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The American Poetry Review September/October 2020

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

5 min
five poems

Melting Pot mom removed her makeup and made three dinners after the diner. she ate hers last just as we finished our plates and glasses. she is absent from photos (a note: daguerreotype was blurry and slow, and to stop their children who might die from the vagaries of victorian life, victorian mothers would hold their shoulders to keep them still for the whole of the long exposure. she would wear a black veil, blurred out of the photos or positioned behind a chair as if she wasn’t there. they are called hidden mothers). once i snapped at her and she started to cry and even my quiet felt powerful in a way that made me want to cry myself, as if both our silences were my own. my tongue half…

1 min
two poems

Biopsy Pantoum I am waiting for biopsy results again—in the mirrored room where time stalls.Knowing women are always at the mercy of men,even after I get the results, it will feel like my fault. In the mirrored room where time stalls,I stare at the same insipid face.Even after I get the results, it will feel like my fault.I walk the treadmill, regretting what I can’t erase. I stare at the same insipid face.The longer I carry my body, the harder it is to tend.I walk the treadmill, regretting what I can’t eraseUntil I die, this worry will never end. The longer I carry my body, the harder it is to tend.Knowing women are always at the mercy of men,until I die, this worry will never end.I am waiting for biopsy results again. Memento Mori: Pistachios I…

2 min
intertidal ordinary—

I should say something about wateryour feet cold in it hunting for dulse onan afternoon turned hotter than expectedthe boy puts a conker in the walk archive & the season turns from shellsa coast becomes longer the closer one looks at it—you turnme inside out with your mouth & the boy with a crab in his handleft his heart in a fish & in his hand a fishhook & beneath his feetseveral feet of air between his body & the working wharfI take the photo from far away so the girl is just a speckle for scalenot herself but rather a landscape marker in the intertidal where we arepermitted to fish fowl & navigate the law is unsettled as to whetherfowling includes birdwatching the image is my daughterher hands overwhelmed with hermit crabs her rashguard a makeshiftpocket overflowing with hermit crabs the high…

5 min
four poems

Catalog I was only eight. Not the driver, but I wasthe one who begged for the cats. Our father,so allergic he stopped breathing sometimes,gave in. So long as I fed them.So long as we kept them in the garage. Outdoor cats we called them. All I wanted was a body, different from mine, I could love.Regardless of limits. I have failed so many people. Other animals, too. Sometimes, I think I will make a list. In case I’m ever askedto explain where I went wrong. In the hills, behind our house, a classmate found a frayedcollar loose around a set of small bones. I seedisasters everywhere I look. Which is whyI am recounting the facts as calmly as possible. A coyote, probably. Those were the days before we settledwho of us would get to thrive and who would…

3 min
two poems

The Language in Question defying gravity after all // isn’t the same as flying after all // are you thinking of hurting yourself isn’t the same as are you thinking // you might kill yourself // we must be confident being more direct // an X drawn in orange on a tree trunk one morning it was there // 30 feet of maple gone by the time I came back home // the city gave me no choice // sometimes we have no choice and warning signs can go unnoticed // until I didn’t think they were serious // they wanted attention didn’t mean it sometimes it doesn’t hurt // death feels like a solution // sometimes it hurts so much after all // you are thinking of hurting yourself no you are thinking of hurting // other people not us walking a gorge late…

8 min
anyone will tell you

APZ Books Anyone Will Tell You by Wendy Chin-Tanner Paperback, 76 pages, $15.95 Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019 “Don’t look away. Look straight at everything. Look it all in the eye, good and bad,” said Henry Miller. This form of courage, in poetry as well as life, is rare, and yet it characterizes the wonder that is Wendy Chin-Tanner’s second full-length poetry collection, Anyone Will Tell You, beautifully. The speaker of these elliptical, spare poems is both subject and object, mother and child, mourner and celebrant—and in each poem, she proves herself capable of not just witness, but intervention—into the most complex forms of political and personal subjectivity, domestic life, aesthetics, and ecodevastation occurring in our world today. Chin-Tanner’s poems function as load-bearing walls, and, in their delicious and generous ambiguity, are dependent on the reader to…