Poems in April

Poems in April
The last of poems in April

What a fucking lonely and scary time to be alive, huh? I’m not here to mince words, obviously. It may seem like now is not the time for poetry and other art forms, but I like argue that there is no better time than now for beautiful words and images that make me feel less alone. My collection of pieces for poems in April is small, but each one made me gasp for different reasons. While I usually have a difficult time picking poems throughout the months, this selection of poems in April was probably my easiest one to choose yet (here’s last month’s curation before everything quite literally went to shit). This month, I hardly chose pieces from poets.org to contrast March’s heavy pickings from the daily poetry emails. My solitary pick is “Ghazal !يا لطيف (Ya Lateef!)” by Marilyn Hacker, which felt extremely relevant during the coronavirus. Hacker briefly wrote about the poem, “An American critic wrote, perhaps misinformed, that that last couplet was meant to include one of the ninety-nine names of God in Islam. ‘Lateef’—the kind or gentle one—is one of those names, but ‘Ya Lateef’ is a common exclamation, equivalent to ‘Good God!’ (in exasperation), or even ‘Oi veh is mir…’” I love the second couplet as it accurately describes the disparity between classes during tragedies. The first of my poems in April, “Fire-Jottings” is by Tomas Tranströmer and it was translated by Robin Fulton. The last line in the piece is so stunning and the way Tranströmer injects life through his use of verbs (sparkled, ignites, bellowed, milked, survived) is my favorite part of the poem. Safia Elhillo shared the second poem, “For My Friends, in Reply to A Question” as a first draft on Twitter and holy shit if only my first drafts could read like this one. I can’t think of another poem that so accurately encompasses most of our shared experiences during the pandemic besides this one. No edits ever, please. Aracelis Girmay wrote “Ars Poetica,” which quickly reminded me of my favorite poem ever— “A Small Needful Fact” by Ross Gay (a short piece about Eric Garner)—because of the attention to detail and language about nature. Girmay says so much in her piece without overdoing it, and I already love the small snail. The last two poems in April are ones I saved from threads on Twitter created by a few of my favorite writers, but I can’t seem to find their own authors at the moment. The first one, “Thoughts on Romance as the Heat Index Rises” feels a lot more hopeful with all the love the narrator has to share, compared to “.” which is almost an elegy to a lost love. Both poems are powerful within their short bodies and I wouldn’t have them written any longer.

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