Maurya Simon’s The Wilderness: New and Selected Poems 1980-2016 (Red Hen Press 2018, 218 pages) represents a life of questioning and perception, whether the scene is a backyard or a street in Bangalore or the ekphrastic poems of The Weavers or reflections on sinners and saints.
“Here I am/in a century that has its eyes/shut tight,” writes Katie Condon in “Origin,” the first poem in her debut collection Praying Naked (Mad Creek Books 2020). Like so many of the poems, “Origin” moves fluidly between an I and an us, between the natural world and the one created by human beings.
Every day after classes
we pick up Sonia from La Facultad.
That first year when she thought herself a doctor
and tried to help El Pedigueno with a stick through his hand.
Sometimes you see something so
dreadful that the mind’s camera snaps a shot,
shoots a video of the scenario,
lasers it into your retina’s screen on the spot,
impaled in you for as long as you live:
Rule number one is to lay it on thick
for anybody that asks about what you do.
This way you’ll seem brooding and dark,
like you maybe know something that they don’t
Kaya was risk averse. While our older dog Sappho bloodied her nails scrambling up scree and once gashed her ears tailing an elk through barbed wire, Kaya stayed at our sides with four paws on the ground. She walked off leash for most of her life, rarely enjoyed running, and endured 4th of July fireworks by standing with her head stretched under a coffee table.
Through the bougainvillea and clematis arch, / past the placards for Screw Palm, Gru-Gru, / Powder Puff, blocking the sun from our eyes / to get a better look at a maroon bloom
This Green Mountains Review special feature by J. Chester Johnson includes an essay and poems that explore the Elaine Race Massacre, an Arkansas riot that occurred in 1919.
In At the Kinnegad Home for the Bewildered, Levine begins his cinematic collection with the lifeblood line of the book in the second poem: “we know there is something more.” As he shifts in and out of the domestic and the divine in his poems, we feel a deep longing for kinship and connect with a speaker who is unabashed in his belief in what isn’t wholly known. Sometimes, we are located within a piece of art, and at other times, we are right in the middle of a myth or standing there, cooking in his kitchen.
All day I watch boats from the living room window. I do other things, of course, but I always come back to the boats—yachts, skiffs, catamarans. Occasionally, there’s even a dinghy, white or blue, with a small figure aboard, paddling madly.
I used to think there could be nothing lonelier than boating, but these days, I have reconsidered.