It’s been a heavy week, full of loss and pain. Thankfully, we have beautiful artists out there, doing important work to pull us through and give us new language to cope. This week’s round-up is for those mourning after the homophobic attack on Pulse club during their Latin Dance night in Orlando.
“Surviving on Small Joys” by Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib – Back at it again with a beautiful, urgent essay on surviving under oppression, Hanif talks about the value of momentary distraction, silly panda videos, and sharing space with others, even when the grief is too large to talk about.
Two Micros by Safia Elhillo –Micros, at their best, function as a poetic snapshot. In these two pieces, Safia offers us snapshots of grieving, and what it means to mourn in safe spaces and in hostile ones. If this is not enough eloquence on loss, check out her full feature set, “Alien Suite”, from CUPSI 2016 finals stage.
“Labor Day” by Sam Sax –Published in Guernica, Sam’s usual flowing style is turned to history, tracing the path of Labor Day, ending in one of the most gorgeous lines: “ any word / traced to its origin is a small boy begging for water.” Congrats to Sam on his forthcoming book bury it, due out next fall through Wesleyan University Press! You can check out his Button chapbook here.
“Restored Mural For Orlando” by Roy Guzman “…how for me a church is a roof that’s always collapsing.” An MFA candidate at the University of Minnesota, Roy grew up in Florida. This sweeping poem documents how the massacre, Orlando as a city, queerness, and what it is to be a POC intersected for him in this moment. It is a poem to hold grief, rage, and also the things that give us the power to keep living.
30 Over 30: Poet’s Edition by Jocelyn Mosman – If you’ve been to a poetry slam, you’ve probably heard the MC tell the audience about a man who founded poetry slam named Marc Smith and the audience response of “SO WHAT?” But who is this Marc Smith? Who were the folks originally competing in slam alongside him? Who are the current leaders and long-standing slammers around now? This list will tell you, with videos of each poet included.
Summer Classes at the Loft Literary Center – Summer session at Minneapolis’ finest writing center begins next week. Classes include The Art of Imitation, The Craft of Poetry, and more. Not a local? Fear not!! There are online opportunities as well.
Thanks for stopping by to spend a little time with us, and thank you to the brilliant folks out there trying to make sense, if not of violence, of what it takes to survive it. Take care of yourselves, drink water, and come back next week for more poetry updates.