all of it is you.
You may know Nico Tortorella from his role as Josh on Younger or from his podcast The Love Bomb, but did you know he’s also a poet? In his debut collection, Tortorella focuses his observant, curious eye on the small minutiae of the human body as well as the vastness of the universe. My favorite line? “god. / all of it / in the stars / is you.”
Poetry is the perfect medium for exploring the universe’s most slippery subjects. The poems in Carol Muske-Dukes’ new collection delve into women’s battle for reproductive rights, issues of gun control and climate change, and also illuminate the lives of women missing from the history books—painter Paula Modersohn-Becker, the scientist and X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin, and the Californian poet and writer Ina Coolbrith, the first poet laureate ever appointed in America.
Night School is Carl Dennis’s thirteenth collection of poetry, and the poems in this volume invite us to use our imagination, whether it be directed toward ourselves, other people, or the world as a whole. By imagining alternatives, we can begin to know ourselves, the lives of others, and the world around us more intimately.
The After Party
Reading Jana Prikryl’s The After Party is like taking a trip through time and space. From remote Lake Huron in Canada to cold war-era Europe to ancient Rome, modern-day New York City to the suburbs of a futuristic landscape, the far-flung places in Prikryl’s words will grasp you so viscerally, you won’t want to disembark.
The poetry editor for The New Yorker, Kevin Brown meditates, as the title might suggest, on all things “brown,” like James Brown and Brown v. the Topeka Board of Education. His poems skillfully argue that while, of course, our experiences as human beings have been shaped by the popular culture around us, our interpretation of that popular culture is shaped in turn by our experiences. An ode to hip-hop, a reflection on middle school classrooms, and a coming-of-age story all rolled into one.
I didn’t always think of myself as a “poetry person.” I thought poems were reserved for the most high-brow among us, someone who could read a poem and infer pages of meaning from only a few lines. Boy, was I wrong. Every April is National Poetry Month, and I make it a point to read a few poetry collections to celebrate.
Every time I pick up a volume, I’m shocked by how approachable poems are. They’re shorter in length than a novel, so you can digest more at a time without feeling overwhelmed. And the meaning of each poem comes from inside each of us; the writer’s words become imbued with our own experience and meaning, so they begin to feel individual and wholly unique to us. These were the volumes of poetry I read this month, and I didn’t have trouble understanding a single one. I guess I’m a poetry person after all.
Featured Image: Matt McCarty