Exceptional Poetry From Around the Web: October 2021

Here’s a short selection, from our own Jose, of some of the best new poems that hit the web this October. These five poets, both established and emerging, deserve your attention and support—featuring work from Chloe Martinez in Radar Poetry, Sharon Lin in The Adroit Journal, Arielle Cottingham in Booth Journal, Nicole Tallman in Trampset and Laura Passin in Cotton Xenomorph. Hope everyone enjoys these exceptional poems; we are truly living in a thriving poetry age.


The Thing About the Getty Is

By Chloe Martinez in Radar Poetry.


You feel a bit

bedraggled by then, and everyone else
is LA-chic, but you lift your chin
as if you don’t care, you rise on the tram,

and when you emerge up top, it’s okay,
because light is bouncing off of every
gorgeous stone surface,


This is an intriguing piece that, although somewhat on the longer side, does a good job of keeping our attention with an engaging voice. I like how it brings us to the Getty, Los Angeles, as a tourist but with a lot of personality and charm. The sentences flow well, and the poet has good use of line, form, and enjambment. I look forward to reading a full-length poetry collection from this author.




By Sharon Lin in The Adroit Journal.


My mother wanders, forgetting,
and I do not know where she sleeps tonight. She
tells me diaspora means lost and I
have nothing to lose. R thinks it’s brilliant how
she stopped writing about fish: Do you remember
the taste of fish? I only remember the bones.


I like how this poem is conscious of the various cliches and themes of writing a “diasporic” poem. The line about not always feeling “lost” in China is poignant. The stream of consciousness works well as it shows the writer striving for truth, whatever that is? Another poem here with a commanding, critical voice.


And the Tide Goes Out

By Arielle Cottingham in Booth Journal.


history is an ocean
and hurricanes are what happen when history repeats itself
I was born in Zone A of Houston’s hurricane evacuation areas,
Harvey’ed at the intersection of trailer parks and citizenship literacy tests,
Third Coast South,
third culture kid combines Confederate lineage with Caribbean cane sugar slaves’ resilience

history is an ocean of hurricanes repeating itself

This poem has a beautiful flow for otherwise harsh realities. The poet’s command of voice and sound, imagery and tone are masterful. The mixture of Spanish/English is impressive; sounds even better with the audio recording of the poem provided by Booth Journal. Can’t wait to read more from this new-to-me poet!


Rifle Season

By Nicole Tallman in Trampset.


There’s a name for the soft boys where I come from, the ones who don’t drive big trucks and don’t refer to women as broads you just load up and throw in the back.

Where I come from, hunting is a blood sport. And it breeds blood-thirsty boys who think it’s ok to say: Do what I say or I’ll shoot you.


I like the use of form in this poem. It is like a prose poem in its prosaic line; however, there are line breaks. If there weren’t line breaks, I don’t think it would be as successful of a poem because of the necessity/emphasis of the pause after the line break. I like how this poem criticizes the disease that is toxic masculinity and gun fetishes. Look forward to reading more from this poet!


Poem in Which I Fail to Teach Homer

By Laura Passin in Cotton Xenomorph


In the press conference before launch, they asked Do you ever cry on the job? When Penelope weeps, Homer says her mind moves elsewhere. No one knows what she knows.


Important piece with layered meaning and form. Even though this is a prose poem, the poet does a good job of interweaving mythology and history with the struggles women endure within a patriarchal society. Not all prose poems are solely surreal; this one has an important social and historical context. Look forward to reading more from this new-to-me poet!


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.

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