All posts filed under: New Series

Back issues and features from the New Series. (2005-present)

Adrienne Raphel: “Confession”

I wrote “Confession” in the winter, recently after I had moved from Iowa City to Cambridge, MA. I’d moved from a rambling attic apartment with secret unfinished rooms to a partially furnished attic studio with a shared bathroom down the hall. My writing space was the floor. The convent of San Marco in Florence, Italy contains small, individual cells, like a beehive, that monks would use for devotion. Each cell is bare save for a simple fresco by the early Renaissance master Fra Angelico. My room in Cambridge hardly had a monastic aesthetic; books and clothes were piled in geological strata. Every so often, I would find a bee feebly circling around the lampshade, or a couple of dead bees in the windowsill. “Confession” came to me after receiving a phone call very early in the morning from a friend whom I hadn’t spoken with in months. I don’t know why she chose that morning. She was in a difficult relationship, unhappy, isolated, yet surrounded by a city; I was feeling adrift and lonely, uncertain …

Srikanth Reddy: “Voyager, Book 3 (Chapter 6)”

Probably the first thing to say about this “poem” is that I didn’t write it.  All the words here belong to Kurt Waldheim, the former Secretary General of the United Nations who was later discovered to have been, also, a former SS officer in Hitler’s Germany.  (So if you don’t like the writing here, blame Waldheim, not me).  I composed this text by deleting words from Waldheim’s memoir, In the Eye of the Storm, and closing up the spaces left by my “erasure.”  Then I took the liberty of visually arranging the resulting word-sequences into the “step-down” tercets that William Carlos Williams used for his poetic sequence on the underworld, but I didn’t rearrange the order of words in Waldheim’s original text. The second thing to say, I think, would be that this is an excerpt from a longer passage in my book, Voyager, that depicts Waldheim’s imaginary descent into the underworld.  I was trying to find a story under the surface of the story—about the United Nations and Cold War geopolitics—that Waldheim tells in his memoir.  …

Robert Wrigley: Two Poems

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 so ago, the other quite recently. “Dust” was written about the time I was, you might say, entering into the possibilities of rhyme (it was accepted, as many were in those days, by David Wagoner, to whom I offer my thanks); “Hanging Laundry On a Windy Day in Assisi,” was written in Italy this past May, and it suggests that those possibilities have stayed with me.  Rilke said, “Rhyme is a goddess of secret and ancient coincidences,” and that strikes me as one of the finest things anyone’s ever said about a poetic technique. Among other things, the first is about getting very dirty; the other is about the joy of clean laundry. But both are very much about the places in which they occur. I am, it has been pointed out, a “poet of place.” That’s not something I …