Monday, February 13, 2023

Top 10 love poems

Poet, novelist, activist and translator, Meena Kandasamy has published two collections of poetry, Touch (2006) and Ms. Militancy (2010), and the critically acclaimed novel, Gypsy Goddess. Her second novel, When I Hit You, was chosen as a book of the year by The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, and The Observer and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018. Publishers Weekly called Exquisite Cadavers, her third novel, "bold, inventive... An excellent exercise in form and a deeply evocative love story." In 2022, Kandasamy was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was awarded International Pen’s Hermann Kesten Prize for her work as “a fearless fighter for democracy, human rights and the free word.”

Her latest title is The Book of Desire, Kandasamy's luminous translation of the Kamattu-p-pal, a 2000-year-old song of love and pleasure and the third part of the Thirukkural - one of the most important texts in Tamil literature.

At the Guardian Kandasamy tagged ten favorite love poems, including:
Heart Condition by Jericho Brown

What are you when you leave your man
Wanting? What am I now that I think so fondly
Of airplanes? What’s my name, whose is it, while we
Make love. My lover leaves me with words I wish
To write. Flies from one side of a nation to the outside

Of our world.

This mesmerising poem blends the world of the romantic and the radical together in the most endearing manner. Brown writes about love and desire with such insight – and what I especially admire about this particular poem is the way in which it combines the inner world of the lovers with the external strife-ridden world that discriminates against Black people, against queer people.
Read or listen to the complete poem here.

Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue