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The American Poetry Review January/February 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.

United States
World Poetry, Inc
6 Issues

in this issue

8 min
crossing goethals bridge

It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall, The dark threw its patches down upon me also . . . —Whitman When I drive by Manny’s motley townhouse in Graniteville, past windows through which I can barely read those three words wrought in cursive and hung simply on his family room wall, I cannot help but feel the twist of my own inadequate love, a cramp: Life, Laughter, Love. To judge is not to love. Yet, a sad decor strikes me as a moral misdeed. I loathe the shellacked print of a rose nailed above a leather loveseat, wince at the worn mass-manufactured quilt he and his soon-to-be-ex wife once dragged their bodies beneath. And though I’d never buy it, I can’t help but drive by it, must glue…

5 min
six poems

Cartoon Music “Do I wish none of this happened? Yes.” —Governor Andrew Cuomo Why would she have said that, an undeserving egg, not to die for? Rainbow pencils retracted. Next, a group of officials withdrew support of accident forgiveness, and I’m like Comrade Fuzzy, my gaydar’s gone berserk the way it messes. Or say the response is tepid, or buttered ramekins. Color me brain foolish, on eye-drops—the history of his hounding. There, it’s not creepy, but it is. You can’t turn away or around from the birthday table with its glaces getting iconic around the benches understandably. We’re supposed to go out for the evening. David had saved some money and that stuff is now getting cold. Within the relative safety of the parterre it’ll make me sick today. You’re not going to have any trouble. Standard stories of unrest drag on. Was that a painful moment? The Happy Questioner It isn’t very late, and that probably…

24 min
lola ridge and the literary soirée

Introduction A proletarian modernist, Lola Ridge is best known for her work published between 1918 and 1922, which coincided with her editorship of Broom and Others, and her salon in New York that hosted most of the leading poets of the time, including Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, and Hart Crane. Four years before Eliot’s bleak and anti-Semitic “The Waste Land,” her equally long poem “The Ghetto” celebrated the “otherness” of the Jewish Lower East Side, chronicling an era and prophesying the multi-ethnic world of the twenty-first century. She was one of the first to delineate the life of the poor in Manhattan and, in particular, women’s lives in New York City. The title poem of her second book, Sun-up and Other Poems, is a striking modernist depiction of a child’s…

10 min
four poems

Parted on the Side Oh my God this girl fingers at knob when I left my home and my family I was only sixteen I left my home and my family moved to Baltimore I had never shaved a virgin pale as a ghost hair so brown looked black I thought the doors of sex would open up and take me I boxed my Henry Miller paperbacks my compact discs and cassettes this girl my God how she stood still she was moving in every molecule there was a flood of sunlight a great fire in the vestibule she fast at the little wheel I was going to live in her same building on North Charles the McCoy face every day the long lawn they called the beach that grandiose entryway to Johns Hopkins to college all was new I had never seen an ass that round or high ride so…

2 min
isn’t true love wonderful?

Ecobutch from Cornish just made me her favorite, which is more than I can say of Kitchenslut100 or 101. Ecoslut might be the one for me, and because of the wonders of wondering, I can click on pixels of my affection all night and see their private peccadilloes rise beneath my touch. One likes fisting, another vanilla ice cream licked from her hair. Where do people come from, where do they get fetishes for tomboys in stilettos? I don’t know what I like until I’ve seen it on a pillow 300 days in a row. It’s ok to wash the pillowcase as long as it spins in counterintuitive ways—we all have idiosyncrasies, if not mates. My notmates are many, and we share so much: birth month, love for loosefitting modifiers, close-ups long on soft focus. Most employ the selfie, which shouts how alone they are, unless you count vitamin supplements and hair gels on bathroom…

23 min
documentary theater

Books It is always impressive to read of the dedication and conviction with which poets approach poetry, and of the immense faith many have for its regenerative powers. All the metaphors and modulations are in pursuit of fundamental connections, even correctives, of where the brute forces of existence attempt to shred our aspirations of humanism. Jorie Graham. From the New World: Poems 1976–2014. Ecco. Imagine this new Jorie Graham selection of poems as the perfect embodiment of the character of late-20th-century American poetry. And at the center of this Graham universe there are multiple characterizations about what it all adds up to. For sure, there’s Graham as inspiration for a generation of poets to write poems that have become improvisations of the mind, inquiries into thought that become suspended in webs of comprehension…