REVIEW: AGAINST HEAVEN – KEMI ALABI (GRAYWOLF PRESS)

“Against Heaven is an ode to blackness with a question mark to Black Christianity. It is a tribute to queerness and transness. It is a love letter to polyamory, and the lovers had and yet to have….” Lyra Thomas

REPLAYS: UP AT NIGHT BY KEHLANI & JUSTIN BIEBER

We can’t control the games people play
We just hope we don’t get played
And the sad part is when I did
At first I would’ve stayed
Then later I prayed
Prayed that I never be someone else’s prey
– Reggie Johnson

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TPQ20: S2EP12 – SHAINDEL BEERS

Join Chris in a one-on-one sit down with Shaindel Beers, Poetry Editor of Contrary, about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry! 

REVIEW: LEXICON OF FUTURE SELVES – GRETCHEN ROCKWELL (VEGETARIAN ALCOHOLIC PRESS)

Again and again, we see the speaker face the tension of negotiating and accepting who they are up against the self-limiting modes of the world they live in. – Steve Henn

REPLAYS: WE GOIN’ UP BY NICKI MINAJ & FIVIO FOREIGN

Check my words 
Check the diction
Best believe
Don’t want no friction

– Reggie Johnson

REVIEW: WASHED AWAY – SHIKSHA DHEDA (ALIEN BUDDHA PRESS)

Each poem is a subtle reminder that those who experience mental illness are not alone. – Caitie L. Young

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TPQ20: S2EP12 – JULIAN RANDALL

Join Chris & Courtney of The Poetry Question in a sit down with Julian Randall, author of Refuse (Pitt, 2018), Pilar Ramirez & the Escape from Zafa (Holt), and the upcoming The Dead Don’t Need Reminding: Essays (Bold Type Books), about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry. 

REVIEW: DROWNING IN LIGHT – TAYLOR STEELE (PLATYPUS PRESS)

In this speaker’s world, loneliness becomes a proper noun. A thing of beauty. A thing that will grow into its own season. – Amanda Rabaduex

TALK TO ME: MORDECAI MARTIN W/ JOAN KWON GLASS

I sometimes feel like I can’t fully represent any group. But maybe that’s a vehicle for art in and of itself: not to be boxed in, not to follow any prescribed norms for one culture. – Joan Kwon Glass

REPLAYS: FAIR – NORMANI

77 days into this year and I believe I’m making progress
Things have been a hard pill to swallow
However I managed to digest
Recycling old recounts and in the end I just digress
Told myself to focus more and worry less
Will lead to more success
– Reggie Johnson

REVIEW: PLUMSTUFF – ROLLI (8th House Publishing)

His poems are full of the energy and playfulness and good humor of a poet who takes things thoughtfully but not too seriously. – Steve Henn

REVIEW: YEAR OF THE UNICORN KIDZ – JASON B. CRAWFORD (SUNDRESS PUBLICATION)

These are painful in a glorious way – a healing kind of hurt. This collection offers a safe space for queerness and self and love. – Courtney Margolin

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TPQ20: S2EP11 – JASON B. CRAWFORD

Join Chris and Courtney in a sitdown with Jason B. Crawford, author of Year of the Unicorn Kidz (Sundress Publications), about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REPLAYS: BROKEN PROMISES – SUMMER WALKER

Done feeding off the anguish 
This is not another anthem
This problem is continuous
This one time isn’t random
Done being the star of your show
Quit entertaining your fandom
Quit acting like a child
Stop doing your temper tantrums 
– Reggie Johnson

REVIEW: DREAM OF THE LAKE – CAROLINE M. MAR (BULL CITY PRESS)

Mar brings us to a past world, painted as vividly as ours, made of pretty words and tragic events that leave us feeling wet and sticky, as if the algae of the lake refuse to let us free from it. – Valentina Linardi

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TPQ20: S2EP10 – SAEED JONES

Join Chris and Courtney Margolin of The Poetry Question in a sitdown with Saeed Jones, author of Alive at the End of the World (Coffee House Press), about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry! 

