World Poetry, Inc

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.

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United States
World Poetry, Inc
6 Issues

in this issue

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,…

4 min
ghost of

1 The night before their youngest child is born, a man and woman watch Oliver Twist (1948), name their only son Oliver. The family rejoices and for several years indulge their newest member, even though they are industrious refugees who previously celebrated nothing, even though they also have two daughters. The eldest daughter resembles her brother until she wakes up one morning from a dream in which he was a tyrant. Soon after, her hips widen, one lone hair grows in her armpit. Sometimes the daughter feels like a son and sometimes the son feels like a shadow—like hosiery, alienable—he says to his first grade teacher: “You can’t draw inside the body. So why try to draw what’s inside the body at all?” 2 If one has no brother, then one used to have…

18 min
singing in the contact zone

A POET OF SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS AND COMPASSION, C . K. Williams reflects, in his poems, on the need and willingness to meet, engage, and be moved by the other—the very conditions of empathy. 1 To feel with the other—rather than for the other—you must suspend judgment, withhold assumptions, be willing to deconstitute and reconstitute your private truths, resist the temptation of constructing the other in your own image, embrace incertitude as you attempt to inhabit another’s way of being in the world. As Williams’s poems show us, this already difficult task is compounded by the treacherously thin line between inhabitance and projection, empathy and inpathy, with the latter mimicking or courting empathy while remaining invested in the importing of another’s emotions or problems into your own, as Leslie Jamison notes…

31 min
three poems from the darkening trapeze

A Special Supplement La Strada This life & no other. The flesh so innocent it walks along The road, believing it, & ceases to be ours. We’re fate carrying a blown-out bicycle tire in one hand, Flesh that has stepped out of its flesh, Always ahead of ourselves, leaving the body behind us on the road. Zampanò, what happens next? The clown is dead. You still break chains across your chest though your heart’s not in it, Your audience is just two kids, & already there is Snow in little crusted ridges, snow glazing cart tracks & furrows Where you rest. And then what happens? One day you get an earache. One day you can’t breathe. You notice the old nurse wears a girdle as she bends over you, You remember the smell of Spanish rice from childhood, An orphanage with scuffed linoleum on its…

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…

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…