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Nation Topics - Poetry


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the people in question

dig quietly

with festal fork

and feather

a pause

means nothing

perhaps privilege

In order to preserve his way of life
Odysseus threaded the necks
of twenty faithless servant girls
and hung them in his courtyard

Abalone Rumsen aulón
Aristotle auriform Costanoans
cultivated, Brueghel painted,
awabi Osahi dove for
on September 12, 425 A.D.

The landscape riffs on what works where,
Scrub brush dirt, scrub brush dirt, bougainvillea
Pamplemousse-style on sandstone
Declining to absorb

An observer limits her point of view to the line

Words charm me
  make me sign

And ask that I

at any salary
  to find them--
Words rush

A sanction gone awry
was my portion to cultivate

Giveth and taketh away

This is how adaptation occurs
A perpetual recycling

Is made of the banging
And hydrosulphuric stench,
And the boiling, stinking, panting
Factory line

The realist crows return
at earliest morning.
And the madman with broom,

In the Iliad, there is no natural death--
everything comes about by intent
as if the pulse and very breath
we take were something meant


Meditations on writers’ conferences, Schlesinger Jr. on America, an Auden poem.

May 15, 2014

We published some of his earliest poems as well as his great 1964 essay on Sonny Liston vs. Cassius Clay.

January 11, 2014

How do you rhyme “Obama” with “Yokahama”?

December 16, 2012

Todd Akin, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan all have me thinking of June Jordan’s great “Poem about My Rights.”

August 22, 2012

A poet passionately engaged with writing and politics, she said "art means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of the power which holds it hostage."

March 28, 2012

If the great Hiroshima novel remains unwritten, a number of major poets have written brilliantly on nuclear concerns.

August 16, 2011