What did Fred Schmaltz put in his top 5? Find out in this edition of The #TPQ5.
Who does Angela Gabrielle Fabunan put in her list of top 5 authors? Find out in this edition of The TPQ 5.
“We Blacks in space are Hoovers.
Who gonna be cryin’ in the 23rd century? / Not this hole’s grand grands. We define / the light until we all done letting stars be bright / ‘N suck up all the credit for nothing / they do ‘cept sit there burning.”
“…remember that “if you double a bubble / you will have two bubbles / but this information isn’t worth / a pile of rubble.” We don’t always want what we find, but we are often the reason we’ve found ourselves there.”
What does Ronnie Stephens put in his list of top 5 books? Find out in this edition of #TPQ5.
It’s the slant-rhyme hymnals with a push-away-from-God-and-man chorus you can’t keep out of your head. These are hymns for the hopeless who long to be significant.
Who does award winning author, Ran Walker, put in his list of top 5 authors? Find out in this edition of The TPQ 5.
I can’t go to work and say to a colleague: I stay up late at night imagining animals being hit in the road over and over…
Who does Alexandra Meehan put in her list of top 5 books? Find out in this edition of The TPQ 5.
What did Kristin Garth, Founder of Pink Plastic House, put in her top 5? Find out in this edition of The #TPQ5.
The reason isn’t always so obvious, but wear masks and costumes at each stage of life. We are, in most moments, who we choose to be. And in others, we become, well, others.
We all have our ideals of life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. If eventually we all die, then what is life if we can’t burn through a paycheck in a day – especially with the ones we love.
We are caretakers to those who don’t even know they need it. We don’t matter. We are a secondary character in a long history of other people’s lives. We are found in the footnotes.
While it can never be too late, it can be not enough, or just enough, or meaningless. But when most things are stuck somewhere between our dreams and the idea of reality, we tend to cling to some extrinsic hope – real or not.
Is it worth all the struggles and hassles and deductions only to die in the end? Should it all just be sped up? But more importantly, what happens when you don’t have a choice?
we get a straight forward here’s-what-I’m-thinking-and-maybe-I-should-have-just-done-it-earlier thread running from cover to cover. Things don’t always work, but sometimes you need to open the book and find out for yourself.
In this way I am an outfielder, mobilized on the balls of his feet, crouched, glove hand and free hand never far apart, poised for the seed of poetry to head my way following the sharp crack of wood at the plate.
Sometimes your body is not a wonderland. Sometimes your body wants to be wrapped in clothing or bedsheets or not the arms of someone who will no longer know your name.
I have authored a devil in me to cull in meto lace these boots with rainbows and wade the bogs to Breathe smoke in the cryogenyBreak dismal syntaxof existing as abomination — from “Lottery” Think back to before the digital sky overshadowed the world. Think back to small hands, poppy
There is not a right or wrong way. There is only advice. There is only a suggestion of what you might need – if you were here, and I was not alone.
Music provides a table of contents for life. It doesn’t always make sense, but it’s the order of things and it tries to present some pretty scenery.
Poetry has spread itself thick throughout my life much like this mint. I’ll write a line, put it in my pocket, roll it around a bit, and then hours or days or months later, it’ll have rooted itself and grown into something.
When language and bodies and heritage and history don’t make sense, it’s not easy to find yourself within the world. When the words your family speak turn to those once spoken. When your parents silence your voice, and all you want to do is remember the sound of theirs.
What do you do when you have a sentence where the same 10 years acts as the minimum and maximum? When there is no light? A spoonful of food? Pepper sprayed and left without water for weeks? You pace in your cell.
It’s the wondering if we have purpose or if we are allowed to change, or if we are stuck with the who that we are even we are not who thought we could be.
The landscape intensified into a fever dream of hail and sun, deep woods, shadows on the sea and boomeranging, shrieking swifts in the sky. I was watching Six Feet Under…[and] listening to PJ Harvey.
