World Poetry, Inc

The American Poetry Review

The American Poetry Review November/December 2017

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

9 min
two poems and an interview

Boys’ Bodies in Flight (are also a kind of text) Boys don’t read. —the experts These kids run their sloppy fly routes right to left in a crabgrass park They are counting by the thousands They read the defense and cheat the rush or jump the snap One of them eats a nice blindside hit from a slightly older bigger kid and buckles for half a second then jumps to his feet You might not notice the big kid brush the shorter one’s shoulders before he shoves the littler guy good and hard and hustles toward the huddle When I was their age there were days no one for nine blocks could come out to play So I used to ride my bike to Grace Street and sit alone in the middle of the baseball field standing up once in a while to pitch dirt bombs at the church’s back wall its glass stained with the lean long-robed saints of Bonhamtown and a few undecipherable aphorisms…

10 min
five poems

Chemistry Don’t fuse, at least. Don’t beaker. Don’t measurement or Bunsen burner. Don’t escalate or eat at liver. The liver will grow back. Don’t dinner with a starter. Ask for me or meet my father. Don’t mix chemicals or bring me flowers. Don’t expect electrons to migrate rings. Don’t sing or seem to bother. Don’t adamant or collar. Don’t let adolescence barter with what you want or what you need. Don’t burn to see its color, pattern inner models, flame to show a hover, Darwin anything but lean. Don’t mix to see what bubbles up or hex to see what tremors south or water to see what implodes suddenly or catalyst to maximize or aim. Don’t find a groove. The elements would disapprove. Their very numbers, their very ooze. Things match or glance, wish, invent, or take to task, march like the worse of accidents, flinch: don’t change. Don’t let day make of you…

6 min
two poems

Everything Will Always Be Okay For the one who forgives, it is simply a death, a dying down in the heart, the position of the already dead … a bottomless vacancy held by the living, beyond all that is hated or loved. —Claudia Rankine, from “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely” What’s so funny? the commandant demanded. Nothing! I cried. I was, at last, broken. I had, at last, spoken. Don’t you get it? I cried. The answer is nothing! —Viet Thanh Nguyen, from The Sympathizer Nothing could be more important. Nothing more than somethings whose leaves fall when nothing sweeps its arms. This is what I am beginning to understand, under the lightning which turns the skull of the beach blue like nothing I have ever seen. I have seen. The bodies moving beside me, bound by secretions that flake into…

2 min

I’m transcribing a second grade creative writing exercise when I realize I have been misspelling penguin my whole life. Bands are said to be selling out when a song appears in a commercial, but don’t the Pixies get a pass for that song Gigantic? Don’t they deserve a little icing off the cake they built? Crap—that’s a mixed metaphor, and it doesn’t even make sense. Sense is overrated says the dance therapist in my brain. Watch out for your bruised ribs says the mother in my solar plexus. I’ll only see the nurse if you get me more Xanax says my mother in real life. Twenty-one years ago, I met a French girl in a gigantic nightclub in Prague. She was plopped on stage, chin propped on hands. If you drew a cartoon of a sad girl in a club, it would be…

25 min
soft names

Stanley Plumly Against Sunset, W.W. Norton & Co., 2017 Orphan Hours, W.W. Norton & Co., 2012 Old Heart, W.W. Norton & Co., 2007 STANLEY PLUMLY EMERGES IN THE THREE BOOKS OF PANoramic poetry he published in the last ten years as a chronicler of lives. “Drama, instead of telling us the whole of a man’s life, must place him in such a situation, tie such a knot, that when it is untied, the whole man is visible,” writes Leo Tolstoy. The man we see in Stanley Plumly’s new poems is by turns sauntering and sensitive. He is obsessive, sanguine, vehement, and resilient. He is an archetypal rememberer, a delirious mourner, part realist, part dreamer. An alderman’s leisurely pace comes through first of all in the splendid variety of Plumly’s sentences, which in a single poem…

1 min
anthropocene pastoral

In the beginning, the ending was beautiful. Early spring everywhere, the trees furred pink and white, lawns the sharp green that meant new. The sky so blue it looked manufactured. Robins. We’d heard the cherry blossoms wouldn’t blossom this year, but what was one epic blooming when even the desert was an explosion of verbena? When bobcats slinked through primroses. When coyotes slept deep in orange poppies. One New Year’s Day we woke to daffodils, wisteria, onion grass wafting through the open windows. Near the end, we were eyeletted. We were cottoned. We were sundressed and barefoot. At least it’s starting gentle, we said. An absurd comfort, we knew, a placebo. But we were built like that. Built to say at least. Built to reach for the heat of skin on skin even when we were already hot, built to love the purpling desert in the twilight, built to marvel…