Avery Farmer

A Walk Inside the Epicenter

By MARIA TERRONE

Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, NY
Jackson Heights, Queens
           

By the time you read this, more of my neighbors will be dead.

And yet, on this sunny spring day that belies the grim headlines, I need to go for a walk, that most mundane of human activities. I need to pretend that life is normal. To forget that just a short distance from my apartment stands Elmhurst Hospital, the epicenter of the coronavirus within New York City, itself America’s epicenter.

A Walk Inside the Epicenter
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April 2020 Poetry Feature: Poems from John Freeman’s THE PARK

This month, we’re happy to bring you poems from JOHN FREEMAN’s forthcoming collection, The Park, out on May 5th from Copper Canyon Press.

 

Cover of John Freeman's "The Park," a black and white photo of park benches and trees

Table of Contents:

  • Easement
  • Ghost
  • Youth
  • Halfway
  • On Love
  • The Politician

 

John Freeman is the editor of Freeman’s, a literary annual, and author of the poetry collections Maps and The Park, as well as three books of nonfiction, Dictionary of the Undoing, The Tyranny of E-mail, and How to Read a Novelist. He has also edited three anthologies of writing on inequality, including Tales of Two Americas and Tales of Two Planets, a new book about global inequality and climate change, forthcoming from Penguin. The former editor of Granta, he lives in New York, where he is writer-in-residence at New York University. The executive editor at Lit Hub, he has published poems in Zyzzyva, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The Nation. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages.

April 2020 Poetry Feature: Poems from John Freeman’s THE PARK
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The Creator

By ABDEL-GHANI KARAMALLA

Translated by ELISABETH JAQUETTE 

 

“Goal! Nice goal!”

That’s what my mother calls from where she sits on her low stool, which seems to long for the earth of my father’s grave, when she sees me kick an onion between two of the legs supporting the large earthen water jar. My vegeta-ball bounces off one leg and lands in the smoke pit, crying hot tears from the wound she sustained when she struck the sharp leg.

The smoke pit is under my grandmother’s wooden bed, so I bend down to retrieve my vegeta-ball, but when I see that the ground under her bed is wet with water dripping from the jug, I immediately forget what I was looking for. I love mud, and so donkeys, sheep, lions, elephants, and chickens emerge from the mud thanks to my fingertips, and then I take my new flock to graze in the courtyard, where they all eat grass, and even the lion’s stomach is fine with it. The two pebbles I use for his sad and happy eyes are like lovely girls’ eyes in my country. The elephant is smaller than the goat; it wasn’t born, doesn’t reproduce, and won’t die, just like the goat, and like me, I think, and the matches make for straight tusks. My mother is looking at me with a lot of love, not because I’m little and without a father, but because I’m ugly and skinny and poor, and my mother thinks this trinity will crucify me on sturdy beams before the age of thirty. But she doesn’t notice that the lion I’ve made is like an officer in plainclothes, that its mouth looks as meek as the beak of a bird, as if Christ has come down into my fingertips, then out through my hands. “Don’t worry about him,ˮ my grandmother tells my mother. “He’s been watching water drip from the jug for four hours, perfectly happy.”

The Creator
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Waiting on Forty-Five (A Ghazal)

By MIRA ROSENTHAL

 

and then I remember the faint aching hiss of nitrous leaking from the tip of the siphon into the open mouth of me

a hit off the pressurized cream of me

in the darkened storage room round back of the restaurant of me

at twenty-one, the different sounds that rustled in me

freezer hum and thudding voices, conversation concentrate inside of me

who I used to be, was then and then and then: still me

Waiting on Forty-Five (A Ghazal)
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Epithalamium

By EMILY LEITHAUSER

 
The morning after we decided not to get engaged
(I’d ridden the streetcar alone;
 
I felt purposeful and ashamed, my mouth stained with wine)
I sat down in the shower and wept
 
into the crook of one elbow, my arms folded over,
as the shampoo ran down my breasts
 
and spine. I was studying the contours of my knees, when it
took me suddenly,
Epithalamium
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March 2020 Poetry Feature: Frances Richey

Please welcome poet FRANCES RICHEY to our pages.

Contents:

—The Times Square Hotel

—After the Diagnosis

Frances Richey is the author of two poetry collections: The Warrior (Viking Penguin 2008), The Burning Point (White Pine Press 2004), and the chapbook, Voices of the Guard (Clackamas Community College 2010). She teaches an on-going poetry writing class at Himan Brown Senior Program at the 92nd Street Y in NYC, and she is the poetry editor for upstreet Literary Magazine. She was poetry editor for Bellevue Literary Review from 2004-2008. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from: The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, Plume, Gulf Coast, Salmagundi, Salamander, Blackbird, River Styx, and Woman’s Day, and her poems have been featured on NPR, PBS NewsHour and Verse Daily. Most recently she was a finalist for The National Poetry Series for her manuscript, “On The Way Here.” She lives in New York City.

March 2020 Poetry Feature: Frances Richey
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Going Home

By KAREN KAO

A photograph of a graffitied window

The road to Amsterdam

Our plan was always to go home to Amsterdam at the end of March. By then, we will have been on the road for 200 days. But now home is the new coronavirus epicenter. The projections are that the Netherlands will follow the pattern set by Italy. With only so many hospital beds, respirators and medical staff, Dutch doctors will have to triage. They will treat the younger patients with a higher chance of survival. The others are on their own.

We have no good choices. Staying on the road presents its own dangers. Hotels are vectors for infection. So are restaurants and public transportation for so long as they stay open. We could hunker down in an AirBnB. But who will tell us when the lockdown begins or ends?

Going Home
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Public Survey

By NILUFAR KARIMI

Public surveillance footage of Tehran, Iran, depicting street stones

Tehran, Iran, through public surveillance footage

all begins slowly like anything else. night. two birds walk together through a cobblestone alley.
the rooster first, then the hen. if I were to invert this order, begin again. there is a pile of bags

a pile of white cloth sacks. the objects transform themselves as I write. two bicycle
tires over the sacks to restrain them. a waiting for the image to come from darkness.

Public Survey
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Poetry-Making as Empathy Play: An Interview with Oliver de la Paz

CAMERON FINCH interviews OLIVER DE LA PAZ

Headshot of Oliver de la PazOliver de la Paz is the author of five collections of poetry, including his latest book, The Boy in the Labyrinth (University of Akron Press, 2019). His work has been published or is forthcoming in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Tin House, The Common, The Southern Review, and Poetry Northwest. He is a founding member of Kundiman and now serves as co-chair of Kundiman’s advisory board. He teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the Low-Residency MFA Program at Pacific Lutheran University.

Cameron Finch spoke with Oliver about mythic metaphors, the problem with story problems, empathy in the digital era, and the role of poetry in the endless exploration of ourselves.

Poetry-Making as Empathy Play: An Interview with Oliver de la Paz
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