Cultuur & Literatuur
The American Poetry Review

The American Poetry Review March/April 2016

The American Poetry Review reaches a worldwide audience six times a year with the finest contemporary poetry, columns, interviews, photos, translations, and reviews. Every issue includes new voices, established masters, and exciting new translations.

United States
World Poetry, Inc
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6 Edities

in deze editie

6 min.
seven poems

Do Work —after Max Roach (1984), Jean-Michel Basquiat Sunday night, the last swing of the week— 3 grips between the best click & reddest wink in the morning cartoons— & the electric was still off even though my mother was working at Fort Ben for the 6th straight day. & inside it—my first bit of black happenstance, the namelessness of it all, the crass powerlessness— our walls didn’t have enough meat left to keep the drumming out. Alone & nervous in the habit of broke kids in the dark, a chair braced against the door bent over itself like the “X” in exit. Everyone was hungry, WTLC on the portable radio— & I was an all-mouth drummer without a drumstick, collecting beats like scared breaths & a stomach ache from being in charge again. It was the best I could do. There shouldn’t have been any visitors, so when someone knocked & the chair against the door rattled, I stood there, breath as shaky as…

2 min.
two poems

Exciting the Canvas That the moon causes tides seems too witchy to be science. The sea purging sheet iron, jeans, a jewel-eyed alabaster goat. Is that why I’m here? Everyone needs kudos, from newborns to saviors. Nora, nearly three, draws sunlight in golden bars, not unlike an Impressionist painter. I like to think of light this way, dispensed in attaché cases to illuminate as needed. The famous poet said write by the light of your wounds. A drunk flies over his bicycle handlebars, crumples by the side of the road. Performed pain is still pain. Some people born before the Model T lived to see man walk on the moon. To be strapped like that to the masthead of history would make me frantic. At parties (certain collapse at the door, my unbearable desire to lick and be licked) I’d shout I’m frantic, and you? Like a fire, hungry and resisting containment, I’d pound at the windows, my mouth full…

5 min.
five poems

Like a Blue Door Opening in the Distance Now that I’m living close to the river. now that my body is no longer a trouble, my bum knee hanging in the barn with old rusty tackle and yokes, my brain tossed with grasshoppers, my face melted in a silver spoon, I can feel the yellow light inside me, the hand coming from the center of my chest and the floating ring of eyes that frightens children and welcomes wolves better. Now that my throat is fit for cherry trees, I can spend an hour with the moths without flying into the flames to prove myself, maybe even have a sensible relationship with gravity, a little less howling, a little less plummeting into the roses so maybe I won’t go crazy walking by the 7-11 that was once my favorite café where I wrote you a letter that finally made you come,…

26 min.
homeland insecurity and the poetry of engagement

WORDS ARE A POET’S MEDIUM AND material—symbolic carriers of meaning and instruments of perception, so when the common coinage of words changes, the poet becomes hyper-alert. Inevitably, when a new usage arises, something has changed to account for it, something that undermines old assumptions— the way, over time, in a porous underground, a top layer will thin, a subterranean hollow become a sinkhole, and your house, once the safest place on earth, suddenly will disappear into it. From this is bred a radical kind of insecurity, a widespread loss of trust in what had been assured. In such circumstances, language, and what it signifies, changes. When did prisoners of war become “detainees?” When did torture become “enhanced interrogation?” When did bombing raids become “airstrikes?” When did our nation become the Homeland,1…

2 min.
sestina ayotzinapa

Never a grave large enough, never a grave large enough Never enough powder to ladle over the face of the grave Never enough pine boughs to go sweeping and ‘soughing’ Never enough time to make a throat for all the vowels Never a wide enough mouth to crunch around the bones of the bird Never enough digestive juices to leach the crime from the bones of the earth For I am not the earth. Never a laugh shallow enough Never a crater on the moon blank enough for the bird of guilt to settle. Never enough grave maidens to prop up their chins on the Bridge of Sighs Which is a euphemism for their exposed collar bones, release the vowels Of the grave, the long vowels Of flora stinking in their cells and rising up as garlands from the earth. Never a lie like…

2 min.
two poems

Landscape with Thesaurus and Awe There are 24 synonyms for the word envy. And although one of them is hatred and one of them is lusting no one envies me. If I could just make it to morning without selling myself one day I might have some land beyond the ficus pot whose heart leaves leak their poison inside this slummy garage where I sleep daytimes in a city I’m sure I’ve mentioned before. I am furious for answers inside the book of words I stole from a stranger’s back pocket. You see, through the years when everyone is dying I remain clean. That’s why I believe there could be a God. There are 5 synonyms for the word redemption. and 46 for fear. One of them is chickenheartedness and another is awe. Only my body is for sale. One Sentence About Los Angeles I’ve been trying to plant a palm in…