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Adam Giannelli on "Stutter"

I've stuttered since childhood, but "Stutter" is the first time I ever wrote about it. The poem was written during a particularly stutter-heavy period in my life. People who stutter often experience ups and downs with their fluency. Some days or months are more fluent than others. These shifts are often inexplicable, but in my case I think the disfluency was the result of stress. I had recently moved to Utah to begin a doctoral program, and suddenly I was doing a lot of in-class presentations. With stuttering on my mind, I started to write. MORE

 
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Celebrating 15 Years of the Poetry Society of America’s Chapbook Fellowship

"We launched this series of chapbooks, selected and introduced by distinguished contemporary poets, in 2003, bringing the total of poetry debuts as of this spring to sixty," said Alice Quinn, Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America, as she discussed the PSA's Chapbook Program, which publishes each winner's work as a gorgeous chapbook, allowing new voices to reach new audiences. On June 6, 2018, the PSA and its supporters gathered at the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium at Cooper Union to celebrate 15 years of this successful program—and to honor this year's winners. MORE

 
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Jonathan Larson on Francis Ponge's Nioque of the Early-Spring

I decided to translate Francis Ponge's Nioque of the Early-Spring, in part, for its bridge from the earlier Ponge of Things (playful paeans to objects) and the later Ponge of Making of the Pré and The Table, etc.(serial investigations into the changing thing, prairie, commodity…), but also because the time spanned by the document gains a distinct charge due to their circumstantial nature. MORE

 
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Wendy Chen on "They Call Me Madame Butterfly"

In the final scene of Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly, Butterfly takes her dagger and goes behind the screen. When she emerges again, she is mortally wounded, having cut her own throat. The audience breathes a sigh of relief. At last, the expected conclusion has arrived. Butterfly is dead. MORE

 
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Ashley M. Jones on "What It Means To Say Sally Hemings"

It's interesting to talk about the genesis of this poem, because its current place in my life is what I think about more than how it began. In fact, I have read (and continue to do so) this poem at each tour stop for my first book, Magic City Gospel, not only because I want to tell Sally's story, but because invoking the spirit of a Black woman always brings me peace and power, and Sally is one such woman. MORE

 
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Mitchell L. H. Douglas on "O-H-I-O”

My moves as a child—from Kentucky, to Iowa, to Ohio, and back to the bluegrass—carved a triangle through the Midwest and South, each place a new side to my voice that shaped my tongue and the black alphabet that made me poet. MORE

 
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Winner of the Four Quartets Prize, Danez Smith

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Diana Khoi Nguyen on "I Keep Getting Things Wrong"

In the messy aftermath of a death in the family (all life is an aftermath), it took me two years to access and gain entrance into my grief. What enabled this entry was exploration into my parents' flight from Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon. It was the 40th anniversary of the war's end, and I found myself asynchronous by grief over my brother's suicide—that is, out of sync with loved ones, my environment, my routines MORE

 
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Aimee Nezhukumatathil on "In Praise of My Manicure"

I probably need tell no one that growing up in predominantly white towns, the first day of classes was always a source of strife for me when I anticipated my last name called out. I became a master of the forced/pained smile, making sure everyone (most of all the teacher) was comfortable with (and in spite of) my discomfort. MORE

 
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From the Archive: Those Sunglasses

James Laughlin's delightful poem "Those Sunglasses" about his good friend, Tennessee Williams, was almost completely lost to the world through my own over-organization. Having finally finished (with my co-editor Thomas Keith) The Luck of Friendship: The Letters of Tennessee Williams and James Laughlin (which my boss, James Laughlin had asked me to do almost twenty-five years ago, as part of a series of correspondence volumes with his most famous New Directions authors, published by W. W. Norton & Co.), I was tidying up my files and decided to go through the JL/TW-related material that I had brought home from New Directions as James Laughlin's literary co-executor when I retired in 2011. MORE

 
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Jenny Xie on “Melancholia”

In "Mourning and Melancholia" (1917), Freud traces the distinction between the psychological state of mourning, a normal response to loss that is finite, and melancholia, a pathological mourning whose labor is endless. Whereas in mourning, the object of loss is clear and can be released by the mourner with time, in melancholia, what has been lost can remain hidden and becomes internalized—"devoured" by the ego, as Freud writes.  MORE

 
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Justin Phillip Reed on "Consent"

I think I'm supposed to tell you about the beginnings of this poem. It begins in small towns of South Carolina. Of Tennessee. Towns with a lot of churches, typically. Sprawling rural landscapes that make it harder to reject someone who drives a half-hour to meet you. MORE

 
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A Conversation with Christopher Soto

I didn't want to quiet or assimilate the voices of queer people in this anthology. I wanted to show our bravery and rebellion. I am proud to publish poems about kink and resistance to police violence and resistance to colonization. I wanted to show that queer people of color are not merely passive victims of homophobia, transphobia, racism. Rather we have been active in protesting and fighting for our dignity against meaningless vitriol for centuries. MORE

 
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Lee Briccetti on “Sky Notes / Sky Sonnet (1)”

The volta of the Elizabethan sonnet is one of my favorite literary and intellectual inventions. Because it readjusts the rhetoric of the poem, sometimes even pulling arguments inside out like a sleeve, it communicates that a changed position is possible. Each line of what I call my broken sonnets begins with a comma, announcing a new direction, or shifting view. The hope is to keep the poem dependent on the left-hand margin but destabilized and turning. Like a whirling dervish, the movement of each broken sonnet is contemplative. MORE

 
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Luljeta Lleshanaku and Ani Gjika on "Negative Space"

