year in review

2016 Round-Up: Poetry

I started reading poetry in 2016.

No, I’m serious. I thought I hated it. Turns out, I was just reading bad poetry. It was a case of “it’s not me, it’s you” and I just didn’t know it yet.

Litany in Which Certain Things are Crossed Out, Richard Siken (Crush)

                                    For a while I thought I was the dragon.
I guess I can tell you that now. And, for a while, I thought I was
the princess,
cotton candy pink, sitting there in my room, in the tower of the castle,
young and beautiful and in love and waiting for you with
but the princess looks into her mirror and only sees the princess,
while I’m out here, slogging through the mud, breathing fire,
and getting stabbed to death.
Okay, so I’m the dragon. Big deal.

The Doorway
, Lev Mirov (Pedestal Magazine)

I wake alone, all dry, in the bed where I spend all my dreaming.
In another, star-dusted country, dripping, the Captain spits sea water
though he is miles from the shore, and tries to shake off the cold.
The droplets fall wet like tears across the boundary we were never meant to cross.
I only wanted to be where you are, I say—
though we cannot possibly hear each other, he says: I know.

Try to Praise the Mutilated World, Adam Zagajewski (translated by Clare Cavanagh)

You’ve seen the refugees going nowhere,
you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.

The Changeling’s Lament
, Shira Lipkin (Stone Telling)

I am an anthropologist in the field of girl.
I study
but none of it
ever comes

… and the winner is: “Try to Praise the Mutilated World.” I’ve read it a million times this year. After Election Day, I printed it out and taped it to my desk and invited my shell shocked coworkers to read it. I repeated in my head like a mantra: “You must praise the mutilated world.”

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