Top 25 Poetry Articles on Substack

Best Poetry Articles

Calendars and resurrection and poetry

“... the dead seemed more alive to me than the living”
Dear friends, I was so moved by your stories of volta — ultimately, stories of turnabout and change — last weekend. I also learnt new ways to think of volta, as dance and dressage applications were raised by you. The generosity with which you respond to the prompts, together with the engagements that occur between people over the responses, always makes for delicious reading.
Pádraig Ó Tuama ∙ 185 LIKES
Julian JP Lee
Thank you for your lovely and heartfelt sharings Pádraig!!!
I never knew my paternal grandmother personally. She passed on from a sudden relapse of cancer when I was very young.
The only impression I have of her is a picture of her beaming with joy while standing by my grandfather’s side.
I like to think I inherited some of her joyfulness. It’s entirely possible that her sunny disposition was where my father got his from. Perhaps it was then gifted to me.
For me, this nicely illustrates how the people we love never really leave us, although they may die.
“A part of us dies with them; a part of them lives on in us.” That’s one of my favourite sayings.
So while I may have never gotten to really know my grandmother, in a sense, I do know her.
She lives on in my father, in her pictures, in my uncle and my aunt and in me.
I believe lives are like songs. They arise from silence and end in silence, but those who have heard them can sing them again.
Tom O’Connor
Both of my parents are dead—my mother when I was a child, and my father in the middle of 2020 (one of the quiet non-COVID deaths that year). The message I get from them is a basic one, to not let fear devour my time and instead to live in it. Sometimes I’m able to, sometimes not. In this world, there are days when even getting out of bed can feel like a resurrection.
As a cultural and former Catholic, I’m sending you a good and peaceful Easter, and gratitude for everyone’s generosity. This weekly message certainly helps me see a world and time I want to live in.

The Birth of Shaw and Moore

Probably the best poetry Substack in the world. Ever.
Yesterday I decided on a whim to start a substack, as a great procrastination device to stop me getting on with my third poetry collection. Since moving to Hebden Bridge, I’ve been writing regularly with my friend and poet Clare Shaw, as a way of holding ourselves accountable and making sure we get on with actually writing our collections.
Kim Moore ∙ 18 LIKES
S 🗨️ Writes 💭 Substack 💬 Here
Well, this is surprising and unexpectedly AWESOME <3
Lisa Simpson
I am here for this content 👏

Books on Deck: April 2024

April has something for everyone from mean boys to magical thinking, and of course a bit of poetry!
Below is a list of the books I am most excited about for the month of April. I wanted to share this with all subscribers this month as a little sneak peak. Starting at the end of this month, you’ll be able to find my most anticipated reads in my monthly reading rankings
Traci Thomas ∙ 18 LIKES
Melissa Rodriguez
Bones worth breaking sounds very interesting…but next up for me James, then All We Were Promised
Kristen Hazel
Excited for Amanda Montell’s new book! I loved cultish. I listened via audiobook and loved her sense of humor and delivery. My next credit on Libro.FM kicks in tomorrow so will listening to the new one this week.

Making a Poetry Comic

Ideas, Imagery, and Insight
What comes first in a poetry comic, the words or pictures? Sometimes the words. Sometimes the pictures. Often both arrive at the same time. In the case of “Alight,” the words arrived first. It was adapted from a poem I wrote months before. The poem was bouncing around in my head when I saw a flock of birds landing in a half-leafless tree.
Grant Snider ∙ 193 LIKES
Jonathan Potter
So much good and brilliant stuff here
So fun to see the process!

