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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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Some Bunnies

I live in Connecticut and saw an eastern cottontail crossing the road in the very early spring. It made me wonder about the thousands of bunnies hiding underground, in the shrubbery, and in line at the post office. In the spring anything is possible.  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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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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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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Peter LaBerge on "Gust"

I wrote "Gust," the opening poem of my chapbook Makeshift Cathedral, while in a poetry workshop taught by Gregory Djanikian during my sophomore year at the University of Pennsylvania. That semester was home to a simple yet invaluable epiphany, the notion that poems don't have to look or behave like "poems" to be poetry. 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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Nicole Sealey on "Unframed"

This poem was first published in Third Coast back in 2011. It is my one and only take-away from a 30/30 challenge, in which I attempted to write 30 poems in 30 days in the fall of 2010. Coincidentally, it was my first and last 30/30. 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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An Interview with Dara Wier

A few days after the presidential election I received an email from the literary magazine jubilat stating: "In light of recent historical and political events jubilat magazine will be putting together a galvanizing, consoling, activating, inspiriting, inciting, instigating, motivating, thought-provoking special (emergency) issue of poems. We'd like to offer our readers encouragement, connection, aid, provocation, humanity and spirit—whatever range of things it is that poetry and only poetry can do in this particular post-November 8th, 2016 time." The issue has just been published, and the contributors list is included on the right side of this article. I emailed with the poet Dara Wier, jubilat's executive editor, to ask a few questions about the special issue of the magazine and the role of the poet in uncertain political times. 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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Gale Marie Thompson on Jellyfish

The very first issue of Jellyfish came out in the Spring of 2009. At that point I had these colliding interests in both poetry and web design, and I can see now that I was looking for two things. First, I was desperate for a way to scratch some sort of creative itch.  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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The Editors of 7x7 on 7x7

 The idea for 7x7 came out of a lunch date in Los Angeles between myself and the writer Amy Bonnaffons. The two of us had befriended each other at NYU's MFA program where we bonded over our shared interests in collaboration and art. Over the course of our studies there, our conversations developed into a few collaborative projects—though the only one that saw completion was a zine called "Monsters," a kind of "picture book for adults" that featured watercolor paintings of various fantastical creatures by me and a bunch of three-line biographies of those beasts by Amy. 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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Daniel Brian Jones on Folder

It seemed a lot of poetry was going online. I started enjoying works which would, by the chance of their publication, appear in both print and online. On September 8th 2015 I sent a bunch of emails. I think by the next day Jeremy Allan Hawkins and I started putting some of his poems together. We presented his issue October 1. 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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An Interview with Joni Wallace

I first encountered Joni Wallace's poems in 2009 when I was the judge for the Four Way Books' Larry Levis Prize. Her manuscript, Blinking Ephemeral Valentine, was one of the finalist submissions I'd been sent by the press. Reading it, I knew it was poetry the way Dickinson told Thomas Wentworth Higginson (L342a) she knew a book was poetry, "If [reading it] I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry… Is there any other way?" MORE

 
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Jennifer Kronovet on "The Future of Writing in English"

I picture Charles K. Bliss, the inventor of a language, listening to Goebbels's speeches over loudspeakers in Dachau and then in Buchenwald. He heard this: how Goebbels drew from beloved poems and phrases inside German to tell lies to make his dream of Germany true. But then I turn the picture in my brain off. No matter how many books I read about the camps, how many photos I see, I know that imagining myself completely inside that particular horror is a lie. 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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Mike Lala on "Lydia"

In early 2013, I was taking a class with Rachel Zucker at NYU in which one of the assignments was to visit the exhibition Matisse: In Search of True Painting at the Metropolitan Museum—a show that included studies and drafts for what we've come to know as some of the artist's definitive paintings alongside those definitive works, often revealing changes in color, pose, small figurative elements, and even macro pictorial-compositional qualities.  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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Joshua Corey on "Trying to Translate Ponge"

My Ponge translation project began as it were inadvertently, on social media, where very occasionally an ephemeral suggestion sticks around long enough to become compost and feed something green. I said on Facebook that someone ought to do a new translation of Francis Ponge's first book, given all the interest lately grouped under such filiations as "the new materialism," "object-oriented ontology," "thing theory," "actor-network theory," "hyperobjets." Why not you?  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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Two Seas: A Short Interview with Chinese Poet and Theater Scenographer Yi Lu

