Here’s a really captivating article about J.R.R. Tolkein’s scholarship on the Old English epic poem Beowulf and how the white gaze predominates medieval literature.
Book Recommendation: The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison. Includes her essay “Grendel and His Mother.”
Margaret Atwood on The Testaments, the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.
And now…lots of poems…
The Gardner by Nancy Botta at Rusted Honey
Close Reading by Brandon Som
You Say You Said by Marianne Moore
“An Apocryphal History of the Discovery of Migration, or The Sacrifice of the Pfeilstörchen” by Alba Cid, translated by Jacob Rogers
Ideology by Aria Aber
Cloth Birds by Dorothy Tse
The Convert Wants Wounds, Not Scars by Melody S. Gee
River to River by Hai-Dang Phan
A gorgeous haiku from Lize Bard of Haiku out of Africa
Getting a little Biblical now: a poem to Noah’s wife by Maya C. Popa
And my poem for Noah’s wife…
After the Flood
While Noah’s sighs polluted the ruddy beach
littered with the bones of heretics,
their livestock and their predators;
while he thanked God for the early warning,
the strong timber, and exclusion
from the slaughtered multitude
his women walked around him like he was just another corpse,
bobbing and rooting around piles of driftwood and soggy cloth,
picking out the useful things.
I wrote this way back in 2009 after visiting an art exhibition depicting a life sized Noah, drawn in charcoal, assessing the damage of God’s Wrath while looking picturesquely helpless and out of sorts while women scavenged through the rubble behind him. I can’t remember who the artist was.
Photo by Jessica Furtney on Unsplash
The wind stops.
the waves are far away.
Photo by Chris Galbraith on Unsplash
Praying for the wind
to dance in the leaves.
Photo by Studio Dekorasyon on Unsplash
“On August 6 in 1945, the a-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. I was a fourteen year old student. But I didn’t go to school. Instead. I worked in a factory.”
So writes Yasuhiko Shigemoto at the end of his second haiku collection, commemorating the bombing of Hiroshima 74 years ago.
The poems within are devastating, haunting, and viscerally beautiful.
This is why poetry exists.
A-Bomb Dome photo credit