The American Poetry Review May/June 2021

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

6 min
five poems

Beggars and Choosers “Ah Carl, while you are not safe, I am not safe.” —Ginsberg I admit that I don’t really know how the internet worksor the economy and when the newspaper saysthat the body of government is consolidating debtto make room for more credit, it sounds like a divorceor like when in-laws move in, this “making room,”the language of spatial necessity escaping me.I’m learning a lot about lungs in the pandemic:glass opacity, x-rays of snow, organs embracinglike adjacent continents in a bad winter. Mutual downfall.When I lived in Shanghai, I performed a ritual of waterto ward off a hoax or a curse or the dead of heart.I needed an amulet and bought an expensive piece of jadebecause I was in China and I was desperateand unimaginative. It was heavy, easily chipped.I…

1 min
two poems

At the End of Our Marriage, in the Backyard We’ve let the lawn go to wild violetsand dandelions, to crabgrass, to clover bending under the weightof so many honeybees, our children can’t even run barefoot. We donothing, letting ivy snarl around the downspouts and air conditioner,letting milkweed grow and float its white feathers. We do nothingand call it something—as if this wilding were intentional.If there is honey, I tell myself, we are to thank. All summerthe children must wear shoes. We sit out back while they crouchin the clover, watching the bees, calling out when they see sunnycrumbs of pollen on their legs. Maybe no one will be stung.Late in the season, we sit ankle-deep in weeds and flowers.In weeds we call flowers. Small Blue Town I built a small blue towninside myself— blue chapel, blue steeple,blue houses, blue storefronts,blue school. A scale model…

54 min
owning yourself

After many years, Gander recently rediscovered the original cassette tapes of this interview, which took place at his home with CD Wright in Rhode Island, June 11, 1995 FORREST GANDER You’ve lived all over the world and there are abundant references in your work to foreign geographies and names and towns. I wonder what you learned as a poet from living in Paris, Denmark, and Greece? Are there different things that you picked up in different places that became useful to you as a poet? JACK GILBERT I don’t think it’s so much the places as what happened to me in the places. FG One of the places that’s come up in the recent book that I know the least about is Denmark. When was that? There’s an affair you have with a…

6 min
four poems

Paris Syndrome Paris Syndrome (n.) a psychological condition experiencedalmost exclusively by Japanese tourists and, to a lesser extent,Chinese tourists, who are disappointed when the city of lightsdoes not live up to their romantic expectations. The syndrome,considered an extreme case of culture shock, causes symptomssuch as an acute delusional state, hallucinations, anxiety,dizziness, and sweating. Single women travelers are mostafflicted by this disease. June was a parade of Chinese brides,their trains spilling into the gardens.Blooming gloom, purple sepals— sweat crowned their frowns, wet diademsof dread. Hems, rough hedges—their headsgroomed doll-like for their grooms to glower at. June smelled like perfumeand piss. Chewing stale breadon the bridges, I tossed my misgivingsinto the river. How I loved the marble women in the Tuileries, their inconsolableweight. To be a monument, stone-carved,to sorrow. I wandered in search of my own pulsebetween…

3 min
two poems

The Walls Became the World All Around 18,000 years agomy ancestors burnedbones and hematitein the Lascaux caves.Equines and stags mid gallopon walls of calcite. I imagine them gatheringin their own blackness.As a boy I thoughtbrown and blackwere stalked by death. I try to imaginethe 17,000 yearsLascaux were leftalone in darkness.If you read about the caves,historians will saythey were discovered in 1940. 55 years later on my firstday of kindergarten,a girl said hi to meand I hid behind Mama.She’s black and fat I said. When I look upthe definition for black,I find fifteen entrieswith negative associations. Black holes burnat billionths of a Kelvin;astronomers say that makesthem ideal black bodiessince they are impossible to observe.Unfinished steel is said to be black. When I look in the mirrorI feel shame for my six year old self,much of me is unfinished. Soil…

1 min
among the hydrangeas

Haven’t yet been anywhere Iwant to scatter my ashes. This sea life,the tendency to believethat whatever kills usis stronger than we are. The middle barof the closet, then,and the exhaust pipe too, a knot thatwon’t release. Too much ofanything is poison, too little ofanything an ataxia, and thelight that scatters is defined bywhat it reflects. Amish Trivedi is the author of Sound/Chest (Coven), Your Relationship to Motion Has Changed (Shearsman), and FuturePanic, forthcoming from Co•Im•Press in the fall of 2021. He has an MFA from Brown and a PhD from Illinois State. He lives in Maryland.…