The books in my library—read or yet to be all read—are all great titles. For example, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, Dante's Divina Commedia, Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu, Victor Hugo's Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, Jorges Luis Borges, Kahlil Gibran, Günter Grass, V. S. Naipaul, Italo Calvino, Rainer Maria Rilke . . . not to mention the various Chinese ancient and contemporary classics.     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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Sylvia Legris On "A Skull Sectioned, c. 1489"

"A Skull Sectioned," one of a series of poems in The Hideous Hidden written in response to Leonardo da Vinci's anatomical drawings and notebooks, is in the second section of the book, "Midwinter the Cut-time." During the Renaissance, dissections or studies of cadavers were conducted during cold weather—and quickly. Without refrigeration a body decomposed almost faster than it could be cut into. 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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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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Leora Fridman on "Grown to Covet"

In this political climate, I've notice how easy it is to define oneself in opposition to another, and "Grown to Covet," dips into my ambivalence toward the relationship between politics and ego. I want to remain human in my politics, and not get lazy by taking on simple popular rhetoric or preconceived sets of beliefs.  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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EIGHT NEW-GENERATION AFRICAN POETS

The African Poetry Book Fund is a project  that seeks to undermine the easy ways of reducing Africa to notions that do not recognize the complexity and variety of experiences and practices that constitute poetry written by Africans. In many ways, it would be tempting to try to offer some definitive statement about what African poetry is, but this would be a silly thing to attempt, and, at the end of the day, such exercises belong to our colleagues in academia and not to us in our capacity as editors.  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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Niina Pollari on "Do You Feel Tenderness"

When I was a young kid, I had to take a school physical. My mother came in with me, and the errand was supposed to be quick, but I refused to undress. The doctor and my mother didn't force me to do anything,  MORE

 
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Barbara Claire Freeman on "Every Day But Tuesday"

The title comes from teaching a poetry workshop at UC Berkeley during the Occupy movement. The class met late on Tuesday afternoons and its beginning coincided with the arrival of media helicopters circling and re-circling overhead, hosing the campus in spotlights to be televised on the nightly news.  MORE

 
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Ginger Ko on "The afternoon, and other places too"

This poem was written with some anger, during a time when all my poems were rebuttals to anticipated put-downs and critiques, especially the ones scaffolded by racism and misogyny. I was getting frustrated with my writing and my voice, feeling suffocated by an ingested, self-reproducing colonization in my bloodstream.  MORE

 
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Meghan Privitello on "The Problem is How"

There are poems that answer questions, and there are poems that take you further into the question without any hope for an exit, an exhale, a reckoning. This is a poem without hope of finding its way out. 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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Jynne Dilling Martin on "Out of Whose Womb Came the Ice?"

During my stay in Antarctica, I met a woman who'd spent several years teaching Yup'ik children in Alaska. Joolee told me how baffling the Common Core curriculum had been for the elementary school kids: they had no reference point for a cow, a lawn mower, a grandfather clock. MORE

 
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Abdul Ali on "Holy"

This poem began as an ars poetica. A glorified play on words. I wanted to riff about words and how they haunt us in our sleep. Or, better yet, when a poem writes you. What is the responsibility of the both-eyes-wide-open poet? How do we access freedom in language in discussing topics many audiences would rather not hear about, such as racialized violence? 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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Fiona Sze-Lorrain on "Towering"

I have always been intrigued by ancient Greek cosmological views, in particular the apeiron.  In a cosmic infinity, what exists at random and what survives by error?  Is the idea of a cosmic infinity still relevant to a human sense of self—can it help us to confront our present-day violence? MORE

 
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Ben Fama on "Conscripts of Modernity"

Poetry is a losing context.

