How many nights must it take
one such as me to learn
that we aren’t, after all, made
from that bird that flies out of its ashes,
that for us
as we go up in flames, our one work
to open ourselves, to be
William de Brailes—Noah’s Flood. 1250 (h/t Rabih Alameddine)
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.”
My first issue as poetry editor of This Magazine features the work of Gwen Benaway.
Gwen Benaway is of Anishinaabe and Métis descent. Her first collection of poetry, Ceremonies for the Dead, was published in 2013 and her second collection of poetry, Passage, was released in 2016 from Kegedonce Press. Her third collection of poetry is forthcoming from Bookthug in 2017/2018.
I can’t recommend Gwen’s latest book, Passage, enough.