By Eileen Murphy
Wild nights ! Wild nights !
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury !
Here’s the perfect book for a wind-tossed stormy night: Enter Here, a collection of sophisticated poems with erotic overtones by Los Angeles poet Alexis Rhone Fancher. I open my copy as Hurricane Irma starts to smash through my area of Polk County, Florida. Soon it’s 3 a.m., and hurricane-force winds start to howl while rains roar down. The electricity goes out and stays out. Reading by candlelight, I am glued to the pages of Enter Here. Continue reading
By Vi Khi Nao
VI KHI NAO: When was the last time someone gave you an A-frame hug? What was it like? Was it like hugging a house?
JENNIFER S. CHENG: This morning I hugged my partner goodbye, and every day it’s like hugging a new-but-same house, even as we form a roof with our leaning bodies. Continue reading
By Sarah Hoenicke
The focal poem discussed in this essay is included in full, below:
November 26, 1992: Thanksgiving at the Sea Ranch, Contemplating Metempsychosis
By Sandra M. Gilbert
You tried coming back as a spider.
I was too fast for you. As you
climbed my ankle, I swept you off, I ground you Continue reading
By Zoë Hu
To talk about Rupi Kaur is to talk about numbers. Known for her unorthodox rise through social media, Kaur combines the intimacies of personal confession with the scrolling feeds of spectacle, yet her dominance on the literary scene is of the decidedly quantitative kind. There is the much-cited 1.7 million followers on Instagram. Add a million to that and you get, roughly, the total copies Kaur has sold of her debut, Milk and Honey. The collection has been translated into 25 languages, which is coincidentally Kaur’s age; whatever threat the “instapoet” poses to the literary establishment, it’s a threat with room to grow. Continue reading
By Cassandra Cleghorn
My first encounter with Vanessa Angélica Villarreal’s stunning new book from Noemi Press, Beast Meridian, was framed by the natural and geopolitical disasters of late summer 2017. As Hurricane Harvey devastated coastal Texas, Villarreal’s book seared me with its portraits of Houston in storm season, the ocean “slicktongued and thick with oil and ants.” Only days after Trump crowed over the end of DACA and then feebly tweeted, “No Action” (attempting to reassure those who feared deportation during the program’s six-month phase out), nine Dreamers were detained for hours at Falfurrias Checkpoint. That very day I read and reread Villarreal’s wildly inventive prose poem “dedicated to the immigrants buried in mass graves in and near Falfurrias, Texas,” in which the poet walks the sacred ground where “agitation pulls even at hanging planets”: “I swallow a bee for each ill deed done. I am a hive walking. I strain to hear you over the regret.” Continue reading
By Ko Ko Thett
“Until the end of the wake” by Lynn Moe Swe (1976-2017):
The funeral I wrote down happens today.
Or, does it?
The opening lines of “Until the end of the wake” by Lynn Moe Swe anticipate afterlife. Lynn Moe Swe, who died of Dylan-Thomas Syndrome aka alcohol poisoning in the wee hours of Monday, September 18, in his hometown Monywa, was one of Myanmar’s most outstanding poets of his generation. He was 41. Continue reading
By Kristina Marie Darling
In his essay collection Ozone Journal, Peter Balakian defines “shadow” as a “force that follows something with fidelity” only to “cast a dark light” on that person, object, view, or perspective. For Balakian, this fraught proximity — a closeness that blocks the line of vision — is one of the most essential characteristics of a work of art. After all, it is what we sense, but do not yet see, that beckons us farther into a half-lit room. The careful architecture of a poem — a space that is gradually illuminated for the reader — depends upon all that is hidden as a necessary condition, much more so than the visible beauty or significance of a particular image. Continue reading
By Kate Kingston
Federico García Lorca may be standing over her shoulder, but he is not the only creative force on which Lois P. Jones draws in her new prize-winning collection, Night Ladder. Other influences include Picasso, Borges, Rumi, Sappho, Rilke, and Leonardo da Vinci, as well as other historical figures from Moses to Anne Frank. These figures contribute epigraphs to the poems, or appear through ekphrasis, making up the ladder of the book’s title. But Jones’s voice is singular, engaging both the intellect and passion while appealing strongly to the ear, to the sense of music related to duende, which Lorca defines in part as “a momentary burst of inspiration, the blush of all that is truly alive […]. It manifests itself among musicians and poets of the spoken word […] for it needs the trembling of the moment and then a long silence.” Continue reading
By Kristina Marie Darling
Chris Campanioni’s new book is Death of Art (C&R Press). His recent work appears in Ambit, Gorse, Hotel, Whitehot, and RHINO. He is a Provost Fellow and MAGNET Mentor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where he is conducting his doctoral studies in English. He edits PANK, At Large, and Tupelo Quarterly and teaches literature and creative writing at Pace University and Baruch College. Continue reading
By Matt Seybold
I pride myself on being able to make a first impression.
It may not be a good one, but an impression nonetheless. Continue reading