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Reading List April 09, 2021

Poetry Collection: Empathy

The second in our series of reading lists to celebrate National Poetry Month.

Editor’s Note: This is the second collection in Boston Review’s series of poetry reading lists for National Poetry Month. You can read the others on belongingwomanhood, and award-winning poets

“We broke ourselves screaming, but there was no sound,” writes Kemi Alabi in their poem “Undelivered Message to the Sky: November 9, 2016.” Even with the Biden administration now in office, the election of Donald Trump in 2016 heralded a new era of thoughtlessness, violence, and isolation which still echoes today. The poets in this collection grapple with that isolation—the result of gendered and racialized violence—and the simultaneous and conflicting desire to reach out to the world.

In a collage of lines and lives, Nikki Wallschlaeger questions “American happiness,” and elsewhere Boston Review 2019 Poetry Contest finalist Hazem Fahmy listens to “the chorus of memory” and laments that which cannot be conveyed across distance.

The poets in this collection examine the imperfections of language and translation, exploring the many valences of empathy—where it succeeds and where it cannot.

—Meghana Mysore

Nikki Wallschlaeger Poetry
Nikki Wallschlaeger
Jacques Rancourt Boston Review Poetry
Jacques J. Rancourt
Tess Liem Poetry
Tess Liem
Meredith Stricker Poetry
Meredith Stricker
Craig Sullender Poetry
Craig Sullender
Brother when I die
my ashes go to your house.
Confusion where to scatter
is all I’ll leave.

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