Review by Vanessa Maki
Updated: Nov 9, 2019
“Bettering American Poetry” Vol. 3 Review
What comes to the vast majority of folks’ minds when they think about American poetry? Famous white poets like Robert Frost , Walt Whitman or Edgar Allen Poe. Such individuals are stuck in their narrow ideas of poetry, what it’s supposed to look like and poets they deem deserving of celebration. “Bettering American Poetry Volume 3” seeks to change that. This collection is mostly poets/writers of color (who may or may not hold other identities) who have written poems about personal truths, and tragic realities that are invalidated in this world and America - a place that was never great to begin with. None of the poems that were chosen sing inauthentically, even if some aren’t your speed - it’s obvious they were chosen carefully for the collection. Each individual contributes more than just their poems but their unqiue voices as well. Displaying that American poetry should always be a melting pot. There shouldn’t be a struggle to find current marginalized poets or writers. Nor should there be a struggle to list any off in a list for “emerging” poets either. What this collection does is highlight many different voices and lets them speak their truths without filters. Some folks you’ve heard of, some folks you want to hear more from and some you may never read again. Nevertheless, this collection is an important one to read if you’re wanting to dismantle your idea(s) of American poetry. If you seek to read more queer poets, queer poets of color and so on - sink right into this collection. Such a decision won’t be regretted because is this is what America actually looks like. This is a real display of American poetry.
Vanessa Maki is a queer writer, artist & blk feminist whose work has appeared or will appear in various places. She has self-published a handful of chapbooks & currently has two forthcoming in 2020: sweet like limes (Bone & Ink Press) & the chosen one (Animal Heart Press).