All posts tagged: Poetry Feature

June 2020 Poetry Feature: David Mills

New work by DAVID MILLS

Table of Contents

  • Breath’s Breath: Japhet
  • Talking to the Bones: Talking
  • Long in That Late-Afternoon Light: Bukay

These poems are part of a series about slavery in New York City. The City is home to America’s oldest and largest slave cemetery—The Negro Burial Ground—which is located in Manhattan’s City Hall area. This slave cemetery (officially open between 1712-1795) contains 15,000 bodies.

June 2020 Poetry Feature: David Mills
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May 2020 Poetry Feature

By PETER LaBERGE, ROSE McLARNEY, NATHANIEL PERRY, and KERRY JAMES EVANS


New poems by our contributors
:

Peter LaBerge | Reliquary (June)

Rose McLarney | Her Own

Nathaniel Perry | March (I’m far away from home today)

Kerry James Evans | Golgotha

 

Reliquary (June)
By Peter LaBerge

midnight & the dead boys introduce
themselves once more, not by name
but by what they’ve left behind—

            hello Unlicked Stamps.
            hello Blanched Almond
Moon.
            hello Board Games in the
Pantry.

another queer boy’s death in media
res

           the unblinking eye
           of a cavalry horse gone
belligerent…
           last monday it was the
moon.


           nobody asked the moon if it
was

           finished being the moon

           before god popped it from
its socket.

more queer boys in media res. the
queer boys, first their names left out
of the news—

           hello John Doe.
           hello John Doe.
           hello John Doe.

on TV, they sprout names. on TV,
we watch each as boys, falling
through the snow of grainy home
videos—

           i fear we’ve etched each
little face
           in smooth clay like memory,  
           one next to the other,

           then printed them with
ground charcoal

           then left them out in the late-
spring rain
           to de-face like history—

 

Her Own
By Rose McClarney

Sillage is the scent following after
the wearer of perfume moving through a room.

It comes from the French for a wake,
as in the trail left by a jet through the sky.

Once, she thought it was chopped corn stalks,
fermented and fed, in the winter, to pigs.

You can guess the kind of place she came from,
how much of anywhere she’d been. When wind

blew from the direction of the silos,
she didn’t move, would only

raise her own hand to her nose for cover,
for its soap smell, and continue whatever task

she was set to. Flight, that there was other air,
were not ideas she held then.

 
 

March
By Nathaniel Perry

I’m far away from home today
and everything is breaking.
The heat pump stopped, the well went out,
and the dog is still making

us worry with what she is and isn’t
doing. Kate’s been calling
me asking for help, and I
am, to be honest, failing

to be much help at all. I sent
a friend to fix the well,
which he did, but that is really the only
thing I managed. If a bell

rings and you’re not there to hear it
or attend to what it means,
what is your relationship
to the bell? I’ve never been

a monk, but if you don’t rise and pray,
the prayer goes on without you,
I know. When Merton asked his abbot
if he could travel, he flew

to Thailand and died, or maybe was killed,
but his prayers went on without him
either way: he left his things at home
and knew no more about them.

It is so easy to separate,
I forget the work of staying
whole, is maybe another way
of putting it, of paying

my respects to what I’ll leave behind.
Today, I’m going home,
but Merton never made it back,
to M, to the small stone

hermitage he’d barely lived in,
to his east-facing Jesus
or to the knobby hills that rise
like beautiful excuses

around Gethsemani. And it’s useful
to remember that that will be,
one day, my fate as well. My kids
will stand at the spring and see

a sunset I won’t see. The beech
and hickory will clack
indifferent branches above the field
beside them as they walk back

to the house without me, gravel thin,
not one stone on a stone,
the sky above them blue but weird,
bare and blank as bone.

