Exceptional Poetry From Around the Web: September 2018

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


The Rocks

by Sonja Johanson in Nightjar Review


Your words

                                                pure whiskey


                        insist upon

                                                            the softest



Some might ask, What makes good art? What makes good poetry? For those interested in a perfect example, look no further than Sonja Johanson’s series of erasures in the latest Nightjar Review. Bite-sized, yet powerful, Johanson’s erasure are composed of “plants that were accessible in the landscape during the month of October” laid over text of Anne Rice’s Taltos. Beautifully photographed, these poems uproot expectations and provide an inviting degree of depth. They capture movement on the page, surprise, and unique genre-challenging elements—everything the best poetry today offers.


The Morning Your Husband Surrendered Himself to Prison

by Anna Claire Hodge in Sycamore Review


. . . You hadn’t mentioned

            children for months, knowing he’d

be barred from playground and schools,


Anna Claire Hodge’s haunting “The Morning Your Husband Surrendered Himself to Prison” is both full of fear and vulnerability. The piece centers around a friend of a woman whose husband is imprisoned for child pornography. The narrator calmly observes from afar, internally questioning the woman, but never asking. The simple detail of not knowing, creates a lingering in the work that lasts longer than most. Stylistically, the poem also ambiguously employs the second-person, keeping the reader on its toes throughout.


Lines Composed at 34 North Park Street, on Certain Memories of My White Grandmother Who Loved Me and Hated Black People Like Myself. July 15, 2017

by Shane McCrae in Tin House


Walked through her rooms she walked the way I walk

Through stores             suspicious and aloof watched e-

ven by the products I consume consumed


McCrae’s letter to America sweeps readers up in a stream of consciousness poem that toys with the importance of (mis)memory. The narrator circles back and forth examining and reexamining detail after detail. In doing so, the lines build rhythm and momentum, carrying the reader to the poem’s end. But, for readers searching for answers amid McCrae’s elusive ending, the details that matter most are outlined carefully in the title, hidden in plain sight.


The Last Time I Got []

by Jameson Fitzpatrick in BOAAT


But isn’t the mind the body.

Isn’t mine. And what has

been done to it, and how:


A considerable body of work in poetry today explores what happens to the body. Jameson Fitzpatrick’s “The Last Time I Got []” is featured here because of its unique focus on how the body is used and why. The narrator slices out an honest narrative of using the body as instrument, for the various pleasures of others and himself. Fill in Fitzpatrick’s empty bracket with any verb you’d like. His narrator may or may not let you.


If you die in the dream you still got some sleep

by Sally J. Johnson in Cotton Xenomorph


sleep is several blocks south of here we are not safe from the hurricane here have some

whiskey have some wine have this gravity these failed soufflés this hangover have

another have sex here my teeth hear themselves but the taxi is here


Dreamlike, yes. Clever, yes. But, ironically, Sally J. Johnson juxtaposes the surreal qualities of sleep to the rat race of life. After reading Johnson’s poem, “If you die in the dream you still got some sleep,” you might not be sure what exactly happened, but you’ll know that something definitely happened. Suddenly, remembering last night’s dream is not very different from remembering last Tuesday. Sandwiched between your hangovers, sleepless nights, and missed taxis, take a note from Johnson and put some of the detail down on paper or you might forget it all. In the meantime, allow a moment to delight in Johnson’s frenzied dream fever.

Nicholas Brown

Nicholas Brown is a first-generation Mexican American poet. His work appears, or is forthcoming, in Superstition Review, Apogee Journal, Cosmonauts Avenue, DIALOGIST, New Delta Review, TIMBER, 45th Parallel, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Auburn Avenue, Peach Mag, Third Point Press, and elsewhere. All of Nicholas’ poems are available online and most can be found in journals supporting people of color and other marginalized groups. He hopes to create work with greater accessibility than print journals provide. In the same vein, he reviews poetry found online. To read his reviews, and the poetry itself, visit the REVIEWS tab of nickbrownweekly.

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