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Nation Topics - Poetry


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Eleanor Lerman's poems sing a song that is bravely gloomy, but they sing it with a fierce and earned dignity.

Your coffin was so small,
Only I knew it was full of
candlewick bedspreads,
orange pekoe tea leaves
smoking chimneys over wet peat;

Allen Ginsberg's "Wichita Vortex Sutra," written at the height of the Vietnam War, speaks with a jarring relevance today.

On this side of the window
A shower of chrysanthemum.
Outside, torrential rain.

Our cat, who's over nineteen, likes to sleep
on the massed softness of a pile of shirts,
two, three, four, flung on the floor
but soon to be gathered up

As if I had become happy: I went back. I pressed
the doorbell more than once, and waited...
(perhaps I am late. No one is opening the door, not
a groan in the hallway).

Two beggars
sharing a meal of the food they've been given

The new moon shines intensely


Works by Nicky Beer, Sandy Tseng, Eric Leigh and Shara Lessley,
winners of the Discovery/The Nation Joan Leiman Jacobson Poetry Prize.

A meditation on travel, art and a life fully lived.


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