 

Golgotha
By Kerry James Evans

I feel better about my peanut butter
and jelly sandwich, the pears
swelling behind the house,
where a chubby train appears each day
at 3:00pm, its diesel engines
rattling so loud, they scare squash
clear off the vine. Don’t worry.
Redemption lurks in the back pew
of a rural Baptist church—
or that’s what we tell ourselves
after raising our heads for the altar call
to watch Jethro Smith finally
get saved. Everyone’s so proud
of Jethro for seeing the light,
which he will truly see next Tuesday,
when he rolls his Ford F-150 over a guardrail
and into the Buttahatchee River,
where so many dead bodies
have been devoured, even the river
has lost count, cattle-thick
water churning like the preacher’s doubt
when he commits the unfound body
to the earth. He got right with God,
he’ll say, Bible in right hand,
shovel in left. He’ll fling dirt
onto an empty coffin, then walk away,
head slumped like a yoked mule—
like the rest of us bent under
the weight of our collective
disappointment. But how can I talk
about the future when the past,
virulent as the holy ghost, knocks
like an old friend peddling
fire extinguishers—who, like a
translucent Gecko, shimmies
through the door with a big red can
of what the hell happened?
and my God, how do I get him
out of my house? What I wouldn’t give
to pursue other conversation—
one about how proud I am
for all your success, or Damn
if these aren’t the sweetest pears,
and Can you believe we’ve been
getting so much of this good rain!
I know it’s foolish, but I listen
in those flickers between breaths
—when a dialect gives way to a presence
beyond reason, a place so holy
it can hardly be seen or heard
—like dew drops on a watermelon.
Call it Golgotha. The crown of a hillside
made quiet by a simple breeze, a song
of such exacting glory you leave
the body altogether, and, like Jethro,
are content to drift downriver.

 

Kerry James Evans is the author of Bangalore (Copper Canyon). He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship from Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and his poems have appeared in Agni, New England Review, Ploughshares, and other journals. He will join the MFA in Creative Writing faculty at Georgia College & State University this fall. 

Peter LaBerge is the author of the chapbooks Makeshift Cathedral (YesYes Books) and Hook (Sibling Rivalry Press). His work received a 2020 Pushcart Prize for Poetry and has appeared in AGNI, Best New Poets, Crazyhorse, Kenyon Review Online, Pleiades, and Tin House, among others. Peter is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Adroit Journal, as well as an incoming MFA candidate and Writers in the Public Schools Fellow at New York University. For more, visit peterlaberge.com.

Rose McLarney’s collections of poems are Forage and Its Day Being Gone, both from Penguin Poets, as well as The Always Broken Plates of Mountains, published by Four Way Books. She is co-editor of A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia, from University of Georgia Press, and the journal Southern Humanities Review. Rose has been awarded fellowships by the MacDowell Colony, and Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences; served as Dartmouth Poet in Residence at the Frost Place; and is winner of the National Poetry Series, the Chaffin Award for Achievement in Appalachian Writing, and the Fellowship of Southern Writers’ New Writing Award for Poetry, among other prizes. Her work has appeared in publications including The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, New England Review, Prairie Schooner, Missouri Review, and The Oxford American. Rose earned her MFA from Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers. Currently, she is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Auburn University.

Nathaniel Perry is the author of Nine Acres (Copper Canyon/APR, 2011). Recent poems and essays appear in Kenyon Review, Image, Fourth Genre, and elsewhere. He is the editor of Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review and lives in rural Virginia.

May 2020 Poetry Feature
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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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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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February 2020 Poetry Feature: Victoria Kelly

Five New Poems by VICTORIA KELLY

Headshot of Victoria Kelly

Victoria Kelly graduated from Harvard University, Trinity College Dublin, and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is the author of the poetry collection When the Men Go Off to War (Naval Institute Press), about her experience as a military spouse. Her poetry has appeared in Best American Poetry and has been made into an animated short film by Motion Poems. She is the author of the novel Mrs. Houdini (Atria Books / Simon & Schuster). She lives in northern Virginia, where she works in public relations, writes and is raising her two young daughters. 

Table of Contents

  • After the War
  • In the Next World
  • Cathedral
  • Before My First Husband’s War
  • Conversation on My Boyfriend
February 2020 Poetry Feature: Victoria Kelly
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January 2020 Poetry Feature

Poems by JOHN FREEMAN, MARCUS SCOTT WILLIAMS, MEGAN PINTO, and REILLY COX.

