Poetry

September 2022 Poetry Feature: Ama Codjoe—from BLUEST NUDE

This month we welcome back TC contributor AMA CODJOE, with poems from her new collection, Bluest Nude, from Milkweed Editions.
 

Image of a statue of a woman wearing a dress in white against a beige background, cover of Ama Codjoe's poetry collection.

Ama Codjoe is the author of Bluest Nude (Milkweed Editions, 2022) and Blood of the Air (Northwestern University Press, 2020), winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. Her recent poems have appeared in The Nation, The Atlantic, The Best American Poetry series, and elsewhere. Among other honors, she has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, and a Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship. She lives in New York City.

Table of Contents:

  • Of Being in Motion
  • On Seeing and Being Seen
  • Bluest Nude
September 2022 Poetry Feature: Ama Codjoe—from BLUEST NUDE
Read more...

August 2022 Poetry Feature: Nathan McClain—from PREVIOUSLY OWNED

This month we welcome back TC contributor NATHAN McCLAIN, whose new collection, Previously Owned, will be published by Four Way Books next month.

 

Nathan McClain is the author of two collections of poetry—Scale (2017) and Previously Owned (2022)—both from Four Way Books, a recipient of fellowships from The Frost Place, Sewanee Writers Conference, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and a graduate of the M.F.A. Program for Writers at Warren Wilson. A Cave Canem fellow, his poems and prose have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Guesthouse, Poetry Northwest, Zocalo Public Square, The Critical Flame, and the Plume Poetry Anthology 10. He teaches at Hampshire College and serves as poetry editor of the Massachusetts Review.

 

Where the View Was Clearer

Had I not chosen to live there—
among the oaks and birches,

trees I’d only ever seen in poems
until then…spruce, pine,

among the jack-in-the-pulpit
(though I much preferred “lady slipper”),

August 2022 Poetry Feature: Nathan McClain—from PREVIOUSLY OWNED
Read more...

Translation: Poems by Juan de Dios García

Poems by JUAN DE DIOS GARCÍA

Translated from the Spanish by CORY STOCKWELL

Poems appear below in both English and Spanish.

 

Translator’s Note

Moments are the most intimate of entities. If I had to distill Juan de Dios García’s already vast body of work into a single line, a single thought, it would be this one. The relevance will be clear for the two poems published by The Common, site-specific prose poems taken from a longer series all having to do with places in García’s native Cartagena, Spain. It is a commonplace that poems capture moments, but how to achieve this at a time when places come more and more to resemble one another, and moments, as a result, seemingly lose their attachments to specific sites? For García, the answer does not lie in the obvious gesture, which would be to try to arrest the site in time—to describe it in detail, to focus on its qualities and characteristics, to insist on its uniqueness. On the contrary: what defines a site, for García, is a sort of double insistence, an insistence on two claims that seem—but only seem—to contradict one another: anything could happen at this site; this could only happen at this site. When writing of a poetry reading at the Mister Witt Café in the poem of this name, García is undoubtedly recalling a specific evening, a specific reading, a specific poet who has entered into an almost rapturous state. And yet everything is entirely different for me when, the next day, in the wake of this poet who is at once elusive and resolutely public, I have my morning coffee at this very café, not inside (in the décor that would seem to evoke a certain Chinese pavilion in Lisbon) but on the terrace, or rather—since there is no terrace to speak of, only sleek tiles that blend into the tiles that make up the street of this coastal city in which all distinctions between inside and outside become untenable—at a table placed almost haphazardly near the door. The same goes for the Parque de la Rosa, through which I stroll later that day, under an unfortunate wide-brimmed hat: there is no strange woman who sees me cry, who strokes my skin and sees in me things that I cannot see myself; there is, however, a small black dog who hurtles toward me unthreateningly, playfully, veering off at the last minute toward a young couple whose scent he has picked up. It almost goes without saying that to translate these poems—to pass through the haunts of this poet—is in no way to betray them, but simply to add another layer to what they have already expressed, another moment to the moment they give forth; it is to locate a meaning that can only belong to these places and can only be completely different from all the meanings that came before. Moments, for Juan de Dios García, are the most extimate of entities.