The shooting at my college was in 2007. I tried to write about it for years after in a subjective, direct way, and failed. In 2011 my workplace held a workshop—Active Shooting Training. Making notes, reminding myself how to survive, on a campus in a lecture room at a much different place and time, hearing the sort of matter of fact instruction that confronted a new gruesome reality was the only slant, cold, way I could approach the topic, so I just transcribed it. That language indicates more about the experience than any more direct attempts I had been making. MORE

 
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Sandra Simonds on "I Grade Online Humanities Tests"

This poem is about a bourgeois woman caught between two men: one, the uneducated mechanic she is having an affair with and the other, the educated father of her children. This poem is about a woman who wants to find a man who would make her feel anonymous, outside of her personal history, outside of her education, outside of her marriage and profession. 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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Monica McClure on an excerpt from "Tender Data"

When I first started thinking of what to write about this poem, attempting to formulate cogent thoughts—usually while jogging in the June heat—that would theorize and illuminate this poem of memory clots and digressions and non-sequiturs that, as the title poem of the book, promises to hold the major themes together, I became really stressed out. Like really stressed. MORE

 
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Natalie Eilbert on “Imprecation”

The word was first introduced to me in a workshop by the brilliant poet, Dawn Marie Knopf, and it means a spoken curse. It was irresistible as a conceit, but I didn't touch it for years. Imprecation. I grew up sealed shut, ashamed of my body, ashamed to speak. From imprecari, to invoke, call down upon.  MORE

 
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Bridgette Bates on an excerpt from What Is Not Missing Is Light

In the past, we traveled to unknown cities, loaded our cameras with a roll of film, smiled and said "cheese," hoping a set of 24 photographs would expose a beautiful  journey. Time and time again, I returned home from such trips eager to see what images I had captured, and upon developing my photos was surprised to find I had taken significantly more pictures of unknown pieces of art from inside a museum than of the usual landmarks and landscapes. MORE

 
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Laura Sims on "Staying Alive"

I'm always drawn to contemplating extreme states—of being and mind—and the post-apocalyptic world offers instant access to extremity. For those of us on Earth who don't already know poverty, hunger and habitual discomfort, an apocalypse could mean a complete overthrow of the comfortable life we know now, one that reduces us to our most basic skills and instincts. 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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Julie Carr on an excerpt from "Rag"

The central concern of Rag is violence against women and girls as it surfaces in film, fairy tale, daily life, the news. Against that, I wanted to record intimacies of all kinds, but especially between children and parents and between friends, as a response, maybe an answer, to such threat MORE

 
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Selections from the Murty Classical Library of India

The Murty Classical Library of India aims to make available the great literary works of India from the past two millennia. The series provides modern translations of classical works, many for the first time, across an array of Indian languages, including Bangla, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Pali, Panjabi, Persian, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. 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

 
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Craig Santos Perez on "from sounding lines [chamorro standard time: UTC +10:00]"

In my new book, I explore the theme of migration in a multitude of ways, including its relation to colonial land takings, military enlistment, education, debt, tourism, memory, citizenship, food, and extinction. The poem above, however, looks at migration in relation to time zones and telephone calls. MORE

 
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Eugenia Leigh on "Psalm 107"

Once after a poetry reading, someone from the audience asked whether I am a person of faith. "Judging by your poems," he said, "you either hate God or you love God." MORE

 
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Mary Jo Bang on “Compulsion in Theory and Practice: Principles and Controversies”

At this moment when neuroscience is able to map so much of the brain's activity, what's interesting is that in spite of all that mapping, and countless theories spanning centuries, the construct of the self, both one's self-perception and how one behaves in any given situation, seems to defy understanding. Perhaps because it's not possible to tease apart all of the elements that contribute to it: genetics, education, history, nutrition, viruses, bacteria, the air one breathes, the enormity of culture—all of which morphs continuously over a lifetime. MORE

 
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Yolanda Wisher on “American Valentine”

I was once a little black girl writing poems, and one of the standard gifts for birthdays and holidays, from those relatives who wanted to encourage me in my literary pursuits, was a book of verse – Shakespeare sonnets or the more cherished Phillis Wheatley collection. At the time, hers was the name they knew. The first black published poet. She became my measure. MORE

 
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David Tomas Martinez on "Shed"

Like many of my poems, which are based in my own personal history, this poem relies heavily on my experience, though I filter it through a language of poetry. "Shed" is based particularly on two consecutive romantic relationships that were very difficult, both which I have conflated into a four-year period that I associate with an emotionally destructive time. MORE

