Jane Zwart’s poems have appeared in Poetry, TriQuarterly, and Threepenny Review, as well as other journals and magazines. She also reviews books, writes the occasional essay, and interviews other writers. She teaches literature and writing at Calvin University, where she also co-directs the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing.

Jane Zwart, at left, in a photo by Otto Selles Photography

Today I’d like to share with you this poem by Jane, which I think is a wonderful example poem. It has many layers. Of course, there’s the “go back to your own country” xenophobia heard in some political protests. There’s also the wonderful layers of meaning about the various forms of home our “countries” take, how we find a home in countries where we are not native. Let’s talk about it’s many layers in the comments below. For now, let’s read and appreciate and think about how we might use it’s simple conversational tone of “Let me tell you about . . .” to write a poem about our own obsessions or preoccupations or perhaps even hobbies.

This is also a good example of a prose poem.

Why not use her opening phrase (“Let me tell you about ________”) and write your own short, explanatory prose poem, trying for strong images that explicate your subject?

The poem originally appeared in Contemporary Verse 2. Maybe you’ll want to submit something to them yourself. See the link below the next photo.

Submission information here: Contemporary Verse 2

As always, thoughtful comments are most welcome. Also, use the links below to share this poem with your friends on your blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

2 responses to “Jane Zwart on Going Back to Your Own Country”

  1. mrscrotty Avatar

    That is a wonderful poem!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glenda Bailey-Mershon Avatar

    Isn’t it? I love her vivid images, from the tray of glasses in Jerusalem, to especially, countries tumbling from Yugoslavia’s pockets. Even more, I love the simple intro and conclusive ending wrapped around those images. I’ll be trying to write a similar poem in the next week. Join me?


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