New work by our contributors:

John Freeman  |  Translation in Paris

marcus scott williams  |  meadow on Wabash

Megan Pinto  |  The Blind

Reilly Cox  |  Silence of the Lambs: A Matter of Height

 

TRANSLATION IN PARIS
By John Freeman

There are no editors in the café
called Les Éditeurs. There’s not
a single novelist in the Saint-
Germain store gilded by novels.
There are no beasts of the chase
paddocked in the park, but that’s what
the West Germanic word—parrukmeant.
It took the overrunning of London
by its immigrant population in 1680
to turn the word into the spot we’d
park humans, so they could stumble
around in bewilderment at how time
is translation, change is nature’s rime.

January 2020 Poetry Feature
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December 2019 Poetry Feature: New Poems for the Holiday Season

New poetry by ADAM SCHEFFLER and MEGAN PINTO

 

Table of Contents:

Adam Scheffler, “Checkout”

Megan Pinto, “Faith”

 

CHECKOUT

A poem can’t tell you what it’s like
to be 83 and seven hours deep
into a Christmas Eve shift
at Walmart, cajoling
beeps from objects like the secret
name each of us will never
be sweetly called, can’t show
you her face and eyes like the
night sky, or the white-haired
man wearing reindeer horns,
mumbling into his collar’s
static-y radio-gadget; a poem
can only mention her eyes,
shocking blue, like desert
pools, the red & white of her
Santa hat, or take note of the
little carts carrying each beached
customer to the doom of their
product; but a poem can place
this curse upon the Waltons:
that they be given her job
manning the conveyer as it
rattles its barren Torah through
miles of product, or be given a list
of every item they sell, and be
made to wander like Israelites
back and forth through their
endless stores until they find them,
until their heads and toes grow
lighter, and Christmas music
lifts and carries them & lifts
and carries them, like each
one is a burst suitcase of
money blizzarding open.

December 2019 Poetry Feature: New Poems for the Holiday Season
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November 2019 Poetry Feature: Ron Welburn

Poems by RON WELBURN

Please welcome back The Common contributor Ron Welburn.

Contents:

  • Marginal Note for Historical Revision
  • Pretty Memory
  • Analog to Ancestry

 

MARGINAL NOTE FOR HISTORICAL REVISION

“Neither Huguenot nor Timucuan gained much
from the other. The Huguenots tried to convert
the Timucuan to Protestantism. The Timucuans
taught the Huguenots to smoke tobacco.”

(Charles Hudson, The Southeastern Indians, 1976. p. 429)

November 2019 Poetry Feature: Ron Welburn
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October 2019 Poetry Feature: Sasha Stiles

By SASHA STILES

The Common is thrilled to welcome Sasha Stiles to our pages for the first time.

Table of Contents:

  • Introductory Note
  • Uncanny Valley
  • Vision

 

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

What does it mean to be human in a nearly posthuman era? How are the cornerstones of our universal condition—birth, breath, love, sex, faith, death—evolving in the context of biological and computational advances? How does it feel to be mostly flesh and blood in a world increasingly dominated by plastic and silicon, virtual presence and spectral signals? What dark corners of the future and of cyberspace can ancient wisdom illuminate? What does motherhood mean in a world of artificial wombs, lab-grown brains, self-replication, and the uncertain continuation of our species as we know it? Who are these robots, chatbots, androids, cyborgs and intelligences already walking and talking amongst us? Do our avatars make us, in some measure, immortal? TechnELEGY—the ongoing transmedia project and poetry collection from which these pieces are excerpted—is my attempt to grapple with these impossible questions.

—Sasha Stiles

October 2019 Poetry Feature: Sasha Stiles
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September 2019 Poetry Feature: From CROWN DECLINE

By JOHN KINSELLA and DON SHARE

This month we present selections from CROWN DECLINE, by TC contributors John Kinsella and Don Share.

Table of Contents:

  • Crown Decline, #55-62 (DS and JK)
  • I Had That Dream Already (DS)
  • And Counting (JK)
  • Authors’ Statement

 

From CROWN DECLINE (Odd numbers by Kinsella; even numbers by Share)

55.

In a state of loss
I try to ‘Kick Out the Jams’
But am left sore-toed.
Which doesn’t mean I’ve lost faith —
To the contrary. Come on!

September 2019 Poetry Feature: From CROWN DECLINE
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