I read and review a new chapbook or collection every night, so I’m going to go with solely small press poets for this one.
I owe everything I know about Performance Poetry to Taylor Mali. Had “What Teachers Make” not made its way around every teacher’s email, I’m not sure I would have stumbled on it by myself. It wasn’t on my radar. I was still reading 16th-19th Century British Poetry – my 1st love – but this changed my life. It redefined my perception of what poetry could be. It was emotive and visual and current and made me feel like I was part of the poem itself. Taylor was the first writer I asked to write a piece for The Poetry Question, thus birthing the Power of Poetry series.
Hasan Namir is one of the most gifted and honest poets I’ve ever read. He takes everything about his life experience and forces you to open your eyes to an entirely different cultural experience. His collection, War/Torn is language and beauty wrapped in devastation and love.
Isobel O’Hare creates immediacy in words. She takes on the #metoo movement with anger and grace and class. Her use of erasure poetry to re-write the “apologies” of the accused and guilty provides so much insight into today’s problems. Her work is required reading for everyone. Period.
Raych Jackson brings us to church, and then brings us into her home, her bedroom, her world beneath the eyes of saints. Truly one of the greats, and should be celebrated as such!
Carlos Andrés Gómez
Carlos Andrés Gómez’ engages us in a conversation about race, culture, language, religion, and self. It’s graceful enough to subtly place the onus on the reader, proffering that maybe there’s something that could have been learned from prior actions, and maybe it just doesn’t have to be this way.