Emily Lerner wrote:
Natalie Diaz, an incredible indigenous poet in the U.S., has the most amazing collection of poems entitled When My Brother Was an Aztec. Here's a poem from her collection that I love:
Why I Hate Raisins
And is it only the mouth and belly which are
injured by hunger and thirst?
Love is a pound of sticky raisins
packed tight in black and white
government boxes the day we had no
groceries. I told my mom I was hungry.
She gave me the whole bright box.
USDA stamped like a fist on the side.
I ate them all in ten minutes. Ate
too many too fast. It wasn't long
before those old grapes set like black
clay at the bottom of my belly
making it ache and swell.
I complained, I hate raisins.
I just wanted a sandwich like other kids.
Well that's all we've got, my mom sighed.
And what other kids?
Everyone but me, I told her.
She said, You mean the white kids.
You want to be a white kid?
Well too bad 'cause you're my kid.
I cried, At least the white kids get a sandwich.
At least the white kids don't get the shits.
That's when she slapped me. Left me
holding my mouth and stomach--
devoured by shame.
I still hate raisins,
but not for the crooked commodity lines
we stood in to get them--winding
around and in the tribal gymnasium.
Not for the awkward cardboard boxes
we carried them home in. Not for the shits
or how they distended my belly.
I hate raisins because now I know
my mom was hungry that day, too,
and I ate all the raisins.
Some of my other favorite collections are:
Unpeopled Eden by Rigoberto Gonzalez
The Animal Gospels by Brian Barker
The Book of Men by Dorianne Laux
Sanctificum by Chris Abani
What are your favorites? These examples are all contemporary (all the poets are still alive), but older stuff is welcome, too!
Todd Parr wrote:
Personally, I love bukowski. Most of the best poetry seems to hurt a little. Or a lot.
What are some of your favorite collections of poetry? Or favorite poets? Poems?
Emily Lerner wrote:Judith, thank you. The change of forum is a good idea. Glad you made it back to this one!
Sorry you had to go to the cold room for them! I'm glad that you did, though. I've been meaning to read some Hirschfield, so I have even more reason to get going on that, now! Ferlinghetti is my favorite of the Beat poets. Took a whole semester on the Beat generation and his works stuck with me. Also adore Wendell Berry!
And Rumi. Ah. Always.
Thanks for leaving a response!
Chris Kott wrote:Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon.
Dan Grubbs wrote:I knew there was some reason I liked you, Redhawk!
Larry Bock wrote:I reread this thread this morning. I feels good to know that I'm not the only one out there. I wish I could explian the looks I get when I'm on a consruction site and I mention that I write poetry. There is always a composition book and a pen in my lunch box. I have been know to climb down a ten foot ladder and jot down an idea or observation for later. Then climb back up and go back to work. One problem I have is I share very little of my work. Evertime I revisit a poem? I make a change in the wording, perhaps move a stanza, eliminate one, add one. It can be frustrating at times....Paul Valery got it right when he mentions "'a poem is never finished, just abandoned".
Larry Bock wrote:I can certainly see why sharing would drive someone to craziness. There are times I'd like to share something with someone, only one person. I write with intent, not an abstract. If it was your birthday, we went out to dinner or danced the night away. I wrote it for you. I'd like you to hear it. This is where it gets stickie. The " hey, remember last month thing?" " I wrote this last night". I know that came out wrong. But there are some times when timing does matter. Lol.