Peach Picks: Things to Read This Week

by / Apr. 12, 2017 12am EST


Mannish Tongues 
by jayy dodd (poetry)

Platypus Press, 2017 

Yesterday on Peach we featured “Knowing Good & Well,” a poem by Los Angeles-bred writer and editor jayy dodd. If you recognize their name, it might be from a pick back in January when we covered “Inaugural Poem for [REDACTED]” (Literary Hub) for our Inauguration issue of Peach Picks. The poem, which emphasized the impending erasure of marginalized voices during the [REDACTED] administration, served as a stunning teaser for dodd’s collection, Mannish Tongues, out now from Platypus Press. 

At the heart of “Knowing Good & Well” is what Anne Carson would recognize as the poet’s hour—the moments in which a person is awake late at night, alone to communicate with the awful loneliness and naked anxieties in their soul. “In the night,” dodd writes, “when moonlight is obstructed / & neon porch falls victim / to impenetrable darkness, // deep breath is rationed / in short-changed currency.” The poem is one of the final pieces in Mannish Tongues , and appears in a section called “Eulogies”; it surfaces amid dedications to Tamir Rice, Rodney King, and Pepper LaBeija, to Black love and queer love and Black queer love, and allows dodd to emerge from all of this looking outward and interrogating inward to breathe—quietly and not without difficulty—and pray. Mannish Tongues is a national anthem with a new hook, a rewriting of myths and re-remembering of testimonies, and a portrait, as Keguro Macharia writes in the book’s introduction, of “how black life can be lived amidst ongoing devastation.” These poems carry a disruptive power that is uniquely sharp, and are nothing short of necessary in today’s world. 


“everyone agrees/ the world’s gone/ from bad/ to worse,” Matt Proctor writes in a poem called “end of forever” that we published last week at Peach. In the poem, Proctor, who is a Columbus-based poet and the creator of the video bildungsroman, “scenes from a life” (Brooklyn Public Access Television), seamlessly bounces back and forth between the current state of the world, the relationship of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, and his own “art bro” college experience. The piece oozes hilarity alongside dark pop culture references and fantastic imagery; in a vivid moment, Proctor covers the Kardashian-Wests’ Bound 2 music video: “kim k riding his/ high handled harley/ through synthetic lycra/ lisa frank cyber sky.” Proctor connects the strange with the beautiful, and the personal with pop culture, and is unafraid to write a resolution that does not actually resolve all that much.  

“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 the editors at