The Soul Wishes It Could Blow on the Wound” reads as though it could have been written in any century. It dissects both the pain and lust of desire. “I curl into the earth’s first question,” explores Allen. “To desire what exactly?” Segmented into 5 parts, Allen’s poem carries a richness of variety in form, images, and plays out in a cold physicality. Visit VQR’s online content to read a suite of Allen’s work.
Fragrant Maiden is China’s most wanted
By Kristin Chang in the Offing
god I wasn’t born I cannonballed
out of my mother I hollowed her breasts
Krisin Chang continues to churn out some of the most precise and ferocious poetry today, and “Fragrant Maiden is China’s most wanted” is no exception. Chang’s poem flows with an athleticism, while simultaneously delving into the history of Shi Xianggu, the “infamous pirate queen of the late 19th century” and the power of the narrator’s sexuality. The combination of this historical narrative and sexual prowess is both raw and energizing.
At a Dinner Party for White (Wo)men
By Chet’la Sebree in Pleiades
we, still, their dark continent.
They cannot imagine my yawning labia
Because I do not pink at their touch
They “cannot imagine me wet when I want to / be” writes Chet’la Sebree, in her response to Judy Chicago’s permanent art installation, The Dinner Party, housed at the Brooklyn Museum. The poem focuses on how—even in feminist artwork—the black female body is treated as less than. Notably, Sebree’s poem is prefaced by a critique of The Dinner Party made by Alice Walker in 1970, posing the question: What has changed in those forty-eight years since? “At best, undressed, I am invisible,” writes Sebree.
DO YOU KISS YOUR BOYFIREND WITH THOSE VERBS
By Brad Trumpfheller in The Shallow Ends
nothing worth saying stays still long enough to say it : moons moon & giggle
while whole flocks of eye-statements cartwheel into whatever city signifies
“DO YOU KISS YOUR BOYFRIEND WITH THOSE VERBS” pushes language to its edge, makes it get on its knees and beg, only to say not good enough. It’s a harkening back to Jacques Derrida’s différance, which explores the time, gaps, and ultimately, the insufficiencies of language.
While playful, you can’t pinpoint Brad Trumpfheller’s poem, and that’s the point. It keeps you on your toes because when used best, that’s what language does.