A Poetry Daily Prose Feature:
"Midway through my freshman year at college, my roommate, Roger, asked if I would read a poem he'd written and tell him what I thought. I was pleased to be considered a literary person whose opinion might be valued. And my roommate, who would major in geology, had previously shown no interest in poetry. 'Of course,' I said.
"The subject of the poem was the death of Roger's father, and I felt a small shock in reading it, since no one I knew had yet lost a parent. Unfortunately, Roger's poem was a very bad poem. I don't now remember the various ways in which it failed, but there seemed no doubt in my mind. Given the subject, however, what kind of criticism would be appropriate or bearable?
"I began by expressing my condolences, and Roger interrupted quickly to say, No, his father hadn't really died. That was just the subject of the poem. 'But you can't do that!' I exclaimed. Perhaps I didn't actually exclaim, or even say it directly. But it was what I felt. This was wrong, a violation of some rule or code. You couldn't do it, or you shouldn't.
"But why not? What if the poem had been good? Would I have condemned it because it wasn't 'true'? Would factual truth have been transformed into a larger 'truth' (quotation marks intended), determined by literary value? This essay is an attempt to think about these questions."
—Lawrence Raab, Should Poems Tell the Truth?
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"Everyone’s in peril in these poems — no one is safe"
Nolan Feeney interviews Saeed Jones on his new collection, Prelude to Bruise. (Time)
• From Prelude to Bruise, and the PD archive: "Body & Kentucky Bourbon".
Filling a gap in African-American literature:
Jesse J. Holland reviews Voices Beyond Bondage: An Anthology of Verse by African Americans of the 19th Century, edited by Erika DeSimone and Fidel Louis. (Columbia Daily Tribune)
Recently Arrived Titles
These just in... Highlighted titles may be purchased from Poetry Daily / Amazon.com. A complete list of all books and journals recently received at Poetry Daily is also available.
- Inside Spiders, Leslie Shinn (Persea Books)
- City of Eternal Spring, Afaa Michael Weaver (University of Pittsburgh Press)
- The Dottery, Kirsten Kaschock (University of Pittsburgh Press)
- Blue Horses, Mary Oliver (Penguin Press)
- Hearsay, Christopher Ankney (Washington Writers' Publishing House)
- Invasives, Brandon Krieg (New Rivers Press)
- Transversales, Michael Gessner (BlazeVOX [books])
- Eros Is More, Juan Antonio González Iglesias, tr. Curtis Bauer (Alice James Books)
- Motherlung, Lisa Marie Brodsky (Salmon Poetry)
- Résumé, Chris Green (Mayapple Press)
Original articles, interviews, selections from special collections and journal issues, and more are available in the Archives.