Ever read a crown of sonnets and wish you could read another one, and then more? Me neither, until the winningly, teasingly, loosely, expertly assembled array of fourteen-line items that comprise Sara Wainscott’s Insecurity System. It’s a contender for my favorite first book this year.
At a time when many of us are yearning for clear directions from a reputable source, when a simple how to get from here to there feels impossible, when the world seems anything but ordinary, Kathryn Cowles’ Maps and Transcripts of the Ordinary World is a reminder to see the world around us, a beautiful return to noticing, an invitation to circle and remember.
CRAIG BEAVEN has poems out now or forthcoming in Carolina Quarterly, Third Coast, Prairie Schooner, North American Review, and others. He was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
I imagined myself flying away from my body, away from the tiger, away from the earth and I was safe, I thought, until I felt the big cat’s muzzle press against my belly. I shut my eyes tighter. His whiskers felt like the broom Mother used to sweep our hut and I could feel my shirt wet where his nose met the fabric.
ALISON PRINE’s poems have appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Harvard Review, Poet Lore, and Tar River Poetry among others.
Bar-Nadav wrote in our email correspondence, “Yes, all of my poems are Jewish poems, and no, none of my poems are Jewish poems. That is, I don’t see how any poet could entirely erase her history, her family, her spirituality, and her being from the work she produces.”
The choice of not just writing about the Jew decree but framing it within history by including information about the Emancipation Proclamation and the students in her classroom decades later allows Kumin to explore not only conflict between dual identities (Jewish and American, Black and American) but also connections across people that are caused by hatred and ignorance but can lead to peace. Therefore, “The Jew Order” is not only a Jewish poem but also an American poem.
There is a bright blue vein that runs down Jordan’s forehead, above his left eye. It was there when he was an infant and has never gone away. Over the years, as his mess-ups turned to broken rules and eventually broken laws, Linda would stare at the vein, to remember.
I visited him three times. The first visit we spoke about T. S. Eliot’s play The Cocktail Party and the character he reminded me of, a sort of spiritual psychiatrist: a no-nonsense male authority figure with T. S. Eliot’s world-weary deep rueful skeptical intellect, the waspish sting neutralized by Anglican gentleness with a smile of resignation.
Jewish women poets had to find a balance between being Jewish and American, being secular and religious, and being a woman in a male-dominated society and literary scene.