Lerner starts this book-length essay with a reading of the perhaps the most famous piece of writing about poetry, from the poem "Poetry" by Marianne Moore, which reads, in its entirety:
I, too, dislike it.
***Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for
it, one discovers in
***it, after all, a place for the genuine.
This poem is the perfect starting point for the examination of the culture-wide contempt toward poetry, but also the ironic respect, deference, and revulsion with which we treat poets. Drawing on the work of Caedmon, Emily Dickinson, and Amiri Baraka, Ben Lerner proves himself a delightful guide through literary history and argument.
This ingenious collection borrows and recontextualizes vocabulary from the US Department of Defense Dictionary of Military Terms. A fascinating exercise in linguistic appropriation that won the PEN Literary Award.
"brown is not a barrier you are
and when you say don't play the race card
you mean don't call me white"
To my fellow POC: Read this, then give it to your white friends to read.
To all the white folks: If there's one book of poetry you read this year, or in your entire lifetime, read this one.
I first discovered Cam through a video a friend shared with me, and knew immediately that I had to have his book. I wasn't wrong.
Transit made my heart pound and sent shivers across my entire body and all the other cliché reactions to a thing so moving and even now I feel myself tearing up just thinking about it. Lyrically beautiful and profoundly harrowing, every word carries the weight of the struggles of being a queer black person in America today. A modern masterpiece that is not to be missed.
"Not a novel, not a memoir, not a lyric" — whatever this book is, it's a fiercely intelligent and sharply funny exploration of a woman's emotional and intellectual development that will have you running to keep up.
Sarah Kay is phenomenal, both on stage and on page.
She might also be the least pretentious poet I've ever read (or heard).
Looking for the perfect graduation gift for that young woman in your life, but don't want to go for the clichéd Oh, the Places You'll Go? Look no further, for Sarah Kay's The Type is the foolproof book of inspiration and affirmation with beautiful illustrations accompanying powerful words (and, you're guaranteed not to have the same gift as anyone else! Not to mention brownie points for Sarah Kay.)
With her debut poetry collection Shraya applies her keen intelligence and awareness of her positionality to white privilege and systematic racism. Shraya pushes past the notion that racism is anything other than commonplace. It's multi-layered and thought-provoking, as well as imaginative and mind-opening. This combination makes this an unflinching, timely, and necessary read. Keep this as an antidote to the legion of white male poets on your syllabus.
I've probably read Cannibal three times through by now, but still manage to glean something new with each reading. Sinclair has opened my empathy to a culture that is otherwise inaccessible to me, boldly challenging xenophobia with vibrant and unapologetically heavy imagery.
Sinclair is a classic-in-waiting and I cannot wait for the day she is taught alongside Maya Angelou and James Baldwin.
This is, quite possibly, the rawest and most brutally honest collection of modern poetry on femininity, love, trauma, loss, and healing that I have read in a very long time. This is a book that I desperately needed when I was younger and not nearly as jaded as I am now, and a book that I can appreciate now, as that jaded person.
An absolute must read for every young woman and highly recommended for anyone who has ever been in love.
(I lent my copy of milk and honey to one of my friends and haven't gotten it back yet.)