Conversational in style, James Knapp’s poetry revels in irony in “Dimensional Detachment Therapy”— “I walk around department stores/in my pajamas”— and employs the consequential in “Silver Linings”— “Somewhere/past the flickering/yellow light I know/you’re waiting for me.”
Read “Solar Subjugation” or “Sun-Shattered Bird” by Toni La Ree Bennett and heed the poet’s warning of humanity’s demise on Earth: “And as eons pass, our descendants, if we have any,/will look back at our broadcasts and streaming/and twitters and posts and smile wistfully/at our childish excitement.”
Claudia Glenn’s poetry envelops a quiet nostalgia, but in “Nana Stares Out the Window” nostalgia becomes wisdom: “Every morning the bird returns/And every morning she is greeted/By the wonder of a child/Who just saw their first snow/And the wisdom of a woman/Who decides to make a snow angel/Knowing it could be her last.”
Emily Wong draws poetic sustenance from nature’s presence. Whether in “Moths,” “Meet Me At the Stairs,” or “Change Will Come?,” natural metaphors ground the poems: moon becomes an “empress,”; dawn “the birth of light/after a long misty night,”; and day when “the light is bland,/and the colours don’t dance.”
Figurative language is the essence of poetry, but its timbre is varied from poem to poem—“energetic,” “vital,” “arousing” are descriptors in Mari Pack’s poetry. See “The Milky Way As Path to the Other World”: “a life of too many sugar syrups/meat caught in a blender, coughing up/nothing but dust –/high pitched notes/ shattering in round, operatic soprano holes.”
Page Leland’s prose poem “Portrait: Woodbury, Indiana” is a poetic journey of narration, rhythm, and metaphor in three stanzas with lines such as these: “When we close our eyes, the sky rips open, sounds like bones breaking”; “Pass the time by searching white clouds for a sign of something divine—“; “9 pm, when the sky is dead and black and the moon is only an outstretched hand away.”
The sense of touch is valued in Somnath Ganapa’s poetry: the poems resonate whether the subject is Van Gogh, the beach, or the piano. An example of this gift in “Beginning Piano”: “I gingerly lifted her upper lip with gentle fingers,/ Revealing white and black teeth underneath./Back straight, reverent fingers on middle C,/It was my first time.
Sandeep Kumar Mishra tells stories in his poetry but he never abandons the poetic line. “Pebbles” exemplifies the skillfully crafted narration and metaphorical voice: “But patient jeweller of tides;/Volcano-born, earthquake-quarried,/Heat-cracked, wind-carved,/Death shapes compact among the rocks.”
The concrete image is principal in August Ritchart’s poetry, but don’t mistake it for simplicity, as the image absorbs meaning. See “Visiting Hours”: “You mailed me an Easter basket this year/Inside were some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups/The special egg-shaped ones/I ate them/And these eyes can’t see far enough outside myself to know/ Which parts of me are your hand-me-downs.”
Conjoining the language of music and the agency of poetry, Sara Marron ponders the depth of humanity’s touch. It reverberates in “Some Privileges”: “Putting my arm around your waist, taking your backpack from you to descend the subway/ platform, walking:/In relievo, sotto voce; subito triofale/A direction to make the melody stand out, voices in undertone; suddenly/triumphant.”
There is no escaping the gentle, fully in control poetic voice of Jerrice J. Bapiste. No matter the theme, her poetry blesses with meditative meaning: “My heart knows a deeper/truth. I open/the bag let some air in,/place the stone on my/wooden desk, remember/my mother loves me when/eyes tear up at sunrise/ at the old monastery.”
Rebecca Larkin knows the powerful play of irony, nowhere more so than in her poem “Get It Together”—personification and metaphor as vehicles: “We’re all rooting for him/ TO GET IT TOGETHER,/He’s basically a tree that had its feet cut off/And its nose washed out by acid rain/and its leaves of personality waxed up so hard/they can’t photo-synthesize.”
You can’t escape the pathos that permeates Tabatha Jenkins poetry. In “Grape Jelly,” pathos mixes with reality and evokes tears: “You only have a little while left/before your mind tethers off/ and signals for the end./They’ll come with good intentions/and very little patience,/they’ll only hear what they want to.” True poetry extends pathos to life.