Poetry Archive

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,

How We Belong Somewhere

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How does a poet come to belong to a place? Who are the poets of our American places? As I travel in and around Boston I’m reminded of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. His verses leap to mind when visiting Plymouth, the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, or the Old North Church

The Best Poem I Read This Month: Mia You’s “A Solar Visor And A Song To Sing, Preliminary materials for reunification”

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As a result of several wars fought by the United States, North and South Korea have been divided since the mid-20th century. A further division was implemented through the creation of the Korean Demilitarized Zone, which, in an epigraph to Mia You’s piece, is noted as a contemporary “viable

Review: TESTAMENT by G.C. Waldrep

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Testament G.C. Waldrep BOA Editions, 2015 144 pp, $16 Buy: paperback | Kindle | Nook An endnote to G. C. Waldrep’s excellent new book-length poem points out that it “originated as a exploration of and response to three texts,” Lisa Robertson’s Magenta Soul Whip (2009), Carla Harryman’s Adorno’s Noise

NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA: Journey to the Center of an American Document

This is the start of a monthly journey through Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia. I’ve loved this book for many years. It’s scholarly and luminous, unfolding a rich lexicon. Open its pages and whole rivers, chunks of amethyst, living birds, and secret mammoth skeletons tumble forth.

Angela Carter’s “Unicorn” and the Illusion of Empowerment Through Objectification

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“Q. What have unicorns and virgins got in common A. They are both fabulous beasts.” In the new collection of Angela Carter’s mostly forgotten, but viscerally affecting poetry, Carter perverts mythological symbols in order to subvert the mythology of femininity. Just as Simone De Beauvoir lamented that “one is not