— Cory Stockwell

Translation: Poems by Juan de Dios García
Read more...

July 2022 Poetry Feature

New poems by our contributors: ZACK STRAIT, FELICE BELLE, STEPHEN HAVEN, and MITCH SISSKIND.

 

Table of Contents:

Zack Strait | Fourth Ultrasound
                    | Dreams to Dream

Felice Belle | postcard from the moon
                    | the distance between you and me

Stephen Haven | Love at 60
                           | Sugar

Mitch Sisskind | The Ignoramus
                          | Only Death Wows Me

 

Fourth Ultrasound
By ZACK STRAIT

Like two passengers
in a wrecked automobile:

our eyes are fixed
on the sonogram screen—

an upside-down window
with no wiper blade

to sweep away the rain—
as the technician

July 2022 Poetry Feature
Read more...

June 2022 Poetry Feature: Gabriella Fee

Please welcome GABRIELLA FEE to our pages.

 

Gabriella Fee’s poetry appears in Michigan Quarterly Review, Washington Square Review, Guesthouse, Sprung Formal, Levee Magazine, LETTERS, The American Literary Review (2019 Prize for Poetry), and elsewhere. Their co-translation of Giovanna Cristina Vivinetto’s “Dolore Minimo” won the 2021 Malinda A. Markham Translation Prize, and is under contract with Saturnalia Books. Excerpts appear in The Journal of Italian Translation, The Offing, Copper Nickel, Smartish Pace, Alchemy, and Italian Trans Geographies. Fee holds a BA from Wellesley College and an MFA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, where they received the Elizabeth K. Moser Fund for Poetry Studies Fellowship in 2021 and the Dr. Benjamin J. Sankey Fellowship in Poetry in 2022. They’ll spend next year as a postdoctoral fellow with the Alexander Grass Institute for the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University.

 

Pilgrimage

When April comes I lie down in the shower.
A root in drought drowning in one hard rain,
I bathe my every vein in Jameson.
Death springs from me like a hothouse flower.
My mother swaddles me in terrycloth
and vigils me for three days in her bed.
Pillbox. Rice and lentils. Kettle. Psalm.
She dims the lights as though I were a moth.
She combs my hair. Why do I have to live?
My mother answers just the way she did
when I was five and wouldn’t brush my teeth.
You’ll do it because that’s the way it is,
now open wide and let the whole world in.
Three days she holds the dying out of reach.

June 2022 Poetry Feature: Gabriella Fee
Read more...

May 2022 Poetry Feature

New poems from our contributors AKWE AMOSU, JUDITH BAUMEL, and ELIZABETH METZGER

 

Table of Contents:

            Akwe Amosu  |  New citizen

            Judith Baumel  |  Irij

            Elizabeth Metzger  |  Talking to Jean about Love

                                            |  Talking to Jean about Love II

May 2022 Poetry Feature
Read more...

Hummingbird Tantra

By CORRIE WILLIAMSON

 

 

Everybody wants to let go, but how do you let go if you
        don’t hold things?

               —Daniel Odier, Tantric Quest

 

Red draws their tiny eye, and every hummingbird
feeder you can buy blooms a plastic, stoic
ruby, effigy of flower, tadasana of red. Already
they have eaten me out of sugar, but forgetful today

Hummingbird Tantra
Read more...

Side Mirror

J.D. SCRIMGEOUR

You’re trying to reattach your car’s side mirror
but your ungloved fingers can’t remove
the protective strip from the two-sided tape,
and the mid-morning sun angles into your eyes

as you try to align and fasten the plastic clips.
You’re floundering in flashes of light and dark,
so after a few minutes you scoot inside
because January’s cold, and ask your wife for help,

Side Mirror
Read more...