Because at first we are skeletal; we crack, break, and hurt; we lose and win, and lose again until the only choice we have is to either heal, or heel.
“…the attitude and actions of horses have not changed. They live, love, falter, get dragged around, manipulated, fed, ridden, and eventually buried. Sound familiar?”
Sometimes we forget that when we say “I love you” to someone, it is life changing. It affirms and confirms what you feel and what will hopefully be reciprocated. But love can be two-faced and effacing.
“We are maps to the present and the past. An erasure poem of everything that has been a part of our life. It’s cloudy, dense, and filled with fog. And then everything repeats…”
Today, writing this in a parking lot while my son gets ready for a hockey game, I have the word “miracle” stuck in my throat. But, poetry is not the miracle. Life is. And poetry has allowed me to embrace that.
“…he has taken all the pieces, the histories of hands, waterfalls, sanity hammers, shepherds, and suitors, and built the puzzle only to watch it fall to the floor, and have to put the pieces back in the box.”
For me, writing evolved into a way to better comprehend, articulate and even reshape the world. Now the work that excites me is writing that is exploratory
Wars are waged. Bodies are born and bathed and dying. Language is lost. Friends and lovers, too. If we are “guardians of God’s words” then what is it exactly that we are guarding
We are stuck in age-old definitions of gender and personhood and parenting and life. Somewhere in between those definitions is the person we, ourselves, long to be, and who we should “just be.”
It is how both can have their salvations split in two in a single process. I think it was Jericho Brown that said: “Poetry has its own language”. Nothing can be truer in my opinion.
It’s an encyclopedia of the seedy, the attractive, the “I” of life within modern times and modern body. It’s sort of like the words many want to say, but then get caught up in the moment, and can’t remember what they were thinking anymore.
It’s the way the ants that crawl from skin become guides and senses. It’s the way that when you meet another splinter, the bugs are meant for each other – in sickness and in health.
The whole time, I thought I was alone. But there were people just as pained and confused as I was. I found my community. I found my church. I kept returning every Sunday, sharing work I had written during the week.
It’s the mirror as a reflection of who you think they want – the makeup, the high heels – but really it’s the only way to be seen. No(Body) asks you to question the idea of being capable within the moment. It’s the attempt to be Beyonce, or not death.
Adam Sol’s How a Poem Moves: A Field Guide for Readers Afraid of Poetry, is a window into how poems move rather than what they state. It’s a personal approach to understanding how someone else’s words make you feel.
There is a misconception of place, time, and atmosphere of the Heartland. It’s not always calm. It’s not rolling hills and farmland and nice people who do nice things for other nice people, and continue their existence in a silo of that same nice feeling.
Yes, I’m a poet and proud of it, and I don’t think I’ll ever want to be anything else. It’s what I would have said in answer to that old chestnut, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Wow! How many people actually get to have their dreams come true?
If life is lived, vicariously, through dreamscapes and if the moon hotel’s bellhop is “trolleying [the moon’s] baggage on a brass birdcage cart,” then we are destined to hold the weight of the universe on our backs.
It’s being told that “making love is for making babies / and gays are intrinsically disordered,” and realizing all the misguided beliefs behind that statement. Realizing that your love for another is in no way a disorder.
If Death brings a flash of life before our eyes, and we see each detail of what and how we’ve lived, and everything that was once background became foreground, then Where the Road Runs Out, the new collection from Gaia Holmes is that flash.
Some poems will remain within the confines of the therapist’s office. Some poems will never be known to anyone other than myself. Some poems I share with the world.
REVIEW: MORNING WALK WITH DEAD POSSUM, BREAKFAST AND PARALLEL UNIVERSE – BETH GORDON (ANIMAL HEART PRESS)
This is a notice that life is genuinely what you make it, and that if you live it while looking at it, you might miss what is actually in front of you.
The power of poetry, then, is its ability to show us ordinary things in an extraordinary light.
