Cultuur & Literatuur
The American Poetry Review

The American Poetry Review September/October 2017

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

9 min.
five poems

13 Ways of Knowing Her 1. Mother tells me a bird is trying to kill her. I tighten. Memory her ticking eye, opening and closing. Snap on a dress, shell of her breath swallowing the phone. (Pitch.) The bird sings, kills her softly, minutely. Now my mother is trilling loudly, high with starling’s call. 2. Only at night do I know her solitude, halo of infomercials, her cramping cool and yellow leg, and somewhere outside, her husband, the unstruck bell of morning birds. 3. I try to ask her where she is. Your father took the car when I had an accident; I never drove again. The only place I can’t hear it is the downstairs bathroom; I’ve been here for a week. House of her body, animal in grief. I carry my mother on my shoulder, cage…

5 min.
at teufelsberg in the subjunctive mood

The subjunctive is not a tense but a mood—uncertain, wishful, regretful. I wish I spoke his language better. We reach through a haze of no shared native tongue— in his cottony accent, he tells me how they came here as teens, built fires, smoked pot, got a little drunk, ran from the Polizei, clattered bikes down the hill’s narrow gullies, youth chronicled in shiny hieroglyphs on knee cheek palm. Subjunctive forms can indicate states of unreality. We conjugate our anecdotes this way— If that ad for a language party had been correct. If it hadn’t been raining. If not for that hot toddy. If not for my homesickness, the fire pawing at its glass oven door. If his friend hadn’t caught a cold. If the river hadn’t been running over and over the stars reflected there, like so many tiny…

3 min.
two poems

In the Hands of Borrowers, Objects Are Twice as Likely to Break You said, Break the poem’s speaker halfway through and rebuild them. If there’s time, break them again. If there’s time, build me a house with so many rooms that we’ll have to plan where we lie days in advance. The joy in naming: analemma room, room of caviar and unbearable situations, room where we spontaneously combust. That’ll be my favorite, where we breathe in our own rising, where our water evaporates and returns as condensation on the window pane. My ghost drops by so often I no longer feel obligated to offer it our good coffee. Halfway through my second cup, a roach leg surfaces like a rotting mast. I’m so tired, it says, I’m so tired and I don’t trust what the world is up to with its fat horses and its pupils sewn into place. I hear,…

25 min.
poetry is a kind of lying, or, tell all the truth but tell it slant

We want to know. At once. Everything. And if it’s going to be boring, we want the truth replaced by lies. — William Gass, from On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry My great longing is to make those very incorrectnesses, those deviations, remodellings, changes in reality, so that they may become, yes, lies if you like—but truer than the literal truth. —Vincent van Gogh We have our Arts so we won’t die of Truth. —Friedrich Nietzsche The artist’s task, then, involves the transformation of the actual to the true. —Louise Glück, from “Against Sincerity” The artist’s imperative is to find ways to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies. —Pablo Picasso FACTS AND A WRITER’S REL ATIONSHIP TO THEIR REPORTING and alteration have become slippery issues of late, in ways unforeseeable not long ago.…

2 min.
four poems

Dirt Cakes My Grandmother’s body lives under an ash tree on an old church ground, her spirit can be seen making a maple tree’s shadow jealous. The church’s bricks absorb the choir’s songs, they flake Holy Ghost, If Trouble Don’t Come Today. I visit, fall on my knees, ask her how she doing? How long is her hair now? Does she still like it braided in front? Still like having her scalp scratched? What y’all doing in heaven today? She’d tell my mama don’t let a bird get the hair that falls out your head, they’ll use it to build a nest and you’ll never leave Rolesville. Dirt is the only thing I know that can’t die, it makes sense we would bury here, makes sense mama don’t want me playing in it. The Name I Carry Mama, your shadow on the wall is still crying, your mother told me your shadow doesn’t recognize the lines on my hands, that…

4 min.
three poems

Infidelectation Faithless as the day is to the hour, I am moving into a new body every second. Take. Bleat. Do this in severance of me from me, in reverence of you as you swoon me, cocoon me in untimely & iterant devotions. Body. Blood. Man who thinks His flesh transforms guilt into grace, without a trace of lust for this never-lasting life. Nictitating eyes that just won’t quit strobing my face back into my face. Lashes stroking the space between us, what will close, but not like an image of promise encircling skin encircling bone, but will last only until last is another sound that cannot be made sense of. I do not worship the covenants birth brought us into. This and this and bliss have no affection for each other, even the rules of self love cannot fill…