Poetry

  • Magical Negro

    Morgan Parker

    from “A Brief History of the Present”

    … I worry sometimes

    I will only be allowed a death story. No one will say in

    the New Yorker how my mother made her money, who

    I married, how my career began. Your people. The death …

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  • Transit

    Cameron Awkward-Rich

    So many amazing poems here around experiences of gender identity and race. Elegant syntax and introspective atmosphere. The series of “Once” poems and “The Child Formerly Known As ____” stand out. And then there’s the sequence of “Theory of Motion” poems, starting with this one: Essay on the Theory of Motionmore

  • There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé

    Morgan Parker

    Morgan Parker is a writer I feel excited about, so I requested her second book from the library almost immediately after finishing the first. Centered around experiences of being black and female, she includes a lot of cultural references in her work — as the presence of Beyoncé in the title reveals from the start. She speaks the...more

  • Songs from a Mountain

    Amanda Nadelberg

    These poems feel haphazard and jumbled to me, and I kept waiting to settle in and catch the flow of them. Instead I finished feeling like something logical and grounded had been cut apart and randomized so that there would be moments of insight followed by unexpected zags into something totally different. The experience is not...more

  • 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.

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  • 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

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