REVIEW: AS SHE APPEARS – SHELLEY WONG (YESYES BOOKS)

With a hint of irony she reminds us of all the rules we’ve been exposed to growing up, of the smallest signs we have to use every day to express ourselves in front of the societal expectations. – Valentina Linardi

REPLAYS: NATURALLY – TINASHE

Discussing you only as nouns
When the actions made you a verb
No review of you in my book
I’ll just remember you as blurb
– Reggie Johnson

REVIEW: NOT FLOWERS – NOREEN OCAMPO (VARIANT LIT)

This collection of life-flowers reminds us that life may be ordinary, but this ordinary may just be lovely enough to convince us that we want to be in it. – Melissa Ferrer

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TPQ20: S2EP9 – KYLE TRAN MYHRE (GUANTE)

Join Chris and Courtney in a sit down with Kyle Tran Myhre (Guante), author of Not a Lot of Reasons to Sing, But Enough (Button Poetry), about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REVIEW: CUSTOMS – SOLMAZ SHARIF (GRAYWOLF PRESS)

[This collection takes a] hard look at the challenges of existing in exile, of growing accustomed to the comforts of America, and of conflicting feelings around claiming a home to which the speaker cannot return. – Ronnie K. Stephens

SPEAK FREELY: FORMAL VERSE AS AN ACT OF RESISTANCE

“The activist in me wants students to grapple with how form, and departure from form, serves as commentary on systemic oppression and gatekeeping”. – Ronnie K. Stephens

REPLAYS: LITTLE STORY – KEHLANI

The nightmare is when all the magic stops
Boogeyman syndrome, stay away
– Reggie Johnson

REVIEW: SOMEWHERE A WOMAN LOWERS THE HEM OF HER SKIRT – LAURIE RACHKUS UTTICH (RIOT IN YOUR THROAT)

“Whether through trauma endured in war, drug use, or poor living environment, Uttich pulls the reader into a leaving with traces of those absences”. – Catie L. Young

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TPQ20: S2EP8 – MX. FAYLITA HICKS

Join Chris and Courtney of The Poetry Question in a sit down with Mx. Faylita Hicks, author of Hoodwitch (Acre Books) and EiC of Black Femme Collective, about passions, process, pitfalls, and Poetry! LISTEN IN HERE: https://anchor.fm/tpq20/episodes/MX–FAYLITA-HICKS-e1f0ctn   FAYLITA HICKS (she/they) is the author of HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019), a finalist

REVIEW: HEADLESS JOHN THE BAPTIST HITCHHIKING – C.T. SALAZAR (ACRE BOOKS)

“The idea of losing blood to be filled with salvation, to make sacrifices, to hitchhike trying to find a way home – these speak to overarching themes throughout”. – Amanda Rabaduex

TALK TO ME: MORDECAI MARTIN WITH ARDEN HUNTER

“When I’m in the middle of creating I’m actually not very reflective; I don’t sit back and think, ‘why am I doing it this way?’ I just get a bit possessed by it and power through”. – Arden Hunter

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TPQ20: S2EP7 – NATE MARSHALL

Join Chris of The Poetry Question in a one-on-one about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry with the author of Finna (Penguin Random House), Nate Marshall.

REPLAYS: RENT MONEY – MARY J. BLIGE & DAVE EASTc

Not a care in the world
Learning about one’s self 
Take what I know now 
And protect myself and mental health
Protect my peace
Now I’m up here living with my life on a lease
– Reggie Johnson

REVIEW: BLOODFRESH BY EBONY STEWART (BUTTON POETRY)

Stewart is at her best, masterfully blending her understanding of craft with her keen ear for orality to offer a collection readers will be talking about for years. – Ronnie K. Stephens

REVIEW: CONNOTARY – AE HEE LEE (BULL CITY PRESS)

Connotary is an incantation into remembrance. And an edification from where one has been and is always going. And still is also this gift, this display, of honor and renewal. – Melissa Ferrer

