Johnson, Sholl, Moss, et. al.
Peter Johnson On “The Last Dance,” “Nice Socks,” and “My Friend,”: My most recent book is called Old Man Howling at the Moon. These three poems are from a new manuscript in progress titled, Old Man Still Howling at the Moon. In both books we find a first-person narrator, a frustrated Old-Guy Everyman, who’s navigating an absurd world where all
Dunn, Mabbitt, Slate, et. al.
Sally Bliumis-Dunn on “Northern Flicker” and “Where the Robins Took Me”: I wrote “Northern Flicker” near the beginning of the pandemic when I envied the animals and plants, the natural world that I at least hoped remained unaware of the virus. I landed on the Northern Flicker because I had never seen one before and was mesmerized by its plumage.
Armantrout, Skloot, Barger, et. al.
Rae Armantrout On “Blues”: This poem is an encounter between the ordinary objects and events of my morning and a couple of philosophical (or metaphysical?) problems that were on my mind. The first three lines rephrase (reframe) a famous question raised by both Heidegger and Wittgenstein: “Why is there something instead of nothing? Here, though, the question is more like,
Straumsvåg, Friman & Samaras, et. al.
Dag T. Straumsvåg on “The Barricade”: I started writing “The Barricade” on the night Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. It was 5 in the morning in Trondheim, Norway, and I was filled with a sense of dread, a feeling of the world coming apart. The prose poem, however, is not about Trump. I had no particular
Williams, Springer, Revell et. al.
Derek JG Williams On “Prizefighting”: Boxing’s an easy metaphor for writers, and writing. It appeals to the drama of our vocation—the struggle we internalize and idealize. This poem tries for the opposite of that. It’s a real poem. A realist poem. A poem! “Prizefighting” owes a debt to work by Philip Levine, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Joyce Carol Oates, Nick Tosches, Kerry
Richey, Clark and Olsen et. al.
Frances Richey on ‘Afterimage’: I wrote Afterimage last August after spending a cloudy afternoon at Lincoln Center with my dear friend, Michael Fisher. I hadn’t seen him in ten years, and our friendship spans more than twenty, including those first five when I was his yoga teacher. Michael is a gifted photographer. He took my author’s photo for my first poetry collection,
Henry, Waldrep, Harrison, et. al.
DeWitt Henry regarding ‘On Shadows’: I’ve been writing in the DMZ between lyrical essays and poems for the past few years, starting with a salient word and free-associating to explore its field of meanings (in pop culture, literature, science, and personal experience). “Shadows” began with a notebook memory from when I was a graduate student and felt insubstantial and prone
Morris, Campo, Kolbe, et. al.
Sawnie Morris on ‘Signaling to You’: “Signaling to You” began with a dream. I had no idea what the dream was “about” and felt an urgency to explore it. The dream caught my interest because in it two realities existed in the exact same time and place. The dream also caught my attention because it contained a wild creature behaving
Bakken, Kallet, Weaver, et. al.
Christopher Bakken on “Goat Theology” In the past few years, I’ve divided my summers between the islands of Crete and Thasos, places where the goat has always ruled. Whenever I encounter goats in those wild places, I am charmed by their mysterious and fearless behavior. What, this poem asks, is sacred to the goat? To the goat who answers
Svoboda, Lowe, Houlihan, et. al.
Terese Svoboda on”Wrapped in Paper and String” I was thinking of how immigrants appear to so many brains as frightening – alien – and how the self is an immigrant to the self, and how you’re always in a foreign land. At the time I was experimenting with VR, feeling very astronaut with the helmet on and experiencing new totally
Silberblatt, Harrison, Armantrout, et. al.
Neil Silberblatt on ‘Hagstrom’: As a result of several surgeries in 2016 – to remove cancerous tumors from my colon, then to remove much of that tubing, and then to reconnect what remained of that tubing – my abdomen now resembles a scarred landscape. For the longest time post-surgery, I could not bear to survey that landscape. This poem –
Grae, Starzinger & Brehm, et. al.
Tanya Grae on “The Path of Non-Attachment”: A few months after Hurricane Andrew hit, some people began calling it Saint Andrew. As a Category 5, it caused such total destruction that insurers wrote checks for the maximum policy value of homes and their contents. Everything people owned, new again, as if nothing happened. Of course, that wasn’t the case