Anatomy of a poem

Alissa Quart is a journalist and poet, and sometimes she’s a poet who writes about journalism. Monetized, the first poetry collection from the co-editor of the journalism nonprofit Economic Hardship Reporting Project, delves into new media, commercialism, and modern culture. For CJR, Quart helped peel back the layers from one of her poems. Click the highlights, with the help of annotation website Genius, to view her explanations of “Channeling”.

Channeling

Overnight, binging turned positive.
Why does this water taste chemical?
A new filter is always needed.

We toss mizuna. You tell me authors
of the past believed in the Devil.
Is it so wrong to have diabolical
nostalgia? When that author is all
over speaker videos, handless mics,
gel lights, 17,000 Likes?

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Remember the unheard. Dialect
indeterminate: a man hammering
cans into doors, a woman trading

little for little in a truly local market.
Let’s pan then cut between these
stories. To avoid criticism, we’ll use
different theme songs.

Those women at the spa have launched
a search for a holy leader.
But we have none over here,
only channels.

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The Editors are the staffers of Columbia Journalism Review. This story was published in the May/June 2015 issue of CJR with the same headline