Internet Poetry Round-Up #2

Most of this week’s poems experiment with form, and play with language and repetition; all four convey an intense immersion in an experience, some aspect of the everyday becoming symbolic or even prophetic.


Sonnet for speech too soft & you who’ve yet to choose a name” by Sam Rush

from Glass: A Journal of Poetry

“Today I keep / the speaker out of me for long enough / to watch a swallow swoon the ghost of song.”

The musicality in this piece is incredible. It reads as easily as free verse but maintains the sonnet form in its constraint to 14 lines and (mostly?) iambic pentameter. Far from these limitations stiffening the piece, they increase the already powerful emotional urgency: repetitions and striking images create a vision both mythic and grounded, comprised of delicate and vivid moments of listening.


harvest” by Erin Emily Ann Vance

from Train: a poetry journal

“I wondered / how much of us had become honey and wine”

A sweet poem in more way than one; the love the speaker has for the “you” flows through run-on imagery of honey and bees and gentleness and getting by. The imagery early in the poem of the affectionate handling of the bees draws a character I can’t help but fall for too.


who gets anything for keeps?” by Patrycja Humienik

from Dream Pop Press

“somebody with a word that could fill an entire mouth”

The scattered form of this poem suggests the same sense of a busy city street and disjointedness that the imagery conveys. The piece muses on language that surrounds but is disconnected, uncommunicative. What’s left is minutia: crosswalk symbols, flowers and mouths reduced to component parts, coming together in a piece both thoughtful and atmospheric.


Stock Footage (kick and spin)” by Lydia Unsworth

from talking about strawberries all of the time

“and we are so warm without even a fireplace or a mantra”

This piece reads like a sexy montage film of everyday life, a delightfully specific stream-of-consciousness. A certain lust for life persists through the scenes, the body retaining an immediacy and magic among mundane daily tasks. The length and unpunctuated prose form can make the poem a bit daunting to read through, but this also creates a fast immediacy and immersiveness. I keep finding myself going back to re-read the poem, but in bits and pieces, cutting it together in new ways like the “stock footage” title suggests.


Internet Poetry Round-Up #1

The internet is chock-full of great poems, and as I’ve been scouting out magazines to send my own poetry to, I’ve had the pleasure of reading all kinds of amazing work. I’d like to start sharing a few of my favourite poems each week, and would love to hear what you’re reading as well!


“For my friends, who save me” by Lily Wang

from The Puritan

            “A tower of sparrows, dirty and simple.”

The imagery in this poem gives me shivers. The focus on birds gives the mind’s eye something to work with, but it skews sideways, is made strange, and is cavalier about this strangeness. The imagery moves from absurd, to cute, to practical, to dangerous, quickly and unapologetically. The grammar of the piece magnifies this tension: mid-line spaces, shifts between longer and very short sentences, and tight repetitions all keep the reader slightly off balance. This piece wastes no space; simple language and tight metaphors practically vibrate with subtext.


“terrestrial helium” by Sam Avery

from Half a Grapefruit Magazine

            “in the end, we were all very wrong about helium”

This piece spins the reader effortlessly between outer space and everyday life. A conversational voice divides ideas neatly into small poems-within-a-poem, then weaves them back together. I’m a long-time fan of the seemingly disparate emotional resonances that can be found rattling around in the supposedly cold-hard-facts world of science, and the subdivided structure of this poem is an effective way of stringing the different elements of the piece together while keeping the pacing tight. The light voice and the odd juxtapositions keep the underlying subject matter of interpersonal tensions fresh.


“You Cut my Hair” by Kara Goughnour

from Oceans & Time by Honey & Lime Lit

            “ each thin sensation of love      a spider wisp”

This piece gets me right in the heart. The imagery is buzzing with sensory immediacy, running together in a prose-y & punctuation-less form. The images flow in a natural order, bound together by small repetitions, but the form encourages you to feel them all at once, suggesting the heightened vividness small moments can take on, especially in love.