Kink or Worship or Both: Megan Fernandes’ “I Do Everything I’m Told” Johnny Payne Essay - “In invoking (and sometimes tweaking) cherished predecessors, this gently impious collection also helps refurbish form.” 5/26/2024
The Elegant Trogon and Poem for Robert Desnos Matthew Zapruder Poetry - “I have/a secret pigeon in my heart./I keep it in a cage composed of object lessons and feed it/moral law.” 5/24/2024
Lost in the Woods Michael Boughn Poetry - “Lost in the Woods is a symptom/of heart’s sudden loss/of direction registered in small/persistent cramps and little gasps.” 5/17/2024
That Wind Françoise Nieto-Fong Poetry - “Night’s ink congeals on rice, coating peas/like black sea pebbles glistening in the harrowed/moonlight staring through the shattered kitchen window.” 5/10/2024
“Mandarin Duck” and Other Poems Li Zhong Poetry - “In shallow ripples bathing together in pairs, as may be seen by the deep, clear waters of Xiangjiang.” 5/3/2024
For Whom the Nobel Tolls: Tomas Tranströmer’s “The Blue House” Johnny Payne Essay - “The lines, like long, rolling ocean waves on a cold Baltic sea, create their own reasons, their own rhythm, their own understanding. Anaphora is used, as Whitman did, to summon us to the great historical pageant of life, of happenings beyond our immediate knowledge.” 4/28/2024
Rossetti’s Notebook (1862-1869) Mark Scroggins Poetry - “Nonetheless, a worm/had eaten its way through any number/of Gabriel’s lines, some of his best./He had to reconstruct them from memory,/or compose them anew.” 4/19/2024
The Creases Between Utterances: Jenny Xie’s “The Rupture Tense” Johnny Payne Criticism - “Whether [Jenny] Xie’s volume was long in the making or came out in a fiery burst (maybe both, by parts?), it is a work of substance, worthy of its current high reputation.” 4/14/2024
Let It Be Known Annie Finch Poetry - “On its dead claws and back, mottled and plain,/from a long beach whose gulls roost on an edge,/Inscrutable.” 4/12/2024
“I ask your forgiveness; I am a mountain tiger” W. D. Ehrhart Poetry - “Why does she ask forgiveness?/For what and from whom?/Why does she call herself/a mountain tiger?” 4/5/2024
Edgar Kunz’s “Tap Out” and “Fixer” Johnny Payne Criticism - “Edgar Kunz, the author of Tap Out and Fixer, does not refer to himself specifically as blue collar, proletarian, or working class. Well-meaning others, such as mentor Edward Hirsch, do so, referring to Tap Out as ‘gutsy, tough-minded, working-class poems of memory and initiation.'” 3/31/2024
Life Cycle of the Cabbage White Butterfly Gabriel Gbadamosi Poetry - “Examining for mixed motives the flaws/That turned their city-cousins ash-/Grey. She labels one Snow-in-Ghana,/As though she doesn’t trust her own desire.” 3/29/2024
The Return Miguel Guardia Poetry - “I am alive and you’re alive, and hope exists,/but I have to bid farewell to these words of mine,/which I will never shout, because I’m but a man. “ 3/22/2024
On Arthur Sze’s “The Silk Dragon II” Johnny Payne Criticism - “Whatever one may say about the People’s Republic of China today, it once offered the model of the poet-emperor, as well as poets employed in political life, wedding governance to lyric spirit.” 3/17/2024
The Indian and Draw Near, White Man Rafael Aguilar Páez Poetry - “And working together, what might we become?/citizens of a single kingdom./you could find it all in the palm of your hand/alongside Indian, yellow and black.” 3/15/2024
Walking the Butter Mill Trail Samuel Schaefer Poetry - “I sometimes think I don’t belong here/in this wood–that the tree’s knots/are frowns grown for me, or the leaf crunch/is a worm cracking a crass joke at my expense.” 3/8/2024