Posts Categorized: Poetry

Public Poems

Here’s a project for your weekend: Write a poem and then send it off into the world — into the hands of a stranger, maybe, or chalked into the sidewalk.

This can be difficult for us writers who want to keep our poems safe and warm until they are nestled into the pages of a respected publication, so consider it a brave and generous thing to let one of them wander into the unknown.  The GOOD people want you to take that leap, and then send them a photo of it.  Are you up for the challenge?

Of course, if your poem gets shy, you can always send it to us.

Photo by miki via flickr.

Head Off and Get Head Off and Split

In case you haven’t heard,  2011 National Book Award nominations were released in mid-October, and among the five titles (the winner will be announced November 16th in New York) named is Nikky Finney’s latest collection, Head Off & Split. I read the book this summer after attending a workshop with her, but have been surprised to discover many of my colleagues do not know her work at all.

In Head Off & Split, Finney invokes many influential African-American figures–Rosa Parks, and Condoleezza Rice, for example, in addition to a girl struck by lightning and a woman stranded in the floods of Katrina. While the collection deals with particular historical moments and people, and while she engages in a specific dialogue, these are in no way limiting; rather her collection serves as a much needed light in contemporary  American poetry. Finney’s dedication to what can be salvaged, her unfaltering consciousness and conscientiousness, and her dedication to the sublime power of language demand our attention. This fourth book is stunning, a definite must-read.

You can find more of her work here, or listen to her read     the poem “My Time Up With You” from Head Off & Split

The City, Our City

Contributor Wayne Miller‘s new poetry collection, The City, Our City, is now available from Milkweed Editions as a paperback and e-book!

A series of semi-mythologized, symbolic narratives interspersed with dramatic monologues, the poems collected in The City, Our City showcase the voice of a young poet striking out, dramatically, emphatically, to stake his claim on “the City.” It is an unnamed, crowded place where the human questions and observations found in almost any city—past, present, and future—ring out with urgency. These poems—in turn elegiac, celebratory, haunting, grave, and joyful—give hum to our modern experience, to all those caught up in the City’s immensity.

You can read his poem, “The People’s History,” in issue 33.1, which also startles and haunts and compels:

The People moved up the street in a long column—
like a machine boring a tunnel. They sang
the People’s songs, they chanted the People’s slogans:
We are the People, not the engines of the City;
we, the people, will not be denied. Then the People
descended upon the People, swinging hardwood batons
heavy with the weight of the People’s intent.
And the People surged, then, into the rows before them [ . . . ]

Gathering Radiance

Dear Poetry People,

This weekend here in Indiana was glorious–a positively tropical 75!–and as a result I decided to take a drive through Brown County State Park to marvel at the magnificent reds and golds. I had forgotten, however, about wind and rain the previous week, and upon passing through the gate was devastated to see many of the turned leaves fallen, or hanging brown. I forgot how fast autumn goes, how easy it is to miss a season, or let life drain by. As I drove back, cider in hand, I couldn’t help long for a copy of  Louise Gluck’s chapbook October. It is a lyric beauty that both rails against and welcomes, questions and illuminates, the coming darkness that October foreshadows. Each year her words somehow prepare me for an impending winter, all the while reminding me of the wonder in a flagrant fall that announces its arrival. May you too enjoy October, for:

“This is the light of autumn; it has turned on us.
Surely it is a privilege to approach the end
still believing in something.”