The Title as a Tuner

Great thoughts on what titles can do for poems!

andrea blancas beltran

SMU’s annual LitFest happened last week, and luckily, I was in town for work. I’ve been able to attend at least one reading from this event for the past couple of years, and I’ve never been disappointed. This year, I had the pleasure of hearing Jamaal May and Rob Yardumian . Yardumian began the reading and quickly captured the audience with his easy style (which, as a writer, you know doesn’t come easy) and his relatable and witty dialogue. May then took the podium and delivered a powerful and moving series of poems from his collection  Hum.

If you’re familiar with May’s work or his book, you know his titles make statements: “A Detroit Hum Ending with Bones,” “The Man Who Paints Mountains and Helicopters,” “The Girl Who Builds Rockets from Bricks,” “Pomegranate Means Grenade”… May doesn’t use his titles as placeholders and they do more than just announce…

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