One of the most resistant images from my childhood, which comes to me from time to time, is the damp school corridor and the cleaning ladies who warn in a threatening tone: "Don't step here!" I don't know why that hallway was always recently-washed, or washed at the wrong time, but it sounded as a punishment to me, as if those two nice ladies, exhausted by their hard work and difficult life, gained a kind of satisfaction when imposing their small power over us, the little ones. MORE

 
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Libby Burton on “Dreaming the Places My Father’s Tongue Has Been in Summer”

I intended for this title to be provocative, or rather, I embraced the provocation when the title came to me. It's one of those sentences that arrived in my mind fully formed, and it just happened to be rhythmic and mysterious—so I went with that.  MORE

 
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Lisa Wells on "Under the Water, Carry the Water"

I wrote most of The Fix during the slow dissolution of my first marriage. Leaving was a fix I'd theretofore regularly administered: schools, jobs, relationships—all quittable in the impulsive instant, provided you can live without care, money, or instruction. But divorce is a whole other kettle of fish.  MORE

 
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Amanda Johnston on “Love is a Bloody Thing in the Dark”

I'm a Virgo and I live for a plan, a list, knowing what is and what isn't. I'm also a sucker for love. As a child, I would write lists imagining what my life would look like: a loving husband, two kids, a house, and maybe a dog.  MORE

 
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"The Weird One": Helen Adam's Visual Work

In the late 1970s, Helen Adam wrote to Robert Duncan about "some pleasing weird collages" she had made, noting that her sister was ultimate arbiter of their quality: "I always know they would work if Pat says, 'No! No! I can't bear to look at them!'" While Adam is best known for high-spirited performances of her witchy ballads, her substantial portfolio of visual work—which includes hundreds of scrapbooks, collages, and photographs—has been largely overlooked. MORE

 
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Nicole Sealey on "Heretofore Unuttered"

I'd had the first two or so lines of "Heretofore Unutterred," from as if god to appearance of decorum, for several years before they finally made their way into a poem, this poem. Here I am / admiring this single violet orchid came to me days after a trip to Home Depot for flowers. My husband and I bought marigolds, beardtongues, and lavender for our yard. For myself, I bought a single violet orchid, which I placed on my writing desk. MORE

 
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Martín Espada on "Here I Am"

I believe in elegies for the living. I believe in writing poems of praise for those we would praise while they are still with us. I have written too many elegies for the dead. Certain poets are like preachers in that sense, called upon to say the right words at ceremonial occasions, to praise those who are gone, to articulate some meaning for those who crave meaning. There is an inevitable feeling that the words come too late. MORE

 
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Peggy Robles-Alvarado on "In Leticia’s Kitchen Drawer"

This poem was developed from a prompt given by Cheryl Boyce Taylor during a workshop I attended at Cave Canem. At the time I was gathering and writing poems for an anthology I was developing titled The Abuela Stories Project honoring distinct grandmothers and the lessons they offer new generations. MORE

 
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Ricardo Maldonado on "Un pájaro para Felipe, un pájaro para Damián / A Bird for Felipe, a Bird for Damián"

There are a few facts about the composition of this poem I want to disclose: that the idea of the poem, if not the thing itself, came to me in December, as my plane landed in Puerto Rico... MORE

 
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Elizabeth Scanlon on "The Brain Is Not the United States"

This is a poem that began from a passing remark that struck me as simultaneously comforting and mystifying. My son has a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome, or high functioning autism, and throughout his childhood we've seen various doctors and therapists. MORE

 
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Rio Cortez on “UFO, For Instance"

I was raised in Utah, and had, a white evangelical grandmother. She described herself to anyone as a "born-again Christian." She would host bible study in her home and attended a warehouse-become-church with a rock star pastor who was mic'd up every Sunday to an enormous congregation of second-chancers. MORE

 
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Stella Corso on "An Actress Approaches Her Scene"

This was the year I stopped flying. After staying at a string of so-called haunted hotels, mostly by chance and then with acquired interest, I think I caught a ghost. I believe it happened at the Hotel San Carlos in Phoenix, where this poem was conceived. MORE

 
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Emily Skillings on "Matron of No"

I wrote this poem on my phone in someone else's house. I was feeling bored and kind of physically gross, like I needed a shower. I went to take a picture of the cat and the camera accidentally turned on my face, a contemporary occurrence that, to my horror, happens to me almost daily. MORE

 
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Liz Countryman on "Fireworks Phobia Formation"

I've always been scared of fireworks. As a kid, like many other kids in suburban New Jersey, I went with my family to the local park on the fourth of July to sit in a lake of seated people and watch the explosions. When I was very little, my mother tells me, I was so scared that my flesh practically melted into hers. MORE

 
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Barbara Jane Reyes on "An Apology"

Writing a poem to Norife Herrera Jones, a woman I never knew personally, was fraught with questions about right. What is right. Do I have the right. MORE

 
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Rosa Alcalá on "This Is Not the End of My Film Career"

Some years ago, I got a call from my brother to tell me that my mother had fallen and, despite an emergency alert necklace, had spent several hours on the floor before firemen broke down the door.  This wasn't the first time she had fallen—and her doorframe was permanently warped from other forced entries—but it was the first time we noticed signs of dementia. MORE

 
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Alissa Valles on Ryszard Krynicki

Like many of Ryszard Krynicki's poems, "What Luck" exists in several versions, and before I came to translate this one, I read the later version in which Nineveh and Pompeii are replaced with 'Warsaw' and 'the Betar movement', bringing the poem unambiguously into the 20th century Poland. MORE

 
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Miranda Field on "Spare Room"

Years before his bedroom became the "spare room," my nephew—firstborn of the newest generation in my family—must have spent some minutes or hours there practicing signing his name on the fly-leaves of his books. Years later, in the months following his suicide, I came across his childish hand in one of his old books, and it shook me. MORE

 
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Lucy Biederman on "SPELL for Making One Not Have to Work in the Gods’ Domain."

