Peach Picks: What to Read This Week

by / Jan. 25, 2017 12am EST


“I vote for the same person / every four years: / Monica Lewinsky,” writes Francesca Kritikos in “Mall of America,” a poem we featured yesterday on Peach. In the ensuing stanzas, Kritikos summons the America of deep-fried Oreos and cherry-flavored Tylenol, and like these Oreos, the speaker of the poem feels as though she has also been deep-fried and processed for consumption. The poem is paired with a second by Kritikos, “Little Girl Blue,” in which the color blue evokes images of undereye circles, serenades, dead skin, sadness, wetness—the oceanic expanse of female experience. “It’s hard,” Kritikos writes, “to scratch my way out of this ocean.”

A poem I returned to this week was “Rust Belt Country” by Buffalo-bred, Los Angeles-based poet and editor Leah Clancy, published on Peach in early December. Though she begins by “taking to task / the gross shit / across the nation,” Clancy reluctantly finds beauty in the strip malls and macaroni salad of middle America.


by jayy dodd

Inaugural Poem for [REDACTED],” by jayy dodd, a writer and editor from Los Angeles, was published on Literary Hub last week, and has since then received significant attention. Their poem is an erasure of a poem written by Joseph Charles McKenzie that was recommended by the Society of Classical Poets for [REDACTED]’s inauguration. dodd finds in the original poem lines like “for whom hell is the norm, / our lives / to swell / now” and “But for all / a luster / a blasphemous lie”—lines that better address the events of last week and the last year and a half than Mackenzie’s original ever could. The poem precedes their forthcoming debut collection, Mannish Tongues, out from Platypus Press this February. As local poet RE Katz put it, we should “let dodd’s erasure be our true inaugural poem, as the original poem is such erasure.”


The season kickoff of Just Buffalo Literary Center’s Spotlight on Youth series last Wednesday offered welcome respite from the looming chaos of the inauguration. SOY is an interdisciplinary open mic series that celebrates the work of young writers and artists. The event, which took place at Shea’s Smith Theatre, featured slam poetry, dance, music, short skits, and more, on topics including loneliness, mental health, abusive relationships, and consent. Dwight Coleman, a peer educator at Planned Parenthood and member of Teen Reality Theatre, struck a chord with his performance of his poem, “Food Chain,” which addresses the murder of black youth by police officers. “We are sick of being the land of the free when we can only reach our hands so far,” Coleman said. The frank fearlessness of these young writers was an invigorating call to arms. “We are being treated as a food chain,” Coleman said. “Now you tell me, who’s the hunter and who’s the prey in this food chain?”

“Peach Picks” is a new column of literary news and recommendations written by the editors of Peach Mag, an online literary magazine based in Buffalo, New York. For inquiries, contact Rachelle at