The Voices of the Whales

by Isabel Zapata

Translated from the Spanish by Robin Myers 1. I’m interested in the language of animals. 2. Whales, especially the humpback whale and the various subspecies of blue whale, are known to make repetitive sounds with different frequencies we consider to be songs. 3. When we look at animals, we hope to find virtues we lack. 4. Although sexual selection is thought to be their primary purpose, whale songs remain a mystery to scientists. 5. The human body is a symphony. (Charles Ives) 6. The universe is a symphony. (John Cage) 7. Nothing suggests that whales are trying to communicate with […]

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Coup de Vieux

by David L. Ulin

For Tom Magee thrice in three nightsthe dead have come my waytwice it is youtwin cities accentrough and lowlike a globusin your throatI can hear the timbreyet I cannot carryback a word you say then last night my grandfatheran ancient apparitionif younger than hewould be aliveeighth of a millenniumsince his shtetl birth and allthat’s left

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Poetry Takes Bloom

by Tess Taylor

In the late spring of 2020, when everything seemed a bit bleak, I received a phone call from my old friend Hannah Fries, a poet who’d known me when I was writing poems and working on a farm in the Berkshires. Hannah is now an editor at Storey Press, and she had a fascinating proposal for me: Would

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‘Gardeners’ World,’ or What I Did During the Plague

by Cynthia White

“Gardeners’ World, or What I Did During the Plague” For that hour, only the earth of his garden. Dark and friable as chocolate cake, thronging with nematodes and fungi, more microbes in a spoon than humans on the planet. A fear-free hour. An hour without my trip-wired heart. Were you aware the peony, like the

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Q&A with Eileen Myles: Unwrapping time

by Valerie Braylovskiy

Poetry can encompass many shapes and qualities, including the singular capacity to open new pathways of understanding ourselves. A poet who achieves this feat is unafraid to take risks and question the quotidian. Eileen Myles has consistently been one of those poets. Myles’ newest poetry collection, a “Working Life” (Grove Atlantic Press, 267 pages), is perhaps their deepest and most personal exploration of what it means to be human. Myles says that “maybe time is the real subject of language,” and uses temporality to explore personal and public moments within a broader sociopolitical landscape. Born in Boston and now living […]

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Bearing Witness: ‘Bone Country,’ by Linda Nemec Foster

by Gus Berg

In Bone Country (110 pages; Cornerstone Press), the thirteenth poetry collection by Linda Nemec Foster, each poem is a snapshot, presented in a fragmented style that emphasizes the intensity of each image. Despite this fragmentation, the collection is united by a quick rhythm that propels the reader. Every piece is imbued with an intense sense of place in Europe. Warsaw, Krakow, Bratislava, the Tatra Mountains, Now Sac, Rzeszow, Tarnow, and the Baltic Sea all make early appearances. Poland is the central focus, from the beauty of natural landscapes to the horrors of war and occupation. The collection explores the tension […]

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Keeping It Light: ‘Always Alwaysland: New Poems’ by Stanley Moss

by Megan Luebberman

Having written several volumes over half a century, the critically acclaimed American poet Stanley Moss continues to offer galvanizing ideas, images, and feelings in his work. His latest, Always Alwaysland (239 pages; Seven Stories Press), contains more than 100 poems covering a wide range of personal, philosophical, and political topics. Using fanciful free verse and occasional rhyme schemes, Moss takes readers through his vivid memories and endless imagination.             While Always Alwaysland has no unifying theme, there are recurring ideas, such as the concept of language, reading, and poetry itself. Moss continually comments about the nature of the poet and […]

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Broken Home: ‘Archipelago,’ by Laila Malik

by Zoe Binder

            From the first piece in her debut poetry collection, Archipelago (86 pages; Book*hug Press), Laila Malik ponders the complexity and impermanence of home, a concept that sometimes stretches across continents. The metaphorical loss of place through multigenerational migration and the literal loss of land through climate change are connected in each of the collection’s four sections (“precambrian”; “petroleum by-products”; “half-life of exile”; and “kufic”).             Many of the pieces in Archipelago are written in the second person, interspersed with the expanded first-person perspective “we,” transforming a collection of personal reflections into a subtle set of instructions. Malik’s poems carry […]

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My California

by Lee Herrick

Here, an olive votive keeps the sunset lit, the Korean twenty-somethings talk about hyphens, graduate school, and good pot. A group of four at a window table in Carpinteria discuss the quality of wines in Napa Valley versus Lodi. Here, in my California, the streets remember the Chicano poet whose songs still bank off Fresno’s beer-soaked gutters and almond trees in partial blossom. Here, in my California, we fish out long noodles from the pho with such accuracy you’d think we’d done this before. In Fresno, the bullets tire of themselves and begin to pray five times a day. In […]

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My Unsent Letter to You

by W. S. Di Piero

I’m writing in December. The almanacs call this a cold full moon. I watch it shadow through its veils. My book says of amor fati: want nothing more than what comes at you; love necessity; relive life’s phases in round time, evermore. Pain, unpain, joy, pain, groceries, car woes, plague. Our master plan of repetitions that can’t be planned for. We’ll never want things back. We’ll rush every instant as the last. I say love. I repeat it. I want to drink the lived, absent episodes of any hour, as we drink each other’s words, on the porch, under trees, […]

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Worries

by Edward Derby

Hungers, germs, personal email gone to SPAM, lost postcards that explained everything, what to do about the weeds in the gravel, catalytic converter theft, a blood stain in a library book (page 17), sock holes, black holes, global warming, automatic subscription renewals, bankruptcy, asteroids, air quality, a helicopter circling the neighborhood, eviction, sagging underwear elastic,

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Friend

by Dominica Phetteplace

She says Namaste even when not in yoga class, whereas I will not say om under any circumstances. She says she doesn’t resent the younger generation, that they are completely of a world that we made, that to hate the young is to hate ourselves. She says that guys on dating apps indicate their marriage suitability by listing their hobbies as ‘hiking’ and ‘rock climbing.’ Her hobbies include cocaine and gambling, but she leaves those off her profile. Somedays she doesn’t feel like getting out of bed, but if I say I want to get coffee she will walk with […]

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