Writing about “place” is an increasingly popular genre that elevates background settings to central characters of stories. With over 35,000 writers (and readers) from over 100 countries, Write the World members inhabit lots of diverse places: from children splashing in the rain puddles of a bustling Filipino city—to the solitude of early summer mornings in the UK countryside. This edition of Write the World Review curates poems about “place” from 12 writers across 10 countries and 5 continents. Our writers often paint their places with the brush of nature, evoking the rhythmic tranquility of Thoreau’s Walden. These 12 poems also illustrate how poetry’s impressionistic virtuosity is perfectly suited to capture the fleeting sights, sounds, smells, pace, and memories of a place.
For some writers, “place” defines where they came from—and who they are and aspire to become. For example, Lily Wang’s (US) undulating, ever-present ocean is the uncertain medium that measures the distance between today’s reality and tomorrow’s dreams. Neeraja Kumar (India) looks at her childhood city from the tarmac of a departing airplane, reflecting on what she leaves behind—and how much of that place is forever part of her. Tiffany Leong (US) ventures from suburbia back to Chinatown, a place where cultural traditions magnify her grandfather’s sacrifices to enable a better life for her generation.
Other young writers convey the comfort and security of that special place called “home” by juxtaposing natural forces. Sasindie Subasinghe’s house (Sri Lanka) stands up to a thumping natural rainstorm. And the curtains of Nura Orooji’s home (South Africa), while animated by breeze and wind, do not reveal the secret of her place.
Still other writers use place as a timepiece to convey life’s pace. Lauren Teh (United Arab Emirates) invites us into the slow-moving sanctity of a library room, with its quiet decorum and reverence for knowledge. And from her perch at the window of a fast-moving bus, Izrahmae Suico (Philippines) takes us on a kaleidoscopic tour of the colorful trees, fields, and houses of a local town. Finally, Rosie Jones (Wales) uses nature to telescope our focus from pink clouds to green moss climbing up a gravestone’s face—and stops there—to examine time and timelessness.
Write the World is a welcoming community of young writers from all sorts of interesting places. Like these poets and their poems, we are diverse, curious, and thoughtful. We are connected by a love for stopping to see and reflect upon our world—and sharing our thoughts through writing. I hope you enjoy this edition—and clicking on the audio files to hear the poets read their pieces.
- David Weinstein, Founder, Write the World LLC