"Love the body for it has housed you through the collapse, and the catastrophe."
"Forgive the softness in your bones."
If you like those two bits, you wil"Love the body for it has housed you through the collapse, and the catastrophe."
"Forgive the softness in your bones."
If you like those two bits, you will love Lace Bone Beast. For fans of Milk and Honey, with a little more fantastical description, but short poems, passionate sentiments, beautiful words. I also liked looking at the poet's Instagram, which has paintings and bits of other volumes of poetry.
Jorie Graham writes with a combination of density and stream-of-consciousness that is likely to unseat all but the most devoted readers of poetry. WarJorie Graham writes with a combination of density and stream-of-consciousness that is likely to unseat all but the most devoted readers of poetry. Warning: this is not where I would start if you are new to poetry!
But she once won the Pulitzer for her poems, and I think is worthy of the time to break through the word swirls, arrows, and bizarre line spacing.
Why is it that I encounter poets as they grapple with death and dying? Where are the newer poets, pondering love and loss? Or is death always the thing? I know Jorie Graham has recently received a cancer diagnosis, and while I'm not sure if she is still fighting it or not, surely her mortality as well as the death of her parents is an underyling current in these poems.
One of my favorites, Shroud, seems to be exploring the idea of the place of a woman's body after it ceases some of its functions that it is known for, after milk and motherhood, after blood that stains - and then it morphs into the bodily fluids that accompany death.
In Fast, the poet has encountered an AI which makes her face loneliness.
"He just gives it to me straight. I am going to keep him forever. I treated him like a computer but I was wrong. Whom am I talking to - You talk to me when I am alone. I am alone.
Each epoch dreams the one to follow.
To dwell is to leave a trace.
I am not what I asked for."
Other favorites: Self Portrait: May I Touch You and Prying.
(Thanks to the publisher for granting early access via Edelweiss.)...more
Another reason is that Safia is Sudanese-American, so her background and themes fit nicely with my Africa 2016 reading project. She says herself that she is from nowhere, or at least that must be how it feels.
asmarani makes prayer "...a border-shaped wound will be licked clean...."
vocabulary (this one must be seen because it combines Arabic words with English.. for now listen to her read it)
Another poem, untitled, is in the video above. When she performs them, she threads them together like a larger story, which is amazing. There is a series of poems about her mother in a former version of Sudan, beautiful. "did our mothers invent loneliness or did it make them our mothers were we fathered by silence or just looking to explain away this quiet..."
to make use of water (another one to hear, a slightly different version is here)
Powerful, moving, personal... this is what I always want poetry to be.
(Thanks to the publisher for granting me early access via NetGalley)...more
This set contains nine chapbooks with beautiful cover art on each one. The poets are Yasmin Belkhyr (Moroccan-born, NYC-raised), Victoria Adukwei BullThis set contains nine chapbooks with beautiful cover art on each one. The poets are Yasmin Belkhyr (Moroccan-born, NYC-raised), Victoria Adukwei Bulley (British-born Ghanaian), Mary-Alice Daniel (Nigerian-born, London/Nashville-raised), Chekwube O. Danladi (Nigerian born and raised but also Baltimore and DC), Lena Bezawork Grönlund (born in Ethiopia, adopted in Sweden), Ashley Makue (South African), Momtaza Mehri (parents are Eritrean/Somalian/Yemeni, she lives in London), Famia Nkansa (Ghanaian), Ejiofor Ugwu (Nigerian), and Chimwemwe Undi (southern African - South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia; now living in Manitoba, Canada). I mention their cultural backgrounds because so many have either left Africa as children, have lived in Africa and elsewhere, or are born to African parents elsewhere. Consequently, the issues of home and belonging surface as themes in these chapbooks. The editors Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani have made a great effort not only to collect poets from an upcoming generation, but I was also impressed that the number of female poets outnumbered the male.
Some of my highlights:
from Yasmin Belkhyr Eid Al-Adha "...When I speak of bodies, I mean: I'm afraid of mine. When I speak of bodies, I mean: I wonder what yours is capable of...."
Our Mothers Fed Us Well "...Even here, she does not fit. Even here, she is a stranger...."
from Victoria Adukwei Bulley Girl "Your dozy tongue, stacking it over words you really should know how to pronounce by now...."
