Emerald Acres by Luke Hankins
Rough field of sunglaze
on muting glass,
each pane half opaque
and cradling light,
twenty acres of greenhouse glowing
in the sun, abandoned now
a year or more,
an angular architecture
nor housing anything,
though light takes up residence
on bright days or overcast,
on moonlit nights or star-pricked.
for the humid air,
full of gaps
where kids have stoned out the panes.
but an appearance.
Twenty acres of ruin,
a slowly failing house
—but a house nonetheless—
for an idea about beauty.
First appeared in 32 poems
Luke Hankins is the author of a collection of poems, Weak Devotions, and a collection of essays, The Work of Creation: Selected Prose. He is the editor of Poems of Devotion: An Anthology of Recent Poets, and a collection of his translations from the French of Stella Vinitchi Radulescu, “A Cry in the Snow & Other Poems,” is forthcoming from Seagull Books. Hankins is the founder and editor of Orison Books, a non-profit literary press focused on the life of the spirit from a broad and inclusive range of perspectives.
On why poetry matters: “Poetry has the power to make us feel more deeply, more often. We change for the better that way”
The happiness of sleeping walking men
by Christopher Hopkins
let my dream stir,
in the furthest branches, circle rush.
Let my dreaming
swim out from the safety of the sickle-bay moon,
and into the drink of a deep han blue
where god-spit stars were nothing more
than holes for me to breathe.
No more than a fabric nick
from a cherub’s teeth,
where day finds its leave.
Christopher Hopkins was born and raised in Neath, South Wales. He currently resides in the Canterbury area of Kent with his wife and daughter. His debut poetry chapbook Take Your Journeys Home was published by Clare Songbirds Publishing House in November 2017 and has received a nomination for the IPPY book award for poetry and two of its poems, ‘Sorrow on the Hill’ and ‘Smoke and Whiskey’ have also received nominations for the Pushcart Prize. His poems have been published in The Morning Star (UK), Riggwelter Press, Backlash Press, The Paragon Journal, The Blue Nib Magazine, Ibis Head Review and Rust & Moth.
On why poetry matters: “Poetry is liberty with a greater sense of death.”
Olive Harvest by Fred Marchant
It’s true, the tree has the scent of the sea,
but the silver leaves, their slender fingers,
the thick, infinitely twined trunk, some riddle
in the roots that lets it drink from the stones,
even the place where a limb has broken or
been lopped off, the shoot that springs back
to life, stumps that burn for hour upon hour,
a scattered discard twig you press to your lips,
and the fruit that hangs from young branches
and old, a green reddening to black, this fruit
ripened on enough bloodshed and hardened
human behavior to make you think it will turn
away in disgust, year after suffering year
comes back, as if to say here & here & here
from Said, Not Said (Graywolf Press, 2017)
Fred Marchant’s new collection of poetry, Said Not Said, was published by Graywolf Press in May 2017. Afaa Michael Weaver has written that this poetry takes us to the “interior of hope,” and Mary Szybist has written that she loves the generosity in these poems, “a generosity that carries us through every heartbreak.” The Looking House (Graywolf Press, 2009), was named by Barnes and Noble Review and the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the best books of poetry in 2009. He is also the author of Tipping Point, winner of the 1993 Washington Prize, that book was recently reissued in a 20th anniversary second edition. His earlier books include Full Moon Boat (Graywolf Press, 2000). and House on Water, House in Air (Dedalus Press, Dublin, Ireland, 2002). Fred Marchant is also the co-translator (with Nguyen Ba Chung) of From a Corner of My Yard, by Tran Dang Khoa, and Con Dau Prison Songs by Vo Que, both published in Hanoi. Editor of Another World Instead: The Early Poems of William Stafford, 1937-1947 (Graywolf Press, 2008), Marchant is an emeritus professor of English at Suffolk University, and founding director of the Poetry Center at Suffolk. He is a longtime teaching affiliate of The William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and teaches poetry workshops across the country. He is the 2009 co-winner of the New England Poetry Club’s May Sarton Award, given to poets whose work “is an inspiration to other writers.”
read my lips
bright green papayas in
a petrol barren
this body doesn’t end
passing the narrow
threshold to the netherworld
thumb in your navel
it happens like this
pass between us
by Madison McCartha
Graduating from Beloit College, Madison McCartha has had flash-fiction published in Burrow Press, and poetry in Nightjar Review [link: https://nightjarreview.com/madison-mccartha.html ], Verse Press [link: https://verse.press/madison-mccartha/7238982203553903822 ], and The Pinch. Raised in San Diego, Madison recently spent his time freezing to death in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he served both as Asst. Editor and Design Editor for Cream City Review, and became the Poetry Editor for Storm Cellar Quarterly. At Notre Dame, he reads for the Notre Dame Review, and has served as the Managing Editor for Yield Magazine. Artists who have influenced him include Antonin Artaud, Aimé Césaire, Peter Gizzi, Kim Hyesoon, Dorothea Lasky, Larry Levis, Anne Waldman, Kara Walker, and Yoko Tawada. Madison’s interests include horror flicks, affect theory, shamanism, Björk, and a capacious poetry capable of housing a multiplicitous self.
