Poetry Archive

Notes on the State of Virginia: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Query VI

This is the fourth installment of a year-long journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. You can read previous installments here, here and here. ** Query VI: “Productions mineral, vegetable and animal” A notice of the mines and other subterraneous riches; its trees, plants, fruits, &c.

Review: SAD GIRL POEMS by Christopher Soto

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This collection’s jacked up heart beats in its final piece, “Hatred of Happiness.” “Hatred of Happiness” rejects and buries practically every trope proposed by the mainstream LGBTQ movement. Gone are the banners calling for marriage equality and positive representations of gay life. Gone is the assertion that “we are

The Best Poem I Read This Month: Sarah Sgro’s “Body as a Plant Expanding”

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I’ve read Sarah Sgro’s poetry for about four years, and remain a consistent witness to its various evolutions and concentrations concerning femininity, food, sexuality, and waste. In the past year, Sgro’s work has flourished, wreaked havoc, and run amok through many journals. Because her pieces keep sharpening their knives,

When Women Writers Become Nightmares

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When we go to inspect female-presenting writers, the canon is too familiar: Emily Dickinson, Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen. There’s no purpose in arguing this. What’s more interesting is uncovering forgotten women writers—women who wrote poetry with T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound in life, or produced movies with Alfred Hitchcock.

Notes on the State of Virginia: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Queries IV and V

This is the third installment of a year-long journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. You can read previous installments here and here. ** Query IV: A notice of its mountains Query V: Its cascades and caverns I walked into Queries IV and V thinking Jefferson

Review: RAPTURE by Sjohnna McCray

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Rapture Sjohnna McCray Graywolf Press; April 2016 72 pp; $16 Buy: paperback | Kindle “Father and Son by Window,” the opening poem in Sjohnna McCray’s debut poetry collection Rapture, has an ephemeral feel; the poem rises like a plume of smoke. “You sing, soft winds and blue seat,” it begins, a

NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA: Journey to the Center of an American Document, Queries II and III

  This is the second installment of a year-long journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. Here’s the first installment. ** Query II: A notice of its rivers, rivulets, and how far they are navigable Query III: A notice of the best Seaports of the State,

The Best Poem I Read This Month: Sade Murphy’s “Entry 098 &/or Monday Night Before Thanksgiving or//Venus & Mars in Libra”

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Sade Murphy pauses time in her prose piece(s) “Entry 098 &/or Monday Night Before Thanksgiving or//Venus & Mars in Libra” in DREGINALD. A series of moments—walking down Grand Street, pivoting on Putnam, taking the bus to Greenpoint—become infused with back-and-forth switches of vision, allowing Murphy to double her text. This doubling

Canyon in the Body by Lan Lan and I Can Almost See the Clouds of Dust by Yu Xiang

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In Canyon in the Body by Lan Lan (b. 1967), translated from Chinese by poet and musician Fiona Sze-Lorrain, the speaker bears witness to reminders of the natural world in the midst of personal and mass misfortune. Sometimes indignant, at other times resigned or awestruck, the speaker’s observations add

Review: THE DARKENING TRAPEZE by Larry Levis

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The Darkening Trapeze Larry Levis Graywolf Press, January 2016 96 pp; $16 Buy paperback The Darkening Trapeze, Larry Levis’ second posthumous book of poems since his death in 1996, is a strikingly self-conscious collection, a book whose lyrical depth and sweeping beauty is checked by gossip, unflattering confessions, jokes,