Prompt 290. The Quiet Place

& the poet Darius Stewart on the wandering mind
Hi friend, I’ve learned over the last decade that creative work comes in seasons. There is the season of ideating and researching, figuring out the form something should take. There’s the season of actually making the thing—the Anne Lamott butt-in-chair phase. (To quote her: “How to write: Butt in chair.”) Then there is the season of putting the work in …
Suleika Jaouad ∙ 223 LIKES
Mary McKnight
Suleika and Mr. Stewart, both of your offerings today, have given me the only Quiet Place I have had recently. The gift of those few minutes to read and soak in both has been a cocoon of solitude. Thank you both. As this community knows, my mother died March 5. My father died March 31...he had told me he was "staying alive to take care of your mother." And when that final "mission" (he was Army) was complete, his heart went with hers. I will return to The Quiet Place Post again and again. I am simply tears, my mind, my soul, my corporeal body, a twisted hollow. Thank you both for giving this lost soul, a bit of rest today.
Linda Hoenigsberg
I'm very thankful to wake very early in the morning. Since my brain surgeries in 2006 and 2015, my energy levels get me through the day until about 7:00 PM, and then I'm often off to bed and asleep within 30 minutes. This means that even if I get a full eight hours, I'm up by 3:00 am (like this morning)!. After I push the button on the coffee maker, I build a fire in the fireplace, and put the living room back in order so that from my view, everything is perfect. Then I sit in my favorite chair, a 1950s naugahyde recliner unlike any recliner I've seen...black, with pecan wood trim with thin wooden legs on wheels. It's hip! I grab my book on "thin places," and begin to read while sipping my first cup of coffee, then scan emails, and then get out my iPad to do my drawing lessons in Procreate. It's hours before my husband gets up, and as much as I love him and enjoy his company, these quiet morning hours are my favorite.

We are Supposed to Write Poetry to keep the Gods Alive

The great Jim Harrison died on this day in 2016
A poet technically is supposed to be a “thief of fire” but as easily as anyone else he becomes a working stiff who drinks too much on late Friday afternoons. — Jim Harrison Shirtless and disheveled with his one bad eye glazed over, Jim Harrison sits at his writing desk in a dark room in his musty Montana cabin. A wri…
Poetic Outlaws ∙ 391 LIKES
Corie Feiner
This post had me at, “We are supposed to write poetry to keep the gods alive." I am grateful for the reminder why I always return to poetry as more than an art form, but a sacred act.
I also love how the poem plays with imagery, like the bowl cracking into two eggs - to get us out of our automatic thinking about every day things, and death.
Every morning I stretch even before leaving the bed. I follow this with my morning rituals, and before I begin to write, I pray. I ray, I breathe, and open myself to the miracles that lay ahead. This post wafted into my space, as if hot off the press, with a note from God, "please read this first"
Once again, I am not disappointed \. Great read. I did not know this poem, and as a late bloomer, 74 years old late bloomer, I did not know much about Jim Harrison. Many thanks

Poetry Bulletin: April 2024

One opportunity this month.
Hey poets, Have you also been witnessing the massacre at Al-Shifa? I can’t find my own words. I don’t want to find my own words. I want to be with and for the words of Palestinians living this now: every street, every house, every room, every window, every balcony, every wall, every stone, every sorrow, every word, every letter, every whisper, every touch…
Emily Stoddard ∙ 30 LIKES
Abe Louise Young
I deeply appreciate this testimony, message, imperative and witness. Thank you.
Kathryn Levy
Thank you for this important comment. Yes, there is only one deadline, as you state so eloquently. I hope more people in the poetry community will speak out about this horrific slaughter, a genocide in which the U.S. is very much a partner.

On faith, and not losing it

Monthly newsletter, April 2024
Read on for book and event news, a 70% audiobook discount and this month’s reading recommendations. This message will certainly be truncated by your email provider, so please think of clicking throug…
Dr Sharon Blackie ∙ 293 LIKES
Thank you Sharon. It's so good to be reminded to stay with the calling, whatever that is. We answer to that, not to the maddening world. I, too, seek to serve beauty with my work. I believe fiercely in the goodness that lies at the heart of things. Some are warriors fighting the madness. And some of us point to something beyond it, to remind us of what we're fighting for.
I am so happy I found your writings. I am so happy you are around. The fact that people find the right people and right words gives me faith.

Is Mary Oliver a good poet?

Uh, yeah she is. “The world offers itself to your imagination.”
This comes up every now and then. I remember someone a few years ago saying Mary Oliver was “poetry for people who don’t like poetry.” That’s not true, but even if it is, who cares? Anyway, it came up again when Maggie Zhu tweeted that Mary Oliver is “upmarket Rupi Kaur.”
Henry Oliver ∙ 113 LIKES
Helene Enriquez
Thank you for this! The Mary Oliver slander is saddening. I'm afraid we've confused 'smarter' with more wise. We've reduced 'unadorned' to simplistic.
What I admire most about Oliver is her ability to distill the spiritual hunger that is often so amorphous to us, and often so, so difficult to articulate. She is able to communicate this to us with a startling plainness, as if the truth had been apparent all along.
And yes - yes to earnestness! God knows we could use more of it these days.
<Mary L. Tabor>
I adore Mary Oliver's work and have for years. Mourned her passing in 2019. In poet Mary Oliver’s 2004 lovely collection of essays _Long Life_, dedicated to her partner before Molly passed in 2005, Oliver comments on life and its questions: “All through our gliding journey, on this day as on so many others, a little song runs through my mind, I say a song because it passes musically, but it is really just words, a thought that is neither strange nor complex. In fact, how strange it would be NOT to think it—not to have such music inside one’s head and body, on such an afternoon. What does it mean, say the words, that the earth is so beautiful? And what shall I do about it? What is the gift that I should bring to the world? What is the life that I should live?”

