Now It’s Dark

Written in a time of loss and disaffection, the fatigue in these poems is insidious. The poems do not owe to a single event—not COVID-19 or Trump or random brutality or exploration of personal loss. But the effort to cognitively self-create requires intensity of purpose, greatly like making a poem from a world that comes […]

In June

In June Photo by Shiva Shenoy A wood duck cuts a slick path through the lily-padded pond crowded thick with growth. This morning a deer hung his low-slung throat towards the water, sipping shallow wet, pulling tangled masses of green into his mouth. I think, what a bright day god has given, what a way […]

Bekhudi

Bekhudi Photo by karlnorling After Agha Shahid Ali   So now the spring stirs up its sugared mania Diyas of camphor so vast, my knees give way Unspooled, silken light in my veins This forest sluiced, misted with You Vacant temples calling then uncalling my name I blow fire at embalmed doors, drink from clear […]

Dunce

The poems of Mary Ruefle have often felt like delightful puzzles: slippery, full of surprise, and rich in irony, much of it self-directed. In her most recent book, Dunce (2020), she pokes fun at her own authority as a writer. “Vow of Extinction” finds her listing all that she now refuses to put into her […]

Atomizer

Scent evokes memory. Such strong associations with smell have prompted perfumes, the pinnacle of scent, to be banned or discouraged in mass gatherings as well as in small spaces. Elizabeth A. I. Powell’s poetry collection Atomizer, its namesake those decorative glass bottles that house expensive perfumes and permit a small amount to be released in […]

Things That Go

When disasters fly by faster than billboards, how are we to bear witness to them? Laura Eve Engel’s debut collection, Things That Go, has an eye for humor and tenderness, but it is an eye running out of places to look. Engel’s interrogation into the act of witness is shaped around five retellings of the […]

The Melancholy of Anatomy

There’s a sense in The Melancholy of Anatomy that the grave intellect monitoring the process of the poems is skeptical of a lyric’s passion. In this way Martin Corless-Smith binds feeling in a boundary of wit and reverence; that is, one feels the conception in emotion, but the writing and revising in a temperance. Where […]