Today's poem is "Tono City, Japan"
from Bend to it

Salmon Poetry

Kevin Simmonds is a writer and musician originally from New orleans. His books include Mad for Meat (Salmon Poetry) and the edited works Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality (Sibling Rivalry Press) and Ota Benga Under my Mother’s Roof (University of South Carolina). He has composed numerous musical works for voice and chamber ensemble, as well as for stage productions such as Emmett Till, a river and the Emmy Award-winning documentary HOPE: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica. A recipient of fellowships and commissions from Cave Canem, Creative Work Fund, Fulbright, the Pulitzer Center, San Francisco Arts Commission and the Edward Stanley Award from Prairie Schooner, he divides his time between Japan and San Francisco.

Books by Kevin Simmonds:

Other poems on the web by Kevin Simmonds:
"Typhoid Mary"
"Barnes and Noble"
Seven poems
"Social Security"

Kevin Simmonds's Website.

About Bend to it:

"Kevin Simmonds’ poems are full of precise, vivid details and haunting images, like this description of the parish priest: ‘I remember the tie-dye chasuble / of your last Easter / its burnt orange & brown silk / flooding the aisle as you stepped / from the altar to tell us the marvel / of resurrection & life of the world to come.’ Or this description of buying a sweet ice dessert as a child: ‘Miss Pearl would open the door halfway / so I could tell her which flavor / & her smoke- cured contralto would sing / Hold on, baby ... my quarter passed into her thick-lined hands / long nails jaundiced by smokes.’ Simmonds is an accomplished musician, so it’s no wonder these poems sing ... [and] are brave, rich, disturbing, tender and a tribute to the human spirit."
—Ellen Bass

"Piercing the veil of a culture of silence, Kevin Simmonds brilliantly fuses quiet meditative traditions with a courageous impulse to dare beyond the boundaries of convention, to combine the bel canto of Italian art songs with the dynamic energy of James Brown; the tranquility of the zen masters with the fire and heat of the enraptured body. This is divine poetry — holy in the body, holy in the mind and holy in its heart.”"
—D. A. Powell

"At once personal and public, grounded and spiritual, all the poems in this collection are questions with no easy answers...In the opening poem, Simmonds tells us, ‘we began as trees / no wonder we ache / for wine-filled branches’ and by the end of the book, my branches were heavy with treasure — lines I don’t want to let go of like ‘even the soft ambulance / of a man’s body’ from one of several poems about his father or ‘I’m a blue silence / a closed mouth’ from Traded Moons, a sequence on sex trafficking."
—Seni Seneviratne

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