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TPQ20: S2EP6 – JOAN KWON GLASS

Join Chris & Courtney of The Poetry Question in a sit-down conversation with Joan Kwon Glass, author of Night Swim (Diode Editions), about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REVIEW: THE SCIENCE OF DEPARTURES – ADALBER SALAS HERNANDEZ / TRANS. BY ROBIN MYERS (KENNING EDITIONS)

“The Science of Departures is the product of a poet whose words double as his hands, and there is so much to read – so much to feel”. – Lyra Taylor

REPLAYS: HRS & HRS – MUNI LONG

Who knows how one’s body could have
All the answers to our questions
Thank you for your blessings
– Reggie Johnson

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TPQ20: S2EP5 – JAE NICHELLE

Join Chris and Courtney in a sit down with @CropTopAssassin, author of The Porch (@yesyesbooks), in a conversation about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

Cover of This House

REVIEW: THIS HOUSE – REHEMA NJAMBI (THE EMMA PRESS)

“When we write about family, we tread a complicated tightrope between sentimentality and honesty; The way that Njambi writes about family is what pulls each poem together”. – Caitie L. Young

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TPQ20: S2EP4 – PRAISE OSAWARU

Join Chris and Courtney in a sit down with Praise Osawaru, Contributing Editor at Barren Magazine, Reader for Chestnut review, and 1st place winner of the 2021 Valiant Scribe Poetry Prize. 

HEY EVERYONE, IT’S SEXYTIME!

IT’S HERE! IT’S HERE! IT’S HERE!

The first of The Poetry Question’s 2021 Chapbook Contest winners has finally arrived! It is SEXYTIME by Lynne Schmidt! 

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TPQ20: S2EP3 – KB

Join Chris, of The Poetry Question, in a one-on-one with KB, author of How To Identify Yourself with a Wound (Kallisto Gaia Press), about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REPLAYS: JOHNNY P’S CADDY – BENNY THE BUTCHER & J. COLE

Done giving you a reason
You can’t take my words 
And make your own
You don’t have your own seasoning
Soon you’ll learn there’s no appeasing me
Within good reasoning
– Reggie Johnson

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TPQ20: S2EP2 – SEEMA REZA

Join Chris and Courtney of The Poetry Question as they sit down for a talk with Seema Reza about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry! 

REVIEW: RETURN FLIGHT – JENNIFER HUANG (MILKWEED EDITIONS)

“We love our families as hard as we can. We push forward. We learn languages that don’t lead us to shame because sometimes we “live in a perpetual state of I don’t know”. – Chris Margolin

SPEAK FREELY: EBONY STEWART TRANSFORMS LIVED EXPERIENCES INTO AWARD-WINNING LITERATURE

“…let us be intentional in recognizing the incredible contributions that women of color have made & continue to make, not just in literature but in all fields”. – Ronnie K. Stephens

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TPQ20: S2EP1 – GABRIELLE BATES

Join Chris and Courtney of The Poetry Question in a sit down with Gabrielle Bates about passion, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REPLAYS: SET IN STONE – DANNY LONDON

So when it’s all said and done
It’s done, nothing to be said
– Reggie Johnson

MUSES Vol. 3: STETSON BENNETT AND THE YEAR OF THE QUARTERBACK

“I was once told by an editor that I “don’t write real poetry”. How is this any different from people saying that Bennett had a mediocre arm”? – Chris L. Butler

REVIEW: GROWN OCEAN – MATT MITCHELL (WORD WEST)

“Grown Ocean is a collection about love as much as it is a collection of disenchantment with the world”. – Chris L. Butler

REPLAYS: EAZY – THE GAME & KANYE WEST

“They wanted to say my life was a wrap
So I started to rap
I was the gift of many Christmases
Wish I could take my presence back”
– Reggie Johnson

REVIEW: BELOW TORRENTIAL HILL – JONATHAN KOVEN (ELECTRIC ECLECTIC)