Can poetry reveal truths that change our past?

"I don’t lie...I just propose there might be more to something than what meets the eye." — MICAELA CAMACHO-TENREIRO, Poet of the Week
The inaugural $3600 ONLY POEMS PRIZE is open! Submit here.
Karan Kapoor ∙ 9 LIKES
Suzanne S. Austin-Hill
Yes! Note the Tulsa Riot was rightfully re-named the Tulsa Massacre.
martha ellen johnson
It brings a greater understanding of our past. It brought clarity to mine.

Apr 1

7 Poetry Collections That Nourish the Mind and Move the Heart

April is National Poetry Month
Hello Family, I have always been in awe of poets. So many of them don’t require many words to cast their spells. They can fit entire universes in a sentence. They can articulate joys and hurts you thought couldn’t be articulated, you thought no one else ever knew about or experienced. They can rearrange reality and your mind in the process.
Robert Jones, Jr.

MWSubstack 009: Poetry; Research Projects

Whether you prefer to explore rhythmic literature year-round or during its special month, we have amazing resources. It's also the season for research papers. Can we make them easier and more fun?
Welcome to MiddleWeb Substack. It’s a twice-monthly, two-topic, five-minute read for middle grades educators, featuring several of MiddleWeb’s most popular and influential articles, a book review, and a noteworthy 4-8 resource or project we’ve spotted. That’s it!

Linkpost for April

Effective altruism, science, criminal justice, rationality, short stories and poetry, fun
Effective Altruism Global Poverty PEPFAR—the most cost-effective foreign aid program funded by the U.S. government—has been renewed for another year. Actionable: research questions Open Philanthropy is interested in regarding global human health and wellbeing
Ozy Brennan ∙ 9 LIKES
The forum-moderation article is rather appalling. The section on how to handle suicidal members in particular is horrible, and a good reminder to use a VPN and be careful not to give personal information online.
The "email she wrote a decade ago" link probably goes to the wrong page.

The Scriptorium

Book One: The Way of a Pilgrim
Hello readers, and welcome to a new series here at the Abbey: The Scriptorium. This is an experiment, and you are all invited to be guinea pigs. The Scriptorium is a book club, and the way it works is simple. I choose a book to review, I set a date on which I will review it here, and I publish my review on that date. Between announcement and review, anyo…
Paul Kingsnorth ∙ 243 LIKES
Laura T
I just finished reading the book!!! I was looking to understand more about the Jesus Prayer and understand what was happening to me while I was praying. It seems to be like a blessed coincidence that you should be talking about this subject. Although I've been born into orthodoxy, I was not truly a Christian until a few months ago while discovering the power of the Jesus prayer in a dark moment of my life. I have just started my journey in prayer and Christian path, I have many doubts, questions and feelings to sort through and reading other contemporary perspectives and experiences would be so helpful. I anxiously await your review and feel grateful for your writing always.
OMG! I am in my husband’s hospital room and just read your new plan, The Scriptorium, I love it! But more intriguing is the fact that last night before I left the hospital I taught my husband the Jesus Prayer (he is not Orthodox).
I don’t believe in coincidences.
I can’t wait to read this book. Thank you so much Paul.

the role of the artist is to load the gun.

