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Poetry Quarterly Spring 2019
Our Situation by Luther Jett
An inspired poetry collection by W. Luther Jett.
About the poet:
W. Luther Jett is a native of Montgomery County, Maryland. He began writing shortly after learning how to hold a crayon and started transcribing his ideas onto paper shortly thereafter. His poetry has been published in numerous journals, including The GW Review, Beltway, Innisfree, Potomac Review, Little Patuxent Review , and Main Street Rag. His poems have also appeared in several anthologies, including “My Cruel Invention” (Meerkat Press) and “Proud to Be” (Southeast Missouri State University Press).
His poetry performance piece, Flying to America, debuted at the 2009 Capital Fringe Festival in Washington D.C. He was a winner in the 2011 Moving Words Poetry competition in Arlington, VA. He was a featured reader during the Summer 2009 Joaquin Miller Cabin Series. During 2016 Luther was a featured reader at Ah! Coffee (Annapolis MD), Zed Cafe (Silver Spring MD), The Writers’ Center (Bethesda MD), the Kensington Bookshop series, and the Georgetown (DC) Neighborhood Library series. His chapbook, “Not Quite: Poems Written in Search of My Father” was released by Finishing Line press in the fall of 2015.
Praise for Our Situation:
Couched as they are in exquisite hope (“the canticle of sparrows/ assures me we are constant as the grass”), we find in these poems “the trumpet’s blare” and ... resistance. The range is wide.Yeats, Epimenides, the ancient prayer to do with the opening and closing of the gates recited on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, all make their appearances in this work, and somehow enter the context of our present lives — “small boat pitched/ on the dark sea—One child/cast up on the cold shore.”
--Myra Sklarew, author of A Survivor Named Trauma, forthcoming
The palace is burning. My country is dying. As prophets of old, W. Luther Jett reveals in tones magisterial and lyrical our situation. Not your situation. Not mine. Ours. He asks us to consider what led us to Charlottesville, to Aleppo. Our failure is blindness. “If you don’t see the wolf on my back—how can I describe the wolf lurking on your own shoulders?” We are all in the same boat, “lost between ocean and sky with nothing to hold but each other.” These poems are meant to advise and guide us. Jett implores us to open our eyes. And listen.
--Barbara Goldberg, Series Editor, International Editions , the Word Works
The anger pulls you in. Frustration holds you rapt. But, the balm of a promised dawn-view dandles you. Luther Jett's Our Situation beautifully helps us hike up the current hard-rough trail, all with a whispered hope of vistas around the bend.
How do we name, process, and react to the perils of the world we live in and the constant barrage of troubling news? With fierce compassion, W. Luther Jett's Our Situation impels us to do just that while reminding us of how much we have to lose should we fail. This is a collection that needs to be read.
--Lucinda Marshall founder of the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading series
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