Poet Danez Smith sings out poems of love and intimacy in their 2020 collection Homie. In the poem “my president” they affirm all those who are their people, supporting their mama for president and their grandma for president and trans girls for president and teachers and birds and neighbors who hold the door open for them when their arms are full of laundry and the dude at the pizza spot and the children who they’d elect too, like “jonathan, eleven /…blog writer, young genius, community activist, curls tight / as pinky swears, black as my nation i trust the world in his tender / blooming hands, i trust him to tell us which rivers are safe to drink / & which hold fish like a promise.”
There’s a whole Danez Smith world in this book, a world’s expanse of observation and feeling, life and motion, elegy and ode, and the nation they create in these verses is for their beloved friends, their fam. They call their loves. The morning is a soft shawl. Texts arrive at just the right time. Trees are slow green explosions. Their anthem is mighty.
What gems can be found in virtual stacks around the world, still open for us to dive into and explore? The New York Public Library’s Digital Collections are a treasure-trove for research and learning and sometimes sheer wonder, with many items in the public domain to share. These beautiful sketchbooks (of artist Kondo, Ariyoshi, active ca. 1826-1840) remind us of spring, summer, and stirring life. Here are pages brimming with blossoms, branches and leaves, outstretched wings and the feet of birds, shells and fruit and fish…
P.S. If you love nature and art and eBooks, there are some gems to discover in cloudLibrary too. Thanks for reading!
“Whatever light / bees give off after the last snow, I hold up to you now,” writes Aimee Nezhukumatathil to Ross Gay in their poem-correspondence “Letter from Two Gardens.” Here are a few favorite poems and lines from poetry that arc, so vitally, from snow to spring to summer days…for May and the days to come. You’ll find new growth, trees, cherry blossoms, sunbaked earth, bicycles, the power of a revery, gooseberries, and the light of bees.
Thank you for reading. If you’re looking for more poetry, you can find the full text of Ross Gay and Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s wonderful poem-correspondence at Orion Magazine’s website under the title “Letters from Two Gardens.”