Spare at first seems like a catalog of lucid dreams but soon reveals itself as a map to an ancient dimension still lingering among us. It is a place both mystifying and damning, where the earth itself speaks and the strangest creatures living there are people. One cannot be sure whether the pieces within it are recollections or incantations. “There are traces in the sky of what I mean,” writes Lundeen. Those traces are Spare.
Selections from poets who participated in the reading at Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop on July 20th, 2017. Organized by Jean Yoon, the evening featured performances by Madison McCartha, Yanyi, Jean, and La Llorona.
I've been thinking a lot about the rich stories we tell through food, and the way we create communities around how we nourish ourselves and each other, what a privilege that is, and what stirs us to seek these out.
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Good poems, like good food, excite the senses and nourish the soul. From the dinner party to the picnic, food is at the center of work by Nikki Giovanni, Mark Strand, William Carlos Williams, and others. As part of your balanced diet, be fed and filled by these poems that celebrate eating, feasting, musing and consuming.
Too often, representations of disability in literature conflate the disabled body with the entirety of a person’s identity or relegate characters with disabilities to the role of embittered villain, clown, or victim. In this context, disability serves merely as a way for both the writer and the reader to define themselves as “normal” in contrast. However, the poets in this playlist reveal normalcy as a social construct and thus begin to subvert assumptions about the normal body, the normal person, and the normal citizen. They deform notions of normalcy and rewrite the disabled body not as a metaphor, but as one important aspect of identity.
A selection of poems against hate and injustice in the time of Trump, most drawn from online journals that have made a point to publish political poetry in the months since the election. Journals include: Heavy Feather Review; Yes, Poetry; Love's Executive Order; Banango Street; DIAGRAM; Pinwheel; BOAAT; Dryland; Poetry; and The New Inquiry. The playlist draws its title from Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib's poem of the same name.
These are poems about being haunted, about addiction, obsession, curses, madness, decadence, and mourning.
Syria's capital has recently been in the news as a wounded city. I thought to celebrate it in Verse by creating a Playlist of Nizar Qabbani’s poems in translation. Qabbani (1923-1998) was born in Damascus. His poetry spanned numerous topics and themes, erotic or political, most importantly a celebration of love, for him closely entwined with the written word. The aim of his work was "to free the soul, body and senses", held prisoners in this area of the world. Many who do not read poetry are familiar with his work through popular songs such as the daring affirmation of faith “I testify that there is no woman but You”. Qabbani died in London but wished to be interred in Damascus. In his will, he described his native city as “the womb that taught me poetry, taught me creativity, and gifted me with an alphabet of jasmine flowers”.
A H_NGM_N Playlist for the First Half of 2017