Poets Should Not Write about Politics

Poets Should Not Write about Politics
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2020 Sinclair Poetry Prize Contest Winner 

Poets Should Not Write about Politics by Jerry T Johnson

Jerry Johnson’s new book, Poets Should Not Write about Politics, immediately undermines its title in seemingly innocent poems about daisies, bison, and kittens that hit hard in their love for America and their rage against her injustices. Musicality and rhythm reinforce this message in these poems, as in the poem “Trains” where they ground a voice that aches for a different world, even as it honors the beauties of this one: “…we find night has taken the helm/the crescendo climbs, the stars overcome the darkness/i overcome the darkness, my grief, the darkness of my soul/ and my train moves on and on and my train moves on and on.” This is a collection of longing and hope and passion. —  Laurel S. Peterson Poet Laureate, Norwalk, CT, 2016 – 2019 Professor, English, Norwalk Community College

We land in this world, travel, leave, and yet, as Jerry T. Johnson examines in this engrossing collection, we cannot leave history behind. Through deft storytelling, he highlights the past and future and how art needs to move beyond pleasantries. The Jim Crow signs may fade, but the danger remains current. A thought-provoking and highly enjoyable book. — Jane Ormerod, writer and editor, great weather for MEDIA

In Poets Should Not Write About Politics, Jerry T. Johnson proves in the opening poem, and many of the poems that follow, exactly why poets need to write about politics. While many of the poems focus on politics in the broader sense of the word, in a gifted and challenging way, my favorite poems, including A Song Of Remembrance For Mama and I Dare Not Divulge, marry the personal with the political, in a way that’s deeply impactful and will linger with me for a long time. Yet there is joy here too, and laughter, a sharp turn of phrase surprising it out of me at unexpected times.  — Caitlan Jans, Editor of Authors Publish Literary Magazine