The wealthy in Ancient Egypt had detailed guides to the afterworld, called books of the dead, inscribed in expensive papyrus in their coffins; if you were poor, you died without instruction, consigned to wander confused forever. (The formal scheme of The Walmart Book of the Dead, and the titles of its sections, this one included, are taken from Egyptian books of the dead.) MORE

 
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Jacqueline Waters on "All Ears"

Sometimes I think I've fallen prey to a client-server model of consciousness. Like I'm a web server and everything around me is a hit, an ask, a demand. I send back a slow-loading web page with a pile of paragraphs and some assets. I send back errors, evasions, interjections. Or I get the hit and I have nothing, I just stand there numb, counting seconds. Maybe I'm resting.  MORE

 
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Ruth Awad on "The Keeper of Allah's Hidden Names"

In Islam, Allah has 99 names—The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful, The King, The Light, The Living…but some are kept hidden from mankind. I was thinking His hidden names seem like a metaphor for how love works: you can never really know another person, not completely. Love is a kind of faith: you give it without knowing if it will be returned or how long its returning will last. MORE

 
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E. J. Koh on “Showtime”

When a reader picks up the book and opens to the first page, they open the door to my house. My house is unfamiliar to me when suddenly there is somebody new—a visitor to startle me off the couch where I've grown listless from memory. MORE

 
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Geoffrey Hilsabeck on "Riddle 6"

This poem began as I assume all poems do: with a gift. The gift in this case was a stone, smaller than my palm, which my two-year-old daughter, Esther, picked up in the parking lot of her school. (She's now three-and-a-half, and my pockets are still filled with stones, leaves, dried flowers, and other of the world's ephemera.) MORE

 
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Victoria Chang on "These Men Can Be Collected"

I had a difficult time selecting a poem from Barbie Chang because I often have trouble seeing my own work objectively so I picked a poem at random called These Men Can Be Collected. I wrote this poem a long time ago, after I had my first child.  MORE

 
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Seeing the Future: A Conversation with Alice Notley

Listening to recordings of poets reading is something I do every day. The recordings leave the voices in you, all their various textures in and next to this world, and then, hopefully, they crop up in dreams. It's such an intuitive way to study. Fonograf Editions, a vinyl record-only poetry press, has released recordings by Eileen Myles and Rae Armantrout, as well as Alice Notley's Live in Seattle. I spoke with Alice on the occasion of this new LP. Because she is an incredibly funny person, my only regret is that this transcript can't show the amount that we laughed during the conversation. MORE

 
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Eve L. Ewing on "what I mean when I say I'm sharpening my oyster knife"

Zora Neale Hurston is such a fascinating and wondrous character to me. Although she is most well known for her work as a fiction writer, she was also a trained anthropologist, and I think that the capacity for intense observation, cultural analysis, and keen questioning that are so important to that kind of work are traits that inform her work in other genres. MORE

 
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Poet Novelist: An Interview between Andrew Durbin and Lucy Ives

Andrew Durbin is the author of Mature Themes (Nightboat 2014). His work has also appeared in BOMB, Boston ReviewFrieze, Texte zur KunstTriple Canopy, and elsewhere. He co-edits Wonder and lives in New York. Lucy Ives's books include Anamnesis (Slope Editions, 2009), nineties (Tea Party Republicans Press, 2013; Little A, 2015), Orange Roses (Ahsahta Press, 2013), and The Hermit(Song Cave, 2016). Her writing has appeared in Art in America,ArtforumLapham's Quarterly, and Vogue, among other publicationsA former editor of Triple Canopy, she is currently editing a collection of writings by the artist Madeline Gins. Both Durbin and Ives have published novels this year MacArthur Park (Nightboat, 2017) and Impossible Views of the World (Penguin, 2017), a New York Times Editors' Choice MORE

 
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Jenny Sadre-Orafai on "Queen of Cups"

Maybe it's strange that Queen Elizabeth appears in this poem since I've never been incredibly interested in British royalty. But, years ago I saw a book review of a Queen Elizabeth biography while reading other sections of the paper. There was a description of Elizabeth hearing about her father's death while she was in a hotel in the trees, watching elephants. MORE

 
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Christine Kitano on "Gaman"

Gaman is a Japanese word that can be translated as "endure," "persist," or "persevere," and is often used to describe how Japanese Americans reacted to the WWII incarceration. I don't speak Japanese, so I came to this word as many others do, through a history book. And yet, I understand enough about Japanese American culture to sense there is a lack in the terms "endure" or "persist." In this poem, I wanted to try to capture the word's essence through the experience of the poem MORE

 
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Brittany Perham on "DP.f.30"

"DP.f.30" is one of the first poems I wrote for the book called Double Portrait. All the things that I am going to tell you about this poem, and about all the Double Portraits, are things I didn't know as I was writing. The only thing I knew then was to do what I had always done: listen for the language, try to find the pattern, move toward whatever it was that was trying to reveal itself. But now I can see some things about the Double Portraits that I couldn't when I set out. MORE

 
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sam sax on "Relapse"

I was sober for three years between my overdose in The Bay Area and having my heart obliterated by an awful relationship in Texas. I found out the person I'd been seeing for half a year had another boyfriend… whom he lived with… & I started drinking. This poem grapples with some of the wreckage that followed, tries to order it—how I became dangerous by making my body do dangerous things. MORE

