Poetry We Admire: New Beginnings


For this month, we looked for poems published recently that speak to the theme of new beginnings. These poems all offer a fresh perspective on what it means to begin, to start over, to revive and resurrect—as well as exemplify the best of what our poets’ community is offering today.



Needles should
freeze in hell. I told my dad I was scared
but wouldn’t cry when I got pricked. He
laughed, pinched my arm. Oh, positive.
After this, many things became apparent.

Like, I’m adopted.

from Fosters Freeze

by David Thomas Martinez in Virginia Quarterly Review

Crass, funny and tender, “Fosters Freeze” gets right to the ambivalent heart of change: things never really do. Martinez packs these lines with his usual masterwork of craft, punctuating each stanza with the delightful refrain of our childish narrator: Oh, positive. 



I drip the sweat of privilege, assuming the future will be like now.
At my age, it won’t.

from Egg

by Joyce Peseroff in AGNI

Peseroff’s poem pivots on a solitary egg from her fridge, thrust into being a symbol of the past, of luxury, of age, of change, of history. The egg, full of multitudes, is a poem on its own—a trigger for the poet to associate around and through to a dream of the future.



In the morning, eat nothing
& grits. Allow the wolf in the egg
called Wednesday the occasion to sit
angry at your table. You’ll be nervous
to eat the berries he brings

from Notes for Sobriety

by Jacob Sunderlin in Beloit Poetry Journal

Always a precursor to transformation, sobriety holds weight as an eternal subject for poets—and Sunderlin captures well here the frightening absurdity of the process. The baffling leaps of association, the disproportionate terror of a Wednesday, the dragging days and sudden creative bursts—”Notes for Sobriety” has it all.