&

Whether it is the secrets buried below silences, the archetypes animating her muses or the histories of Black women entombed in willful or innocuous amnesia, a key poetic concern in Dominique Christina’s work is using language as a tool to unearth what needs to be brought back to light and memory. What has been buried in you? Whose bones would you unearth and re-flesh given the means, and why? Imagine the poem a shovel in your hands; find the landscape, the moment; dig.


Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Review | Poems

&

Nate Marshall writes from what he knows intimately, whether it be his neighborhood in Chicago– its sounds, smells, characters, seen and unseen markers– using his deep knowledge to interrogate the wider world. In this issue Marshall uses his name as a catalyst to question race, belonging, and America. What questions or possibilities does your name evoke?


Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Review | Poems

&

Master of the marriage of form to content, Tyehimba Jess began his journey into dynamic formal structures (see his book Olio)  by trying to write a contrapuntal poem. His work is also deeply invested in the events and unspoken corners of history. Write a contrapuntal poem — two columns of text, printed next to each other, that can be read either down or across — that takes on a piece of history.


Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Essay | Poems

&

Music haunts the work of our featured poet, Kwame Dawes. His poems include dedications to musicians, invoke music, and indeed create music through his skillful handling of the instrument that is language. 

Make music your muse, too. Write a poem that is immersed in music from subject to structure to style. Turn up the volume, and sing your necessary song.


Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Essay | Poems

&

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!


Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Essay | Poems