“[The reader is left to] examine whether or not there really is a “better” existence; or if we are all destined to simply live the life we’ve been given, and nothing more”. – Chris Margolin

REVIEW: SUCH COLOR BY TRACY K. SMITH (GRAYWOLF PRESS)

“[There is a] willingness to engage space as a living entity, something that is at once incomprehensible and animate”. – Ronnie K. Stephens

REPLAYS: YOU & ME – GUNNA & CHLÖE BAILEY

They wouldn’t know about
What you and I have
And what I have going on with you
Listening to your wants and needs
Means someone got things to do
– Reggie Johnson

REVIEW: SCENES FROM A GOD MOVIE – DAVID ROSS LINKLATER (SPECULATIVE BOOKS)

And we are most definitely not here to survive and die, but rather to survive within the noise, and then die. – Chris Margolin

EVERYTHING IS A POEM: SPAM AND SOY SAUCE SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH RICE

There’s a deep hurt I feel when I share my food with others and they respond with, “That looks gross!” – Alex Dang

REVIEW: FOCAL POINT – JENNY QI (STEEL TOE BOOKS)

“With life, there is loss. Yet it all feels wrong. One of the most jarring things about grief is not that the world moves on: it is that the world moves on so quickly and seamlessly”. – Whitney Hansen

REPLAYS: SACRIFICE – THE WEEKND

I don’t want to sacrifice
Any more time
Because you are all in my memories
And the good that came from it was of you leaving me
– Reggie Johnson

REVIEW: SPEAKING CON SU SOMBRA – ADRIAN ERNESTO CEPEDA (ALEGRIA PUBLISHING)

These emotional trinkets become the void where sadness echoes. – Marisa Silva-Dunbar

REVIEW: HOW TO IDENTIFY YOURSELF WITH A WOUND – KB (KALLISTO GAIA PRESS)

KB recognizes the wound as equally capable of memorializing beautiful, if painful, memories. – Ronnie K. Stephens

SPEAK FREELY: TEACHING BODY POLITICS AND THE SONG OF RESISTANCE

Gibson’s version is more culturally responsive and inclusive, inviting discussion into the limitations of Whitman’s perceptions of the body, who determines the worth of specific bodies, and how society uses language to establish a hierarchy of humanity. – Ronnie K. Stephens

BROWN STUDY: LYSZ FLO – “Libeté”

“Libeté is a play in three acts masquerading as a stream of consciousness poem. As the poet unspools her themes, the importance of performance and play takes center stage as a means to exploring the matter at hand: liberty. Freedom. Liberation. But not just any liberation, Libeté”. – Jeni De La O

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TPQ20: EPISODE 25 – DARIUS SIMPSON

Chris sits down with Darius Simpson, winner of the 2020 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, to talk about all things passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

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TPQ20: EPISODE 23 – KAZIM ALI

Chris and Courtney sit down with Kazim Ali, Editor/Founder of Nightboat Books, and Department Chair for Literature at UC San Diego, about all things passions, process, pitfalls, poetry… and Choose Your Own Adventure!

END-OF-THE-YEAR DONATIONS

Thank you for allowing us the ability to continue bringing you fresh content each week. We truly cannot do this without your support! – TPQ

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TPQ20: EPISODE 22 – REAGAN MYERS

Chris sits down for a one-on-one with Reagan Myers, author of Afterwards (Button Poetry), to talk about passions, process, pitfalls, poetry… and YA lit!

