Exceptional Poetry From Around the Web: July 2022
Hello fellow poets and poetry lovers. Happy summer aka the best season of the year! When you read this, my birthday will be 10 days away. I’m not good at asking for things like gifts, so in lieu of that please enjoy this curated list of my birthday poems. My hope is that you will adore these poems and poets and celebrate their work alongside me.
These five poets mean the world to me and deserve your attention and support—featuring work of kiki nicole in Peach Mag, Patrycja Humienik in TriQuarterly, KB Brookins in beestung, Sreshtha Sen in Sante Fe Writers Project, and Alison Lubar in The West Trestle Review. I’m grateful for another year of life and even more grateful I get to celebrate living poets.
by kiki nicole in Peach Mag
to me, she made good yr body. Tonite / may
leave my lips burdened but she needed
this / (o) my body bowl spooned her
blood batter / whipped. the golden of her
this peach emoji pussy + u, a
For me, so much of queerness is reimagining the boundaries of language, and in that reimagining dreaming our way into a better future. I think’s nicole entry into language holds the key. In this delightful linguistic bending, two people give in to the desire of hunger, yet the queer body is split and reassembled through emojis and digital renderings. From line to line, I never know what to expect, and I cannot wait to read more from this shinning light of a poet.
by Patrycja Humienik in TriQuarterly
In my earliest memory, my father is teaching me,
on the couch in a small apartment,
how to make the sign of the cross. Mama
observes, a birthmark the shape of Polska
on her forearm. Meant for a better story.
In a series of epistolaries, two women who claim multiple countries as home share a series of tender exchanges. This poem does what I love a poem to do: center softness, reveal intimacy, open a space of softness. Memory and touch govern so much of this poems and I feel returned to myself in Humienik’s words–as an immigrant daughter myself and as someone who is an obsessive keeper of hand-written letters.
cw: sexual assault / intimate violence
By KB Brookins in beestung
I’ve spent on K. When women in my life spend their labor on me—
my lover, my therapist, and K— I think of history. My growing
mustache doesn’t mean I must repeat it.
I often find that the poems which stay with me the longest are the poems in which the speaker implicates themselves, in which they acknowledge being the one who caused harm. The speaker understands the harm they caused a lover and how that gesture of harm comes from a history of harm enacted on their body. As a survivor of assault myself, it is freeing to say the hideous part out loud: “My body was wounded and wounded again”. How then does one reconcile such harm done against the body while also relearning intimacy…? Brookins isn’t interested in answering this question, rather walking us through their own misgivings.
By Sreshtha Sen in Sante Fe Writers Project
I am a fresh
bodied foal rediscovering this new world.
The first time I held my dinner in my hands
felt a little like this: your lust for me a bleat.
A poem that situates itself between the beast desire makes of us and the tenderness that returns us back to our humanity, the speaker of this poem loves the poem’s beloved with “with every creature that is in me”. Yet becoming bestial from want is not an albatross in this poem, rather a blessing. What a gift it is to love someone so much that you can be every carnal iteration of yourself and be made soft beneath their touch.
by Alison Lubar in The West Trestle Review
Each hole shows the way
a soft bivalve succumbs to seagull,
shows every treasure carries a history
Sometimes you read a poem from a poet and you know that you will read follow this writer anywhere. This is how I feel about Alison Lubar’s gorgeous and lush poem. Compassion is the driving force between this captured moment between the speaker and the mother figure. Guided by soft ‘s’ sounds mimicking the movement of water, the speaker collects shell shards as a vessel to bring themselves closer to their mother. To take what was once discard and make it something new, something “iridescence,
pearly and palm-shaped”
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,