Exceptional Poetry From Around the Web: November 2018
Here’s a short selection of some of the best new poems hitting the web this November. These five poets, both established and emerging, all have talent worth copying. Enjoy, and be grateful, knowing so many talented poets are making our community beautiful.
by Moira J. in Wildness
Here is what else you missed:
steam coagulating like birth on the burners,
the stray cat catching another mouse
in the yard, your father calling again,
the ghost of your sister sitting on my lap
while I braided her webbed-hair.
“Among Wreckage” is a masterclass in second-person narration. Not a single word is wasted: each, from the onset of the poem to the end, creating exceptionally vivid imagery. Grief lays at the poem’s heart, demanding this unique formatting, this second-person POV—the poem winds like a river, and as readers we cannot help but float downstream along its lines. Moira J. writes, “She asked me why you can’t say her name,” and we are in the sad mystery of ourselves.
I Was Looking For Dick But All I Got Was This Lousy Poem
by torrin a. greathouse in Breakwater Review
says looking—& nobody needs
to ask for what. The answer:
a body to bury themself inside.
One of the most rapidly emerging poets on the scene, torrin’s words gut-wrench, shock, and awe. Although the title suggests humor, it’s sleight-of-hand. greathouse subverts our expectations, just as the speaker subverts her potential lovers. Remarkably deliberate enjambments, beautifully dramatic diction, innumerable innuendos: torrin’s fascination with language shines here, taking us through the genealogy of words, flexing her knowledge of classics, and, as signature to her style, writing so beautifully, intimately, and carefully about violence.
Childhood Goes Kaleidoscope, Kaleidoscope, Kaleidoscope, Gun
by Amorak Huey in American Poetry Review
we’ve learned to be grateful
for any colored shard of glass
not shaped like a bullet.
While media exploits tragedy to the point at numbness, Amorak Huey reminds us the severity of what is at stake. “Childhood” makes use imagery swirling around the centered gravity of gun-violence: colored shards of glass, blizzards, a computer screen, a ghost. The poem forces us to bear witness, and, because of the title, keeps us always expectant of the tragic turn. Tragedy never quite arrives, and suddenly we understand the haunting central to the poem: this is American parentage, promised violence.
The Day Dr. Christine Blasey Ford Testifies Before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I Teach My Daughter the Names of the Parts of Female Anatomy
by Hyejung Kook in Glass / Resist
Today we have naming of parts. This is the urethra,
where pee comes out. And this is the anus,
where poop comes out. Here is the clitoris.
It feels good to touch. No one else should be
touching you in these places except
family while cleaning you or a doctor
checking if you are hurt.
Hyejung Kook’s powerful new work in Glass’ Midterms issue makes use of quotes from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. She builds “The Day Dr. Christine Blasey Ford Testifies” around these excerpts, and in doing so, emphasizes both the intensity and the intimacy of so many accounts of violence against women. The speaker brilliantly weaves together three different languages: the language of the courtroom, the language of forced, determined, parental repetition, and the language of traumatic disorientation. Kook demands, “we will / utter the truth / of ourselves,” and we should too.
The one where I beg
by Ruth Awad in The Journal
… From a high enough vantage
point, anything looks like begging.
Ruth Awad’s prose poem bleeds, it sputters, it bites. “The one where I beg” is triplet in identity: simultaneously a dire elegy for a nation on fire, a love poem gone wickedly wrong, and a supplication of mercy from a God on his way out. Awad deftly maneuvers the speaker through a dangerous night with a cynical lover, where dogs howl at the edges of comfort and the moon leaves a bite mark both affectionate and cruel.
Bailey Cohen is an Ecuadorian-American poet studying at NYU. A finalist for the 2018 Boulevard Contest for Emerging Poets, the runner-up for the 2018 RR Laux / Millar Poetry Prize, and a Best of the Net nominee, he serves as the editor of Alegrarse: A Journal of Close-Readings and as a contributing writer for Frontier Poetry. Bailey's work has been published or is forthcoming in Boulevard, Raleigh Review, The Penn Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Shallow Ends, Boiler Journal and more. He loves everyone Latinx.