This is my first blog; forgive me for I am but a simple being trying to emote the daily feelings that all of us often feel through poetry. Sometimes the poetry of choice will be mellow, sometimes a little sad, and rarely cheerful. But I can’t help it as I find myself drawn to poetry to find solace and to find comfort. Poetry helps me better understand my experiences—as well as the experiences of those who deal with life in ways that don’t mirror mine at all. Found below is a wide range of lonely poems, from a broad range of contemporary pieces, classics, well-known poets, and emerging poets. I hope these poems will resonate with you.
Our first poem by Dionisio D. Martinez is a salute to lonely people. It acknowledges most of the things lonely people do so that it can inspire them to keep on moving through life. Sometimes we lonely people need a reminder that we’re not alone and we have our community, this poem serves that purpose while at the same time uniting people.
For our Spring 2019 issue of Jet Fuel Review (with cover art by artist Delano Dunn) there is a special section that presents collaborative writing, which is writing that multiple artist’s crafted. As a way to celebrate the successful launch of our 17th issue, we’ve asked some of students, faculty, and alumni to join in and construct a piece, or multiple, that they created with their peers.
Presented below is a segment of the Special Section’s introduction as written by JFR Managing Editor, Zakiya Cowan, and a collection of fantastic collaboratively written pieces by some of our very own editors of Jet Fuel Review as well as some members of the Lewis University community. In summation, each of these pieces remain as a showcase of the bridge of collaboration and we are excited to present this talent.
For the first installment of Not Your Binary: A QTPOC Reading Column, a reading column centralizing on the contemporary voices of queer and/or trans people of color in the literary world, I will be discussing Christopher Soto’s “Los Padrinos Juvenile Detention Center, Unit Y2.” Because this is the first installment of my reading column, I want to emphasize the importance on centralizing marginalized voices, stepping aside from the dominant, mainstream culture, to exercise the very existence of surviving and living as a QTPOC, in and out of the literary world. This column is an exploration of political identities and of systemic realities; specifically, in the ways literature can either work to deliver, express, or alleviate the stress that comes with embodying the very existence of being a QTPOC in the time and setting each writer transports us to.
Christopher Soto’s “Los Padrinos Juvenile Detention Center, Unit Y2” takes the reader to a juvenile center, where the speaker volunteers and helps young men sublimate their emotions from acting negligent to poetry: “to be here / where the concrete ends / & page begins.”
Moreover, Soto takes on poetic devices, as well as theoretical devices, alluding to dates and research, revealing both intended and unintended consequences of the prison industrial complex that the speaker suits the reader in. The intentions behind keeping prisons open and alive are many, but what is often ignored is the unintended consequences of the prison industrial complex, which are violent: “each body is disciplined for its difference,” “[physical assault],” and “[one] can’t even scream in pain / [without being pathologized].” The attraction to keeping the prison industrial complex alive is the idea that the system eradicates crime and alleviates society of its “social issues,” yet the false comfort that comes with this “solution” is knowing that keeping this system alive only feeds to another individual’s nightmare: “Dee Dee / A trans woman / sentenced sixty years of life / [in a men’s prison].”
Inside our new Spring 2018 issue of Jet Fuel Review (with cover art by Australian artist Jim Tsinganos), you will find a special section that specifically highlights a particular style of poem known as the cento, which is a unique form in which an author creates a piece by stitching together lines borrowed only from the works of others. To help kick-off the launch celebration of our 15th issue, we’ve asked some of our own to join in on the fun and construct a piece or two themselves.
Presented below is a portion of the Special Section’s introduction as written by JFR Assistant Managing Editor, Zakiya Cowan, followed by a collection of wonderful centos written by not only the editors of Jet Fuel Review but also some members of the Lewis University community at large. A few of the writers included here are experienced veterans of the genre, others are amateurs, and some have never written a poem in their adult life. However, each piece remains a showcase of talent and form that we are incredibly excited to share with you.
— Michael Lane, Blog Editor
The Jet Fuel Review editors are excited to share with you the noteworthy gem of Issue 15, our cento collection. “Cento” is Latin for “patchwork,” and in terms of poetic form, a cento is a “patchwork” of lines taken from various works. According to the introduction of Hosidius Geta’s “Medea:” A Virgilian Cento, by Joseph J. Mooney, Geta’s “Medea” is the first recorded cento, dating back between 200 C.E. and 300 A.D. Classified as a Virgilian cento, “Medea” is composed of lines from works by the ancient Roman poet, Virgil. A Frankenstein-like composition, each line is carefully sutured to the next in order to create thought-provoking images and metaphors that seamlessly weld with one another, and ultimately crafts a piece that pays homage to other’s work while creating a new text.
We hope you both enjoy and appreciate the thoughtful artistry that is involved when constructing the cento, and hopefully discover a newfound love for this longstanding, intricate form.
