Komunyakaa ends his book Warhorses with the striking poem Autobiography of My Alter Ego, which provides an account of the speaker’s experience in war and its aftermath. One gets the sense that through the intimate persona of the “alter ego” Komunyakaa is able to access truths unavailable to his own speaking voice. What is the nature of your alter ego? What would it write as its autobiography? Give it the pen and find out!
Patricia Smith is known for her work in traditional form, and even more for stretching form to its limit. For example, the poem “Elegy” in Incendiary Art is a triple sestina, and the poems featured in this issue are parts of a triple crown. (That’s 45 sonnets!) How might you innovatively and generatively expand a traditional fixed form?
The first section of Danez Smith’s Don’t Call Us Dead imagines at length a heaven for Black boys “who never got to grow up,” “who shot another boy to here,” whose names were replaced here on earth “with a hashtag.” Who would you write a heaven? What would it look like and how would it work?