William de Brailes—Noah’s Flood. 1250 (h/t Rabih Alameddine)
I’ve been working as poetry editor at This Magazine for a couple of issues now. The first issue I worked on featured the work of Gwen Benaway, whose voice is at once singular & universal. Gwen’s poem, “Pretty,” is online to read (for free!) now. I encourage you to visit the site & read the pc, & then follow up with the rest of her work. Her latest book is called Passage, & there is no way not to be changed by it. I want to thank Gwen for entrusting me with her wonderful writing on my first issue.
The cover image above is for This Magazine‘s Summer Reading Issue, out now in bookstores. It features the work of a few of our finest & most original emerging poets: Canisia Lubrin, Doyali Islam, Natalie Wee, & Basia Gilas. I was absolutely floored by their work & am honoured to be able to share it with you. I hope you will pick up the issue & support independent, progressive media & some truly excellent poets.
Natalya Anderson, curator of the Poetry Extension, was kind enough to interview me recently:
I always had the idea that writing was a long apprenticeship, and I really didn’t start writing until about five years ago. I thought, ‘First I have to read all these books; then I have to open a bookstore.’ In my twenties I did open a bookstore. Then I worked as an editor, so it was, ‘Once I’m done editing, then I’ll write.’ And when I had the bookstore all these people were buying books, and I remember getting this sad feeling of, ‘They don’t even know that I wish I was a writer.’ That started to gnaw at me.
Enormous thanks to Natalya.
Ought not these oldest sufferings of ours to be yielding more fruit by now? Is it not time that, in loving, we freed ourselves from the loved one, and, quivering, endured: as the arrow endures the string, to become, in the gathering out-leap, something more than itself?
For staying is nowhere.
Poetry is so weird & wonderful. I never imagined that writing poems would lead to having a portrait done. This painting is by the multi-talented artist & poet Melanie Janisse Barlow, as part of her Poets Series. In her own words:
“The idea behind the Poets Series is to paint portraits of living poets and let each poet pick the next as a practice of praco-poesis. More simply put, I hoped to create a round robin of poets. I began this work by crowd sourcing poets to begin each branch. I asked the poets who were picked if I could paint a portrait of them, and if they wouldn’t mind selecting the next poet to add to the series. The response has been astounding. As the beginning poets included other poets, and the archive began to grow, branch by branch into an amazing narrative of contemporary poetry. The Poets Series is a celebration of the complex tangle of living poets that belong to a loose archive.”