If you aren’t already aware: it’s National Poetry Month! This month we’ve been tweeting recommendations of first books by astounding poets. Check out our Favorite Debut Poetry Collections for more info. We’ve seen a lot of great responses to these tweets–so we’ve decided to ramp up our game. We’ve asked our staff to think back to a time when they were unfamiliar with poetry–is there a poem or poet that spoke to them? Which collections would they recommend to new poetry readers? Their answers are below.
Posts Categorized: Editor’s Choice
From February 1st to March 31st, Indiana Review is accepting submissions for the 2018 Poetry Prize. Send up to three poems with $20 to enter and recieve a year-long subscription to Indiana Review. The winner will recieve $1000 and publication in the next edition of Indiana Review.
This year, our Poetry Prize Judge is Gabrielle Calvocoressi, whose first book, The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, was shortlisted for the Northern California Book Award and won the 2006 Connecticut Book Award in Poetry. Her second collection, Apocalyptic Swing, was a finalist for the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her awards and honors include a Stegner Fellowship, a Jones Lectureship at Stanford University, and a Rona Jaffe Women Writers’ Award. Her poem “Circus Fire, 1944” received The Paris Review’s Bernard F. Connors Prize. She teaches at the MFA programs at California College of Arts in San Francisco and at Warren Wilson College. She also runs the sports desk for the Best American Poetry Blog.
We asked our editors to share their favorite Calvocoressi poem. This is what they said:
When My Father Was in Prison
We had this bird called Smokey that my brother taught to say Nevermore, but he (Smokey) couldn’t ever really do it since he was the wrong kind of bird. Not a talker, my mother said.
There was a girl across the street whose father was a government functionary. My brother made me repeat the words to get the sounds right and when I asked what that was, he said it was almost the same thing as being in prison, except her father slept at home.
In July, we released a call for the Special Folio: Metallic Grit to be published within our 39.1 Summer 2017 issue. As fall submissions open SEPTEMBER 1st, the IR staff shares the stories, poems, and essays we see reflecting and embodying Metallic Grit.
“Weight” by Franny Choi
What is (inside each question lies another question–a question of weight. What brings you to the bed of this river? What is it about this planet that keeps you running back? Each mouth, for example, lets loose a river of black paint which leads most, if not all the way down to the feet, or what might otherwise be referred to as the stem, if we wouldn’t insist on staying untethered to the molecular dirt that keeps wishing us home. In other words, the question here is one of history, of a family tree that finally stretches its arms beyond the kind of life that breathes oxygen into its gills, or reads most of the way through a listicle, or lies in bed dreading the day, or falls down, down into the earth’s oldest memory until it reaches its first quiet, the lullaby it hums when thinking of something else, the slow breath, the thought that almost becomes a thought just before dawn) your country of origin?
“Weight” will appear in Indiana Review 38.1, Summer 2016: GHOST issue.
Franny Choi is the author of Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014). She has received awards from the Poetry Foundation and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. Her work has appeared in Poetry Magazine, The Journal, Rattle, and others. She is a VONA alumna, a Project VOICE teaching artist, and a member of the Dark Noise Collective.