All posts tagged: poetry



For Willem (2002-2016)


your evergreen forest
knit from pine boughs and hemlock
frayed by even the gentlest winds
without the swell of your breath
to shelter beneath
roots loosen quicker than I can tie them
slipping through my fingers to tangle
deeper into the earth
still, I forage in circles


Addis Ababa Beté


a photo of a city with a field of flowers and grass

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Steel kicks in this belly.

Girls with threadbare braids
weave between motor beasts and cement bags.

Tin roofs give way to glass columns.
Stretching as if to pet the clouds.

Addis Ababa Beté

February 2023 Poetry Feature

We’re pleased to offer these new translations from ON CENTAURS & OTHER POEMS by ZUZANNA GINCZANKA, translated by ALEX BRASLAVSKY, out from World Poetry Books this month. This is the first selected volume in English of Zuzanna Ginczanka, a visionary Polish-Ukrainian-Jewish poet of the inter-war years whose life was cut short by the Holocaust.

Zuzanna Ginczanka (1917-1945) was a Polish-Ukrainian-Jewish poet of the interwar period. Born in Kiev, which her parents fled to avoid the Russian Civil War in 1922, Ginczanka began writing seriously as a child in Równe, Poland (now Rivne, Ukraine). She was nationally recognized for her poetry by sixteen years of age. Encouraged by a correspondence with poet Julian Tuwim, she moved to Warsaw in 1935. There she became associated with the Skamander group and the satirical magazine Szpilki, and befriended many writers including Witold Gombrowicz. Her 1936 collection, On Centaurs, was widely lauded upon its release. At the start of World War II, she moved east, living in Równe and Soviet-occupied Lviv. In 1942, after the German takeover of Ukraine, she escaped arrest and fled to Kraków on false papers to join her husband. She was arrested in 1944 and shot by the Gestapo a few days before Kraków was liberated by the Soviets. After the war, her last known poem “Non omnis moriar…” was used in court to testify against her denouncers.

Alex Braslavsky (born 1994) is a scholar, translator, and poet. A graduate student in the Harvard Slavic Department, she writes scholarship on Russian, Polish, and Czech poetry through a comparative poetics lens. She was an American Literary Translators’ Association Mentee in 2021. Her work on Polish literature has been supported by the Jurzykowski Polish Grant and the ©POLAND Translation Program. Her poetry has appeared in Conjunctions and Colorado Review, among other journals.

February 2023 Poetry Feature



Palm tree and building at dusk

Calcutta, India

From my window I see a boy shaking the bougainvillea 
for flowers. My parents talk of pruning it. They talk 
of little else. The tree, spilling wildly past our house into 
the gulley—where boys come to smoke or piss, lanky against 
betel-dyed walls—acrid ammonia, posters begging for 
votes, pink crowning above them. The boys linger even 
when it rains. Each drop caught briefly under 
the golden streetlight, and me, holding my breath. 


December 2022 Poetry Feature: Kevin McIlvoy


Editor’s note: In October a friend told me about Kevin McIlvoy’s recent passing, days after I had read and been deeply moved by the following poems. We are honored to offer them to you here. 

—John Hennessy


Kevin McIlvoy, known to his friends as Mc., published six novels, a story collection, and a collection of prose poems and flash fictions. A long-standing faculty member in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers, he was my colleague but, more importantly, my friend. Mc. loved books and, like many writers, he loved them so much eventually the only way to love them more was to add to them by writing. These poems were sent out prior to his death on September 30, 2022. He is missed by many, but thanks to his work, his voice is still with us. 

—C. Dale Young

December 2022 Poetry Feature: Kevin McIlvoy