The Present Deeply: The 21st-Century Love Poem

by Mario Chard

All the poems in new films set in the future are still the old poems. It means our visionaries of film are still looking to the past and not the present for lasting texts. And perhaps that says more about canonical texts needing time to rise above or drown in sand like Shelley’s  “Ozymandias” (the poem turned 200 this past January). But it also says something about the need for forums like this feature—space to speculate on those 21st-century poems bound to last. Here are two that I prophesy will make the list—Katherine Larson’s “Love at Thirty-Two Degrees” and Solmaz Sharif’s “Look.” Prophecy, I once heard a theologian say, is not about glimpsing the future. True prophecy is about seeing the present deeply.

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Stumbling into the Sublime: Claire Bateman’s “Another Poem on Blue”

by Veronica Schuder

Claire Bateman’s work is an exciting representative of what, for now, let’s agree to call “new poetry.” Her poems infuse received ideas with fantasy, and they  walk a line between romantic mystery and humanist anxiety. From Clumsy (2003), “Another Poem on Blue” is one such instance of how Bateman’s work sounds like the 21st century as it turns mundane experience—the memory of a seventh-grade crush—into an exploration of the seam between the physical world and the sublime.

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“Arch-Talk” and the Postmodern Gall of Josh Bell and Mark Bibbins

by Keith Kopka

The term “postmodern” is tossed around a lot in the 21st century and has be- come an enigmatic umbrella. Visual art, architecture, television, and online media have all embraced the idea of the postmodern, and poetry is no exception. However, because of our culture’s ontological zeal to define things, postmodernism can often feel like a catchall. Any rough poetic beast that questions the formal order or unhinges its jaw around an “accepted” version of discourse has everyone running to sound the postmodern alarm bell.

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“Your Body Everywhere”: Time and Forgiveness in Carl Phillips’s “Since You Ask”

by Chiyuma Elliott

In her 2007 lecture “Is and Was,” Marianne Boruch talked about verb-tense shifts in contemporary lyric poems and included an extended discussion of Carl Phillips’s “A Great Noise.” Boruch was interested in “beautiful and terrifying” shifts into the present tense, which create a proximity to memory that “both releases and contains.” Many of her insights into the mechanics of poetic memory also apply to Phillips’s recent poem, “Since You Ask” (Reconnaissance, 2016), where even the title creates a temporal wobble. “Since” is probably a synonym for “because,” but it is also a temporal marker. Plus, the words “You Ask” are in present tense, but the whole title presents itself as a response—as something that implicitly comes after.

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