 
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Danez Smith on "poem where I be & you just might"

Once upon an April, I forced myself to sit down and write the too late love poems for a few boys who came into my life brief, but grand seasons. I was thinking about the many loves that were never lovers—how intimacy and romance can occupy a room without taking hold of the body. MORE

 
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Dante Among Friends: Kevin Young and Robin Coste Lewis

Robert Rauschenberg: Thirty-Four Illustrations for Dante's Inferno, was published in conjunction with the first major retrospective on Rauschenberg's career since the artist's death in 2008, this book presents the complete set of 34 drawings, and newly commissioned poetry from Kevin Young and Robin Coste Lewis, each reflecting on a selection of drawings and their corresponding Cantos.  MORE

 
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Chen Chen on "The Cuckoo Cry"

I forget how sad some of my poems are because people tend to point out the humor. And I like making people laugh. Writing about this poem, though, made me see the sadness. This poem came a little after realizing I had all these poems about a confrontation between mother and teenage son, a rupture that occurs because of the son's growing sense that he is not, at least not fully, straight. MORE

 
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Kaveh Akbar on "Heritage"

When I first read about Reyhaneh Jabbari, her story completely broke me. The article that introduced me to her also included the text of her final message to her mother—to this day, that text remains among the most devastating documents I've ever encountered. There is something in the way Reyhaneh seeks to calm her mother, to relay gratitude, of all things, for her mother's love. MORE

 
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Erica Wright on "Lola and the Apocalypse"

You may remember the rapture of 2011. Sure, the threat of apocalypse comes and goes, but this one made national news. Harold Camper predicted that on May 21st, believers would be taken to heaven, and those left behind would face a cornucopia of horrors. Proselytizers took to their local channels with predictions and pleas. My friends and I quipped about not paying our student loans. MORE

 
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Movie Marquee Poems: An Interview with Saint Flashlight

Saint Flashlight consists of childhood friends Molly Gross and Drew Pisarra, who have been working together on art installations and projects for over a decade. Movie Marquee Poems is their newest offering, a public art project in partnership with Nitehawk Cinema and the company's Prospect Park location (188 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn) Each month the previously disused marquee is repurposed to feature original haiku by contemporary poets composed in response to motion pictures. MORE

 
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Rob Schlegel on The Catenary Press

In college, I made chapbooks and gave them away to family and friends. I loved every part of the process, but especially writing the poems and figuring out how to orient them on the page and then making the paper pass happily through the printer. I also loved designing my own covers with fancy paper from a local office-supply store called Oregon Stationers. MORE

 
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Elisa Gabbert on "Jack always feels like someone is watching."

Several years ago my husband John and our friend Aaron decided to stage a small production of the play The Designated Mournerby Wallace Shawn. Without having read the play, I agreed to play the part of Judy; Aaron would play Jack, Judy's husband, and John would direct. MORE

 
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Douglas Crase on "True Solar Holiday"

The trouble with talking about a poem is that what you say will repeat or replace or wreck the poem, when the reason you wrote it in the first place was that prose doesn't go far enough. MORE

 
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Angela Veronica Wong on “Elsa, Stick Your Finger In The Pie”

Most immediately, elsa is about a fictional 18th-century courtesan within Louis XV's court navigating domestic and international politics, which is never too far removed from personal ambition. MORE

 
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Anne Cecelia Holmes on “Dead Year”

I started writing "Dead Year" during a gray, bitter New England January without much more than a generative process in mind—a challenge to let myself write every day without constantly deleting the first line, staring into space, and giving up, which is too often my pattern. MORE

 
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Susan Barba on “Andranik”

The most accurate definition of a poem that I have ever heard is Theodor Adorno's: "a philosophical sundial telling the time of history." Employing a simile to describe what is difficult to articulate literally, Adorno captures the figurative nature of poetry, how lyric poems describe social reality through symbolic figuration. MORE

 
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Clint Smith on "what is left"

I have always valued what it means to write across different genres. So many of the literary figures I've long admired refused to situate themselves within a singular mode of writing. They were poets, they were playwrights, they were essayists, they were novelists. This literary dexterity enriched the scope of their work and often led to an interdisciplinary, creative output that could not easily be compartmentalized. MORE

 
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Adrienne Raphel on “The House on Bayshore”

In October 2012, my grandfather's house got destroyed in Hurricane Sandy. My grandfather lived in Brigantine, New Jersey, a small island suburb of Atlantic City; he'd been in that house for over fifty years. My mom and her sisters grew up there, and when I was a baby, we lived around the block. I learned to swim off my grandparents' dock.  MORE

 
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Ruth Madievsky on "Propofol"

I wrote my first book of poems, Emergency Brake, entirely while I was in pharmacy school. The relationship between my work as a writer and my work as a healthcare provider is porous, and "Propofol" lives in that friction more than any other poem in the book. MORE

 
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Tomás Q. Morín on "For My Daughter"

How do we define existence? When does it begin and when does it end? Humans have wrestled with these questions for millennia. When it came to the memory of the daughter I never had, these questions felt irrelevant.  MORE

 
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The Others: An Interview with Matthew Rohrer

Matthew Rohrer's The Others, out this year from Wave Books, is different from most books of poetry. Not only does it shrug off the preciousness of "poetry" in the way it stirs together things that are supposed to be fun (like robot bigfoots and illicit reading) and things that are not supposed to be fun (like commuting and losing your job); not only does it toggle back and forth between deep and superficial experience in a way that is powerful, familiar, revealing, and irreverent all at once—The Others does something stranger. MORE

 
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An Interview with Todd Colby

