As the senior managing editor at Luna Luna and the founding editor at Yes Poetry, you could say writing is important to me, especially poetry. For me, it’s vital to highlight poetic voices in order to support literature, activism, and expression.
Here are three of my favorite poems I read recently.
Fargo Tbakhi - “benediction, with lines from bruce springsteen”
“i hope you know you’ll dream of elevators/ plummeting/ always unsure if they’re going down/ or, somehow, up/ i’ll be waiting for you once you find out, baby/ i’ll be home, sitting cross-legged/ here in the mirror/ put your makeup on/ fix your hair up pretty/ meet me tonight/ somewhere/ we won’t look back/ an elevator rocketing upwards/ the doors sliding open/ the seawater, flooding in”
Chiwan Choi - “portraitures and erasures”
“i spent the day moving my body, guided by a stranger’s voice and somewhere on the floor my bones recognized pain told me that in this too / (that is my body) there are borders to cross there are borders not meant to cross”
Paige Lewis - “Yael”
“Sun’s whine reminds Yael of their husband, Heber. Heber whines like that when Yael wants to leave his tent. When Yael doesn’t invite him into their tent. When Yael doesn’t want to watch a movie that Heber has seen a dozen times.
It’s exhausting to be shown things, to try to enjoy a movie while also giving a convincing performance of that enjoyment. Heber ruins these screenings — he weeps before the scenes that call for weeping. He mouths each pivotal line.
So far, Yael has spent their life absorbing men’s favorites. On the rare occasion that Heber does ask to watch their favorite movie, Yael can’t remember having one. This makes Yael feel a creaking, hollow-boned kind of gloom.
This gloom opens the flaps in their brain that make them want to lie in bed all day.”
Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. They are the author of Sirs & Madams, The Gods Are Dead, Marys of the Sea, Sexting Ghosts, Xenos, No(body) (forthcoming, Madhouse Press, 2019), and is the editor of A Shadow Map: Writing by Survivors of Sexual Assault. They received their MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Joanna is the founder of Yes Poetry and the senior managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine. Some of their writing has appeared in The Rumpus, Them, Brooklyn Magazine, BUST, and elsewhere. Joanna also leads workshops at Brooklyn Poets. joannavalente.com / Twitter: @joannasaid / IG: joannacvalente / FB: joannacvalente