REPLAYS: NOTE TO SELF – RUSS

“It took myself to see that I used to be one-note
Sometimes my actions didn’t match up when I spoke
It took a lot of time for me to dive deep when I wrote
So sink or swim when I go on a whim
I hope you able to float”
– Reggie Johnson

TALK TO ME: SAMANTHA FAIN

“It may be too niche at times, I’m sure, but overall I think its goals are the same as those without a tv show backdropped in it: to (maybe re)create characters and a world that describes how they live beside or with their sadness”. – Samantha Fain

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TPQ20: EPISODE 20 – ALAN CHAZARO

Chris sits down with Alan Chazaro, author of Piñata Theory and This Isn’t a Frank Ocean Cover Album (Black Lawrence Press), to talk about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REPLAYS: I HATE U – SZA

“I’m so sick of the inconsistencies
Like a minute ago you was digging me
Smitten me
How you fall in love and the next minute
You want to get rid of me?”
— Reggie Johnson

MUSES VOL. 2: THE 90’S SILVER SURFER ANIMATED SERIES

“The poetically crafted inner monologues of the Silver Surfer that must’ve entrapped my consciousness back then. I realize now he was a poet on this show”. – Chris L. Butler

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TPQ20: EPISODE 19 – HANNAH COHEN

Courtney and Chris sit down with Hannah Cohen, author of Year of the Scapegoat (coming Spring of ’22 from Glass Poetry), to talk about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REVIEW: SUPERDOOM – MELISSA BRODER (TIN HOUSE PRESS)

“Together, the poems function a bit like a greatest hits album, showcasing the breadth of style and distinct humor for which Broder is known”. – Ronnie K. Stephens

REVIEW: SACRILEGIOUS – CHRIS L. BUTLER (FAHMIDAN)

“Because religion can be found inside a Walkman. Inside a radio song. A news segment. Because inside these personal stories and erasures of 2Pac lines, we find a refreshed and re-defined sense of The Word”. – Chris Margolin

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TPQ20: EPISODE 18 – PATRICK ROCHE

Chris sits down with Patrick Roche, author of A Socially Acceptable Breakdown (Button Poetry), for a one-on-one conversation about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REPLAYS: AFTER LAST NIGHT – SILK SONIC

If I could have one wish
we’d make up the whole constellation
The only shining star I need
To light up the night
– Reggie Johnson

REVIEW: STOKED & THRASHING – CLEM FLOWERS (ALIEN BUDDHA PRESS)

“Stoked and Thrashing is a masterclass of sensory engagement in writing”. – Whitney Hansen

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TPQ20: EPISODE 17 – ASHLEY ELIZABETH

Chris and Courtney sit down with Ashley Elizabeth, author of You Were Supposed to be a Friend (Nightengale & Sparrow), for a conversation about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REVIEW: PECULIAR HERITAGE – DeMISTY BELLINGER (MASON JAR PRESS)

“By revisiting historical moments and paying respects to figures that came before her, the author shines light on the issues we still are dealing with today”. – Reggie Johnson

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TPQ20: EPISODE 16 – TAYLOR BYAS

Chris sits down for a one-on-one conversation with Taylor Byas, author of Bloodwarm (Variant Lit), for a conversation about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

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TPQ20: EPISODE 15 – DeMISTY D. BELLINGER

Join Courtney and Chris Margolin for a sit down with DeMisty D. Bellinger, author of Peculiar Heritage (Mason Jar Press), for a conversation about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REVIEW: YELLOW RAIN – MAI DER VANG (GRAYWOLF PRESS)

“Mai Der Vang masters contemporary poetic structures, grounds her verse in vivid and haunting imagery, and carries a central narrative throughout the collection”. – Ronnie K. Stephens

TALK TO ME: CLAIRE TAYLOR

“I wonder if I can write an entire manuscript centered around the lines from [the Growing Pains] theme song. And that is what I did”. – Claire Taylor

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TPQ20: EPISODE 14 – JOSE HERNANDEZ DIAZ

Chris sits down for a one-on-one conversation with Jose Hernandez Diaz, Editor of Frontier Poetry, on passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REPLAYS: THROW IT AWAY – SUMMER WALKER

And how did you throw it away
That’s the words I mustered up to say
How you just throw it away
You did everything to go and not stay
How you gonna throw it away
Thankful that you let us go separate ways
How you gonna throw it away
– Reggie Johnson

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TPQ20: EPISODE 13 – RITA MOOKERJEE

