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The American Poetry Review March/April 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.

United States
World Poetry, Inc
6 Issues

in this issue

3 min

+ Out of quarry-dust he comes running. Running as a crab runs he comes out of the hills the hills that own him— as a lie comes to own its person, like that. And the hackles of the land rise up behind him. + On the sub-zero range-land the deer bed down. He— harrowed, and holds rivers of snow and forgetting—he beds down. + In the morning, he— stooped and stretches— sings a song of praise from long-ago, while a little sun strikes a little frost on the skin of the earth: Some say the gate out is the river some say the gate out is rain— but I agree with those who say that every gate is a gate of praise . . . then the sagebrush rattles then out limps a tattered sheepdog, thin and just like that. + He had a father and…

11 min
yannis ritsos & other poems

Athens was welcoming to those who had come from the sea —Mahmoud Darwish Yannis, you held him in the glare of the diamonded sea, unteaching him his practical mantra of liberation, seeing in him a son to take care of you in your loneliness, loneliness varnished by your detention in the house made of flower stems that thrust through the rocks in the prison-yard, its roof made of the unscannable lines of rain. You revealed to him the sound of the rusty-hinged door, how it would swing sadly open and reveal no homeland beyond at all. He came from the sea dragging his anklets of keys. Did you teach him then how the old locks and houses of his hometown were already all broken? Yannis, in the end he rinsed the last of the…

5 min
ten sonnets

Where’s it gone? God of my childhood, with your attendant monstrosities have a little warmth on me, bent and frozen. Hastily now and again it seems You can hear even the farmyard rats gnaw at cobs and whatever fresh dead’s around. Though it’s confusing to see the golden seaport alongside of that— well, such is the human eye that doesn’t get to choose unless it trains, and I wasn’t given the gift of exercise. I will not say You’ve given me a terrified silence, nor absence, nor presence, nor the sun gone red and down, whose going You can’t protect. Let me, dusky godsend, never believe You protect. 12 It destroys us down here to believe You protect. What I mean is this: each day I receive and by moon night shines to erase. It gets dark in this world, how can I save what’s erased by day—? Body, the good,…

2 min
kashmir: hindu doctor

I walked down a side street in Srinigar. They were all side streets it seemed, under chenar trees, nearly as ancient as the shadows of the Himalayas. The River Jhelum had stopped flooding now after days of rain. The British houseboats rode low on Dal Lake. The floating peddlers went on singing like waterbirds at dawn— their small boats heaped with treasures from Tibetan temples. They’d come the three hundred miles from China, robbers, singing all the way. I found the clinic easily by following a line: bowed women in hijab walking behind their husbands. The men raised loud voices, complaining. They grew silent at the clinic door, stepping aside slowly to let their wives enter. The doctor signaled to me over their veiled heads. She was “Hindi,” therefore hated. She was a woman: therefore hated. A doctor: respectful hate. I believed in things like medical help. I’d seen the U.N. trucks…

19 min
somebody loves us all—elizabeth bishop across a chasm

I’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT CARING. WE say we are going to care for our children or that we care if something happens or that we don’t care for artichokes. But what do we mean? A simple look back through the word’s etymology suggests that its true root is something along the lines of sorrow, but by the 16th century it began accreting other meanings—to take in one’s hand in care for, for instance. It also bears a strong eye-relation to the Latin caritas or charity, though there is no etymological connection there that I know of. But maybe we can think there is: we sorrow, we hold, we try to do good. That seems about all we could ask for as we try to conduct ourselves in the world. To care…

7 min
metal poem & other poems

is how Baraka described John Tchicai’s deploying the horn like a kind of war machine before either man’s lungs were left empty as a shipwreck, bodies still, stoic as stone & buried deep. Mainstream pop had not yet given John his proper shine, & so I sometimes like to think of the phrase as a chamber with no flash or flame to kill the dim, so black it’s blank, the lead -off to some broader claim about what touch compels, or unmakes. Any leader -less man will cut holes in the world if you let him breathe, I think. Every horn holds a history of violence. Animals slain for the sake of sound. Chamber music born of plundered bone. My entire block is metal poem. Endless empty school desks mourned by shoes hung from telephone wire, so high they catch…