D. A. Powell: “Tarnished Angel”

This month, we bring you a poem (published in Poetry Northwest Fall-Winter 2009-10 v4.n2) that figures a complex struggle and longing. Musing on its origins, D. A. Powell writes that “Etel Adnan’s Master of the Eclipse includes a beautiful recounting of her friendship with the Iraqi poet Buland al-Haidari, who, being of Kurdish descent, had to leave Baghdad to escape persecution under the Hussein regime. ‘The earth holds nothing new for this outcast,’ he wrote from Lebanon, where he spent much of his exile. Adnan describes an evening with al-Haidari, a conversation she calls ‘The Night of the Angels.’ Describing himself as a fallen angel, al-Haidari says ‘…Only angels are real. But angels don’t last. They reproduce themselves by looking into a mirror and then they die; the reflection they see is a newly born angel…They are supreme go-betweens, like poets.’ Adnan’s recounting of al-Haidari’s spontaneous sermon on angels was one of the sources of inspiration for this poem. Also, Milton, whose ‘sonorous metal blowing martial sounds’ I was trying to echo in the prosody. …

Natasha Trethewey: “Mexico”

This month, words plucked from memory.  Natasha Trethewey writes that her poem, “Mexico,” which appears in Poetry Northwest Fall-Winter 2009-10 v4.n2, “began as an attempt to make sense of a memory that has stayed with me all these years.  As a small child on vacation with my parents, I managed to step off the pool’s edge into deep water before either of them saw what I was doing. I must have been in there only moments, but I have carried with me the image of the sunlight coming in above my head, my mother’s frantic response, and then later—as if it were part of that moment—the sound of water coming from the bathroom and the slant of light on the tiles in our hotel room.  When I began writing the poem I did not know what those images would give way to, nor that—because my mother is no longer alive—I would see in that imagery the blueprint for the loss to come.” Mexico It always comes back like this:      light streaming in, the sound of …

Bruce Beasley: “Year’s End Paradoxography”

For the first month of the new year, we bring you a poem by Bruce Beasley that appears in Poetry Northwest Fall-Winter 2009-10 v4.n2.  About this piece, the author writes, “I had been reading about the ancient literary collections in Latin and Greek called ‘paradoxographies,’ which were assemblages of brief notations of bizarre occurrences considered portentous, bewildering, wonderful, and strange: monstrous births, miraculous weather phenomena, astonishing reports of the barely believable but urgently interpretable events of the world.

Fall & Winter 2009-2010

David Biespiel says farewell Natasha Trethewey sits on a mule in Monterrey C. K. Williams remembers the miserable mysteries before Roe v. Wade Kenneth Fields knows “One Love” Also: Mary Jo Salter, Talvikki Ansel, Wendy Willis, W. S. Di Piero, Michael Collier, Christian Wiman, Stanley Plumly, D. A. Powell, & more Read David Biespiel’s commentary: “In your hands is my last issue as editor of this magazine…”