The American Poetry Review

January/February 2022

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

On Becoming The painting is of a door, its wood so warpedwith moisture it cannot close. It stays ajar leaving a sliver of light—enough to suggestsomething sweet and almost unreachable behind the door—and you sit in yourroom working on the bills or those comforting lists that make you believe you havefinally created time, wide open spaces of emptiness, you are free to use or not use;but you keep looking at that gap, keep peering in, trying to see what is there,and occasionally you get up and touch it, as if you might feel it, what is there.I am being coy. I am not talking about you, but me. And it is not a door,but a painting of a naked woman sitting like a pear on a perch, her knees drawn upto her chest, her head buried between her knees, her…

2 min
three poems

Larger Papers I’ve seen enough films where a character nickshimself shaving or maybe has a bread knife slip and the thinrun of blood is supposed to stand for some violence,for something he did and is desperateto cover up, but the truth will out—I’ve seen enough that when I graze my own hand on the jagin the railing and find I’ve been cut, I ask what didthat symbolize, as though I’m some punyreporter hollering out at a sought director who is duckinginto a limo—OVER HERE! WHAT DID THE BLOODSYMBOLIZE??—and I never get an answer, I have to read itin other papers, larger papers, studios taking outfull-page ads so of course they get privileged access, I’m soresentful that I look away when I see them beingread on benches and beaches, all those sections, businessstyle metro…

28 min
white noise, white elegies

It is 12:20 in New York a Fridaythree days after Bastille day, yesit is 1959 and I go get a shoeshinebecause I will get off the 4:19 in Easthamptonat 7:15 and then go straight to dinnerand I don’t know the people who will feed me So opens Frank O’Hara’s “The Day Lady Died,” his elegy for the complicated and brilliant singer Billie Holiday, a woman entirely absent from the rest of O’Hara’s rambling ruminations on money, privilege, and the ambiguous social position of the White bohemian class. O’Hara’s poem is a list of things—bottles of Strega and cartons of Gauloises cigarettes, anthologies of Ghanaian poets, cheeseburgers and translations of French poetry lavishly decorated with drawings by Bonnard—all of which O’Hara purchases to feed himself, whether figuratively through aesthetic appreciation, or literally…

2 min
some of the men we love are terrorists

Some begged, some climbed the side of my body looking for a window, some said they were on their way and did not come.—Warsan Shire & honestly, i have no solutions—our world a mad swarm of bees. forgive me my own devotion, the handsome clench. my first love masters a sinister arithmetic; his patrilineage swelling like a heavy god between his legs. i’m well-conditioned, my hands already working for the good of this sly new lord. blessed are the meek. at one point, i was a brief globe of possibility & then my father got to me. have i the option to love him, my mother’s delicate monster, & not write this poem? of course not. it is a woman’s mouth, after all, bleeding nuance into the Ferguson pavement. the relevance,…

1 min
bless your soup

I am doing the work of healing.As in:I cry to early-2000s Paula DeAnda.I wash the towels from our apartment.I find your resume onlineand critique it harshly for a ghost audience. I come up with new names for emotions, likeDISLODGED FITTED SHEET orDAMP SHOWER CURTAIN.I read self-help articles, mainly to critiquethe clichéd prose.I assure our friends that I am fine, tell a dozen peoplebless your soupbecause spellcheck feels insincere at a time like this:pretending to know which letters fit togetherand which do not, language no less a judgment callthan love. Three days into sleeping over at your place,I dropped the facade of eleganceand brushed my teeth the way I like:tongue hanging out, pink foam-drool pouringfrom the corners of my lips, down my chin.You watched from the doorway,smiled like I was something lovely.All this…

5 min
four poems

a i n a m followed—in front, as horses—into daisy& silver dancing, knowing the jaw who unkeysin the danced earth to drink me down to haints,& will go again. was willed. distrusted happiness, addicted to it.a god needs of a god. here, i don’t want to reachfor greeks, don’t know them Or*sh*s well & won’t play.what i know, & good: when joy was my moon, it was interruptedby other skies, i was laughing when my field turned to flies,falling into their flight, i toward your blued hands, but was lied,& so i opened the rest of my eyes. my deepest & most ashamed apologies to Assotto Saint who i called Assanto in my previous collectionwhich was edited by several well-paid folks & the ratbabble fuck of a poem (“gay cancer”) also passedthru the…