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The American Poetry Review

The American Poetry Review May/June 2019

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 Issues


1 min.
the american poetry review

Editor Elizabeth Scanlon Business Manager Mike Duffy General Counsel Dennis J. Brennan, Esq. Contributing Editors Christopher Buckley, Deborah Burnham, George Economou, Jan Freeman, Leonard Gontarek, Everett Hoagland, Teresa Leo, Kate Northrop, Marjorie Perloff, Ethel Rackin, Natania Rosenfeld, Michael Ryan, Jack Sheehan, Peter Siegenthaler, Lauren Rile Smith, Valerie Trueblood, Joe Wenderoth Founder Stephen Berg (1934–2014) Co-founder Sidney H. Berg (1909–1973) BOARD OF DIRECTORS Jonathan Katz, Chair Margot Berg Eileen Neff Jen Oliver Elizabeth Scanlon Ava Seave BOARD OF ADVISORS Linda Lee Alter Natalie Bauman Richard Boyle Marianne E. Brown Paul Cummins Helen W. Drutt English Marian Garfinkel Rayna Block Goldfarb Werner Gundersheimer Lynne Honickman William Kistler Edward T. Lewis Sondra Myers Judith Newman Carol Parssinen S. Mary Scullion, R.S.M. Peter Straub Rose Styron Ann Beattie Robert Coles Rita Dove Carolyn Forche Edward Hirsch Emily Mann Joyce Carol Oates Cynthia Ozick Frederick Seidel Kenneth Tyler…

6 min.
four poems

This is what you are missing Melissa – dust turned to wavesin the desert – okra coming up two monthstoo late – a forward breaking gate openinginto someone else’s field – I walk bya window and I do not understand how little I seeyou – but so clearly the wasp backing outof a hole inside a long deadtree – when we were children we livedwith our grandparents and I remember withoutsadness mostly the sound of tires screaming intothe street – the porchlight welcomeswhatever intercepts it – I praiseinsistence – I kissmy love because our best friend diedwhen we were 5 years old – a brain tumor –and then again at 7, 11, 17… 43 – bodieskilling themselves by growingbeyond their own capacity – I am buildinga bed for our visitors –…

10 min.
five poems

O Darkness “My arm is so brown and so beautiful,” is a thought I haveas I’m about to turn off the lamp and go to sleep.I look at it a moment in the soft glow, and see it, briefly,as though it belonged to someone else. A reddishkind of brown, like a toasted almond, only fleckedwith the fine, gold hairs of summer. And it occurs to me.that I have always loved the brownness of my skin,The way, just now, I stopped to admire my own thigh,its deeper tone against the crisp white of my cotton robe.As a girl, I wanted to be dark as my mother, whose skinshone against crimson, malachite, plum. I loved the waythat gold gleamed against her neck, the way dark skinforgives the accumulation of our years and griefs—and…

64 min.
the poetics of wrongness, an unapologia

I’m writing this lecture in the middle of a particular night in my particular life. This is relevant. Three years ago I was asked to write these lectures by the Bagley Wright Lecture Series, and it seemed impossible. I’d never given lectures. I imagined that giving a lecture required me to tell other people what I think or what I know, which is not really my style. Or, perhaps giving lectures would require me to tell people what they should think, which is really not my style. What is my style, you wonder? I’m getting to that. Stay with me, stay in the present, this moment, for a moment. I am, at this particular time in my particular life, the mother of three sons now 16, 14, and 8. This is…

5 min.
five poems

Climate change: having our cake and being eaten by it, too How long can you say noto creme brulee and peanut butter cups, air conditioning,flying to Paris, flying to New York, the big bag of Fritos,a new iPhone, new extensions, new hair color,remodeling the kitchen, a nose job, bigger boobs,smaller bigger boobs when you get tiredof your bigger bigger boobs, two flat screensin the basement, air conditioning, caramel corn,sour cream on your baked potato with butter, the V-8,the turbo V-8, the twin overhead cam turbo V-8,masturbation, a third Coke, a thirty-second Coke, a line of coke,a second loan on your house, building a plastic straw factoryin Chicago, in Kuala Lumpur, masturbation, the extra-large pizzawith cheeseburger-infused crust, watering your grass,cutting your grass, fertilizing your grass,playing nine holes of golf, eighteen, the dreamof…

1 min.

I’ll cede ground that isn’t mine.I’ll make my grandparents’ apologies,I’ll make my own, since they’re still heretaking constitutionals, surveying. Evenmy renunciations are cribbed.We think we own our graves on the Mount of Olives, gravesin the hills beyond Jerusalem, doorbellsalong the old streets where my name appears,and at the corner somebody surprises mewearing my face. Who’s to say whose.Here’s capital and all its homelessness. We’ve paid for our graves up frontwith a view of the messiah. We’re livingin the waiting room. I’ve changedthe allegiance of my plural pronoun, given upmy primordial lisp. A great theft made me, and nowthis is no place for family life. Nava EtShalom’s poems have appeared or will soon appear in Boston Review, The Believer, and other journals, and have won the 92Y Discovery Prize and a Pew Fellowship in…