It’s a world where men paint women, and women have no say. It’s the world in which she knows “you wanted to fuck her unconscious / and have her wake to your fists.”
This is the tale of gutting it out until you think you want to tap out. It’s a glimmer of hope because, damnit, you’ve worked too hard for there to not at least be a glimmer.
This is a collection of survival in spite of all that happens in life. It’s the learning of “the sound liquid makes as it works through the body’s waterways.” The unrelenting feeling that while life is draining from one body, another is taking it back.
I believe the intensity of a poem, the dense nature of a line, the possibilities of syntax, and all aspects that make up a poem work together to become a fitting medium for tragedy.
“…it’s the constant feeling that some person, some feeling, some moment is lurking in the shadows, waiting for the opportune time to make their move…”
Generally, I will take another sip of water (but it’s really vodka) and make deep eye contact with whomever I’m speaking to, whether it’s the niece Lily or the Prime Minister of Britain. — from “When I am President of the United States” I remember the day that Kurt Cobain
I don’t only want people to be entertained, but also for them to feel something. And the fastest way to do that is through poetry; you are framing a feeling and passing it on, even if it’s only for a brief moment.
It’s the push-and-pull of one language and culture erasing the other; it’s the beauty and decay of both. It’s the changes that feel like too much change. The Sea that Beckoned is the tightrope walk between being ourselves and the self we may yet become.
To them, she is not real. She is who they will fantasize about when home with their wives. She is the babysitter driven home by every father. She is the toy of their desire. She is within reach, but untouchable from above them.
Poetry is the real game of exposure. Really great poetry shows holes, the smallness, the seeking. We seek a connection to others that comes often from exposing moments on a page that you might be most embarrassed to put down on paper.
Brumett walks through “butcher paper bed sheets” because sometimes that’s how it feels to evolve. Sometimes you have to discover the clitoris and learn about dolphin masturbation in order to get to the part where we can leave legacies and deal with cleaning out memories from closets.
But, body is language. Code talking is language. Coding is language. Even “math is poetic in nature;” It’s just that people aren’t too interested in listening to that which they don’t care to understand, let alone anything poetic.
If done well, a poem can be far more powerful than a photograph, because you are capturing not just the image, but the emotional context and resonance of that thing.
all this can be yours is a patchwork quilt of what should have been said by all the dicks in the room.
You have to be ready for this collection. You have to prepare to feel. You have to be able to breathe. You have to know that War/Torn is a journey, and a metaphor that digs well beyond the surface.
I saw poetry as much more complex and rewarding than I had originally thought it would be over the years. Poetry is the one form that can take the readers to another level of meaning and power.
Giantess is like an a cappella Americana album — it’d be nice to hear the picking of the strings, but they aren’t needed to dance with these words.
Directness is difficult. It’s not easy to be bluntly-gentle. But that is exactly what Whiteside has done in his newest collection of poems from Bull City Press.
REVIEW: UNMONSTROUS – JOHN ALLEN TAYLOR (YesYes Books):
It’s rare to read a piece that so beautifully captures the anger, emotions, beauty, and need for survival while trying to navigate all the evils of the child-to-adult journey.
REVIEW: Most of My Heroes Don’t Appear on No Stamps
Walker gives us our “Window Seat” to the world, as we consider why we are where we are – the good and the bad, the understood and ignorant, the anger and excitement, the love and passion of the way the world is today.
Over the course of your correspondence, you begin to discuss your dreams. Begin, in fact, to have dreams that echo the other’s. There is a house, creepy yet somehow luminous. Stables. Treasure, possibly, among the muck. But should you be there? Who (or what) lurks in the dim? – JPC
The physicality of life and the ache that it can bring – through love, death, sex, and survival – makes Robbin’s writing visceral and emotive and painful and beautiful all at the same time.
