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The American Poetry Review July/August 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
World Poetry, Inc
6 Issues

in this issue

4 min
nine poems

Prairie Erasure I Blazes travel the state roads. Entire fields ingrained in us—firesa house, a forest, essential in land and soil—set a purpose. II At growing season, leave dead matter aboveground. Future burners—side ditches. Dead matter, new plants—shells that need breaking. Never leave them. III This time we see plumes rising. Grasslands herds, hunted,go hide in falsified ash. Drip torch upwind—machinery itself. The guardians of us decide when to intervene. Anodyne / Plea Who objected when the truth disappeared or when the truth battered us & we pretended fear fell from the ripped pillow of our sky instead of rising from the one clear place of us. Where were you when madmen told us to die & blasted us into nothing. Were you downtown, a figure cluster watching yourselves stagnate in skyscraper shade or neon glower. Did you…

4 min
three poems

Central Park I’d like to buy one when I die,one of the benches not yet spoken for,not yet tagged with a small stainless plaque and someone else’s name.If they’re all gone, pleasehelp me carry a replica to the boat pond so I can sitand watch the model boats get nowherebeautifully, rented by the fixed hours I’m grateful not to be out of yet.Another flicker of love,an updated Triple-A membership, and a handful of Pilot G-Tec-C4 blue-black pens,what else do I need?Universe, watch over us.Boat, my poor faraway father says,as if my mother has never seen one. Boat, he says, and we say, Yes,aren’t they beautiful.Come winter, the boathouse here is locked up,the pond drained,except one year it wasn’t and my son and I convinced ourselveshis new Golden Brightcould sail across. Merry Christmas, no one saidas I pulled the black plastic…

7 min
three poems

Paper Crowns — After the New York Times newsfeed from the week of May 6–11, 2018 This week in which faculty members at the University of Floridashove black graduates offstage for dancing in honor of what is regularly denied them; in which Nordstrom Rackapologizes to black teenagers falsely accused of shoplifting; in which a woman says she saw burglars break and enterinto a home when in fact they were black Airbnb guests; in which two Native American brothers are pulledfrom a campus tour after nervous parents call police; in which two black men settle with Starbucks and the cityof Philadelphia over the absurdity of their unnecessary arrest; in which two black women are told to golf fasterand then the club calls the police; in this week, yes, the white mother at a kindergarten celebrationmight think that certain gestures…

2 min
three poems

Refugee, Walking Is the Most Human of All So long to the papaya kingdomsOf olden mothers, The shepherdess ignitingPeels of bergamot. Grief of chalkScribbles the form of anArchangel. Consider a pillow of mortars,How the rubble of hair Weighs dense togetherWith the pedestrian heft Of never coming back. Home is a sleeping whale.Consider an armor Of feathers, not to buffer the body from shelling, But to be hoistedAs a skyless meteor fleeing for An elsewhere chanceto land. You will come backTo rescue your footsteps. Towels spread on a roadAs if forming: timelineof cotton against A pillared topography. But this, the clap of hands in crisisShoveling out evacuees. Empty your operaIn the howling of the sea. The Shaman Asks About Yellow Rain Did the airplane knife the sky? Or did it arrive,Still and unruffledAs a mass grave? Did it drone a foreign talk, tune of a soggyFriendship, or maybeIt…

29 min
iowa bird of mouth

I HATE CROWDS I’m an introvert. Most poets are. I’m terrible at chit-chat and networking. In group work situations, my ideas are usually too far out, so I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut. The only “team” sport I ever played in high school was swimming. Are you technically part of “a team” if you can’t make eye contact or talk because your head’s underwater? My aversion to groups may be why I deeply distrusted the premise of crowdsourcing—especially creative crowdsourcing, like people writing a poem together. How does it cohere? Isn’t a poem about capturing one person’s point of view? Who has the ultimate authority to edit it? Is it “mean” to delete terrible lines, as poets do to their own work every day? How about terrible lines written by a…

8 min
four poems

I Feel Sorry for You Someone Saidto Me Over and Over Again:A Story in the Form of a Dialogue,A Dialogue in the Shape of a Poem If you keep saying to someone you feel sorry for them what are you doing to them? What are you trying to do to them? What do you think you are doing? And if someone says, no, there’s no need to feel sorry for me.Someone says, no, don’t say you feel sorry for me And then you say it again, this time, fiercely as if it’s without compassion, without the original compassion you thought you were attempting toportray but had not done a very good job portraying it. Or maybe it wasn’t compassion and that’s why it failed. But your right to say about and to someone whatever it is you like—What…