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.
My mother was a beautiful bird who fluttered around people in a state of constant agitation. Terrified of being trapped, she was always opening windows, even in the middle of January, and rushing out of doors “to catch a breath of fresh air.” Once outside, she would disappear in an instant, only to return hours later, the wind and leaves and twigs in her hair.
To read a Bridget Lowe poem is to observe a gradual transformation, a transmutation of the ordinary into progressively more extraordinary metaphysical states. Anyone who read Lowe’s first book At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky will be excited to see, in her new collection My Second Work, a return of the same immense imagination, which she utilizes with surgical precision to prod at what makes us human.
All day I watch boats from the living room window. I do other things, of course, but I always come back to the boats—yachts, skiffs, catamarans. Occasionally, there’s even a dinghy, white or blue, with a small figure aboard, paddling madly.
I used to think there could be nothing lonelier than boating, but these days, I have reconsidered.
Warm, radiant afternoon after days and days of rainy gloom,
the girls bursting with born-again good intention.
“I want to eat more vegetables. Carrots and broccoli and green beans,”
Giulia announces from her car seat.
I wait. I listen. I look. Nothing happens. I think, so, this is hunting.
I should know/emergency/Call your/new/feelings
The Social Distance Reading Series
Brought to you by The Vermont School and Green Mountains Review
We’re thrilled to host The Social Distance Reading Series, a collaboration between Green Mountains Review and The Vermont School poets. In the wake of book event cancellations due to COVID-19, this pop-up series is designed to offer poets a platform for launching new collections of poems. At this point, we are focusing on collections by poets whose book events have been cancelled between January through May 2020.
Stay tuned for a new reading each Wednesday and Sunday.
–Didi Jackson, Major Jackson, Kerrin McCadden, and Elizabeth Powell, series curators.
What is metaled, what is stretched taut enough?
What’s said –an albatross “happens”– back-lit by white and golden flurries of clouds.
Through a shop window, I watch a man / strip a mannequin / down to her fiberglass shell.
Dana Roeser’s All Transparent Things Need Thundershirts is a book of long, narrow poems that move lightly and deftly from one strand of experience to another, in the hope that such leaps will reveal a single underlying pattern of experience. This hope is fulfilled poem after poem, with the work never feeling overdetermined.