Against all possible odds, I read a poem in the New Yorker and actually liked it. Fishing in the Blood by Donika Kelly. It is a poem that tells a story without an excess of obliqueness, obscurity, or vagueness. A fragment of dialogue that takes a little effort to parse, but grows on you as you do parse it and get to know the speaker. It reminds me a lot of Toni Morrison’s first novel, The Bluest Eye, to the point that it almost feels too derivative. I wonder to what extent anything new that feels properly literary will be leaning on giants of 20th century literature. The obvious rejoinder is that some version of this has always been the case.
In any case, it feels good to have found something that you would never have served up to you by one of the many algorithms that haunt our world. A fucking poetry editor made the decision to print it. And flouting all good judgement I decided that I was going to try reading one of the poems that week.