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By Justin Jannise

Quirky hens and sad alligators,

under- and over-employed curators,

fairy tellers, nude voyeurs,

meta-poetic critics of culture,

singing oranges turned hagioformists

formally buzzing hummingbird specialists,

their probing cameras, their integrity,

their music boxes of nuanced memory,

from hidden rebellions and shoplifted jeans,

to jaunty rhythms and paint-the-town greens,

minds flaring, quadruple the heart,

Elizabethans, realists, Romantics, upstarts,

so vulnerable at times it’s cruel, it’s wrong,

and yet mysteriously seriously strong.


Justin Jannise is the author of How to Be Better by Being Worse (BOA Editions 2021), which won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in Best New Poets, Best of the Net, Copper Nickel, Yale Review, New Ohio Review, and elsewhere. Recently a recipient of the Inprint Verlaine Prize in Poetry and a former Editor-in-Chief of Gulf Coast, Justin is pursuing his Ph.D. in Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Houston.

He can be found online on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on his homepage.


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