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Matthew Olzmann: “Super Villains”

It feels strange to write an “introduction” for this piece because—while writing the poem—what I thought it was “about” kept shifting. When I thought I was describing old-fashioned, human meanness, what I actually wrote was a mere caricature of that meanness. When I began to humanize that caricature, to make it more tangible and honest, what I wrote was actually about empathy. When I thought I was revising a poem about empathy, it turned into a study of the complicity—the speaker’s or the world’s—that allows the terrible to be terrible. When I went to finish the poem about complicity, a poem about meanness emerged. This poem is a revolving door of those elements, which (in its own way) is probably a more actuate portrayal of that human characteristic I originally set out to describe. (Olzmann) Super Villains The New Face of Evil dreamed it was an eagle ripping the lungs from a sparrow, or it was an altar for human sacrifice, or it was seated at the head of a long table in a boardroom …

The Subvocal Zoo: Episode 3 – Dorothea Lasky

Poetry Northwest‘s monthly podcast series, The Subvocal Zoo, features editors and friends of the magazine interviewing poets during the 2014 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference in Seattle. Each episode will feature lively conversation between writers in a different Seattle location. Episode 3 features Ed Skoog interviewing Dorothea Lasky. Their conversation takes place at the Hiram Chittenden Locks in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. It’s a typically steely Seattle afternoon. Topics of discussion include poetry in education, Shelley and Eminem, salmon ladders, and carbonated beverages. And here is a creature that will be discussed but not seen during the interview:

Dorothea Lasky: “Diet Mountain Dew”

Since I was a little girl, Diet Mountain Dew has been my favorite drink. I think I was first attracted to it by its glowing green (it is almost the exact color of early July glowworms) and its off-putting not-totally citrus, but not-not-citrus, taste. Contrary to what some people might tell you, Diet Mountain Dew can be thirst-quenching. As a teenager, I ran insane amounts of miles in the St. Louis humid heat and towards the last few miles I would be dreaming of the cold can of Diet Mountain Dew I could pop open as soon as I got home. Even though it can’t be true, the taste of Diet Mountain Dew was more vital to me in those hot days than water. Back then Diet Mountain Dew was all about desire. Diet Mountain Dew said, “If you work hard you will be rewarded, and thank you.” When I drink Diet Mountain Dew as an adult, it makes me feel like I can see through walls and like for about 90 minutes after enjoying …

The Subvocal Zoo: Episode 2 – Richie Hofmann

Poetry Northwest‘s podcast series, The Subvocal Zoo, features editors and friends of the magazine interviewing poets during the 2014 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference in Seattle. Each episode will feature lively conversation between writers in a different Seattle location. Episode 2 features Managing Editor Matthew Kelsey interviewing Richie Hofmann. Their conversation takes place on a ferry traveling from Seattle to Bainbridge Island and back. Topics of discussion include inspirational teachers, silence, Cavafy, and messages in bottles.

Summer & Fall 2014: The Social Media Issue

Dear Readers, Good news! The  Summer-Fall issue* is now available, and we’re excited to see it debut. We call this one The Social Media Issue. Yes, we’ve decided to devote an entire issue to exploring the ways and means of the poetic voice in the age of Click, Like, Share, and Tweet. Why The Social Media Issue? Poetry–especially lyric poetry–has historically drawn from all quarters to make feeling meaningful–imaginatively layered, memorably compressed. It is, in many ways, the original “social” media–the space where the inner life is turned outward, expressed and made public. Where are we now that our least whim and feeling can be instantly published, liked, monitored, and forgotten? We wanted to shed some light–however slant–on this, the inescapable algorithm of our time. Look for new poems by Dan Beachy-Quick, Bill Carty, Katharine Coles, Sharon Dolin, Bob Hicok, Rachel Kessler, Dorothea Lasky, Margaret Ross, Jason Whitmarsh, and many more. Anchoring the issue are essays by Zach Savich and Wendy Willis exploring the valences of poetry tracked and refracted through the instruments of social media and internet surveillance. …