WITH EYES CLOSED I came to life
Stirred by the feel of falling earth or snow
Ground and sky separated long ago
Hours sounded by bells—perhaps
This will be my golden hour
As a world full of water grazes me
With the keel of a petal—
You can finish with me now.
by Kathy Nilsson
First appeared in VOLT, and most recently in The Infant Scholar (Tupelo Press, 2015)
WITH EXTROVERSION found in herring
Face recognition among
Sheep—dreams of mice asleep in cabins
And laughter in rats after a fall—
Face-up like a head of lettuce in the garden
A woman combs her hair of heavenly phenomena
At the edge of the cosmos and stars in a way
by Kathy Nilsson
From The Infant Scholar (Tupelo Press, 2015)
Kathy Nilsson lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and son. She earned a BA in English Literature from Mount Holyoke College and an MFA in poetry from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and The New York State Writer’s Institute. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Boston Review, Poetry Daily, Columbia, Volt, and other literary journals. Her chapbook, The Abattoir, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2008. Her manuscript, Black Lemons, was a finalist in the Tupelo First Book Award, and the manuscript The Infant Scholar was selected for Honorable Mention in the Steven’s Poetry Manuscript Competition sponsored by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. She is a recipient of the Poetry Society of America’s Robert H. Winner Award.
Dixie Land Delight by Hannah VanderHart
Isn’t the truck parked in the holler.
Is the black walnuts, rolling down
in autumn, pungent green husks
blackening as the walnuts ripen
inside. Our Mennonite neighbors
paid their children ten cents for a
#10 can, filled with shelled fruit.
We took our hammers to them,
broke them open and found
the meat. We had so little time
for trouble, when I was young,
when the walnuts rolled in, or
the apples, or tomatoes. Boiling
or paring or peeling. Slaughtering
the chickens and hogs, the grinder
wheel turning, the scrapple boiling
in the pot. I’ve looked in the glassy
eyes of dead things, washed feathers
and blood from my hands. I’ve laid
down on my quilt, on an August
day, when I could take no more.
What Escaped by Hannah VanderHart
Not the pigs. Not the seventeen roosters
from the spring incubators. Not the hens
taken by farmyard parasites, fed on
electrolytes. Not the bantam, taken by
hawk. Little bird, feathers on its feet.
Not the eight African Grey geese, spread
like cotton pieces on the lawn after
the Jack Russells, who did escape.
What do we farm but loss, and isn’t
this also an argument for denying
everything loved? Your brothers
and sisters. Your parents. Better not
keep what you know will not escape
sorrow but will escape you, leave you
looking at a yard of white flowers:
fringed phacelia, appearing as a mist
in spring. A bell for the earth.
First appeared in The American Poetry Journal
Hannah VanderHart lives in Durham, NC. She has her MFA from George Mason University, and is currently at Duke University writing her dissertation on gender and collaboration poetics in the seventeenth century. She has poems and reviews recently published and forthcoming at The McNeese Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Unbroken Journal, Thrush, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and The Greensboro Review.
On why poetry matters: “Poetry returns us to a child’s way of singing stories–and to listening. ”
Stop the War by Richard Waring
The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. — Muriel Rukeyser
I’m taking the train
to Coolidge Corner
when a man asks me
where he can get
a button like the button
I’m wearing saying
Stop the War.
I’m a Vet, he tells me.
He mentions his knees,
how they’re made of teflon,
and I think about this guy —
how he has war in his knees!
— and about him being
handsome and his
eyes looking dead
ahead when he says,
as if an excuse for asking,
I’m a survivor.
First published in Contact II, and most recently in The Unitarian Universalist Poets: A Contemporary American Survey (Pudding House, 1996)
Richard Waring is the author of What Love Tells Me (Word Poetry, 2016). He hosts the Workshop for Publishing Poets reading series at the West Newton YMCA. His poems have appeared in Sanctuary, Chest, JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Ars Medica, the American Journal of Nursing, and elsewhere. He is Senior Layout Artist for the New England Journal of Medicine.
On why poetry matters: “Poetry strives to reenact feeling, lifting its complexity & singularity into a transcendent music. ”
Snow by Anna M. Warrock
Please, can you tell me, is it day or night?
—A Sudanese refugee resettled in Minnesota
It could be night, broken—as clumps of snow
fall dark against the sky and could be pieces of the sky’s body
come down, torn edges, someone tore them, some booligan,
the way the desert lions tore at the flesh of the boys running,
how many were left behind to bleach among the rocks
and in memory, things happening that have no name,
mother’s arm hacked and burned, and this snow,
pieces of sky changing as they fall into white
cold that coats all things, the way the night does
when you sleep through it with your eyes open and the roaring.
Published in From the Other Room (Slate Roof Press).
Anna M. Warrock’s latest book is From the Other Room, Slate Roof Press Chapbook Award winner. Besides appearing in The Sun, The Madison Review, Poiesis, and other journals, her work was anthologized in Kiss Me Goodnight, writing by women who were girls when their mothers died, a Minnesota Book Award Finalist. She has held seminars on understanding grief and loss through poetry, and her poems have been choreographed, set to music, and inscribed in a Boston area subway station.
On why poetry matters: “A good poem tells a truth that resonates in the reader’s body and soul—reverberating beyond words.”