If artists are among the most powerful world-makers we have, what is their role on this side of revolution?
an essay nearly entitled, “the orange trees teach me art-making.” introductions I write to you in a moment from 2024, where the sounds of the machine, business as usual, keep me up at night (words of @ivi_with_art on instagram). This loop of time, existing at once as a…
ismatu gwendolyn ∙ 182 LIKES
liv @ the library
I’d like to share two texts critical to Latin American cinema which I thought of immediately upon hearing this essay. (Forgive me, I haven’t read it, only listened. I’m on the fly right now. I type this from my phone.)
The first is “For an Imperfect Cinema” by Julio García Espinosa. (Here’s the link: http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onlinessays/JC20folder/ImperfectCinema.html )
Espinosa was a Cuban film writer and director, and this manifesto from c. 1969, criticizes the “prestige” of “artistic culture,” and imagines how an “Imperfect Cinema,” a movement of folk art, created by, about, and for the masses can, like you said, load the revolutionary gun.
I shiver when reading the closing sentence: “Art will not disappear into nothingness; it will disappear into everything.”
The second text is “Towards a Third Cinema,” by Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino. (Here’s the link: https://span2910.commons.gc.cuny.edu/wp-content/blogs.dir/8374/files/2019/08/Towards-a-Third-Cinema-by-Fernando-Solanas-and-Octavio-Getino.pdf )
Solanas and Getino were Argentine filmmakers, and they wrote this manifesto in the late 1960s, too. It breaks down their hypotheses, their educated guesses, about how guerilla filmmaking (by, for, and about the revolutionary struggle) can be done.
A good quote: “Our time is one of hypothesis rather than of thesis, a time of works-in-progress- unfinished, unordered, violent works made with a camera in one hand and a rock in the other.”
This is artwork without opulence. This is artwork without clear-cut lines, forms, or themes.
It has honestly been a couple of years since I’ve read these in full, so I’m gonna sit down and do that again.
Eziamaka Ogbuli
Thank you for offering your thoughts on the role of the artist. They remind me of your previous piece on revolution as faith-based practice, something I’ve connected to Fanon’s prayer to the body and Audre Lorde’s conceptualization of the erotic. I connect these to concepts/acts to the role you’ve eloquently teased out for the artist (see below).
Revolution is faith-based practice and the revolutionary artist calls us back to our bodies with prayer (art that questions/speaks and eventually inspires action) to what exists within and between us in nature: a deep and untapped source of knowledge capable of making new worlds.

One sentence

“that could change your life”
Dear friends, I’m stretched over deadlines this week, so this Substack is a very short one. I’m still reading my way through your extraordinary responses from the prompt last Sunday, and I look forward to reading them all in full. This week, Marie Howe’s
Pádraig Ó Tuama ∙ 216 LIKES
linda shulist
My 7-yr. old Grandson Logan was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma and he was swiftly moved into a whole regime of chemotherapy that required many hospitalizations. At the time of his diagnosis the family had just moved into a brand new home that they had built and he was so excited for his new bedroom. He had only slept in it a few times before being diagnosed; his diagnosis hung over the entire family like a black cloud and quickly ushered out any joy they felt about being able to move into their new dwelling. I visited many times in support of Logan and his family. It was on one such occasion that I was tucking him in at night that the topic of "heaven" came up. All that he had been through, his 7yr. old thoughts about cancer and dying were all summed up in one small sentence. He said to me "home is like heaven". Though there is no cure in sight for Logan, it will be two years soon since he got sick and I am so very grateful for the time he has had to spend with family and just be at home; home is his heaven. By the grace of God may he be granted more of what he cherishes so.
Michael McCarthy
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” -Mary Oliver


By: Alan Kaufman
THE SADDEST MAN ON EARTH… ignored how the rain felt as he left home for the last time Wore down his boot heels searching for the woman of his dreams, but never understood that life is a woman Lived in a town where sadness was illegal and where grinning cops ticketed his face so often that he lost his license to cry The …
Poetic Outlaws ∙ 262 LIKES
Josh Dean
"Mozart of silence." What a wonderfully melancholic statement.
We can only be certain of our own thoughts, and even then I don't trust that some nefarious force has influenced us.
Elizabeth MacQueen
“A Mozart of silence”
I’d like to know where you traveled in your neuro synapses to find that one. Unforgettable.

Poetry (pen) Pals #12

Why do you write poetry?
Hey, On the week of World Poetry Day I found myself rooting around for poems that celebrate and attempt to comprehend the act of poetry writing itself. I realised that I myself had written quite a few. And I sense that I’m not alone. I sense that poets like to write about poetry writing.
Nelly Bryce ∙ 21 LIKES
S 🗨️ Writes 💭 Substack 💬 Here
because without them
I could not fully express
darkness in my heart
Tara Connor
The push for precision. The need to say it better, with fewer words. The chiseling away at excess to reach the essence. And the challenge to convey sentiment without sentimentality.

