First Quarter Favorites: The Poets

Here they are, a few of my favorite poems for the first quarter of 2019. Every one of these poets are new to me and I’m so excited about sharing them here and following their work going forward. Enjoy!

Vagabond Mannequin by K.B. Carle in Jellyfish Review – This hybrid piece is poetry to me, Flash Fiction to some. Whatever you call it, it’s the most innovative, creative piece I’ve ever read, in form and word. You do not want to miss reading this work and you do want to know this writer.

1. You are alone in a room of many. You are without the father who loved you once. You slip into cramped spaces until you find yourself outside. You pose as a stranger’s daughter.

*

When Depression Talks Over Me by Lannie Stabile in Kissing Dynamite – This is one of the most expressive poems I’ve read about depression and anxiety that doesn’t slam you like a sledgehammer. No, it’s calmly desperate which is a large part of its strength. Lannie is a poet to watch.

I remember the first time I unhinged my jaw,
            vomiting the swollen stories,
            watching them gurgle in the open air

*

Burn Barrel by Allie Marini in The New Southern Fugitives – This poem begins with how to assemble an actual burn barrel. It caught my attention because when I was a kid in rural Mississippi, we had a burn barrel and it was my chore to burn the household trash. As the poem progresses the barrel transforms, becoming a metaphor for the poet’s own suppression. It’s so very skillfully written.

refashion yourself 

into something clean & less—become a grate, a burn cover, become hardware cloth & trap hot cinders in 

your mouth. limit the risk of combustion. just swallow everything down.

*

The Louisiana Compulsory Education Act of 1916 by Anne Price in Swwim – Another poem of suppression, this one a personal history of how the Cajun-French language was discouraged and suppressed in Southeast Louisiana for generations.

“I see the frayed cover 

     of the Cajun dictionary my mother         

              took out from her drawer only

when
                                                              no one was looking.”

*

Bodies: Sepulcher by Christina Harrington in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine – I love how short and spare this poem is while packing a huge punch. It’s no secret I love short poetry. It takes skill, precision, and thought to sculpt a poem down to its essence. This poet does it brilliantly and the end is exquisitely rendered.

mass like golf-ball size
densely packed
organic bomb breast tissue
ultrasound then biopsy

*

Belly Up by NAOMIE JEAN-PIERRE in Barren Magazine – This poem about infertility is a gut-wrencher. I’m in awe of the courage it took this poet to write it.

there are always a dozen or more million eggs
until there are none.
when that happens
there are no cabinets
and no can do’s.
there are no sisters
with spare uterus parts.
there is only the sole survivor,
the alien nation
of one.

*

Four Things I Bring with Me When I Cast Spells by Jane Fleming in Drunk Monkeys – I love this poem for its surprising imagery that sucks you right into a world of spirits and spells. And it’s fun!

I hold it in my mouth,
rolling it around like it is candy, 
letting it play in pools of mucus, thick, slick—

*

Anniversary by Samyak Shertok in Waxwing Literary Journal – This is simply a beautiful poem made from beautiful language and imagery. This is the poem you want to read when you need a little peace. The perfect poem to end this post.

“How many cups of tea

this bowl must have held?

How many times raised

to Ama’s lips?

How many times washed

clean and put away?

If you lift it to the moon

in your window

she opens

her blue wings.”

*****

Image credit: “Muses” by Joss UÑAC


4 thoughts on “First Quarter Favorites: The Poets

  1. I’ve seen your doubt on Twitter regarding whether you should continue with these. I must say that I save all your posts with selections and check them out sooner or later. I appreciate your doing this. It’s due to your impeccable taste for everything good that we all prosper. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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