Poetry Mixtape 1: Brilliant Fire

Every year around this time it’s inevitable I get a mixtape from a pal. They are such choice little gifts: creative, simple to make, and inherently thoughtful. I’ll treasure them long after, usually keeping them in my old brown Volvo, saving each CD for a particular driving mood.

Mixtapes come in many forms too, believe it or not. Getting a list of been-there-done-that skincare products or even a selection of the funniest TV shows on Netflix all play by the mixtape rules of being a casual selection reflecting the taste of the author. These are hand picked to basically let you know, as Elaine Kahn puts it, what you’re into. And of course we want to know what you’re into. There is nothing I am more interested in than what my friends are interested in. They are, after all, the most creative people I know!

A poet from Illinois, Elaine Kahn, felt the same, so she created a series of Poetry Mixtapes, from Volume I-VIII, curated by her, and her friends. Please give them a read; they are really very cool, and are what have inspired me to create my own. In fact, LVII is directly taken from Elaine’s PMT Volume V!

The title of this mixtape is called BRILLIANT FIRE. I’ve been thinking a lot about anger and strength, and the whether they are the same thing. It’s about when you feel like you have a lit match under your lungs. Here is a small collection of poems that spoke to me, and maybe they’ll speak to you! It’s what I’m into now –what are you into?


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Works, in order: Hebrews 12:29; Etta Blum , “The Final Anger”; Sampson Starkweather, “LVII” from The First Four Books of Sampson Starkweather; Maureen Mulhern, “Lava”; Majorie Meeker, “Beach fire”; Anne Sexton, “June 14, 1964” from Words for Dr. Y; Louise Glück, “Lament”

Compiled by Ally Matas.