Poetry We Admire: Revolution


Each poet writes toward their own revolution. At this time, unfortunately, there are many revolutions to write towards. Some revolutions are internal, political, take shape in form, or even medium of publication.

The following is a collection of some of the best revolutionizing, recent work challenging the poetic and cultural landscape.



Between you and / me / I look /

for / hostages who are / home with their families


from Erasure of Trump’s Letter to Kim Jong Un

By Jerrod Schwarz in Poet’s Reading the News

Jerrod Schwarz poem is an erasure of a letter from President Trump to Kim Jong-un regarding the cancellation of their summit in Singapore. Impressively, it transforms Trumps oft-illogical word salad and belligerent rhetoric into a unique and precise erasure. It reads calmly, while still engaging the hate Trumps platform is based on.



[5] Mississippi could kindle the entire world with the fallout of its woodwork—five hundred thirty-nine piles of xylographic dust.



By Ashley M. Jones in Diagram

XYLOGRAPHY, at first glance, reads like a figure published as part of a sociological essay in an academic journal. Using statistics from the Tuskegee Institute, Ashely M. Jones uses a bar graph to display lynchings by state and race from the years of 1882 to 1968. Jones buries her poetics in the footnotes, where the rope pressing into a tree branch during a lynching is ironically portrayed as Xylography, the art of making woodcuts or wood engravings.



My mother says “How long has it been? It feels like a prison sentence,”

From In Which President Trump Has Ordered the Detainment of Nearly 2000 Young Boys, Separated Them from Their Families, & Housed Them in Temporary Confinement Facilities Located Inside a Former Wal-Mart, & Attorney General Jeff Sessions Uses the Bible as Justification for Upholding the Law, & I Am on a Road Trip with My Parents & We Stop at a Gas Station in Wisconsin for Lunch & I Am Trying the New Bourbon Barbecue Bacon Brisket Sandwich from Arby’s with a Side of Small Curly Fries & a Diet Dr. Pepper

By John LaPine in Glass: A Journal of Poetry

Selected from Glass’ ongoing Poets Resist collection, John LaPine’s poem strikes a jarring imbalance of word count. His title is over 90 words compared to a brief 21 words for the entire poem. However, his juxtaposition and brevity captures the bleak sense of helplessness during the continuing atrocity that is the separation of families at the U.S. and Mexican border. LaPine’s work is an intimate portrayal of daily and familial life during political strife.



All the lost children hiding in the river

Little lost children making fires in the river


from Song

By Elizabeth Barnett in Poetry Northwest

Elizabeth’s Barnett’s “Song” appeared in the Cinema Poetry NW collection about two years ago, so it is an exception for this list. However, it’s included here because it’s representative of the dynamic, new forms of poetry that even the best organizations are publishing. “Song” is a video, whose lines are hauntingly sung against a short montage of water scenes. Barnett’s work isn’t your high school teacher’s poetry or even your college professor’s poetry. This is part of the new-age, multimodal, golden age of poetry.



What’s the word for the space between a caress and a sore,

That’s where I shored myself into his arms like a reef.


from When he said he hang

By Zefyr Lisowski in Muzzle

We would be remiss to not include a genre-challenging prose poem on this list. We would be even more so not to include work that broaches the Me Too Movement. In addition to these two qualities, “When he said he hang” creates a slow, creeping narrative using a unique and direct verb tense throughout. This is a poem filled with secrets, that only gets better with rereading.