landscape with plywood silhouettes

“the hammock / of my collarbone”

LANDSCAPE WITH PLYWOOD SILHOUETTES by KERRIN MCCADDEN / It’s tempting to say the poems in this collection are “about” divorce, parenting, art, rivers, photos/cameras, ocean, ghosts, loneliness, etc., but it feels more to me to be a book about tenderness. Those other topics/items — grief, cartoons, chairs — are present alongside us as living beings. They’re active in our stories.

emergency brake ruth madievsky

“your mouth / was a city i entered dancing.”

EMERGENCY BRAKE by RUTH MADIEVSKY / It’s absolutely appropriate that Jill is the one who pointed me toward this collection: like Jill, Madievsky’s writing is next-level playful and imaginative. Both of them have a gift for freshness with language that’s soooooo enviable. Each analogy makes you wonder what just hit you and if you’ll be lucky enough to be struck again.

Homie by Danez Smith

“i got a bark too teeth too”

HOMIE by DANEZ SMITH / I deeply admire how exuberance in the poems can’t be untangled from mourning and how Smith crafts so many of the poems in Homie to condemn white supremacy simply by putting it on display: Smith allows it to incriminate itself by its very existence, by its insistence, by its cruelty, what it permeates.

Madwoman by Shara McCallum

“the sun / is a mound of butter”

MADWOMAN by SHARA MCCALLUM / I can’t stop thinking about this pair of lines: “Stories wake in us what is inconsolable, / begin in us again our animal mewling.” It’s one reason I turn to poetry: to validate my thirst/hunger, which feels — regardless of what I’m craving — absolutely primal. Anyone else?