Category / Issue #58 May 2016

Compare the movement of swallo…

with Magritte’s matrix of businessmen carefully spaced and hovering in the sky who move not at all   but might—a characteristic of swallows ready to swoop or suddenly plummet,   though this is also nothing like Magritte’s men suspended in

Featured Selection Thomas …

Thomas McCarthy Interview Plume             Thomas McCarthy is an Irish poet, novelist, and critic, born in Cappoquin, County Waterford, and educated at University College, Cork. Along with Maurice Riordan, Gregory O’Donoghue, Theo Dorgan, William Wall,

Review: The Oppens Remember…

In this month’s installment, reviews editor Adam Tavel examines an essay collection celebrating poets George and Mary Oppen.     When Of Being Numerous won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1969, George Oppen seemed like an emblematic poet for

Editor’s Note

Readers: Welcome to Plume Issue # 58 –   May: up early and feeling already…wistful for some reason as I ran this morning — perhaps the soundtrack I had selected, the old Blur LP Think Tank, Eno’s Another Green World

Two Poems

SUNDAY LUNCH AT MOM’S COUSIN DINNIE’S: JUNE 1969     I hadn’t yet recovered from a concussive first year teaching ninth-grade English in West Berkeley, from ear-shattering shrieks, “Mothuh Fuckin Honky Bitch” rattling steel lockers, and here we were, on

Spelling / Complication

Serious injuries only!   Strange request from an online escort ad, where one might think the reigning notion was pleasure, not…oh: inquiries.   (So much for the golden promise of high school spelling lessons.) Although the more that one inquires, the more

Lüneburg Station, April 30, 1…

It’s 5:45 am, sleepy car-landscape as if everything has finally found its place. (Don’t touch anything, don’t move anything!) Early risers sipping weakly, smoke on empty stomachs, briefcases, angry looks through swinging doors. Woman rolls up the cover on the


always the dark body hewn asunder; always                         ~Natasha Trethewey     always the dark body hewn asunder; always the rope and the stretched neck broken, always shadows streaked across ashen faces, nights darkness wrecked   with torchlight, always the


By the meadows of hay bales and daffodils, of corn husk and pig shit, I lived in a forgettable little hamlet in sincere Ohio. When I wished those scents   could take me back to my temple out of town

Three Poems

To Manuel Bandeira     The girls are still   a d o r a b l e around here, rarefied in multiple drafts of air. Well into post-feminism, the two-headed giraffe insists on sinning with every cad, in many different

Road Trip

Over the singed and brittle roadside stalks, over cotton, corn and stubble, our car’s dark bug-shape slithers.   Over the metal drainpipe, over the oil rig, and the burned field where a windmill cranks its pinch of rust, we are


to be Wilser Lopez. So be Wilser Lopez so be paralyzed, knee-deep in tangled scrub, shotgun safety on red for fire. Wilser, your patience has no patience for your trembling. Your trembling makes the forestock of the shotgun unhappy. The


Four in the morning, three days running, asleep then awake, disturbed by the voice of a railway worker’s recorded announcement, hailed to the unmanned station, hailed from a square-mouthed speaker high on a stanchion, making it known to the empty


Eggs in the cakes invoked by Marie Antoinette. Shapes that inspired Fabergé’s fifty eggs for the tsars, jeweled fantasies, of which only forty-three remain. Eggs in the Azores, eggs in Zanzibar, the same, eggs from my girlhood, brown shells flecked

Call & Response

In this last book by Zbigniew Herbert, Elegy   for the Departure, in a poem titled “Chord”   a previous reader has underlined the passage that ends   the poem— “truly truly I tell you great is the abyss