Courtney & Chris Margolin sit down with Rita Mookerjee of Honey Literary to discuss all things passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REVIEW: EVERY JOURNAL IS A PLAGUE JOURNAL – RAYE HENDRIX (BOTTLECAP PRESS)

“Hendrix does not shy away from the complex, daily horrors that were ushered in, and the microscopic to multidimensional trauma that came from hearing the city cheer nightly, like a ritual or like war”. – Rachael Crosbie

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TPQ20: EPISODE 12 – ARIANA BROWN

Chris Margolin sits down one-on-one with Ariana Brown, author of We Are Owed, for a conversation about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REPLAYS: VISITING HOURS – ED SHEERAN

If heaven had visiting hours
I’d probably cry and never want to leave
If time could stand still for a second
I would beg and plead
Until the next time I see you all
Hopefully you’ll have stories for me
– Reggie Johnson

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TPQ20: EPISODE 11 – CHEN CHEN

Courtney and Chris Margolin sit down with Chen Chen for a conversation about passions, process, pitfalls, and Poetry. They might also talk about Russian literature, Buffy, and the horrors of getting sucked down a mall escalator. This is quite the conversation!

REVIEW: EDEN – ROBERT FREDE KENTER (FLOODLIGHT EDITIONS)

“It is a compelling masterpiece of a book that I recommend to all who love visual poetry and those willing to delve into something new.” – Kari Flickinger

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TPQ20: EPISODE 10 – DARE WILLIAMS

Courtney and Chris sit down with Dare Williams for a conversation about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REPLAYS: MOTIONLESS – BIA

You used to eat away at my psyche
Listening to my mind thinking you like me
New checks turned into Nikes
New balances turned into might be’s
– Reggie Johnson

REVIEW: LITTLE ROOMS WITH BAD LIGHTING – MAGI SUMPTER (GHOST CITY PRESS)

“Each poem acts as a space that was once inhabited with the speaker or those they hold dear. Each poem holds a period of time”. – Whitney Hansen

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TPQ20: EPISODE 9 – DEESHA PHILYAW

Chris and Courtney sit down with Deesha Philyaw to talk about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REVIEW: ALL THE NAMES GIVEN – RAYMOND ANTROBUS (TIN HOUSE)

“Antrobus includes several poems that recall experiences with incarcerated people, and alludes to his own arrest. These poems speak to the terrible relationship between disability and incarceration by humanizing their subjects.” – Ronnie K. Stephens

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TPQ20: EPISODE 8 – SARAH KERSEY

Chris sits down for a one-on-one conversation with Sarah Kersey about passions, process, pitfalls, and Poetry!

EVERYTHING IS A POEM: BETTER CALL SOMEBODY, AND PLEASE DON’T YELL

“I have also tried to be somebody that I’m not. It hurts to crack yourself into multiple parts. It is the loudest noise. It breaks you”. – Alex Dang

REVIEW: a more perfect Union – TERI ELLEN CROSS DAVIS (OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS)

“Davis invites the readers to join and spark change in the infrastructure of the country to bring about a revolution”. – Reggie Johnson

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TPQ20: EPISODE 7 – DENZEL SCOTT

Chris and Courtney sit down with Denzel Scott to discuss passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REVIEW: LINEAGE OF RAIN – JANEL PINEDA (HAYMARKET)

“Pineda isn’t injecting a false sense of optimism into her collection, but rather the whole narrative arc is meticulously designed, starting with the positives before masterfully shifting into the reality”. – Joseph Edwin Haegar

MUSES VOL. 1: ANDRE 3000 REMINDS US OF THE POWER INSIDE HEARTFELT ART

“Rappers like Andre Benjamin remind me that poems are the tender glove we need during despair, and the spiked bat of words that can be wielded against injustice” – Chris L. Butler

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TPQ20: EPISODE 6 – TODD DILLARD

Chris sits down with Todd Dillard, author of Ways We Vanish (Okay Donkey), to talk about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry.