poetry Archive

Firefly and Beowulf’s “Reavers from Hell” as the Dark Side of Human Nature

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In Seamus Heaney’s acclaimed translation of Beowulf, the narrator describes Grendel and his mother’s fearsome raids, declaring that no one is safe “where these Reavers from Hell roam on their errands.” This was by far the most high-profile usage of the word “reaver,” an otherwise obscure and obsolete term

The Autobiography of the Imagination: Toward a Definition

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The autobiography of the imagination writes itself, one could say. It writes every time we write, every time we dream or daydream. It is its own captain’s log, the transaction and receipt. It reveals the self to make the self into a stranger, twisting the I to wring out

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

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

On and Of the Page: The Life–Art Collapse

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A few years ago at a conference, I read a section from my long poem “Sublimation” in which the speaker describes a miscarriage that, in its vicious pain and effusions, wakes her up in the middle of the night. After the reading, as I was mingling my way toward

The Required Pain and Suffering: Writing and Love

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What, if anything, does writing foreclose in life or between people? Despite probably a million compelling counter examples, famous and anecdotal, to the Plath/Hughes model of artistic-romantic implosion, a master narrative about the impossibility of loving writers and loving while a writer simply…persists. It buttresses the imagined partition between

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

“Different Paths Up the Same Mountain”: An Interview with Adele Kenny

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Adele Kenny’s poems speak from the head and the heart, giving thoughtful scrutiny to the moments that move us—whether to wonder or to grief. She is the author of more than 20 books of poetry and nonfiction, including What Matters, winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Poetry,