The following is an interview reprinted from Todd Colby's art book Time For History. The book's launch is Tuesday, May 2nd from 7-9PM at the Picture Room's new Brooklyn storefront. MORE

 
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DéLana R.A. Dameron on "Cartographer"

I am obsessed with maps. Their giving and withholding information. How, if one is to be a cartographer you must be able to say this road is here; this neighborhood is here; this train passes under your feet here. You travel and document. You travel again to confirm. MORE

 
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Rachel B. Glaser on "The World of Manet"

In some of my new poems I've been playing with the idea of audience. Am I talking to myself or to strangers? Both. I'm talking to myself, but letting strangers listen, and I'm talking to strangers, though maybe also to my future self.  MORE

 
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Why Poetry: An interview with Matthew Zapruder

I really do think that so much of what keeps people away from poetry is a firmly held and incorrect idea about poetic language: that whatever is on the page can't possibly be what is "really" meant. It's a paradox, because to read poetry is to look for that transcendence poetry can give, the way it can bring us out of ordinary experience, into different levels of understanding, or more exciting, even magical realms. MORE

 
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Christine Shan Shan Hou on "Masculinity and the Imperative to Prove It"

When I was a child, my grandparents owned a Chinese restaurant called Oriental Court inside of a shopping mall. Every Saturday night my entire paternal family—grandparents, all of their children and all of their children's children—would eat dinner after the mall's closing hours. MORE

 
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Ryan Murphy on "I do not want to stay"

At the time that I was writing "I do not want to stay" I was in the midst of a relationship ending and leaving New York City. I was staying in my former apartment, empty of all furniture, until the lease ran out . MORE

 
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Grace Bonner on "Stopping on Delos"

This poem's origins go back to April 2008, when I was living in Paros, Greece, and had the privilege of being an artist-in-residence with a travel stipend at the Aegean Center for Fine Arts. Books I carried with me at that time included H.D.'s The Walls Do Not Fall, Elizabeth Bishop's Questions of Travel and Louise Gluck's The Wild Iris. MORE

 
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Carolina Ebeid on "Punctum / Sawing a Woman in Half"

I found a muteness at the center of You Ask Me to Talk About the Interior. That muteness is not only silent, but turbulent and noisy and ineloquent. The word mute can refer to a loud pack of hounds, or a hawk's defecations, or a person that doesn't speak. MORE

 
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Cortney Lamar Charleston on "The Hood"

As a quintessential 90's kid, born roughly in the middle of the first year of the decade, I spent my formative years in some of the blackest times (meaning a preeminence of Black people) America has had on record: a Black basketball player may have been the most famous man on the planet, a Black woman was redefining mass media with an unparalleled cachet across racial lines, and a countercultural Black musical genre was finding its commercial viability and spurring an influx of fresh, young Black faces into our popular-cultural consciousness―people you could hear on the radio, people you could see on television or in the movie theater, in some cases all of the above.  MORE

 
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Allison Titus on "Oh Little Fox"

"Oh Little Fox" is an asterisk to the book it appears in, which mostly divides poems into Office or Essay poems. It has the same concerns, centered on the animal body, but it's a tiny lyric gesture in a field that exists formally outside of this "office" architecture: by which I was thinking about the stations human and non-human animals hold, how we come to occupy a particular space/what keeps us there. MORE

 
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TEN NEW-GENERATION AFRICAN POETS

We invited about thirty-five poets to submit manuscripts for this year's chapbook box set. This is an annual ritual that we are committed to carrying until we arrive at the tenth year of publishing the chapbooks of a new generation of African poets. Each year, the task gets more and more difficult. The quality of the manuscripts is extremely impressive. The range of the work we are getting is equally striking, representing poets living in Africa and those of African heritage living in the recent African diaspor MORE

 
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Hossannah Asuncion on "26 Monroe Street, Buzzer 6"

These are natural exchanges in New York places, the currency we use to be ways unregular in our lives: vacating our Is while another temporarily stations a coating of injection. MORE

 
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Three Poems by Elise Partridge

Elise Partridge (1958–2015) was born in Philadelphia and grew up nearby. After graduating from Harvard in 1981, she received a second Bachelor of Arts from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, as a Marshall Scholar. She returned to Harvard for a Master of Arts and then took a degree in writing from Boston University. In 1992 she moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where she lived with her husband, for the rest of her life. MORE

 
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An Unexpected Package: On Szilárd Borbély

In January 2011, on a cold winter day, a small package appeared in my post box, postmarked Debrecen. Packages often were exchanged between my address and that of the Borbélys: notes, presents for each other's children, letters, and cards. This one, like many others previously, arrived in a standard white envelope with bubble-wrap on the inside. It was the same envelope that I had sent previously, only my hastily scrawled address had been crossed out, and on a piece of white paper taped to the front was the return address and our home address in an elegant hand in black ink.  MORE

 
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Wendy Xu on Hyperallergic

I began curating poetry for Hyperallergic last year, the summer of 2016, taking over for former editor Joe Pan. The magazine was already a daily read for me, so I was excited when Joe asked me to step in—he's developing a place for fiction in the series, which excites me too. I publish original poetry and poetry-in-translation bi-monthly, each time paired with visual art that is selected in collaboration with Associate Editor Elisa Wouk Almino MORE

 
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An interview with Rachel Zucker on her Commonplace Podcast

Well, there was actually a moment. A particular a-ha moment when many disparate things came together. It was April, 2016, and I was on a New Jersey transit bus coming back to Manhattan from the home of my mentor who lives in New Jersey. I was listening to a podcast—I can't remember which one—enjoying the little private space that this person's voice, through my headphones, created for me on a crowded bus. I have been a fan of podcasts for several years and before that a major fan of public radio and before that the daughter of a storyteller who had spent much of my childhood listening to people tell stories in person and on recordings MORE

