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Last Modified: May 2, 2024

By Matthew Stepanic

The oldest recorded love poem—an erotic poem likely recited to king Shu-Sin by his bride—dates back to as early as 2037 B.C. Since then, poets still marvel at the concept of love, be it for their dear partner, a memorable meal, or the waxing moon. Here are three poems on love published by Alberta literary magazines that deserve to go down in recorded history.

42 Facts about Hummingbirds

By Rayanne Haines

In this stunner of a poem, the speaker memorializes the life of their mother and processes their own grief in losing her through hummingbird facts. To quote the acclaimed Marvel TV show WandaVision, “What is grief, if not love persevering?” The poem creates wonder as it shifts the meaning of the various names given to a group of hummingbirds (“a bouquet, a glittering, a shimmer”), and builds to a graceful final line that leaves the reader carrying a feeling “as heavy as a neutron star, / as heavy as a hummingbird.”

Read it in the Fall 2023 issue of FreeFall here.


By Paul Giang & Mavi Tolentino

In this special issue of the multilingual magazine, The Polyglot refuses English translations, so this collective poem appears in Filipino (Baybayin script) and Chinese. Bayanihan is a Filipino value that refers to the act of people uniting to support individuals or their communities selflessly. At its root is a love for others, which, in Filipino culture, is the driving force of a hero. An English reader will appreciate the parallel forms of each translation and the art that accompanies them, and can follow a call to understand this concept in their own mother tongue.

Read it in Issue 12 of The Polyglot here.

26 Places I Find You, or A Photo of Me in which You Aren’t

By Katherine Abbass

Every numbered moment in this poem aches with the absence of the speaker’s former lover. Abbass balances this mourning by mixing in grief-tinged humour, which recalls that common feeling of once delightful memories turning to gloomy ones. In any other context a reader could not conceive sorrow when reading “2. Wiener dogs” or “10. Big Macs for breakfast,” yet that longing for an old love seeps out of every line of this beautiful poem.

Read it in Issue 4.1 of Funicular here.