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Featured Poet: Jenny Qi

Jenny Qi

A good friend once gave me the following advice: Don’t spend your whole life writing ‘dead mother poems.’ Growing up, I’d always known I wanted to be a writer but it was the death of my mother that really catapulted me into poetry, which I craved almost like an addiction because of its raw energy, immediacy, and capacity for hard-won catharsis. However, my friend’s blunt words of caution, which basically amounted to Follow your creative impulses but don’t let them control you, really highlighted the difficulty that exists when grief becomes one of your primary muses.  That’s why I’ve always admired John Guzlowski, a poet who manages to write with stark eloquence about his parents’ experiences in the Holocaust without being confined to that single, powerful subject.

And that’s also what draws me to Jenny Qi, an eclectic writer of great talent and broad subject matter who serves up poetry with a lyrical and narrative focus that, much like an obsidian knife, presents a dark edge about a thousand times sharper than a scalpel. For proof, check out this month’s Poetry Feature. Then, head on over to her poem in Rattle, which was my first introduction to Qi’s powerful, uncompromising, and deeply relevant work.

SELECTED POEMS

How Men Deal

How Men Deal

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collapse by anders pearson

Normal

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The Way Love Expires

The Way Love Expires

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San Francisco, Through Chain-Link

Transplant

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peacock2

Magnificent Things

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