The American Poetry Review September/October 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
6 Issues

in this issue

5 min
three poems

from On the Overnight from Agadir Don’t go to discover your roots, Ladybug says. If you want to look for roots, go and look at a tree.Another day at a cafe, avoiding. Pretending to— Why did you come here Tell me whyIf you want to die go ahead and die do it quicklyIf you want to be dead You can be dead But the days are long and always the same.But the nights are long and always the same.I feel that time has me, in a way. Do you know? A tree. But do you see the roots when you look at a tree? The syringa from the cover of that playbook in high school haunted me for weeks, its net of empty branches …See, that’s the problem. That right there. How the mind…

9 min
australopitheca1 & starman2

10 The countdown to you begyns with me, deere Starman, when I wander, dumbly, deep into a space hospittable to Hunger. Now, all’s desert. No milk in syte. Just pitifull sand, what shushes as it slydes through your hande to rejoin itself. I’d join myself with a stellar human who, as you do, dons white suits & travells lyte, is able to drive all seasons w/ the top down & tell me terrible jokes. If you kin keep yr posture in the face of bad demands, I promise to objectively vivify you, insofar as the dead can keep a promise. As for me, the last thing I sawe wasn’t Earth, but a domed desert, littered with fyres I could read. Its sands emulated the colore of the dead center of your…

6 min
the ladder to heaven

The hastily assembled angel climbedThe ladder God had many times proposedThe prophets build the prophets never built itThe ladder to the sky and Heaven in the skyThe prophets never built it knowing God Was testing them but also teasing themSince all God’s tests are two tests one for the FatherAnd one for the Son and nothing for the HolySpirit who broods over them like a meddlesomeNeighbor watching two young brothers play Switch on a stoop from the second floor acrossThe street whose mother never would have letHim he reminds himself take an expensivetoy like that outside if he had owned such toysEver as the Nintendo Switch and prophets The angel built the ladder first one rungAnd then another all the way to HeavenThen flew back down to the bottom since he wantedTo climb…

1 min
new from the princeton series of contemporary poets

Gilgamesh The Life of a Poem Michael Schmidt “Michael Schmidt’s unparalleled love for poetry, ancient and modern, brings to life the continuing vitality and importance of the world’s earliest surviving poem, with fascinating new insights on every page. A real treasure.” — Ruth Padel, author of Darwin: A Life in Poems Cloth $24.95 Selected Poems of Giovanni Pascoli Translated by Taije Silverman with Marina Della Putta Johnston “This exquisitely crafted bilingual volume is a gift to all who cherish the renewal of perception and understanding of our shared humanity, which only the great poets, like Pascoli, can provide.” —Rebecca West, University of Chicago Paper $19.95 | Cloth $55.00 The Lockert Library of Poetry in Translation Before Our Eyes New and Selected Poems, 1975–2017 Eleanor Wilner “There are poems in this book that I have carried in my head for decades now. They have helped me…

11 min
mostly just a scream an interview with halle butler on capitalism and the new me

For the past ten months, I have lived in San Francisco. I work in Silicon Valley. Capitalism swirls around me: Long work weeks, robotic men and women with their faces in the blue glow of their screens on the train, rampant homelessness among the wealth. If I believe what most people say, I am living in the future. If I believe what most people say, as goes San Francisco, so goes the world. But a bigger question is: If this is the future, will we all stand for it? When I first moved to San Francisco, I began to read Halle Butler’s The New Me. Although the protagonist of The New Me does not live in San Francisco or Silicon Valley, her life is wrapped up in her work. She is a…

5 min
three poems

The Rings of Saturn Santo Jesus, did you have a jeweled number?Did you play spin-the-bottle in your day?What colors and configurations of glass? I imagine there were no remedies for cleft palatesbut that people loved their penned animals:brushed their fur and picked the stones from their hooves. Were there weather reports?Moonshine or other illicit contraband?Did any cornrow their hair? I love nine best; for the absent finger or toe.Born without, or vanished in a sharp-implement accident.For the woman felling a tree; a man making blood sausage. The saintly flaw of the animal born without a tail.Dumbo’s mother was deemed mad and locked up.How deformity drives the value of a neighborhood down. Were there fire extinguishers; antacids?To be dressed to the nines meant a tailor usednine yards of fabric to fashion a suit or silken dress. Did they…