Poems To Keep You Writing When The World Is *Too* Much

If you're a budding novelist, poet, essayist, or blogger, you've probably heard plenty about the value of picking up your proverbial pen and writing in Trump's America. And while I agree that all writers exist within a political context, I also acknowledge that different writers want to engage in varying capacities with their political climate. And that's cool.

Still, if you're a writer who's even *this much* politically mindful, you know it can be tough to keep on. That's why it's more important than ever to stock up on those writer resources that help you stay motivated when the world is just too much. (TBH: it's frequently too much.)

If you're looking to do something good for your brain and keep writing, then it's no secret that reading poetry should be on your daily to-do list. In fact, why don't we go ahead and add "read a poem" to that set of writerly habits that typically includes things like, "keep a journal," "visit bookstores," and some variation on "write a lot"? Reading poems, as JR Thorpe recently — and fascinatingly — reported in Bustle, is tied to "actions of introspection" in the brain. And when you feel like writing is *this much* a struggle, it's time to get yourself to that introspective place. These seven poems will take you there.


"Boy Goes to War" by Max Ritvo

Books start out with what the boy calls Beauty
— the boat’s still in port. The cat’s alive. Pantry’s packed.
Even present tense has some of the grace of past tense,
what with all the present tense left to go.

Click here to read.


"The Hermit: 56" by Lucy Ives

It is a white horse
that haunts the writer's mind. The white horse has escaped
its traces somewhere on an urban street. It is moving toward
the suburbs with an eye to the countryside.

Click here to read.


"My Notebook for December" by Keith Waldrop

When I think of the books you could
fill with what I don’t know, oof. The pressing need’s
for a phenomenology of ignorance. Everything has
horizons, and they’re not just
out of sight, they loom. Yes, and they beckon.

Click here to read.


"Not Writing" by Anne Boyer

I am not writing epic poetry although I like what Milton said about lyric poets drinking wine while epic poets should drink water from a wooden bowl. I would like to drink wine from a wooden bowl or to drink water from an emptied bottle of wine.

Click here to read.


"A Blank Letter" by Sudeep Sen

An envelope arrives unannounced from overseas 
containing stark white sheets,
perfect in their presentation of absence.

Click here to read.


"The Sofas, Fogs, and Cinemas" by Rosemary Tonks

No, I ... go to the cinema,
I particularly like it when the fog is thick, the street
Is like a hole in an old coat, and the light is brown as laudanum.
... the fogs! the fogs!

Click here to read.


"Silver streamers dazzling winter" by Joshua Beckman

was the half moon
and today was basically
the half moon too.

Click here to read.