Editor’s Note

Readers: Welcome to Plume Issue # 63 –   October: and, naturally enough, given this month’s Featured Selection on the work of the recently passed Max Ritvo, as I cast about for a theme for this note: thoughts of death,

Featured Selection

Featured Selection: Max Ritvo

By way of introduction to this month’s Featured Selection of new poems by the late Max Ritvo, we offer an extensive interview with our own Associate Editor for Special Projects, the estimable Nancy Mitchell, followed by the work itself and


Review: Lucia Perillo

In this month’s installment, reviews editor Adam Tavel examines the oeuvre of a major American poet at mid-career.         Time Will Clean the Carcass Bones: Selected and New Poems by Lucia Perillo Copper Canyon Press $23 (hardbound),

Essays and Comment

Essays and Comment

Lawrence Raab: “POETRY AND STUPIDITY” 1. OBSCURITY One of the shortest and most provocative pieces in Paul Valéry’s “A Poet’s Notebook” reads in its entirety: STUPIDITY AND POETRY. There are subtle relations between these two categories. The category of stupidity and

This Month's Selections


The air of the day abhors us and drives outliers like her inside the crowded train. She speed talks it hurts my eyes it’s too wet like wet whatever and cold in my eyes. I ride the length of town


Sweet ephebe, dear good friend, shall I compare thee to what? There’s nothing to be measured against your cleanly beauty and no filly could in any way compete with you. That’s why I find to be around you while all


We see the public statues   water-stained and darker now.   Small bullet scars on buildings—     how can it be so quiet?   Though I keep almost hearing   someone close behind me,     the not quite


Something, call it X, wanted a body so it made our bodies. But our bodies weren’t right for it—   gum around the bones, a rash of gold or black,   eyes like blisters leaking fondness.     * X

Two Poems

It may well be, behind your back – one need only look back – No phyto-mass (Heartwood. And the foliage with its autumn Complement of carotenoids.) Rather, the cinnabars, ochres, umbers, The overlapping shades of chrome’s oxides, But it may well yet come


Near the end, her mouth was pinned down at the corners, a cartoon of disappointment she could no longer voice. What was left to her? Feeble body, failing mind, long marriage ended, dead friends and far‐flung, unavailable children with their


You seemed happy, said you were in love— someone completely unsuitable, oh, but adorable, sexy, devoted. Hair trimmed, eyes wide, flush with wine, joking, gossiping about friends you’d shown   no interest in a month ago, you agreed you were

Two Poems

ON RETREAT   The way you reconstructed the dream was telling – to communincate its exoticism, even though you didn’t remember many of its details, you said was like trying to take a bath in coconut milk – but that


after “Malfattori Impiccati,” an anonymous full-color reproduction of Jacques Callot’s print “La Pendaison”   Under a sky as hazy-blue-polluted As the late-August air in Rome, the clouds with the frayed hems   Of their white skirts dipped in smoke, The

Two Poems

“in the corner of her force” (Jeanne D’arc)   Will flames lap? Leap? Tickle at least at first? At last to curl around until I’m gone? You grill me on every inconsistency of detail,   but visions are my guidance


We have seen you following the scent— heads like shovels, eyes stones, and then heard you grrrrrrr over the body, bedded then in an alley or low corner. No reluctance in her young desire, you say, when yousay, yousay, You

Contagions of the Visible

In the optics of the dark ages, the eye was the window to the world’s infections   and light the host, the carrier of nightmares across all barricades, real or imagined.   Misery was airborne, less in the spirit of