Hi all! I’m back for another semester of blogging with an old favorite of mine. Today we’re dissecting “First” by Cold War Kids. This indie rock group got its start in California back in 2004, and they have worked their way into our hearts ever since.
“First” was a single released in 2015, stemming from their 2014 album Hold My Home. This piece quickly rose to number one on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. Its overall emotional beat and relatable lyrics make this song incredibly relevant and timeless, earning it a rightful spot on my playlist this week.
“First” [Verse 1] “Cheated and lied, broken so bad You made a vow, never get mad You play the game, though it’s unfair They’re all the same, who can compare? First you lose trust, then you get worried”
Hi, friends! This week we’re looking at a rather interesting song (to say the least). It plays with gender stereotypes and definitely pushes the envelope on political correctness. Pop/rock/alternative band Weezer has never been known for being especially conventional and that’s what makes them so unique. I will be examining one of their biggest hits in years, “Thank God for Girls,” which comes off of their 2016 album Weezer (White Album).
If you’ve heard the song before, then you may know why it’s been controversial. During this explanation, though, I will be giving Weezer the benefit of the doubt in that they are not totally bashing females. I say this because I saw them in concert over the summer, and throughout this entire song they had a slideshow playing with pictures of historically strong female icons: Joan of Arc, Mother Mary, Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman, Emma Watson, Brienne of Tarth (fictional but awesome), Oprah, Ellen, and Beyoncé, just to name a few. Weezer then ended the song with a projection of the rainbow flag, which is a symbol for LGBT equality. So while the band may poke fun at stereotypes in the song, I think it’s used in an ironic sense.
Anne Sexton was yet another troubled poet in the world of creative writing in which much of her pain fueled her work. She suffered from postpartum depression after the births of her two daughters when she was only in her mid-twenties. After Sexton had two separate mental breakdowns and had attempted suicide on her birthday, she was admitted into a psychiatric hospital. Having known about her interest in poetry while she was in high school, her doctor urged her to start writing again. Despite a successful writing career that blossomed from her pain, Sexton unfortunately took her own life in 1974.
As I continue this blog series, specifically with my interpretations of melancholic poetry, I am beginning to realize how important it is that these pieces exist. Depression is an immensely difficult illness to put into words, as there is no visual wound. Poets like Plath and Sexton, who suffered for their poetry, have beautifully and dismally described what it feels like to be in a state of clinical depression. Though they tragically took their lives to be freed of their own struggles with depression, what they’ve left behind is a legacy for others who suffer the same illness to feel like they are not alone.
“The Fury of Rainstorms”
“The rain drums down like red ants, each bouncing off my window.”
Hey, lovelies! We’re back this week with a tribute to Breast Cancer Awareness month.
I’ve chosen the song “Cancer,” originally by My Chemical Romance, because this insidious disease has affected us all. And, if I could be frank, it sucks. This song captures the pain and emotion associated with cancer, and I think it is a moving piece. The track is originally off My Chemical Romance’s 2006 album The Black Parade, but just about a month ago Twenty One Pilots released a cover, and both will be available on the playlist below.
A little background on the song might be helpful. MCR’s album The Black Parade details the journey of “the patient” and his agony as he ultimately passes away from cancer. In an interview, lead vocalist Gerard Way once claimed that the group aimed to write “the darkest song ever.” He claims that “Cancer” is not poetic, but rather direct and brutal just like the disease. I think it’s safe to say that MCR achieved their goal here.
The following three poems were hand-picked by Samantha Gennett, showcasing the talent found in her recent chapbook, Pomegranate.
We sit together, you reclined and I upright, enveloped by the nicotine you transmit. As you inhale, I stare at the orange glow at your cigarette end. You look at me with a telescopic grin, shaking your head, not even noticing the ash singeing
a hole through your Nirvana t-shirt, hair resembling elephant eyelashes, lips shining pizza grease and I cannot think of a way to rewire your melancholy or find a way to sew a mustache onto your numb smile. This smoke, strangling our throats—is there a fire?
We sit together in this chain-smoked cloud, I underhand toss you an aging baseball but your hand cannot render the shape of catch, instead your body lays contorted like an ampersand and all I can do is mumble “it’s okay, you’re okay” tenderly.
I have never seen anything less photogenic: foam bubbles out of your mouth, white as pith of pomegranate.
Sylvia Plath lived her adult days in somber madness, greatly attributing to the now-famous work she produced in her lifetime. The clinical depression that overtook her life was the driving force behind her writing, and ultimately her unfortunate demise. Sylvia Plath was only thirty years old when she took her own life.
Much of Plath’s work details her mental health and life troubles, especially the problems she experienced in her romantic life. I chose to interpret her poem “Mad Girl’s Love Song,” as I feel it is an accurate representation of Plath’s state of mind during her troubles with love. Interestingly enough, this poem was written years before she split with her husband Ted Hughes, whom she discovered was having an affair with another woman.
“Mad Girl’s Love Song”
“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead I lift my lids and all is born again. (I think I made you up inside my head.)”