[The essay by Yépez following the translation, below, of Jean Louis Battre’s Portuguese poem, “The Cave,” is reposted here as a tribute and acknowledgement of the work and thought of Mexican poet Heriberto Yépez in the development of a future-facing ethnopoetics from a perspective outside the familiar US nexus. It was originally published in the radical magazine R.A.U.L. / Red Anarcho Utopista Libre in May 2012, and a related work by Yépez, “Ethnopoetics.
Gabriela Portillo Alvarado reviews three poetry titles on immigration, trauma, racism, and America: The Book ofDirt by Nicole Santalucia, Adelante by Jessica Guzman, and Every Day We Get More Illegal by Juan Felipe Herrera.
Douglas Kearney is a vitally important poet, critic, and performer — and, given the significance of his massive open online course, “Sharpened Visions,” public teacher too. As a poet and as a critic-essayist — in both genres of thinking-through/while-writing — Kearney evinces an intense interest in micro-glossaries, socially invented argots, the ironic political possibilities of cant, the language-y side of folktales, the dense musicality of Black speech, the naunced differing registers of the ways people say what they say. He averts falling into the (as he once put it) “vortex of self-reflexive word play,” but he comes riskily and thrillingly right up to the edge of it.
Mail art has often been understood as a participatory, collective, and intimate poetic exercise. How to write and share poetry collectively during a pandemic? This summer, I had the pleasure of working closely with a group of dynamic young writers in a creative research collective that utilized virtual poetry postcards. To help foster connections, conversations, and creativity across Zoom screens, the students created a virtual poetry project where they shared an image and poem every week with one another.