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"Everyday I draw a different bird" by Megan Merchant, Read by the Poet

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

This gorgeous and compact poem won Bear Review’s first annual Michelle Boisseau Poetry Prize for a single outstanding piece. While there’s much I could say about the poem’s must-read-it-again inexhaustibility, and about what this piece shows us about the lyrical power of grounding expressions of what’s radiant and gorgeous in what’s real, I’ll go ahead and step aside. Contest judge Hadara Bar-Nadav’s words, written while still “blind” to the poet’s name, distills this and more:

“Freshness, surprise, and awe are loaded line by line into this highly compressed poem, dense with luminous details: bra straps, gutted fish, bats, and ravens. A cabinet of curiosities flashes open in this sonnet-like ars poetica that sings in F minor with the voices of herons and hummingbirds. The glittering clutter finally arrives at rot (a “slurry of gnats”) and wonderment. I am swept up, in, away by “Every day I draw a different bird,” a startling and magical poem bound by humming and ache.”

--Marcus Myers


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