The Body is an Ecotone

Outtake from my upcoming book The Body is a Doorway: A Journey Beyond Healing, Hope, and the Human
(Illustration by George Underwood for Dawn by Octavia Butler) As the The Body is a Doorway nears its final line edits, I’m looking through all the essays and pieces I didn’t end up including in the narrative. I originally only shared this piece with my paid subscribers but wanted to share it with everyone who supports my work on Subs…
Sophie Strand ∙ 83 LIKES
Leanne Hunt
Beautiful, Sophie. You conceive of things in ways that are beyond most peoples' imagination, and your words open windows of perception into other times and spaces. Wishing you all the best with your edits.
Absolutely incredible. Once again you've voiced a deep intuition far better than I ever could... Thank you! I kinda wish I could get this as like a small booklet or something, I want to reread it and really savor it.

The Dig List: April 2024

My brain has been broken, but I still have some gold for you. Ft. Catherine Newman, Tana French, Andrew Huberman, Love Addiction resources, and a podcast segment that saved me.
Hey hi, happy April!? I didn’t publish a Dig List last month because my brain has been pretty broken for a while and I haven’t been reading or really absorbing much of anything? I’ve spent most of the last six weeks in the shower, eating takeout, relistening to my treasured Pema Chödrön recordings (shared below), working, and napping. Also: moving and se…
Laura McKowen ∙ 95 LIKES
emily nunn
I like to think of my petty unfollows in the ether and in real life as "gut instincts."
Megan Schmider
I gobble up your dig list, and book recommendations. thank you so much.

Pep Talk

What if it all works out?
Hi, Friend. Today I’m here with a celebration and a little pep talk, in case you need them. I do. Life’s been a slog since January, if I’m honest—and I try to be!—but there are so many things to be thankful for, and I look for them every day. I keep my antenna raised.
Maggie Smith ∙ 164 LIKES
Karen Brooks
Thanks Maggie. I loved your memoir and thoughts from it have become part of my psyche (nesting dolls!) I find myself tending to think of the worst in about every situation, but al-anon has taught me to take control of my thoughts. Not that I don't wallow at first! But I come around. Thanks for the reminder to hope for the best.
Kate Mapother
Your pep talks are the best, Maggie. And I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Keep Moving is one of 2 personal bibles- right alongside Pema’s When Things Fall Apart. Both books- chock full of wisdom and the kind of hope that comes no matter what happens.
Thank you, my friend ❤️

Public Art for an Historic Bronx Subway Station ...

... and even more creativity Inside and outside, including the nature all around us ...
This photo is from last summer at the stunning, rehabbed Starlight Park (it has a century-plus history) which surrounds the Bronx River. But it’s a decent view of what we can look forward to for this spring and summer. It also highlights what Bronx River Alliance
Jordan Moss ∙ 1 LIKES
Wow, amazing round-up of things to do and see and appreciate. Great newsletter.

I Went to Paris

and here are some places I think you'll like
Hello and welcome to A Newsletter! One day I might get a new name for this thing, but for now, consider it hilarious that this is what I named this newsletter in 2020. If you’ve found your way over by some miracle but are not yet subscribed, here, let me help you with that:
Alison Roman ∙ 660 LIKES
Hyland Murphy
Tbh the perfect shade of neutral but not boring cream is Dimity by Farrow & Ball. -Hyland (We did mushrooms together and played pool after a sky ting party) Hope you are doing well lol!
Lonée Lona
Co-sign all sentiments re: recs, “gatekeeping,” entitlement, NEEDING to know/share, keeping our individuality.

21 Recently Opened Submission Calls

18 Fee-free! - 6 paid! Spreadsheet download inside
Benjamin Davis ∙ 36 LIKES
Eric Falden
If you want to REALLY take your typing to the next level—I’m serious here—learn how to use the Home and End keys in conjunction with Control and Shift and all four arrow keys. You can literally STOP USING YOUR MOUSE and you’ll be faster for it!!
Want to highlight a whole row of text? Shift+Home. Want to skip to the beginning of a word? Control+Arrow. Highlight one word? Same thing with shift. Play around with it. It’ll change your (writing) life.
Kim H.
Here's where I date myself - typing was a required class when I was in high school back in the Dark Stone Ages of the 1980s.
Great list and it looks like I've found a couple of new places to submit to.