The Poets Speak

J. Allyn Rosser on “The Central”   Maturation in America has at times seemed to me – certainly it did on the day I wrote “The Central” – a prolonged process of inuring oneself to disappointment. We are taught from

Featured Selection

Featured Selection: 21 Polish Poems

Edited and Translated by Benjamin Paloff.   Polaroid: 21 Poems by Justyna Bargielska Miłosz Biedrzycki Magdalena Bielska Julia Fiedorczuk Krzysztof Jaworski Marcin Sendecki Andrzej Sosnowski   translated from the Polish by Benjamin Paloff     Foreword (A Caption) Shortly after


Two Reviews in Brief

In his holiday farewell, outgoing reviews editor Adam Tavel offers two mini-reviews of recent poetry collections. Editor’s Note: Serving as reviews editor for Plume for the past two years has been a singular honor in my writing life. Long suspicious

Essays and Comment

Essays and Comment: David Wojahn

AT THAT URGE FOR MORE LIFE: ADVENTURES IN LO-REZ  (Part 2) Let me now talk about what happens in one of my letters to students, beyond the anecdotes and exchanges of pleasantries. Typically, a letter first addresses questions students may

This Month's Selections


It’s not the smoking I miss but his mouth reciting verses in between taking deep swigs. The water bottle might have tipped me off to his neediness. Who needs to drink that much throughout the day? Not even a horse,


She speaks for him, her husband’s deepening dementia like a river through which she has led him to this place, its current strong but not unconquerable.  Carefully, she holds his hand, still guiding him as in Korean now the translator


Because the worst catastrophes always come without warning. Because I never knew who was already several buckets of rust to the wind in other chambers. On the floor of my blue bedroom, turning the key to my roller skate a

Two Poems

As So Often Happens   As so often happens, in the middle of the outdoor concert it started to pour. It was like a sky-wide water balloon was sliced open and rain fell as if all at once, every second.


Tick of sweet clover, swinecress parasite, did you have a music made you stick to the first warm alien who swung our old scythe through your brome? Our Boy wanting to better scope the renegade deer & private fox, your

The Central

When we were hungry and my mother was abnormally irritated, they’d slide out the top-shelf savings jar and we’d go Out to Dinner. This happened once or twice a year. Small towns like ours had two restaurants: one you could

Two Poems

Winter   Let this winter pass into another winter. No more stately brooding. No bluebird’s eggs. No driven mating or well-built nests. I want the frost to blast the ground forever with every seed or shoot that it conceals. Leave


Clewell doesn’t exactly do haiku. –from my introducer’s well-intentioned remarks, exhorting the audience to be patient in light of the characteristically lengthy poems that would soon no doubt be heading their way   Don’t think less of me, but this


We never expected this. Shapes in our shapeless garden. The crude mound we’ve been growing, Dirt, is gone. One of the shapes points to itself, “Willem,” or no, “Phyllis,” it’s hard to understand. “That thing,” you say, “I think that

I Like to Tuck a Leaf

of some bright hue, say burgundy mauve, by example, and it doesn’t have to be perfect—an insect gall or two being fine, one on the top, another on the underside, about half a peppercorn’s size, maybe, and I go placing

Two Poems

Wozzeck   Even the toneless whisper finds its cradle, its home, let alone the marginal harmony so central to our story. Even the clouds as they gather musical weight, the sun a better reason to lie down.  And thus a

Sullen Art

“Someone will write a poem called Charlottesville, describing the car and the woman it killed, and someone else will be moved to consider the separate pain of the driver’s mother; the statue of Robert E. Lee won’t gallop out of