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Reading “Sunflower Sonnet Number Two” by June Jordan



Poetry Lunch S3E2

Reading “Sunflower Sonnet Number Two” by June Jordan from The Essential June Jordan, published by Copper Canyon Press.


I love how poems find us, forget us, and find us again. Or rather we forget them. What a gift to be found!

I don’t remember when I first read this poem but it was in a different book and a different time. I do remember how I felt when I read it, longing for long term love and recognizing the perfect contradictions and depth of it this poem names so well. Wild to read it now and feel inside it, to feel it describe my life actually, vs a wanting. Still with all the complexity, and the damn fine simplicity shining through.

Does it get to you? I’m so happy to be where I’m at, embracing long term in many many aspects of my life over the easy new. Makes me think too of an exercise a friend suggested, of writing your own obituary. Sounds morbid, but she promises it’s quite clarifying. I haven’t done it but I do know that what I want to be remembered for doesn’t have to do with how I perform. It has to do with kindness and curiosity more than any number of emails I’ve responded to nor how promptly. Generosity. Hm.

See? Poems always give as many layers as we care to live.


Related print

letterpress print with black and red type, tiled

 Some years back, Sabina Smith and I embarked on a giant project to print a broadside of June Jordan's “Poem about my Rights.” Read the story here, in Sabina's words.


Links to purchase

Get the book here: The Essential June Jordan and the print here: Poem about My Rights.