Exceptional Poetry From Around the Web: November 2021

Here’s a short selection, from our own Jose, of some of the best new poems that hit the web this November. These five poets, both established and emerging, deserve your attention and support—featuring work from Matthew J. Andrews in Pithead Chapel, Monica Rico in Witness Magazine, Lyn Li Che in Sixth Finch, Karla Cordero in Crazyhorse and Angela C. Trudell Vasquez in Poets.org. Hope everyone enjoys these exceptional poems; we are truly living in a thriving poetry age.


It’s All Right

By Matthew J. Andrews in Pithead Chapel.


He puts rocks in his mouth and tries singing with different pitches. He looks at the sky again and this time it’s blue, endless, and he feels lost in it.


This is an interesting prose poem insofar as it pays homage to Bob Dylan and playfully mimics his gestures and nuances. I love the straightforward lines and the quiet humor of the work. Dylan fans will get the subtle satire of the prose poem and overall, it is a fun, charming tribute to Dylan. Great prose poems by Pithead Chapel, always!



Why I Don’t Go to Church

By Monica Rico in Witness Magazine.


The priest          talks of gardens

but doesn’t grow fruit.


Found this poem to be interesting in its subject and form. The poet’s choice of topic is bold, but she does a good job of getting her point across with caesura and intriguing metaphors which critique the often hypocritical, self-righteous nature of religiosity. Overall, I admire the use of form and white space to get to a poem’s core. Haven’t read a Monica Rico poem I didn’t like; I need to get the book!


My Poetry Professor Asks Me If I’m Really that Ambivalent About Love

By Lyn Li Che in Sixth Finch.


Sometimes I’m afraid/ I look /forward to loneliness


This poem is heartbreaking and relatable to those of us who can’t seem to find love. “Sometimes I’m afraid/ I look/ forward to loneliness” is a gut-punching line. The poet’s use of form is striking; the way it is severed. It takes a brave poet to tackle these topics/issues; brava! Look forward to reading more from this new-to-me poet.


Ode to the Backyard Bumblebee

By Karla Cordero in Crazyhorse.


my niece & i watch with obsession, crisscrossed
on the brick patio—the floor which bakes our brown legs

like sweet potatoes in summer. i see the bee’s hind legs
jeweled in pollen. these thick insect thighs

strutting a heavy wealth.


Love the movement of this poem which mimics a backyard bumblebee. Also, I enjoy the sharp sounds and mundane quality of making a poem out of something you can find in your backyard. More poets would be wise to follow this everyday model for inspiration. Great poem: now I need to buy the full-length book!


In the Discount Lot

By Angela C. Trudell Vasquez in Poets.org


Outside the grocery store
laden with the sweat
of tanned field workers
we stand          little girls in winter coats


Powerful piece about labor organizing at a young age. Love the stripped-down aesthetic and the layered form. This image of innocent children boycotting a large, greedy company is inspirational and profound. Thank you to Poets.org for introducing me to this poet; look forward to reading more!



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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