Poetry teaches us how to listen, and poetry helps us know things, like urgency, tenderness and the value of each story.
SWEET INSURGENT by ELYSE FENTON / Even as we are shown how volatile and precarious life can be, Fenton delivers lines that are tender both in what they reveal and in how they convey vulnerability: “I never planned to love like this.”
THE GALAXY IS A DANCE FLOOR by BIANCA LYNNE SPRIGGS / Sketches — moth, narwhal, astronaut, etc. — appear in a series of “reverie” poems and contribute to the dreamlike, disorienting quality of those poems, which are numbered but presented out of order.
THE WYNONA STONE POEMS by CAKI WILKINSON / I wasn’t sure how I’d do reading an entire book of poems in the third person about a fictional character and her family and community, but Wilkinson really makes it work. Wynona is just as real as any narrator/speaker.
In high school, this kind of angst made me a normal teenager. Now, however, with arthritis in my knuckles, reading glasses on my nose and crepe-paper skin around my knees, this kind of angst just makes me stuck.
MYSTERIES IN A WORLD THAT THINKS THERE ARE NONE by GARY MCDOWELL / For some reason, even though they aren’t unicorns and rainbows by any stretch, the poems themselves create a lightness, a way of levitating.
SOME PLANET by JAMIE MORTARA / I love the experimentation in this collection. In addition to having several poems titled “experiment,” Mortara’s poems attempt several innovative forms, including a table and flow charts that are twice as wide as the regular pages and need to be unfolded to view.