Exceptional Poetry From Around the Web: September 2021
Here’s a short selection, from our own Jose, of some of the best new poems that hit the web this September. These five poets, both established and emerging, deserve your attention and support—featuring work from Adrie Rose in Muzzle, Sebastián Hasani Páramo in Waxwing, Saddiq Dzukogi in Poetry Magazine, Hala Alyan in Poetry Northwest Online and José Olivarez in Teen Vogue. Hope everyone enjoys these exceptional poems; we are truly living in a thriving poetry age.
In July, Weeds Take Over the Garden
By Adrie Rose in Muzzle.
July brings back
as if we were celebrating.
The baby would be four now.
When I dropped
the jar of dried calendula,
glass shards leapt
into every corner of the room.
Beautiful poem about loss and change. So much is learned from what is not said (and only implied). Great use of a minimalist aesthetic and the enjambment of the lines works well as well. The last line about the raft being built to float on the river is a stunner. Beautiful work! Look forward to reading more from this new to me poet.
My Mother’s Blessing
By Sebastián Hasani Páramo in Waxwing.
I always want to line up
For the body & blood,
But it’s been years since my last confession
& I don’t know where to begin, Mother.
Touching poem about spirituality and a mother’s obsession with their family. I can relate to this poem on a personal level, being Mexican American, and having a very religious mother. One is never good enough when compared to preachers and saints. In fact, I think many Latinx folks and folks who grew up religious can relate. The lines are delivered with simplicity and precision, powerful piece!
By Saddiq Dzukogi in Poetry Magazine.
I took a piece of chalk and drew a circle around my body.
In that ring, I engraved all the names of my loved ones
who are alive—until the only space left was under my feet.
Outside the circle, names of ones I lost.
Such a creative piece with rich imagination! I love the attention to line and pace; expertly done. When I first read this poem on Facebook, I was in awe; such wonder and well-executed lines and delivery. Look forward to reading this poet’s full-length book of poetry!
By Hala Alyan in Poetry Northwest Online.
I could find another uterus. Another bed.
Cry in a Mexican restaurant. Cry on the pier.
Pick a fight with my mother. Instead,
I find the quietest crook in the house.
Love the short, quick lines. Kind of my favorite aesthetic. The vulnerability and authenticity of not sugar-coating it is also intriguing. I like a poem that unravels and discovers something; the poet doesn’t always have to know everything. Look forward to reading this poet’s books!
By José Olivarez in Teen Vogue.
i bet everything i have on my people
& dare the universe to beat us.
This is another poem that utilizes the direct, short line, minimalist aesthetic. At this point you can tell this is one of my favorite qualities of good poetry. Olivarez always delivers classic odes to Mexicans and Mexican Americans: this one is another hit! Also, the fact that this poem (and the others in the issue) are featured in Teen Vogue is a big deal. We can always count on Olivarez’s authenticity and wisdom, both on the page and in real life. Go get his book “Citizen Illegal” and keep an eye out for his next moves!
Jose Hernandez Diaz
Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. He is from Southern California. He is the author of The Fire Eater (Texas Review Press, 2020). His work appears in The American Poetry Review, Boulevard, The Cincinnati Review, Georgia Review, Iowa Review, The Nation, Poetry and in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011. Currently, he is an Associate Editor at Frontier and Guest Editor at Palette Poetry.