Poems I’ve Placed My Faith In


by David Kinsey

I used to roll my eyes when I’d hear poets say that reading a particular writer and book saved their life. While there are certainly poets whose work is a continual source of inspiration, whose artistry challenges me to take myself back to page, but is that what it means to be saved?  (And really, if all it took was a poem to save you, then were things really that bad off in the first place?) But I digress… The point is that while I’m skeptical about “born again poets,” I do believe in the capacity of poetry to return our language to us. As Terrance Hayes writes in his poem “Snow for Wallace Stevens” which appears in Lighthead, “I too having lost faith / in language, have placed my faith in language.”

So, as we conclude what has been an amazing year, here is a list of poems I encountered in 2010 that I have placed my faith in. (Remember, it’s not that the poems were published this year, so much as the fact that I happened across or was introduced to them in 2010.)

“The Wind Blows Through the Doors of My Heart” by Deborah Digges

“Facing It” by Yusef Komunyakaa

“Annunciation” by Jean Valentine

“Final Performance” by Cynthia Cruz

“Another Elegy” by Jericho Brown

“Horse in the Dark” by Vievee Francis

“Song on the Subway” by Ocean Vuong

“Impenetrable, Porous” by Metta Sama


2 responses to “Poems I’ve Placed My Faith In

  1. Jean Valentine was that poet whose work gave me permission to write the poems I wanted to write. At that time, the way I wanted to write was unlike what I was reading. Then I encountered her book “Ordinary Things,” and it gave me that permission. It’s not hyperbole to say that that was a life-changing moment.

  2. Samantha Martinez

    I’ve heard about you from my debate teacher Ms. Squibb & I’ve seen your name all over her room. She is such a great teacher and knows so much, I wish I could have her all year-round. Looking at your blog, you’ve really inspired me to do big things. You give me hope that maybe one day I too could be as successful as you are. Personally, I think your writing is so meaningful because you have so many great things to say. I’m amazed at the many accomplishments you’ve made and can’t wait until your book comes out! If you’re every in the Lewisville area, please look up your #1 fan.
    -Samantha Martinez
    (e-mail me) samluvs2cheer@live.com

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