Will things be normal after the pandemic? This poet hopes not and contemplates the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for change that’s before us for now.
SAVE OUR SHIP by BARBARA UNGAR / “Save Our Ship” is a cry for the planet. And not just environmentally. It’s an SOS for our species (dear God, what we inflict on one another in relationships and global conflicts).
OCEANIC by AIMEE NEZHUKUMATATHIL / I want to return to this book to study the “self portrait” poems more closely. Very often with persona poems, I’m too distracted by the device/set-up that I can’t get lost in the language/effect. But the persona poems in this makes the cloak invisible, and I’m curious how it’s achieved.
A couple weeks ago when I was lamenting to a friend about the utter lack of progress I’ve made this year (sinking, sinking), she reminded me that this isn’t just the culmination of 2019 but of a decade. And she encouraged me to think of all that’s happened in the decade: 2010, for example, was the first year without my mom and the last year of my marriage.
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.