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Friday Feature: Edythe Rodriguez

Updated: Jan 9, 2022

Edythe Rodriguez is a Philly-based poet who studied Africology and creative writing at Temple University. She loves neo-soul, battle rap, and long walks through old poetry journals. Edythe has received fellowships from The Watering Hole, Brooklyn Poets, and Palm Beach Poetry Festival. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Obsidian, Sonku, Emergent Literary, and Call and Response Journal. Follow Edythe online at and on Instagram.

The Spook Who Poemed by Her Altar and Not at the Feet of Academia

by Edythe Rodriguez

PDF version available as the formatting may not be compatible with all devices.

and the poets say: we speak English

there is no escaping the West

in our poems

they say:

there is no escaping form

though I never asked

them to do so, exactly.

what I asked was:

what did a sonnet

ever do for you?

what I asked was:

do villanelles let you burn

down the Vatican?

what I asked was:

when you write colonial

limericks about decolonization

does the poem


what I said was:

their forms measure nooses

in iambic pentameter,

they lynch lines

that snap necks

and dance in

the soundwork,

they split couples

and ask for couplets,

they have the most

tragic enjambments, break

ing lines across your back,

their hooded chants

become your refrain,

they put ten lines

between you

and the auction block and say

sell or be sold.

and the poets say:

there is no escaping the West

in our poems

there is no outrunning the white man

in our heads

and I have to ask them:

How you do know?

Did you even try?

Did you even run?

and I had to ask them:

when they light their torches,

when they come to burn Ethiopia

to the ground,

why do you join them?

why do you cry for your people

and still set us ablaze?

and the poets answer:

when in Rome

Torch Literary Arts is a nonprofit organization established to publish and promote creative writing by Black women. We publish contemporary writing by experienced and emerging writers alike. TORCH has featured work by Colleen J. McElroy, Tayari Jones, Sharon Bridgforth, Crystal Wilkinson, Patricia Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Elizabeth Alexander, and others. Programs include the Wildfire Reading Series, writing workshops, and retreats.


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