 
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Jonterri Gadson on "In My Rush"

I wrote "In My Rush" during a two week residency at the Pocantico Center thanks to a partnership between the Rockefeller Brother's Fund and Cave Canem, an organization for black poets. One of the highlights of the Pocantico Center is the sculpture garden surrounding Kykuit, one of the Rockefeller family's homes. For two weeks, I stayed in the Marcel Breuer house on the grounds of the Rockefeller estate, a home that had been transported from the Modern Museum of Art. I'm giving all of this background information to say that I was living and breathing art, inspiration, and legacy MORE

 
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Elsbeth Pancrazi on "We were watching the Clouds That Look Like Horses Channel"

When I wrote this poem, I wanted to use humor and absurdity to gesture toward a scary reality adjacent to our own. Since then, the world has sidled in. MORE

 
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Anaïs Duplan on "The Room Is Not Cold & It Is Not Dark"

I've been embarrassed about this poem for a long time. One of the poems I considered pulling from Take This Stallion when my publisher, Joe Pan, and I were deliberating over the manuscript, "The Room is Not Cold" struck me as juvenile. In a sense, it is. It deals with an encounter with my child-self. MORE

 
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Eléna Rivera on "Aug. 12th With Wordsworth"

To write a sonnet-a-day for a year and explore what the form allows. Traditionally a 14- line poem, a sonnet is a "little song" from the Italian sonetto and the Latin sonus "sound." In this series, an additional constraint was imposed on the sonnets by writing them in hendecasyllable lines (a deliberate move away from the traditional English sonnet's pentameter, or ten-syllable line, as a way of altering the rhythm (sound) of the poems)—the eleven-syllable line as mastered by Bernard Noël in his The Rest of the VoyageMORE

 
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Jane Wong on "Twenty-Four"

I began writing a series of poems in my mother's voice, during that year of her life. Through persona, I wanted to demystify her—to make her more vulnerable, more uncertain. This poem, "Twenty-Four," begins in Jersey—a place far away from where she grew up (in a small village near Taishan, China). My mother was arranged to marry my father when she was nineteen. My father, who was already in the States, was handsome and intense—like a movie star who was simultaneously the hero and the villain: big, dark eyes, leather jacket, tall. MORE

 
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Joshua Bennett on "X"

"X" was one of the final poems to go into The Sobbing School, and is a reflection of any number of the book's central concerns: kinship and collectivity, violence, blackness and/as indeterminacy. My ongoing interest in the work of metaphor is inextricably linked not only to the idea that nothing is nothing—or at least, that there is an unfettered, untamable capacity built into what many of us are taught to call nothingness—but that everything and everyone we encounter is more or less opaque, legible only in flashes, or briefest windows of apprehension. MORE

 
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Jos Charles on "Seagull, Tiny"

Just as a documentarian hasn't effaced a viewpoint just by having a pretense to "fly-on-the-wall" observation, so the poet hasn't effaced an "I," even if it never shows up in a poem. We all go home to the editing room. That doesn't mean one can't point or indicate, or even arrive at something like a fact.  MORE

 
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Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib on "Ode To Kanye West In Two Parts, Ending In A Chain Of Mothers Rising From The River"

I think I'm at my most focused when I'm writing serial poems. Things that are often invented, or with loosely-driven rules. There's a lot of these poems scattered throughout The Crown Ain't Worth Much. Poems in the voice of my barber, poems in the voice of my mother's ghost, poems prompted by sneaker purchases. I wrote the book trying to build this very touchable, livable world, but I didn't want to sacrifice my process. MORE

 
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Drew Scott Swenhaugen on Gramma

Gramma was created over a conversation in June of 2017 between William (Bill) True (Gramma's Publisher) and myself, Drew Scott Swenhaugen (Gramma's Managing Editor). Bill has been an arts advocate and art collector in Seattle for many years. Under the William and Ruth True foundation, Bill founded Western Bridge, a contemporary arts space that ran from 2004 to 2012.  MORE

 
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Urayoán Noel on ""Heaves of Storm / Embates de Tormenta"

The poem "Heaves of Storm/Embates de Tormenta," included in my book Buzzing Hemisphere / Rumor Hemisférico (Arizona, 2015), is subtitled "(obituary for the University of Puerto Rico student strike, 2009–10, and for the poet on the sidelines)." In fact, it begins with me witnessing the 2009-2010 student strike at the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras (my alma mater), and wondering just how to respond. MORE

 
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Eloisa Amezcua on The Shallow Ends

Originally, during the summer of 2016, a friend and I had the idea of creating a website where three of our favorite things would collide: poetry, fashion, and visual art. I went ahead and bought the domain name for The Shallow Ends, but as we're both extremely busy (poets with full-time day jobs), we realized that we'd taken on too much. I thought about what I could do with the domain name and the idea of creating a space that publishes one poet, one poem, every week seemed feasible enough to tackle on my own. MORE

 
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Dana Levin on "Fortune Cookie"

I'm about to devote a host of words to this two-year old prismatic scrap—it's Nov. 12, 2016, and death is once again on my mind.

Check the date if you need to, future persons. Present persons, idling ghosts—

Day 4.