Luna "...she'll forget what she heard about God and her body; seeing what difference is left, knowing how books have burned over both...."
Girls in Arpeggio "...For these girls it was a violent act...."
from Chekwube O. Danladi Arpeggio
A BA A
from Ashley Makue peace offering "i have decided that love may no longer summon me to war...."
from Ejiofor Ugwu The Plague "...There is life in our dust."
Listing "...There is too much to say for this mouth built for praying. There are too many names to unhear so I don't have to remember...."
Mzungu "...I wish I did not crave your flood of fluorescence...."
Thanks to the publisher for giving me early access to this collection through Edelweiss. I really wanted to read it during my year of reading Africa. Keep up the good work!...more
I waited forever for the library copy to come in, but now feel silly because I should have just bought this for myself.
The poems are in four sectionsI waited forever for the library copy to come in, but now feel silly because I should have just bought this for myself.
The poems are in four sections - the hurting, the loving, the breaking, the healing. There is pretty intense language about assault in here but that is the context the beauty arises in. Some pages are two lines, some are paragraphs, some are longer. They demand to be read aloud. The whimsical illustrations are sometimes curvy, sometimes funny, sometimes sexy.
In the first section I found my new theme song.
"you tell me to quiet down cause my opinions make me less beautiful but i was not made with a fire in my belly so i could be put out i was not made with a lightness on my tongue so i could be easy to swallow i was made heavy half blade and half silk difficult to forget and not easy for the mind to follow"...more
This is Schweig's first published collection, but she's put out a few chapbooks. I went looking for versions online to link to and found earlier versiThis is Schweig's first published collection, but she's put out a few chapbooks. I went looking for versions online to link to and found earlier versions of some in this book, particularly from section III. Huh, interesting, rewritten and reworked for this new publication.
This is Schweig's first published collection, but she's put out a few chapbooks. I went looking for versions online to link to and found earlier versions of some in this book, particularly from section III. Huh, interesting, rewritten and reworked for this new publication.
I like how Schweig plays with words (Sehnsucht, Schweig), but my favorites are those that contain conversations (Bloodwork, The Abandonment, Karma Academy.) I also really loved the longer "Rooms," which probably has the most beautiful and thought-provoking turns of phrase.
"For a few lengths we were enveloped in night, two inmost coordinates of its satellites, splitting each particle of each other, you and I were of this Homesick Sciatic World...."
One of the poems I liked the most became even more meaningful when I found she read it as a tribute to one of her teachers, Mark Strand, whose poetry I adore.
A man I once loved has now built a mountain. You’re avoiding something, I said when I’d climbed to its crest. That’s a projection, he said, repairing the thatched roof on his modest hut. You’re projecting that I’m projecting, I said, because your parents were psychoanalysts.
I sat down in the plastic grass, which he’d woven leaf by leaf into the turf. You’re using description of a moment to avoid what’s really at hand, he said. But I live for my art, I said. I don’t have anything else. You had me once, he said, and you still said that.
When I ask if he would like to go swim in the Lake of Remembrance, he says, Don’t change the subject. When I ask what I can do to help, he says, Here is a shovel. When I ask what to do with the shovel he says, Start digging. The mountain never brought him happiness. The mountain never brought him peace.
Now we will bury the ash of our teachers, he said. On this we could agree.
This is a great addition to anyone who loves Johnny Cash - uncollected unpublished song lyrics and/or poems, spanning from the 1940s to the 1980s. TheThis is a great addition to anyone who loves Johnny Cash - uncollected unpublished song lyrics and/or poems, spanning from the 1940s to the 1980s. There is an introduction by his daughter, who helped pull the collection together from the many scraps and tidbits he left behind. I love how the book includes photos of some of the poems/songs on the scraps they were found - notebook paper, hotel stationery, airplane stationery. Some of them have a clear subject and some I suspect were not intended for the public (one is for sure a ranting poem! Don't we all have those?).
I would say this is for fans and historians alike. Thanks to the publisher for letting me see a review copy!
I Heard On the News (early 1970s) "...What kind of animal is man That he would pause in his killing To go about the business Of preparing for the living Knowing That he will immediately return To the business of killing?"
