The other day while combing the world of literary magazines I came across something both unique and refreshing. I’m referring to Tyler Dempsey’s two poems most recently published in Re-Side Magazine Issue 5. These pieces use erasure poetry crafted from letters from Dempsey’s brother Travis Dempsey, who has been serving a prison sentence since 2009 in Oklahoma.
His poem “protein” captures the woes of the incarcerated for the outside world to hear. It draws attention to the role of economics in prisons to deal with basic everyday needs like nutrition. In “150MphWinds,” Dempsey points to his brother’s everyday observations. He finds the crux between complex and the dignity of simplicity by again showing what we take for granted.
While Tyler Dempsey is the curator of these poems, the words present a unique voice filled with legitimacy for the reader. It feels as if Dempsey’s brother is talking himself, creating a poetic mirroring of these letters. I chose to review these poems to not only produce more reviews on indie authors, but also to bring the attention of the privileged to the art coming from those with the least amount of civil liberties.
Reviewer bio: C.L. Butler is an African American and Dutch poet, historian, and entrepreneur from Philadelphia based in Houston, TX. In 2017 his poem Laissez Faire was published by The Bayou Review. In 2019 he published academic research with the Journal of International Relations & Diplomacy.