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Summer & Fall 2015: Poetry, Documentary & Film — now available

August 11, 2015 – 10:56 am |

Dear Readers: We are pleased to report that our newest issue, the summer-fall blockbuster extravaganza, is finally on its way to a mailbox bookstore newsstand multiplex near you. This issue investigates the links between Poetry, …

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Blog, Poems »

Cody Walker: “Trades I Would Make”

October 6, 2015 – 8:00 am |

My preferred forms include the clerihew (four lines) and the “Mad Gardener’s Song” stanza (six lines)—so I’m not sure how I wrote this 93-line poem. I know where I wrote it: in an Ann Arbor café called Mighty Good. And I know when I wrote it: in the summer of 2011, over a series of Sunday afternoons. But as to how and why: who knows. Maybe because I deeply love rhyme and, more and more, feel that it works in the same way that metaphor works: requiring, as Aristotle wrote, “an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilars.” Or because I want the world, or at least the poetry world, to be louder. Or because I really would trade Ronald Reagan for Donald Fagen.

When I finished the poem, I happily shared it with a few friends—but I didn’t imagine that it would find a home in a print journal (due to its length and weirdness). So I want to thank Kevin Craft and everyone at Poetry Northwest for making space—twice, now!—for this curiosity. And of course I’m thrilled that Sherman Alexie selected it for BAP 2015. That’s an honor I wouldn’t trade for, well, don’t get me started…

Trades I Would Make

Ronald Reagan for Donald Fagen.
Tijuana for Madonna.
This vale of tears for ten good years.
This schmuck I picked up in Indonesia for a bucket of anesthesia.
An icicle for a bicycle.
My neighbor’s hollyhock trellis for Dock Ellis.
Jim (or Jimmy-o, if he’ll permit) DeMint for a bit of lint.
A pay-as-you-go princess (read: overpriced hotté) for an iced latte.
A booster seat for some rooster meat.
A year in jail for some kale.
A turtle (either box or leatherhead) for a feather bed.
Gehrig, Unitas, Chamberlain (a bunch of dead jocks) for lunch with Redd Foxx.
A cat named Frisky for a vat of whiskey.
The color red for a feller named Jed.
A crate of elastic for a second-rate spastic.
A “C’mon, Cody, that’s not very PC” shellacking for (and why not?) the Academy of American Poets’
The Jackie Gleason Diet for a little peace and quiet.
Someone who dislikes (unlike us) V for a Ficus Tree.
An acceptable level of risk for a bowl of lobster bisque. Read the full story »

Robert Wrigley: Two Poems

September 28, 2015 – 8:00 am |

It may be that the only thing these two poems have in common is that they were written by the same poet, and that they were published in Poetry Northwest, one a quarter century or …

In Discussion // “The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa”

September 24, 2015 – 11:00 am |

On September 13th, the APRIL book club gathered at Little Oddfellows in the Elliott Bay Book Company to discuss The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa (Canarium, 2015). The book gathers poems published during Sagawa’s lifetime (1911-1935), presented in a chronological fashion, …

Interview // Kai Carlson-Wee

September 8, 2015 – 8:00 am |

by Aaron Barrell | Senior Editor
Kai Carlson-Wee has roller-bladed professionally, surfed north of the Arctic Circle. and traveled across the country by freight train. His work has appeared in Narrative, Best New Poets, TriQuarterly, 32 …

Rochelle Hurt: “Bright star of disaster”

September 3, 2015 – 8:00 am |

Lo Kwa Mei-en
Alice James Books, 2015
Lo Kwa Mei-en’s debut collection of poems reads like a manual for self-destruction. There are a variety of personal and global apocalypses in Yearling, and most of them are rooted …

The Subvocal Zoo: Sierra Nelson – The Brink

August 31, 2015 – 8:00 am |

Poetry Northwest‘s monthly podcast series, The Subvocal Zoo, features editors and friends of the magazine interviewing poets. Each episode features lively conversation between writers in a different location.

Episode 10 features Sierra Nelson with Johnny Horton rowing around the edge of Seattle’s …

John Duvernoy: “all of this is magic / against death”

August 24, 2015 – 8:00 am |

What About This: Collected Poems of Frank Stanford
Frank Stanford
Copper Canyon, 2015
I haven’t the space here or quite the foolishness to fully recount the legend of a poet who could out self-mythologize Bob Dylan, who tucked …

Sandra Beasley: “Flint and Tinder – Understanding the Difference Between ‘Poetry of Witness’ and ‘Documentary Poetics'”

August 19, 2015 – 8:00 am | One Comment

One person’s “Documentary Poetics” may overlap, to a large degree, with another person’s “Poetry of Witness.” Does it matter why? Does it matter how they differ? To-may-to versus to-mah-to, pe-can or pe-kahn: a hungry man …

Interview // Jane Hirshfield

July 11, 2015 – 8:00 am |

By Maggie Trapp
Jane Hirshfield is the author of eight collections of poetry, most recently The Beauty (Knopf, 2015), as well as two books of essays, Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World (Knopf, 2015) and Nine Gates: Entering the Mind …

Interview // Sandra Lim

April 27, 2015 – 7:35 am |

By Diana Khoi Nguyen | Contributing Writer
Sandra Lim is the author of two collections of poetry, Loveliest Grotesque (Kore, 2006) and The Wilderness (W.W. Norton, 2014), winner of the 2013 Barnard Women Poets Prize, selected …

AWP Minneapolis 2015: Photo Essay

April 18, 2015 – 3:48 pm |

Photography by: Aaron Barrell, William Camponovo, Bill Carty, Matthew Kelsey, Katharine Ogle