Like all captured life / this one fails / to reveal the picture.
Chart your own arrangement. As in: the star’s heat / looped into the black hole and looped again
i’m a pretty face with just one pretty eye. / my self-worth what? its weight in storm.
If it mattered it mattered only because / it was our constant companion
Hasn’t there been a moment you never wanted to leave?
When I began to write my first book, Where I Stay, I was trying to erase the memory of certain photographs that had followed me my whole life. I think everyone has objects like that — letters from lost friends, dried flowers, old keychains — these objects stay in some box at the back of a dusty drawer. After years of struggling with the form of the book, I decided to just paste these photographs into the novel. But putting photographs with text is problematic — it disrupts the suspension of disbelief that is critical to any viewing experience. I came to an uneasy peace with this disruption — and learned to work with the space between the photographs and the sentences. This was important to me, a type of absence. I couldn’t have articulated that back then: I was just a kid. I had never been to Paris. Rodenbach, I would have thought, a type of malt liquor; Levy-Dhurmer, a jeans store at the mall. But, now, even after I’ve long retired Where I …
While most of us can afford to align ourselves with the meek, going about our private lives, rarely—if ever—making life and death decisions, the President does not enjoy those luxuries.
We’ve been cold in the summer /with fear at the back of our necks, /we lay with blankets over our heads /instead of sleeping half-naked /on balconies.
Dear Readers, We’re pleased to report that the Spring-Summer special issue is now available– The Photography Issue– our biggest and best yet. It features poetry by Sierra Nelson, Troy Jollimore, Ellen Bass, Olena Kalytiak Davis, Francis McCue, Andrew Zawacki, and Nicky Beer, photography by Doug Keyes, Nance Van Winckel, Dianne Kornberg, and a special feature on the work of Mary Randlett, including rare photos of the last days of Theodore Roethke. There’s also a special section, Film Roll: An Expose in 24 Frames, curated with contributing editor Andrew Zawacki, featuring a film roll’s worth of short takes on the intersections of poetry & photography, including pieces by C.D. Wright, Sharon Olds, John Yau, Paisley Rekdal, Joshua Edwards, Martha Ronk, Susan Wheeler, and many others. Throughout the issue, we examine and re-envision the intersections of poetry and photography, from the origins of the photograph to the state of the image in the digital age. Now’s the time to subscribe to ensure this special reaches you. And watch for more po-photographic inquiry in this space all summer long… …
This poem is one of the newest poems in my first full-length collection, Self-Storage, and was written in response to a series of photographs. The unifying theme for the photographs (all by different artists) was that they all included people being very, very quiet. I wrote a line for each photograph and compiled the poem that way. The first person voice came early on, though the title came only after revision and is cousin to other poems in the book that are self-portraits written as animals, architectural spaces, or concepts. I included this poem in the book because, even though it felt slightly different stylistically than some of its older colleagues, it fit with one of the themes of the book, which is silence. I’m interested in what we say and don’t say. What we say when we’re not saying what we’re thinking. What secrets we’re not spilling (careful: contents may be hot). What we’re trying to tie the stem of as if that’s somehow sexy. The sore we can’t leave alone. Of course, aren’t all …