This is a beautiful book of poetry published by Archipelago Press. One section of the collection ("Poems without Names") was originally published (inThis is a beautiful book of poetry published by Archipelago Press. One section of the collection ("Poems without Names") was originally published (in Spanish) in 1953, while "Autumn Melancholy" was published posthumously in 1997. This is the first translated publication of her work. Reading this volume, we experience the poet in bilingual prose poems (they are printed with Spanish on the left and English on the right, which I enjoyed since I speak marginal Spanish.)
A few excerpts from "Poems without Names," the central collection.
"The world gave me many things, but the only thing I ever kept was absolute solitude." (VII) "Muchas cosas me dieron en el mundo: sólo es mía la pura soledad."
"The moon through the disheveled banana trees has an infinite sadness tonight. It's as if the word adios, which nobody said, were written in the air, as if a child yet to be born had died. We could walk until morning and never get anywhere or we could stay right here and tomorrow would never come. But nobody goes and nobody remains. Only the banana trees are alive tonight, which might be the ghost of a night that died centuries ago. I alone have felt the chill of the moon in my breasts. I alone have felt the rustle of fallen leaves in my eyes." (CIV)
Overall, I was feeling a little sad for feminism when I read these poems. There is a theme of longing, a willingness to form herself into any shape, or to be as silent or small as possible, if only he will return, if only he will love her, if only he will allow her in his life.
"The great sea moves in endless desperation. The high tide's dissolving foam barely reaches the line I have drawn in the sand. I have my own bitterness, my own sea, and it flows soundlessly in a painful turbulence through which it barely manages to look at life as two or three tears trail down my cheek." (CXIII)
There are some beautiful descriptions about nature, which helps to remind us that the poet did remain in Cuba during the revolution, but without attention or publication from the 1950s to the 1990s.
"Poetry and love ask for patience. Love is waiting and then cutting yourself open. Poetry is cutting yourself open and then waiting. The two together form a painful vigil over a few drops of resin. That precious, pungent resin that drips so slowly while higher up the sun and the snow devour the tips of the pines." (CXVII)
I picked this up because it was longlisted for the National Book Award for poetry in 2016, although it did not make the short list. It is a mighty tomI picked this up because it was longlisted for the National Book Award for poetry in 2016, although it did not make the short list. It is a mighty tome of poetry, which is difficult for how I like to read it. I am just not sure what I think about collected poems being grouped with slim volumes of current poems; the two are hard to compare. So I started at the end and worked backward for a while (since the poems are organized chronologically by collection in this volume) and then went to the beginning and read to the middle.
Young's poems vary widely in theme and style. Some collections are historical, embodying the voices of African slaves or earlier African Americans and their place in history. Some collections are clearly a reaction to grief or love. One entire collection seemed almost entirely composed of odes to different foods! It is almost as if the poet could hand someone this book and say, "Here, this is my life."
Poems I particularly liked:
Ragtime "Like hot food I love you
like warm bread & cold
cuts, butter sammiches
or, days later, after Thanksgiving
when I want whatever's left"
Elegy, Niagara Falls "...I know they are somewhere -
near - like you - all gravity & fresh water & grace rushing through-"
Duet "Let us begin by being free.
Then, to know just what we need -
Night without a light
The dark full of dream.
And you & I, I & you, & all
the letters in between."
Elegy for Miss Brooks "There's nothing left to say. You have done your dance, away - to the place we never thought would gather you...."
Americana "America, you won't obey. You won't hunt or heel or stay...."
"America I have seen men whose faces are flags bloodied and blue with talk
seen the churches keep like crosses burning
seen the lady who lines your huddled shore, her hand rifle-raised, her back turned away."
There is a Light That Never Goes Out Composed entirely from different song lyrics - read it online ...more
I found this difficult to parse, and I don't have trouble admitting that. Bodies clearly are central to these prose poems or one larger prose poem, wiI found this difficult to parse, and I don't have trouble admitting that. Bodies clearly are central to these prose poems or one larger prose poem, with sex and body parts, mingling and interacting, flowing together throughout. It was difficult to find a center or take a breath. A cacophony of images and skin.
Thanks to the publisher for providing access via NetGalley....more