“I search Craiglist for sadness: a white couch the only result.” begins “Weeks After My Brother Overdoses,” the final poem in Kerrin McCadden’s chapbook, Keep This to Yourself (Button Poetry 2020). McCadden’s latest collection is a strikingly blunt yet beautifully lyrical meditation on what it means to lose a loved one to America’s current opioid crisis.
Turn It Up! Music in Poetry from Jazz to Hip-Hop, edited by Stephen Cramer, is a vibrant and hip anthology of 400 pages, including poems by everyone from Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, and Rita Dove to Yusef Komunyakaa, Kim Addonizio, Kevin Young, and Danez Smith. The book contains 88 poets in all (the number of keys on a piano), and is split up into three sections: poems about jazz, poems about blues and rock, and poems about hip-hop.
To read Bodega by Su Hwang is to immerse oneself in a world, but to read this debut poetry collection in tandem with Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong is to deepen one’s understanding of what it means to be raised in the United States as a Korean daughter of immigrants. Both offer prismatic sides of living in a racialized nation where “Asian American” is a box to check off on official census documents, and another way to categorize human experience.
I have always enjoyed a deceptively simple word problem. When used in this context, the adverb could mean both that the word problem is deceptive in pretending simplicity, but also that it is simple despite its deceptively intimidating appearance. The former iteration is the case, here.
Dirt, rock’s clatter on pine boards, / smooth grey stone on smooth gray stone.
Night after night, talking on the phone, / we give over to a crackling, a circuitry, a crux
Hiram had been avoiding the gay son of his recently deceased friend Tru Rasmussen. First, prior to his friend’s passing, he had run into the young man, Eldon, and his fiancé, Jasper, when they were registering for wedding gifts at Wal Mart. At the time, he didn’t think Eldon could’ve recognized him.
This guy Lev, at the dinner party said, / If you don’t want your kids to have sex don’t finish the basement. / I don’t remember anything anymore, my 52 year old brain a soggy piece of kale, / but I remembered what Lev said.
A room of solitude, the world. / Out the window huffs of wind / do what they can to enunciate. You listen / like a monk. A votive hula flame.
“I sing these songs all through the dark, after everyone’s left.” The myth of the sirens has been used throughout history, to shame women or empower them, but always to warn men—women too can be dangerous. Their songs shipwrecked men, or lulled them into a vulnerable sleep, in some myths the sirens were even sent to find Persephone who had disappeared into the underworld. Kateri Lanthier’s second collection Siren, is as many-layered and multi-faceted as the myth of the sirens.
I worked in media monitoring for a long time. I’m talking over a decade. Ten years and two months to be exact. Boy did I know my way around media monitoring. It’s an international environment so we were gang-raping the English language every conference room we went into.