Well, finally, here’s my list of favorite poems for second quarter 2019. All of these poets are accomplished, sensitive writers whose words will pull you right into their worlds.
Dream Tree by Jill Mceldowney in The Shore.
Oh, it was so hard choosing which lines to share here because there’re so many drop-dead gorgeous lines in this poem. Jill is a wonderfully lyrical poet. I want to eat every word.
knows my gravity? Who will love me knowing
the cost of love is love? Who else
loves me blackout
drunk, out of my mind, vicious”
My Ex’s Father by James H. Duncan in Foliate Oak.
This poem is very much a character sketch by the poet of an older man. What I like about it is how James captures the yin and yang of the subject’s personality, how he shakes up people’s assumptions of Republicans or older men. It reminds us that there are no cookie cutter humans.
“he bought weed off my friends
but voted Republican and traveled
with Phish and would ask me
to drive him to the supermarket
sipping a Corona in the passenger seat”
We are Mostly Merciful by Kimberly Grey in Kenyon Review.
I love the hopefulness, the kindness in this poem. Sometimes I despair of hope in contemporary poetry in today’s political and social climate.
“I rehearsed it all night—the absence of mercy,
as a condition to you who said
when I am in the same room as your body I am
in a different room. There’s nothing exquisite
about lashing a thing unless the thing is blazon with want.”
The Math of Anne Sexton by Jen Rouse in Bad Pony Magazine.
Jen captures the mystery of mixed feelings in this short piece. The imagery is wonderful.
“I am never an
easy equation. Maybe you’ll
try to hold my hand during
lunch and I’ll let you, only to purge
you from these swollen eye
sockets with sticks and empty
My Life by Water by M.Stone in Unlost Journal.
This is a found poem made up of titles that flows as smoothly as a low river on a calm day. Composing a found poem isn’t easy. Choosing lines, or in this case titles, that connect effectively isn’t easy. There’s a definite skill and tonal instinct the poet needs and M. has it.
“I rose from marsh mud.
I knew a clean man
in the great snowfall.”
To My Eldest at the Age of Burning by Benjamin Cutler in Barren Magazine.
Oh. This poem. I felt my heart thudding by the end of it. Ben puts so much feeling, yearning, hope, and tears in this piece about his son. It’s my favorite poem so far this year and won Second Place in Barren Press’s inaugural poetry contest.
“Can you hear them, Son – all those hopeless cries
in the orange night? I remember
yours at the threshold of your bedroom door –
how the disorder had become too much”
Another Decade, Another Mouth by Carlina Duan in Narrative Magazine.
This is a beautifully written poem about family, age, illness, and the decisions that come with it all.
“the crack, the salt,
the air parting as wài pó enters the room as she was
of blues and pinks. the needle to save her would cost
The Time I Saw the Earth from NASA’s Mission Control by Chloe N. Clark in The Shore.
I love personal poems and stories with references to space and astronauts. Chloe does a delightful job with this poem and I think it fits nicely with the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
“I’m always most nervous when I’m most
comfortable, but then you say “look”
and the Earth is coming back
a shine of light, of blue, and then
this: the world from far away”
I hope you enjoy this selection of gorgeous,compelling poetry as I have done. Until next quarter, happy reading!