© 2023 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Iowa City Poet Tackles Love In Second Poetry Book

Iowa City  poet Caleb Rainey  released his second collection of poems titled "Heart Notes" this week. The book dives into the ups and downs of relationships through a range of love poems. 

"These poems felt very close to me, important to me, part of who I am, that it just needed to be out," Rainey says.

Rainey, who publishes under the name "The Negro Artist" joins Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe to discuss the inspirations and motivations behind his writing. He also reads several poems on air.


(a selection from "Heart Notes" by The Negro Artist)

I'm so in love I may beed a doctor

after a fall like that. 

I'm so in love every song on the radio reminds me of you

so in love cliches don't make me cringe anymore. 

I'm so in love that if love were a house

I'd never leave, 

just curl up on your soft-lip couch

next to your fireplace hart. 

I'm so in lov your mouth feels like a metaphor

the meeting of meaning and magic.

I'm so in love outer space seems smaller

than your smile, each of your teeth shining

like stars to guiding me home.

I'm so in love I think of your milky way skin,

and want to explore it from end to end

but spend most of my time in the soal system of your


I'm so in love I think of your laugh when

I hear something funny,

like your joy and mine are twin suns

orbiting each other. Where one is,

the other is sure to be close. 

I'm so in love that waking up to 

see sunlight on your face

seems like a new kind of day dream.

I'm so in love that I find myself thinking about

flowers. I've never wanted to be a fardener,

afraid to love something that can't love me back

but now I dream about planting daffodils

so I can admire them dancing in daylight.

I'm so in love each day seems to bloom into a thank you.

I'm so in love smiling now seems 

involuntary,like breathing

or joy.

I'm so in love I forgot

what a secret is.

So in love I'm learning

new words like warmth, trsust, full.

So in love that whenever I learn something new

I want to share it with you.

I'm so in love

I want to share everything with you.

My food? Take it. 

My words? Have them.

My heart? Don't drop it. 

Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa