For a poet, I think I’m late to the nesting and writing stages of coronavirus grief. But thanks to a cat, perimenopause and Natalie Goldberg, I’m here now.
A CRUELTY SPECIAL TO OUR SPECIES by EMILY JUNGMIN YOON / Yoon’s delight in manipulating words based on their sounds contrasts with the heavy subject matter, and the search for the right word creates an experience for the reader: do we even have words for these horrors?
WHAT I LEARNED AT THE WAR by JEANETTA CALHOUN MISH / These poems assert that women’s stories matter. They hold space for the female body and its wars. They get down in the dirt of place (region, town, house, room) and of poverty and the working class.
I can relate to the standstill/stare-down Natasha describes in the opening of her post. When I go visit my manuscript, it doesn’t even welcome me. There’s no room for me in it anywhere. Not even space for me to park my car out front.
The old version of myself would’ve called the experiment a big failure. But now, I’m happy to thank that prior self for her service and back away from her slowly… LOL. What I’ve come to is a place solidly situated in self-care.
PARADISE INDIANA by BRUCE SNIDER / A sense of place — and heat from all that sex — is exactly why the opening poem “Map” grabs me right away. That, plus it plays with what’s expected and unexpected, which is the precise kind of texture “place” needs in our poems.
AMERICAN SONNETS FOR MY PAST AND FUTURE ASSASSIN by TERRANCE HAYES / The repetition of themes/lines throughout appropriately creates echoes that force us to reconcile the following: this isn’t the first we’re hearing of these experiences and yet what has changed? And what will change tomorrow? Anything?
BE RECORDER by CARMEN GIMENEZ SMITH / I’ve struggled to write about the political times we live in. Although I rant on Twitter and retweet other people’s clever or biting tweets about the scandals/horrors/injustice/harms/etc/etc like a mad woman, I can’t get there in my own writing. In contrast, this collection will prove to be an important record (I mean, it’s in the title) of this moment in time.