Poems in November

The first of 5 poems in November
The last of 5 poems in November

We’re somehow already in the penultimate collection of pieces for this godawful year, and these poems in November are extraordinary. Last month (read those pieces here) I found all of the writings on Twitter, but these poems in November are a mix of poetry recommendations and daily emails from poets.org. I love these pieces because they’re primarily about love and the connections that remain in our memories forever. The poems seem to capture extremely specific experiences in each writers’ life, which is a practice I’ve been working on in my own writings. The first of my poems in November is “Elegy” by Corey Van Landingham, which was written for David A. Van Landingham, who we can only assume is/was the partner of Corey. An elegy is a type of poem that usually reflects upon grief, death, or loss, and this piece does exactly that. Corey honors and remembers David by making him into an almost Game of Thrones-like protagonist (David of the river, god of / oars) whose characteristics and small experiences are woven into a piece with David’s ultimate demise. Reading how each part of the sickness affected David was difficult to read, even though I was inspired by how Corey froze those moments in time alongside the good ones. Janet McAdams’ “Lie” is another piece that focuses on a particular memory, this one being about a marriage gone wrong between two people who probably shouldn’t have been together in the first place. McAdams doesn’t sound regretful of her choice to be with this other person, but she is confused at the end of the piece about certain moments tied together to the main one that sticks out most. Paul Celan wrote “So Many Constellations,” which I love because I can always talk about space. In the piece, Celan illustrates a scene where two people are observing space matter and the older of the two claims he’s too mature/grown up for such activity. Eventually, however, Celan shows that the joining together of people for a common goal (like finding the closest asteroid) is what’s actually important. “The Thing Is” by Ellen Bass is the only one of my poems in November that isn’t blatantly about love and/or romance. Bass writes about surviving overwhelming trauma and grief and fighting to stay alive instead. I love how the poem addresses deep pain and the unexpected reaction of fighting for something better. The last of my poems in December is “A Rogue Dream” by Melanie Figg, which is probably my favorite of the whole bunch because it was inspired by a piece by Olivia Gatwood (we all know how I feel about Olivia). Figg takes the spooky crime drama route in her piece as she mirrors alternate realities for two high school girls where one has a normal day at school and the other ends up dead. The poem is similar to the theme of Olivia’s Life of the Party and I’m a huge fan of the way Figg imitated Olivia’s story and writing!