Poetry

  • Bright Dead Things

    Ada Limón

    Ada Limón writes around the emotions and banal details of life, maintaining a personal, even confessional, tone, which usually draws me right in when it’s genuinely introspective. Capturing memories of her childhood, her parents’ early marriage years, her stepmother’s death, and her own relationship bringing her from New York City...more

  • A Memory of the Future

    Elizabeth Spires

    It was the title that interested me about this book, though it appears there may be hundreds of books with this title or slight variants of it so it’s entirely possible it reminded me of some other work I heard about in the past. Most of the poems here didn’t draw me in very far, but the title poem was worth it for me....more

  • Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night

    Morgan Parker

    I am more comfortable
    being mourned than loved.

    The past has not been as rewarding
    as I had hoped.

    Waiting nearly four months to write about a book makes it nearly impossible to write anything substantive. I remember that there weren’t any complete poems...more

  • Eye Level

    Jenny Xie

    Zazen
    Sour tobacco, tofu bowl, bright.
    Planks of hollyhock in Anhui,
    the way I don’t know could open
    months later like a hive.
    Hard tide of shame that I thought
    had dried out years ago.
    Love’s barks grow watery, faint.

    more
  • Garments Against Women

    Anne Boyer

    Anne Boyer holds the distinction of being the only/first so far poet who I’ve initially read via a tumblr post. I guess that needs the clarification of poetry that has truly resonated with me. Her work tends to feel more prose-like...more

  • Love Poems

    Nikki Giovanni

    A collection of love poems from across Nikki Giovanni’s career that encompass contexts of love beyond the romantic variety — the book is dedicated to Tupac Shakur and the poem “All Eyez On U” mourns “a beautiful boy to lose,” connecting his influence and loss to Emmett Till and Martin Luther King, Jr. There is no lack of more...more

  • Borderlands / La Frontera

    Gloria Anzaldúa

    Borders are set up to define the places that are safe and unsafe, to distinguish us from them. A border is a dividing line, a narrow strip along a steep edge. A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. It is in a constant state of transition. The prohibited and

    ...more
  • Unaccompanied

    Javier Zamora

    Very topical poems on the immigrant experience. Javier Zamora is from El Salvador, and his parents left for the US when he was very young and he followed when he was 9 years old. He writes from the perspective of his parents and other people in his family on the savagery of civil war and the ordeals people like his...more

  • In Full Velvet

    Jenny Johnson

    The title of this book refers to furry skin on the antlers of young deer, which most shed as the antlers finish calcifying. The titular poem mentions some whitetails that don’t shed their velvet, described by hunters as “raggedy-horn freaks” who live “long solitary lives, unweathered / by the rutting season.”

    ...more

  • Don’t Call Us Dead

    Danez Smith

    Apparently I’m having a moment of reading contemporary poems by gay men.* They’ve all been great, but this is probably my fave of the bunch by just a little bit. As a collection, it feels so cohesive with poems about being a black man, a gay man, HIV-positive, and the intersections between them. Favorites...more

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