"FLITTER / is what she said but what she meant had nothing / to do with the lighting from one bloom to the next / by a monarch or an equally colorful diva at the bar. / What she meant was your privates, your girlie parts, /something you better soap up daily and watch / like a spectacled hawk."
I have breathed into too many balloons / put my fingers in so many cakes / had my body scanned with fingerprints / written out my dreams in lines of the night / traced words into storm clouds / mixed water with mint and bourbon...
Jamaal May was born in 1982 in Detroit where he has taught poetry in public schools and worked as a freelance audio engineer and touring performer. His first book, Hum, received the Beatrice Hawley Award from Alice James Books and an NAACP Image Award nomination. (Photo by Tarfia Faizullah) [...]
Writer Diane Gilliam is the 2013 winner of the $50,000 Gift of Freedom Award from A Room of Her Own Foundation (Photo by Bob Weinberg) It's rare for a book of poetry to have the same narrative tension and sense of place as a novel. But it's a [...]
Concrete Sound (Photos courtesy Audra Wolowiec) There is no new Sunday Poem post today because of the holiday weekend, but I do have Sunday Poem news to share.... Back in April, I featured the one-of-a-kind artist and poetry book Concrete Sound---a collaboration between interdisciplinary artist Audra Wolowiec and poet, [...]
Writer Geoffrey Nutter under the Gateway Arch in St. Louis (Photo by Maria Diaz) The epigraph that opens Geoffrey Nutter's new collection, The Rose of January, (Wave Books, 2013), is from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Lettuce, apple, or melon, in season---so long as it is good....When their hour is past [...]
Patricia Smith (Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths) What was your least favorite age? For many of us, 13 stands out as a particularly hellacious year. Today's Sunday Poem "13 Ways of Looking at 13" by writer and performer Patricia Smith takes us back to those early, tormented [...]
For 15 years poet Nancy Simpson was Resident Writer at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina Note: This introduction is a guest post by Kathryn Stripling Byer, a writer who has also been featured as a Gwarlingo Sunday Poet. Kathryn's essay appears in [...]
Poet Gregory Orr reading at the 2012 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival (Photo by Michelle Aldredge) With his new book, River Inside the River: Poems, Gregory Orr set a high bar for himself. His intention: to write three lengthy pieces that combine the intensity of lyric poetry with [...]
Chin’gak Kuksa Hyesim was the first Zen Master dedicated to poetry in Korea. As translator Ian Haight explains in his introduction to Magnolia and Lotus: Selected Poems of Hyesim (White Pine Press, 2012), the tradition of Zen Buddhist poetry begins with his writing. Translating poetry by a revered monk [...]
James Crews’ poetry collection, The Book of What Stays, is full of evocative landscapes and secret lives. There is the old woman in Chernobyl who refuses to leave, ice fishing with Patsy Cline, and the moving poems about artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres.
Poet Diane Lockward of West Caldwell, New Jersey, discusses her work at Chatham High School (Photo by Stephen Briggs) Diane Lockward's latest collection of poetry, Temptation by Water, is a book of dualities. These closely observed poems, which are largely free verse, are both witty and fierce [...]
Writer Kate Kingston lives in Trinidad, Colorado (Photo by Ron Thompson) I knew I was going to like the poet Kate Kingston the minute she shared this story during our first dinner together at Brush Creek Ranch in Wyoming: "When my youngest son was a teenager, he [...]
Russian writer Marina Tsvetaeva in 1914 “I am happy living simply/ like a clock, or a calendar,” Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva wrote in 1919. Tsvetaeva's life was anything but simple, for she had the misfortune of living through some of the most turbulent years in Russian history. She [...]
Writer Michelle Bitting (Photo by Alexis Fancher) Today's Sunday Poet was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Michelle Bitting was a dancer and chef before devoting herself to poetry. Her collection, Good Friday Kiss, was chosen by Thomas Lux as the winner of the 2007 DeNovo Prize [...]
Writer Terrance Hayes (Photo by Becky Thurner Braddock) "Language is just music without the full instrumentation," says Terrance Hayes. Music is a constant touchstone in Hayes's poetry. "I’m chasing a kind of language that can be unburdened by people’s expectations. I think music is the primary model—how [...]
Writer Kathryn Stripling Byer (Photo by Chris English) As a fellow Georgia native, Kathryn Stripling Byer's poem about a young girl enduring Sunday church service in "a girdle and hose" and singing the hymn "Just As I Am" brought back memories. Byer's latest collection, Descent, is brimming [...]
Poet D. Nurkse D. Nurkse's latest collection, A Night in Brooklyn, captures a Brooklyn of both the past and present in lyrical poems that are both intimate and political. Here is Nurkse discussing his book with Andy Kuhn of the Katonah Poetry Series: My family came here [...]
Brenda Shaughnessy (Photo by Sylvia Plachy) Brenda Shaughnessy's Our Andromeda had positive buzz in the literary community before it was even released by Cooper Canyon Press late last year, and the glowing reviews and accolades from publications like The New Yorker, the New York Times, Bookforum, and Publisher's [...]
G.C. Waldrep's hat (Photo courtesy of G.C. Waldrep) For a writer who has lived a fascinating, unconventional life, the poetry of G.C. Waldrep is remarkably devoid of ego. While other writers with Waldrep’s life experience might be tempted to use their own story as window dressing, Waldrep never [...]
Patricia Spears Jones (Photo by Carl E. Hazelwood) Patricia Spears Jones grew up in Arkansas, but moved to New York City in the 1970s. Painkiller is her third collection, and the book's elegant, empathetic poems show her flair for capturing urban life, particularly New York's metamorphosis over the past [...]
Writer Thomas Rain Crowe About The Laugharne Poems by Thomas Rain Crowe “While visiting Wales for the first time in 1993, I immediately adopted a love for the culture and community, was fondly given the name of ‘Tierec’, and was given permission (in fact, the [...]
Paula Bohince (Photo by Patrick Mullen) "There’s movement in [Paula] Bohince’s poems, but it’s gradual and subtle — an eye passing like Ken Burns’s camera over a still image, discovering new details," writes Eric McHenry in today's New York Times Book Review: The nouns pile up like [...]
Writer Evie Shockley on Signal Hill in Cape Town, South Africa (Photo by Stéphane Robolin) "Evie Shockley seems to step to us wearing an alluring silk gown and steel-toe guerilla boots. She possesses that rare combination of grace and subversiveness." This is poet Terrance Hayes commenting on Evie [...]