 
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Sally Wen Mao on "The White-haired Girl"

The inspiration for this poem, "The White-haired Girl", grew out of my fascination with tales about wayward women. The poem is named after a Chinese opera and film based on real-life stories from the 1920s and 1930s—it's about a girl, Xi'er,who was forced into marriage with her father's vindictive landlord and flees her captor by escaping into the mountain. MORE

 
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Cathy Linh Che on "Pomegranate"

I'd been thinking about mythology and archetypes. I'd been thinking about that Persephone's being carried off by Hades felt analogous to my experiences of being sexually violated as a child. The experience of being taken again and again into an Underworld MORE

 
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Malachi Black on "A Memo to the Self-Possessed"

It began in failure.  Perhaps most poems do, but this was an especially staunch case:  the lines went nowhere.

I suppose I needed to figure out just what they meant, or where they "went," but I was in no great position to know then.  It had been an especially fraught winter.  My mother, whose home was half a continent away, was sick and was suffering and had already suffered.  My family was in disarray, and the relationship I had been kindling for two years had sagged to ash without an ember. 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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Tarfia Faizullah on "Aubade Ending with the Death of a Mosquito"

This poem is a contrapuntal, which means it can be read three different ways. Musically speaking, a contrapuntal imposes two or more distinct melodies upon each other simultaneously, and in doing so, creates a brand new harmonic relationship. MORE

 
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Maggie Nelson on Eileen Myles

Earlier today I taught a class at CalArts about the great artist and writer David Wojnarowicz, who died of AIDS in 1992. In Cynthia Carr's biography of David, she quotes a student at Illinois State University—located in "Normal," no less—who saw him talk there in 1990, right when David was becoming a poster child, or rather a whipping post, for the culture wars of the 90s. The student said, "After you hear a voice like that, it changes you." Indeed. After you hear certain voices, the direction of your life is changed, and there's no going back. That was what hearing the voice of Eileen Myles was like for me, in the year of Wojnarowicz's death, 1992 MORE

 
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Erika Meitner on “Porto, Portare, Portavi, Portatus”

How do we approach the seemingly unspeakable through language? As a writer, there are things that are easier for me to write about, and feelings or experiences that are so difficult to articulate that they become long stretches of silence. MORE

 
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Four poems by Kajal Ahmad, translated from the Kurdish

Translating these poems is an act of archaeology. I work with co-translators, unearthing with raw strikes of the shovel until I can see the lines of the poem and switch to gentle brushes. When I first saw the shape of this poem, the shape of its idea, my mind began to echo with its nothingness. MORE

 
 

Upcoming Events

 

PSA 2016 NATIONAL SERIES: Poetry and the Natural World with Harryette Mullen

Tuesday, May 23, 6:30pm

Santa Monica, CA

The Poetry Society of America's current national series, Poetry and the Natural World, will travel to five cities and focus on poems and poets from any era that are in conversation with, or are inspired by, nature. In this fifth and final installment, Harryette Mullen will read a selection of tanka and haiku. A painter will respond in real-time.  MORE
 

Poetry Society of America's Spring Benefit Dinner Honoring Jacqueline Woodson

Tuesday, Jun 6, 6:00pm

New York

On June 6th, 2017, at our annual spring benefit at The New York Botanical Garden, the Poetry Society of America will honor JACQUELINE WOODSON, the Young People's Poet Laureate, and the author of more than two dozen award-winning books for adults, young adults, middle graders and children. MORE
 

ANNENBERG BEACH HOUSE: Cynthia Hogue & Carol Muske-Dukes

Tuesday, Jun 13, 6:30pm

Santa Monica, CA

Cynthia Hogue has published nine collections of poetry, including the forthcoming In June the Labyrinth (Red Hen Press, 2017) and Revenance, listed as one of the 2014 "Standout" books by the Academy of American Poets. She has also published five books of prose, and her co-translation from the French with Sylvain Gallais of poet Virginie Lalucq and philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy (Omnidawn, 2012), won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award. Among Hogue's other honors are an NEA Fellowship in poetry, the H.D. Fellowship at the Beinecke Library at Yale University, and the Witter Bynner Translation Fellowship at the Santa Fe Art Institute. She holds the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University. MORE