“I know you are reading this poem as you pace beside the stove warming milk, a crying child on your shoulder, a book in your hand because life is short and you too are thirsty.”
This week on the Influence: Poet Lore!
One piece of advice that has helped me grow in spirit as a writer is to pick up and read through every contributor’s copy that comes my way, and seeing that as part of engaging with the community of writers I am (to use the direct and physical metaphor of pages in a magazine) bound to. Doing this, I have come across some great poems and been able to reach out to fellow poets.
This month, I was proud to receive my copies of the latest issue of Poet Lore.
My first encounter with the magazine included work by Jim Daniels as well as Lucille Clifton’s last interview. What moved me to submit, however, was the magazine’s overall format: a selection of poetry from various poets, then a larger/chapbook sized selection from a featured poet, then some essays and reviews at the end. This format says much about the consideration and focus given to the poets and the work included.
This latest issue is a celebration of the female spirit that has driven forward both this country (the cover photo above is from a 1912 Suffrage Parade) and this magazine (PL was founded by Charlotte Porter and Helen A. Clarke in 1889).
The quote above from Adrienne Rich opens up the selection of poetry that, when read through, flows smoothly through the many worlds the poets represent: from junkyards and classrooms in America to the Ganges in India. The featured poet in this issue is Samiya Bashir, whose sonnet sequence enters and opens up the relationship between the legendary John Henry and his wife Polly Ann.
Overall, the editors have done an outstanding job of not only selecting poems for this issue but of ordering them into something that reads like a revelation. The magazine feels like an awesome mix-tape.
To find out more about Poet Lore, click here.
And watch out for the birdies on your way to my own contribution to the magazine:
Jodido – Jose Angel Araguz
this word that for my mother lies
between cracked sun-hardened skin
and being all out of luck
this word a summary
of months tallied in gray hairs
where she wanted to be angry
but dusted old photos instead
this word her word
for me at twenty-two
going hungry and disappearing
before she can finish
describing what it is we share
she might as well be shouting my name
calling me out of my sleeping bag in the living room
to see her off
my six-year-old arms reaching high around
her black apron
the color worn
to the smoke it reeks of
her pen and pad snug in the pockets
curled against me
Sweet ‘N Low packets snapping
like the broken claps of leaves
when she would walk to the car
and thunder off
in the unanimous roar
* picture featured here.