Readings: “You Throw a Stone,” by Juan Felipe Herrera

I can’t remember the last time I read and enjoyed a straight-up poem that didn’t come wrapped in some other form of media, but this one blew me away. (Not for nothing is the author the poet laureate of the United States.)

It’s visual, so you have to go to the actual Times site to get a feel for the way the lacunae are used to show distance. It’s political, but not specific, so it has a timeless appeal.

I love the transitions, too: “you throw a stone / i throw a stone / i throw a stone / you throw a stone” suddenly becomes “then a rocket.” The natural sun “cannot penetrate,” but these artificial bombs can tear us apart. Childish games evaporate the place where “you and i / once played (in our separate dreams).”

That’s heartbreaking stuff, really. I recommend you read it here, now.

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