Exceptional Poetry From Around the Web: January 2022
Here’s a short selection, from our own Jose, of some of the best new poems that hit the web in January 2022. These five poets, both established and emerging, deserve your attention and support—featuring work from Beth Gordon in Okay Donkey, J. Villanueva in The Indianapolis Review, Robert René Galván in Acentos Review, Grace Q. Song in Thrush Poetry Journal and Lucia Gallipoli in Moist Poetry Journal. Hope everyone enjoys these exceptional poems; we are truly living in a thriving poetry age.
By Beth Gordon in Okay Donkey.
My ghosts who never died: the ones who escaped the cemetery of my heart: the ones who packed a suitcase with photographs sliced in half & left my eyes behind: my ghosts who meet in dark bars.
This is one of those poems/prose poems that just flows out of you/your pen. Improvisation after improvisation. Love the challenge of this work, keeping up the momentum, word play and pace. The surreal quality of this prose poem is fantastic and charming. Can’t wait to read more from this new-to-me author!
By J. Villanueva in The Indianapolis Review.
My grandfather used to pick watermelon.
My grandfather also did other great things
Worked hard to make sure I wouldn’t have to pick fruit.
Worked hard so that I wouldn’t be ashamed.
Of being Mexican in a white man’s world.
I like the short, sharp sentences or lines. The use of indentation for style, spark and edge is also nicely done. These techniques help accentuate the minimalist aesthetic at work in the poem so that it hits harder/more profoundly. Overall, the poem blends experimentalism with realism and we have a unique poem/aesthetic.
By Robert René Galván in The Acentos Review.
The patron saint of feral cats
and guardian of the henhouse
offered the boy
lime Jarritos and pan dulce
The images, the local food ring true to me, and many Latinx readers, reminding us our Abuelo’s houses or perhaps houses we grew up in. The seamless blend of English and Spanish is on point and smooth and lyrical. Some memorable lines in here, like, “The patron saint of feral cats.” Just takes you to a place. A memory.
By Grace Q. Song in Thrush Poetry Journal.
You stung my spine together
with thirty-three jade beetles,
and I drank water from the pool
of your elbow.
Your face in my lap: lyrical,
Such smooth yet fierce lines. The word choice and overall aesthetic is on point, precise and luminous. This poem works well on the page as well as read aloud. Reminds me of the work of Eduardo C. Corral, the quick movements, the lush form, the overall vigorous quality from an otherwise subtle aesthetic.
By Lucia Gallipoli in Moist Poetry Journal.
I worry that I’m not ““bisexual enough”” (?) until I run out of energy to care about labels.
Inspiring to see this prose poem unravel to the speaker and reader alike. The honesty shines through; the finality of labels. This prose poem reminds me of the obvious worth of labels for real world purposes, but then the simultaneous limitations they, also, inevitably bring when we feel we don’t meet up to the expectations of labels.
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.