Five Poems for Poem in Your Pocket Day
It’s that time of the year again, National Poetry Month! Poem in Your Pocket Day is April 27, and in celebration, we offer these five poems to read, share, and carry in your pocket for later as we celebrate the beauty of the written word.
Carolyn Forché recently won one of the literary world’s richest prizes—the Windham-Campbell Prize—and is currently working on a memoir and her fifth collection of poetry. In her poem “Light of Sleep,” Forché explores human significance through the many papers we use in correspondence and in documenting our lives.
Aaron Brown grew up in Africa and then later moved to the United States. He was anthologized in Best New African Poets 2015 and is a Pushcart Prize nominee. In “I don’t know anything about suffering,” he writes a moving piece about a woman struggling to live in the harsh environment of Chad, Africa, as told through the eyes of the author.
Translated by André Naffis-Sahely
An excerpt from Laâbi’s sequence The Poem Beneath the Gag (which he wrote during his ten-year prison sentence) highlights one of the Moroccan poet’s most touching works. This piece focuses on the narrator coming to terms with his passing and describing how he would like to die. While the subject is bleak, the imagery Laâbi weaves is both beautiful and evoking.
An accomplished poet and translator, Galilean resident Rachel Tzvia Back retells the classic story of the Odyssey and the internal struggles of Odysseus in her poem “After the War.” In Back’s rendition, she portrays Odysseus as a man suffering from ailments many veterans today grapple with: resentment, sadness, regret, and longing. Also in the link is an audio clip of the poem being read by Back herself for your listening pleasure.
Translated by Rouhollah Zarei with Roger Sedarat
Regarded as one of the leaders of the movement of “New Poetry” in Iran, Nader Naderpour writes of affection, beauty, and how enchanting the beloved can be. In “Night Flower,” most recently translated by Rouhollah Zarei and Roger Sedarat, Naderpour paints the silhouette of two lovers sharing a romantic and touching moment in the night, their adoration for each other as passionate as it is sweet.