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Paisley Rekdal on "When It Is Over it Will Be Over"

My poem "When it is Over, it Will be Over" takes its title from a pen-and-ink drawing by the artist Troy Passey of a line from Edna St. Vincent Millay's poem "Endings." I came across Passey's drawing five years ago while in Boise, where the Boise Art Museum had a show up of Passey's art. MORE

 
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Ali Power on A Poem for Record Keepers

I started writing A Poem for Record Keepers in February 2013. I found myself writing these seven line poems. I wish I could say from where they came, but they just happened. I wrote a couple. Then I wrote a couple more imitating myself. I started each line with a capital letter and ended each line with a period (it was liberating!). I was keeping a record. MORE

 
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Daniel Borzutzky on “Lake Michigan Merges Into The Bay of Valparaiso, Chile”

"We are beings made for death…because the reasons each of us will die are always expressed in the most distant of languages, in an untranslatable language."  These words were stated by Raúl Zurita in a talk he gave as part of a panel presentation with Anna Deeny, Valerie Mejer Caso and myself at the AWP in Boston 2013 (our talks were later published in Mandorla: New Writings of the Americas). MORE

 
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Sarah V. Schweig On "Contingencies"

But I do think "Contingencies" manages to speak from that stunned empty-­place, where fear and tenuousness is so persistent and pervasive it works as anesthetic. This is not a place where poetry easily lives. One feels no pain in this place. One feels nothing at all.  MORE

 
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Darren Jackson on Translating Michaux’s “The Sack Session”

Even though "The Sack Session" is one of a handful of previously translated poems from Life in the Folds, it still presented one of the greatest challenges for me, and remains one of my personal favorites.  MORE

 
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Tommy Pico on an excerpt from "IRL"

It was the summer and I was reading The White Goddess by Robert Graves (mostly to get sleepy) and thinking a lot about my competing desires to go to the beach or the river or a rooftop, vs needing to be alone to write this book.  MORE

 
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Chloe Garcia Roberts on Li Shangyin

One of my ongoing projects has been the work of the late-Tang era Chinese poet Li Shangyin, and during this time I came upon a cache of poems by him on the subject of writing, of which the above are two. Like his other poems, these poems depict the twinning of grief and hope, wanting and loss, but more concretely they are about the disillusionment of being a poet MORE

 
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Anselm Berrigan on "...official sustainable wobble provider..."

This one's about fourteen poems from the back. I had to get the press to send me a copy. I only have books, and the notebook the poems were written in. This version is really just a version – the screen can't hack the form. The book can't really hack it either. It's a great form to write into, the-line-at-the-edge-of-the-page-that-goes-all-the-way-around – it leaves you with no end and no beginning, a loop with corners, an illusion of empty space inside, an immediate apparent velocity that doesn't have to be obeyed, and nothing for explanation to leech. MORE

 
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Kathleen Rooney on René Magritte's Selected Writings

When he was young, René Magritte tried his hand at being an author, drafting detective novels as "Renghis", a pseudonym created through the combination of his first and middle names: "René" and "Ghislain". MORE

 
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Dream Delivery Service: An Interview with Mathias Svalina

In 2014 I started a Dream Delivery Service. I take about forty subscribers a month then write & deliver dream poems to them every day. I write the dreams from my imagination. Every day I try to write a unique dream for each subscriber, though I often fall short. For subscribers within a four-mile radius of my home base I deliver the dreams to their doors, biking through the empty city before dawn. MORE

 
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Jana Prikryl on "Benvenuto Tisi’s Vestal Virgin Claudia Quinta Pulling a Boat with the Statue of Cybele"

Visiting museums in Rome a few years ago, I was surprised by how much of the post-Renaissance art—because there was just such an amazing quantity of it—was bad. Piles of awful eighteenth-century portraits, lots of minor paintings from major periods. But seeing this kind of work was strangely stimulating (giving glimpses of creative activity you don't see at, say, the Metropolitan Museum), and when I came across Benvenuto Tisi's scene of an obscure classical episode I stopped short and stared at it for a long time and returned to it over several visits. MORE

 
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Megan Levad on "Auto Tune"

When I was in the final stages of editing Why We Live in the Dark Ages, a collection of poems about how we talk about science, history, and culture, Jeffrey Schultz, among other dear friends, had a look at the book. MORE

 
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Ye Chun on Hai Zi's "Sonnet: Night Moon"

This is one of my favorite Hai Zi poems. Its folkloric simplicity, startling imagery, its fine balance between mystery and clarity, emotional openness and restraint are among the qualities that compelled me to translate Hai Zi's work in the first place. MORE

 
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Douglas Crase on the poems of Donald Britton

The appearance in print of the selected poems of Donald Britton is an affront to cynicism and a triumph over fate. When Donald died, in 1994, it was sadly reasonable to assume that the influence of his poetry would be confined to the few who had preserved a copy of his single book, the slender, deceptively titled Italy, published thirteen years earlier. As the few became fewer it seemed all but certain the audience for his poems would disappear. MORE

 
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Lo Kwa Mei-en on "Aubade for Non-Citizens"

This poem used to have an epigraph: "Exploring the solar system as a united humanity will bring us all closer together."

