Published on Academy of American Poets (

no more grandma poems

they said 
forget your grandma
these american letters
don’t need no more 
grandma poems
but i said 
the grandmas are 
our first poetic forms
the first haiku 
was a grandma 
& so too 
the first sonnet
the first blues
the first praise song 
every poem 
is a grandmother 
a womb that has ended 
& is still expanding 
a daughter that is 
rhetorically aging 
& retroactively living
every poem 
is your grandma
& you miss her
wouldn’t mind 
seeing her again
even just 
for a moment 
in the realm of spirit
in the realm 
of possibilities 
where poems 
share blood 
& spit & exist 
on chromosomal 
planes of particularity 
where poems 
are strangers
turned sistren 
not easily shook 
or forgotten


Copyright © 2021 by Yolanda Wisher. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 29, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“In a workshop I attended many years ago, someone complained eloquently about people writing too many ‘grandma poems.’ For a long time, their testimony had me hiding my grandma poems—like big, comfy underwear—from the public, even from myself. This poem is a proud acceptance of my unabashed adoration for all grandmothers, but especially Christine Johnson, my great-grandmother with whom I spent many days of my first decade. She is the reason I write poems. The world wouldn't turn without grandmas like her, who are everything.”
Yolanda Wisher


Yolanda Wisher

Yolanda Wisher is the author of Monk Eats an Afro (Hanging Loose Press, 2014).

Date Published: 2021-11-29

Source URL: