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The American Poetry ReviewThe American Poetry Review

The American Poetry Review March/April 2018

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
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6 Issues


access_time4 min.
four poems

from M Notebooksthere are moments when terror breaksinto something brighter & the brighterthought cocoons the mindsea will listenfor immigrants, refugeesover which a message travelssubstance between continentsfor migrations, traders, mapmakersover which a person fleesover which a quest unfolds, a questionMendietawho had to fly over the oceana grieve ability, a grave able placehollow of a torso, fill it with animal bloodgunpowder, feathers, mudlook how it un-things a personSiluetasilhouette for the feeling of in-front-ofsilhouette for the feeling of during, of uponhere: a beneath silhouette, an along silhouettesilhouette for instead-ofsilhouette for the feeling of in-spite-offind a river amongyour major organs: windpipeor somesuch throughwayadd diver birds, add floating tiresadd cordgrass, add glassnow a wondrous wideningtrail of roil-water aftera ship as it sails farther& more violently awayM Myrrh MariumehMurmur MariaMyriam Ma MaMary MimicryMimicry of a nightbirdshe…

access_time4 min.
six poems

The intimatesIn the stalls, we ladies heareach other pee. I watch herfeet. Unashamedly, sheunrolls the toilet paper, thrump, thrump, thrump.Her shoes aresturdy beige—perhaps she’s a librarian?She definitely has a job!—and she peessolidly, in a forceful streamthat ends with a quick,assured finish.As my writing changes, I think with sorrow of those who couldn’t changeI am thinking with sorrow of those who couldn’t change,of those who committed suicide, Plath, Sexton, Berryman,of Hemingway with the gun in his mouth;of Ralph Ellison who would not support young black writers—they weren’t good enough, he said,not as good as he was—but who never finished his second book;of Anatole Broyard, who couldn’t write the autobiographical novelthat he had been paid to writebecause he couldn’t write the first truth—that all those years he had been drama criticfor the…

access_time1 min.
three poems

EquinoxAs we lie here, the peacocksthrow down their criesof oiled ribbon and hot waxthrough the hydraulic nightwhile Ursa Majorloops your nameacross one black postcardafter another.The rhododendronsare speaking in tongues.The sea has lost countof its dead.Along the ridge of your body,the music of trace chains,the light of the plough.The alders raise their mastsand hammer outtheir ancient telegrams.On the floor,in my shirt pocket,are eight metric boltscalling outto some lost machineof winter.PropertyThe deer cut a thin pathfrom the creek,through the field,along the crooked teethof the fence,past the stiff earsof the mule pen,and into the underbrushat the wood’s edge.The pipeline surveyorshave trespassedagain, and againI gather their bright flags.The moon gathersevidence against usand waits for its moment.The path crawls from the creeklike a sentencestarting with the words“I wonder”and ends with a hooved ellipsethat bleeds into…

access_time14 min.
poetry and healing

I… An axe for the frozen sea within us. —Franz KafkaPoetry can be healing in two ways that I think everyone recognizes. Reading poems can be healing for the reader in need of solace; writing poems can be healing for the writer in need of release from fear, shame, guilt, and repression. But what do we mean by healing? To heal is not the same as to cure; it is more mysterious, more ambiguous. The etymology of the word tells us that “heal” is from old English and Proto-German words meaning “make whole.” But then—what do we mean by wholeness?Ten years ago, my husband was in hospital with a vulnerable heart for a week, a week I had trouble sleeping. The nurses made a bed for me in his room,…

access_time16 min.
two poems

PhosphorusIs it true then that Berlin is a city you write yourself againstRather than like New York or Paris which write themselvesinto youThat the city itself has no voice or if it has one it agrees to muteitself against the noise of your own lifeOr is it a chorus of voices sedimentedA voice in which the present life is overlaidon voices from historyAn aural palimpsestGhost town with golden cobblestones to stumble uponFor example on this night seven years ago I was getting readyto go to a party where ready to dancewe ended up not dancing but talkingabout how far awayFrom our families we all wereWhere I put my arm around my friends to try to keep themIn my life but didn’t we scatter like people scatterOne of those friends died…

access_time3 min.
three poems

As He Killed Me I Imagined HimAs he killed me I imagined himfloating through the years of his life,pantomiming violence, eating flowersbound in fleshy vines, a forest untohimself. I couldn’t help but feeleach moment as my own—Voiceless fists swinging at invisible wallshousing the truth of a manhoodcomposed by exclusion, a saddening love,emptied and unfeeling,drawn helplessly to its roots, wonderingwhat in this future can be spared.He says lightbeams and god and spirit-tongued mystery into the darknessbut the darkness fights back, thrusts itselfinto every space of empathy—my softlybeating curse. Once I cried for the smellof grass, its blood filling the air,my knees stained green with the world.Now I drift around, listen to the pain of things,don’t allow my ghost to hurt anyone.I Want to Write a PoemI want to write a poemabout…