- “Age Appropriate” by Philip Schultz
- “Dear Reader” by Rita Mae Reese
- “Democracy” by Dorianne Laux
- “A Perfect Mess” by Mary Karr
- “Reading Primo Levi Off Columbus Circle” by J.T. Barbarese
- “Ode to the Happy Negro Hugging the Flag in Robert Colescott’s ‘George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware'” by Anaïs Duplan
- “Circe” – H.D.
- “The Honey Bear” – Eileen Myles
- “Time Problem” – Brenda Hillman
- “Transubstantiation” – Matthew Dickman
- “Facing US” – Amanda Johnston
- “The Blessed Mother Complains to the Lord Her God on the Abundance of Brokenness She Receives” – Mary Karr
- “War Catalogues” – Nomi Stone
I love how dark #1 is, especially the imagery of the scaffolds being full. Reminds me of Springsteen’s “Magic”
Similarly, geez for #4, that “The city feeds on beauty, starves // for it, breeds it.” and “I heard a tenor exhale pure // longing down the brick canyons, the steaming moon opened its mouth to drink from on high”
I’m amused #4 and #5 are all about “commentary on the urban life in NYC”
I don’t really like #6, but I looked up the painting for #6 because I really liked the title, and dang Colescott really pushing the reclaiming depiction. Doing more googling, I found this blog talking about and hoo boy, I don’t think I’ve found something quite as well-intentioned but ultimately racist. It’s also unfortunate because as that blog post points out, the lower woman does look like she’s performing oral sex on the flag bearer which makes the whole poem seem like it’s from her perspective. Maybe that’s intentional. idk.
I love the mix of science, lamentations of time and just little moments in #9.
The shift in tone for #10 is dramatic, sharp and heart-wrenching.
I really hate #11, to be honest. I like “Facing It” (which is also linked below), but I found this parody (1) not a very good revision of the original (the author claims that it is “using the structure of ‘Facing It'” when it’s really just a blatant rip-off similar to how I just ripped off Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘Girl‘”) and (2) just doing race baiting in a way of whites vs. blacks while the original one talked about a universal tragedy. Like god, I really hate how “a white vet’s image” turns into “a white cop’s image” or “no tears” to “tear gas”.
I came back to #4 and read an interview with Mary Karr and found #12. I think I have a new favorite poet, because holy crap, her writing gives me chills. “She begs me for comfort since my own son // was worse tortured. Justice, // they wail for — mercy? // Each prostrate body I hold my arms out for // is a cross my son is nailed to.”
#13 hit me in the same way like Tim O’Brien’s work or “All Quiet Along the Western Front”, especially that last verse.
- “She Walks in Beauty” by Lord Byron
- “Facing It” by Yusef Komunyakaa
- “Ballad of Birmingham” – Dudley Randall
- “Still I Rise” – Maya Angelou
- “Introduction to Poetry” – Billy Collins