I love pulling together a selection of poems more than almost anything. I love how poems talk to one another, bounce off each other, how a particular gathering can represent some of the range and excitement of American poetry today.
I am incredibly grateful, therefore, to the editors of the Delaware Poetry Review for inviting me to be the guest editor of this issue. I got to see new work by poets I’ve long admired and introduce myself to voices new to me. I am proud to include poems by the late Henry Braun, whose spirit animated several Split This Rock Poetry Festivals, a biennial gathering of socially engaged poets I help organize.
The poems here take on the big issues: History and its contortion of the common human story. Family – both what is precious and what breaks. The body. The press of love, its ache, its sorrow and glee. Illness. Poverty. Suicide. How we are tender to one another and the many and varied ways we are not.
The poets address these subjects using a beautiful, blazing diversity of styles and approaches. Some poems are funny, some tell stories, sing praises, lament. Their language is plain, it is twisted, it is relentless.
I’ll let you choose your favorites.