This comes from the mission statement of Mars One, a non-profit foundation that aims to establish the first human colony on Mars by the mid-2020's. When I first became aware of the Mars One marketing campaign, my emotional response included incredulous wonder, to be sure, but also anger and fear. MORE

 
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Kenji C. Liu on “So that you are always sir, dear sir”

The 2014 mass kidnapping and murder of 43 teachers' college students in Ayotzinapa, Mexico brought renewed international attention to the ongoing precariousness of life under the country's dirty war, its "narco-politics." Sadly, many of us in the United States usually know very little about what's happening in other countries, even though our tax dollars are often directly connected. Money, the quiet fascia of state violences. How easy it can be to be gently seduced by USAmerican comfort and privilege. MORE

 
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Kyle Dargan on "Fool's Therapy"

As I mention in the author's note for Honest Engine, I wrote this book while wading through a torrent of bereavement that started with my grandmother's passing and ending with my college roommate being negligently run over by vehicles involved in a police chase. MORE

 
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Khaty Xiong on "Pork Rinds, Watered Rice"

Born and raised in the Central Valley of California, I spent many sweltering summers picking vegetables with my parents; for years it had been one of the main sources of income for our family. We'd go to other people's farms (mostly relatives) and pick green beans or Thai chilies, hauling buckets and boxes from dawn to dusk MORE

 
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Patrick Rosal on "Ars Poetica: After a Dog"

"Ars Poetica: After a Dog" is a parable about sound. I imagine there are many readers who miss the primary prosodic constraint of this poem—the strict decasyllabic line. Let me come back to this. MORE

 
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Amanda Nadelberg on "The Victory Portfolios"

I am forever mishearing and misreading surroundings, it's how I edit (others and myself), it's how I practice living and tell jokes and in this small suite I let the method be clearer, I showed my work. Humor is that tracking. Palimpsests are proof of that work. MORE

 
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Jay Deshpande on “To Body What’s Around Me”

"To Body What's Around Me" is a love poem with a problem: it does not clarify who the You of its address is. At moments it feels like a beloved other: "These are the days in which you come to me…" But at other moments that You is not quite human, not quite beloved. MORE

 
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Andrew Davis on Osip Mandelstam's Voronezh Notebooks

This section is the turning point of Osip Mandelstam's long poem Voronezh Notebooks, the Continental Divide from which the waters of the poem descend, imperceptibly at first, but ineluctably, in opposed directions. On the one side a reflexive, desperate assertion of his old prerogatives as a poet, now impossible; on the other a sort of acceptance, and an eerie contemplation of the future. MORE

 
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Derrick Austin on “Blaxploitation”

"Blaxploitation" begins with an episode of Taxicab Confessions. Visiting home from college, I caught this particular episode one sleepless night: two black gay men talking about fraught and humiliating sexual encounters they'd had with white men.  MORE

 
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Kit Schluter on Jaime Saenz's The Cold

The following poems are the first two sections from Bolivian poet Jaime Saenz's 9-part 1967 long poem, El frío, as translated from the Spanish by Kit Schluter under the title of The Cold, and recently published by Poor Claudia. The subsequent prose excerpt is the final two paragraphs of Schluter's afterword to the translation, written in direct and intimate address of Saenz himself, over thresholds of distance, language, and mortality. MORE

 
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Hilary Vaughn Dobel on translating Carlos Pintado's "Mudras"

I am a poet; I am a translator. It is something else entirely to be both of those things at once, which is why I initially (and forcefully) resisted translating poetry. When I look at my English-language version of "Mudras" from Carlos Pintado's wonderful book, Nine Coins, it's hard to see past the music of the original and the imperfections of my own. MORE

 
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Anne Boyer on "Science Fiction”

There is so much missing here. First, it might be important to tell you that this poem was once a novel. The novel is now missing, of course, and the missing novel begins with this missing quote by Hannah Arendt: "the freedom to call something into being, which did not exist before, which was not given, not even as an object of cognition or imagination, and which, therefore, strictly speaking, could not be known." MORE

 
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Morgan Parker on "Apology with Pearls On"

This poem started when a friend challenged me to write something "elegant." On G-chat, I followed his suggestion with a "lol." Elegance is something my poems never aspire to. I write about disappointing one night stands, peeing on street corners at night, getting too drunk to hide how I feel. As a woman, I almost cringe at the idea of being elegant, weary from men on the street telling me to smile and averse to anything that insists I "behave" or be "lady-like."  MORE

 
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Shane McCrae on "Community"

The best way I can think of to write about writing, my writing, is to write about "Community," since I had a lot of trouble writing it / since it took me a lot longer to write than most of my poems / since I had never before, and have never since, written another poem in quite the same way.  MORE

 
 

Upcoming Events

 

Poetry for Every Season with Billy Collins

Sunday, Dec 16, 2:00pm

Bronx, NY

Billy Collins, former US Poet Laureate and Poet Laureate of NYBG presents a special reading of poems inspired by trains, the holidays, and The New York Botanical Garden. Followed by readings by student poetry contest winners, selected by Billy Collins. MORE
 

MUNI ART 2019: A LAUNCH AND CELEBRATION

Wednesday, Jan 9, 11:00am

San Francisco, CA

Celebrate Muni Art 2019! The Poetry Society of America collaborates with San Francisco Beautiful, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and Supervisor Sandra Fewer to present Muni Art 2019, which has transformed 100 Muni buses into galleries featuring work by a diverse range of talented poets and artists. Inspired by the Poetry Society of America's Poetry in Motion® program, which places poetry in the transit systems of cities throughout the country, and San Francisco Beautiful's mission to create and protect the unique beauty and livability of San Francisco, Muni Art 2019 provides a unique and powerful opportunity for bus riders to experience an exhilarating collaboration between poets Francisco X. Alarcón, Brenda Hillman, Jane Hirshfield, Cedar Sigo, and C. Dale Young, and artists Crystal Vielula, Christine Weibel, Nick Cook, Arthur Koch, and Bhavna Misra. Those listed below will converge in San Francisco to share and celebrate their work. MORE
 

PSA Presents: Dorothea Lasky, Roger Reeves, and Solmaz Sharif AWP Portland

Thursday, Mar 28, 3:00pm

Portland, OR

A reading featuring three nationally recognized, award-winning, distinct contemporary poets: Dorothea Lasky, Roger Reeves, and Solmaz Sharif, moderated by PSA Executive Director Alice Quinn. MORE