LEE ANN RORIPAUGH – SOUTH DAKOTA’S POET LAUREATE Poetry is the shape-shifting ouroboros of language, image, sound, form, and content held in infinite tension. It is the muscular pulse of sheened coil, forked tongue tasting the air. It is a voraciousness of language, hungry to apprehend and take in the
The Power of Poetry – Sara Henning I’d like to tell you a story about life’s untamable narrative that leaves us transformed. In other words, I’d like to tell you a story about my relationship to poetry. At 1:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning this past July, my mother
Two years ago, as part of my hometown’s annual literary festival, I competed in a teen poetry slam. For winning, I was given the opportunity to open for two of the headliners, Major Jackson and Robert Wrigley. It was a poem about my father dying. I read it from
THE POWER OF POETRY — A.M. O’Malley I first found poetry when I was nine years old in a beat up paperback copy of Alfred Tennyson’s collected poems that my father had. One Saturday, when no one was around, I stole the book away to my corner of the back
THE POWER OF POETRY #28: “Warrendale, a Chance Medley with Lines from “Brother of Leaving”” – Cal Freeman
Warrendale, a Chance Medley with Lines from “Brother of Leaving” The Warrendale neighborhood sits on the far west side of the city of Detroit. I describe my childhood home and the neighborhood in which it rests in my first collection of poems, Brother of Leaving. Historically it was a Polish
Poetry, like any art, is about connection, either to our inner-self or to another being. In the darkest or most joyous times of our life, everything is meaningless unless our thoughts, emotions, feelings, desires are shared and not simply reverberated back to us in an empty hall. Let’s say one
The Power of Poetry: Revenge of the NerdsBack in the day when I was still a fledgling emcee with the acronym FIRST-MC, I wanted to be KRS-ONE so much. I loved his music and his proclamations that he was a Teacher and a Poet with the skills of an Emcee.
I self-published a book of poems when I was 19. Print-on-demand websites like Lulu were just beginning to gain popularity. I’m one of those people who has been a writer her whole life. By 19 I had plenty of work to create a book and I figured, why not? I
Faith is found here, not in a destiny raiding and parceling out knowledge and the earth, but in a people who, person by person, believes itself. Do you accept your own gestures and symbols? Do you believe what you yourself say? When you act, do you believe what you
“The Power of Poetry: I Want to Keep Happening” Sarah Xerta I’m hesitant to write about the power of poetry because I don’t want to romanticize anything. Anne Sexton said “It’s the poetry that seems to be saving me” and she still eventually killed herself. I can’t forget this.
THE POWER OF POETRY – Ronnie K. Stephens There is no origin story, here. No single point on the broadside of this universe. For me, poetry has been a series of planets dotting up the sky when I’m not looking, and suddenly I’m thirty-two with a galaxy spread out around
Outside The Narrow Garden — Paulie Lipman On an episode of “The Green Room With Paul Provenza” (a comic’s roundtable of sorts), the comedian Franklin Ajaye made a statement that really hit me where I live: He said that the majority of modern comedians wouldn’t inspire him to
“BRAVE NEW VOICES” — KHARY JACKSON I am writing this while at the annual Brave New Voices poetry festival, in Atlanta, GA. Several hundred young poets ages 13 to 19 are gathered, after months of dedicated practice, fundraising and team building, to connect and share their work with each other
The Power of Poetry as Catharsis and Healing — SaraEve Fermin The brain is a muscle that can move the world.- Stephen King In 2003 My world shattered into a million pieces, rolling across a GAP outlet as my brain exploded under it’s first Tonic Clonic seizure. This was the beginning
The Poetry of a Perfect Cocktail – Sam Slaughter I’ve never been a poet. The closest I’ve come—“songs” about teen angst and the like—are in a few notebooks hidden in my childhood bedroom. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve opened those notebooks since I turned
Poems are magic spells written by witches. Ten years ago I had a dream that the Icelandic musician Björk appeared in the corner of my ceiling and sang to me about poetry and witchcraft. I think it took me this long to figure out what she, or at least the