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Michael Shewmaker

Beginning many poems with a scriptural epigraph, as he did for his latest poem in Image, Michael Shewmaker fleshes story from line. Shewmaker’s poetry dwells on words and their character, manifesting in a grander creation of character by such obsession. In his work, one meets a variety of personas, each one of whom is compelling. The…

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Nancy Naomi Carlson

Nancy Naomi Carlson does it all; she edits, writes poetry and prose, and translates. She is, quite simply, a master of language—of multiple languages. Her work has appeared in every journal on my dream list, including our own, where, in Issue 95, she translates three poems by Abdorurahman A. Waberi from their original French. Her…

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Ashley Wong

“I know / what it’s like to be hardened in the face of a miracle, for some / insane part of me to care only about checkboxes on a list…” This line in Ashley Wong’s poem “Post-Miracle,” published in Image issue 95, encapsulates the poet’s tension between compassion for the hardened, as well as an…

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Cortney Lamar Charleston

In a way that can only be attributed to the providential, I first encountered Cortney Lamar Charleston’s poetry at a time when I needed it the most. But even this is an imprecise distinction to make. As I continue to read his work, I realize there has never been a time when I haven’t needed…

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Zeina Hashem Beck

“If I keep still / long enough, I hear the music inside / my veins; it sounds like women, singing.” These closing lines from Zeina Hashem Beck’s poem “Layla” reveal her gift not only as a speaker, but also as a listener—an apt role for the woman who founded PUNCH Poetry Dxb open mic night…

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Yerra Sugarman

“Every poem is a memory of some kind,” Irish poet Eamon Grennan once said. For this reason, he called the poem “a celebratory elegy”: words are elegiac by their very nature, since they are not only a sound but a tribute to the thing that inspired them. Yerra Sugarman’s writing is elegiac in this manner.…

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Claude Wilkinson

Claude Wilkinson’s poems tend to send us scurrying off to learn more about certain visual artists. The first poem of his we published in Image #76 is a meditation on a photo taken by Gordon Parks in Fort Scott, Kansas, in 1949, part of a series on African American neighborhood life intended for Life magazine but never published there. (They are…

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Natasha Oladokun

Natasha Oladokun is a poet practiced in distinctions. Articulating the inchoate with precision, Oladokun often writes about the body: its history, myths, and relationships. Considering a painting of Christ depicted as white, Oladokun gestures towards the slippage in the image of the body: “Still, life in portraiture may smuggle truth, / if truth is where the bread invites…

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Gina Franco

Every work of art is an invitation to make an investment. The question is: will that investment pay dividends over a long period of time. So it is with the poetry of Gina Franco. Here are poems that offer the immediate payout of sensual beauty and incantatory rhythm, but they refuse to yield themselves up…

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Chelsea Wagenaar

Poet Chelsea Wagenaar writes about the ways we are all “bent to the wild will / of instinct.” Among her favorite themes is the position of the human within nature. Her poems constantly surprise; a feeling of observatory exclamation appears and reappears, with images of bare-limbed trees, a “darkening winterplum sky,” or the “redly skittish…

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