I’m really, really way too late on getting this up, especially since it’s probably the easiest piece from World Unknown Volume III to code up for the blog, but I’m finally happy to announce that June’s featured story is now up and live, so you can hop on over to the Featured Poem tag and read Ribhu’s “Stretching Out, Remembering Names.”
This is the first poem to appear in the World Unknown Review, but I certainly hope it’s not the last, though I’ll be the first to admit that poetry is a really hard sell for me as an editor. That’s what makes this poem particularly special, I think, and also the fact that Ribhu is a fairly new writer, and I recall him mentioning that WUR is his first publication. It’s always a special thrill to be someone’s first, right? Anyway, beautiful, simple, and evocative, it’s a good indication of what I, personally, find a good poem. It’s situational: it speaks on a very particular moment in the narrator’s life that recalls up a specific time and place, and yet the emotions underlying the languidness is something I could relate to immensely, even though it took place in a world so vastly different from my own. That is what stuck with me about this poem, and I still think about it every once in a while. I think it’s safe to assume that we’ve all felt that sense of longing, the feeling of uselessness, and the inevitability of having to give into something we don’t like or agree with just to toe the line of existence.
Most poems I encounter try to extol on some universal concept in a vague, all-encompassing way, and I always feel that’s never the way to go. There’s nothing personal there, nothing to anchor you into reality. In this poem, Ribhu has managed to touch on a very tangible feeling by rooting it into the mundane and the relatable, thus earning it the rare privilege of a poem I’ll publish over a short story.
Keep an eye out for an interview with Ribhu later this week, and, in the meantime, please enjoy “Stretching Out, Remembering Names.”