Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2023: Women’s Key to Survival?

Women will die to their keys. Lost and un-uttering in the trenches of their totes, purses, and otherwise bags. Many scholars have spoken of a related issue that is the deprivation of functional pockets on majority of woman apparel. Only to resort them to the blackhole that becomes of a woman’s bag. She will be digging for a car or house key in the depths of day or night and there is her vulnerability splayed. In the common dance of the knee to the song of rustling purse contents. Her wrist buried in the bag, desperately feeling. It’s in there. She knows it is. “I’ve probably touched over it a dozen times,” she thinks. And likely, she has. But, the moment has passed. As soon as she lands the key she is swallowed into darkness. She was a rustle too long; the moment a hair too short. But she knows that pockets will not do the job. Because if not her keys lost, it will be her strength. If not the moment too short, it will be her clothes. And, if not the darkness to swallow her, it will be her value, equal to that of something that should be vulnerable, docile, Keyless.

Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2023 Winners

Poetry Archive Now! was established in 2020 to enable us to gather recordings from a much wider pool of talented poets from the UK and ...

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Kelbe Nails

I was born and raised in Chicago, Il and have never been outside the U.S. I attended Whitney M. Young Magnet High School before my matriculation to the number one HBCU, Spelman College, where I study Philosophy. Writing, specifically poetry, has been a passion of mine since middle school alongside my interest and practice of dance and fine arts.


A special thank you to our WordView 2023 poets.

Here's what our PAN Wordview 2023 judges have to say about this year's competition. Robert Seatter, says "ever a joy and a privilege to co-judge the Poetry Archive Now annual competition, tapping into a pulse of thought and feeling from around the globe, condensed into intensely crafted poems. The entries came from all continents, covered myriad themes, spoke in different voices, but all shared a fundamental belief in the power of poetry to speak from the soul."

Courtney Conrad says "the poets who participated in this competition reminded us that poetry is a tool for change, a medium for reflection, and a source of inspiration. These poets have left an indelible mark on me and the world, and I can't wait to see how their words continue to shape our collective consciousness in the future."

Merrie Joy Williams says "The Poetry Archive is such an indispensable resource - the idea that a poem read in a poet’s own voice can outlast those seemingly endless moments tinkering until a poem feels right, or at least robust enough to convey a memory or insight - so exploring these entries was a privilege and joy. Selecting a final twenty was tortuous. So many captured the spirit of these times, when so many things are at risk of erosion or at a critical juncture: the environment, the misuse of AI, truthfulness, the modus operandi of those who run our countries, and issues of social justice and humanity. Others captured personal moments of reckoning in bold and intimate and surprising ways. Somehow we’ve managed to narrow them down and here we have, I think, a wide range of voices and approaches, personal and political, national and international, witty and wise, often proving that these dialectic notions are one and the same."

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