Exceptional Poetry From Around the Web: April 2022
Happy Poetry Month, dearies! This is I.S. Jones, the new Editor-in-Chief and I’m so delighted (honored really) to share with you all some of the poems that have illuminated in my interior life during the past month or so & I hope they will light up yours. These five poets deserve your attention and support—featuring work of Mandy Moe Pwint Tu in The Lumiere Review, Olúwatamílọ́re Ọ̀shọ́ in ANMLY, Zefyr Lisowski in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Timi Sanni in The New Delta Review, and Praise Osawaru in Savant-Garde. Yes, you’ve heard it before that we’re living in a Golden Age of poetry, but seriously we are. I hope all enjoy and thanks for reading & supporting living poets!
by Mandy Moe Pwint Tu in The Lumiere Review
In another life, my father waits,
crouched by the over door. Bloviates—
ticks off seconds on his fingertips.
Presses cream-tossed frosting to his lips,
proclaims perfection. The kettle sings
a hundred airy notes, and within:
our familiar voices blending.
A poem that reimagines another life, a familial dynamic in which the father is present, loving, and tends to the heart of the speaker through one of oldest domestic gestures–baking. The refrain of “In another life” does the labor of positioning the reader in an alternate reality governed by the speaker’s desire to recreate a present-father figure.
by Olúwatamílọ́re Ọ̀shọ́ in ANMLY
Language that crafts
stories into names:
Abọ́sẹ̀dé; she who is born on the eve of a new week.
Language that speaks of origin and distant lands, origin that I struggle
to identify with. I search for these origins in stories and legends
told in the deep tongue of my ancestors.
An intimate meditation on lineage and language, the speaker attempts to reclaim their ancestry by a single word. “Abọ́sẹ̀dé” tackles colonization by focusing on its personal ramification of theft–what it looks like to be separated from another form of communication. This poem is dear to me as Western-born Nigerian navigating myself back to first language (Yorùbá) against my abrasive American tongue.
By Zefyr Lisowski in Hayden’s Ferry Review
In the ghost story, a girl
crawls through the hole,
enters a room like hers
but worse: A man with a hook
for a tongue. A woman with dripping hair.
Ghosts. Girlhood. Fathers. Mercy. Grace. Lisowsk’s poem tackles so many topics which are immediate to my heart. What I love most about this poem is its resistance to a neat ending. Here “ghost” is a synonym for “memory”, for “living wound”.
By Timi Sanni in New Delta Review
Once, devoid of touch and loving, I too,
cursed the world and went to sleep. But
see, there’s always someone waiting in
the darkest corners of fate, to break you
into every fragment of sweetness. Come,
Undoubtedly, this poem does the work to “break you into every fragment of sweetness”. A body of work with a deceptively clever name, yes there is loneliness, but the poem leans into a single sliver of light that emerges from the sky.
by Praise Osawaru in Savant-Garde
see, I’m searching for a door in a room of stars.
I have been fishing—casting my net deep into a
colony of desolation, with a desire to recover my
treasure. my mother keeps dreaming of my [ ] brother
throwing himself into the haven of her chest.
The fantastical element of this poem (angels turning into wingless birds, rooms full of stars, night’s curtain, etc.) is underscored by the speaker’s grief. As though the speaker can only confront their sorrow through the filter of a dreamscape, Osawaru’s work reminds me of why I turn to poetry: a window into a softer world.
That’s all for now! I hope that you discovered a new poet or poem to love on. I’ll write to you next month.
Yours In Letters,