Neil Shepard’s How It Is: Selected Poems gathers the greatest hits from six full-length collections by a poet who is both planted and peripatetic. Founder and helmsman for some 25 years of this journal, Shepard has long maintained one base in the landscape of the Green Mountain State’s Northeast Kingdom and one in the urbanscape of New York City.
he Popol Vuh creation myth stems from the Mayan oral tradition, and was written down in the K’iche’ language between 1554 and 1558. With its roots in deeply communicative ritual, there is great emphasis placed on the relationship between speaking and hearing, as opposed to writing and seeing—“These are the first words. This is the first speaking.”
Michell’s latest collection, The Out of Body Shop, is taut, haunted and emotionally demanding; her poems are archeological exercises: unearthing the past and spreading it in the sun to “burn/off the mold, the stink.”
The great English critic Matthew Arnold once said that he had no respect for the Romantic poets–you know, Shelley, Wordsworth, Byron–because they didn’t know enough. He would not level such a charge against Rosemary Badcoe, who in her remarkable first collection, Drawing a Diagram, so amply and skillfully demonstrates that she knows a great deal – about science, about history, about art, and most importantly for a poet, about writing poetry.
I went over to James’s house unannounced. He opened his bedroom door, his hair all bent and flat from sleeping.
I don’t wear my mother’s body. / There’s no use sneaking around / the house, a gingerbread prefab, / forest-scented with frosting snow.
I met Ed Milk when I was working as a reporter for a chain of community newspapers in
Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn in the late seventies. A week after he came on staff I was fired for having signed a petition for a writers’ union, so we never had the chance to get to know each other all that well, but after he was fired three months later for having signed the same petition, he called to ask me to help him find a job. I was working as the director of publicity for a country music station by then.
Although subtle, and often hidden behind snappy dialogue, fights, and sex, the lingering and often overwhelming sadness that follows a loved one’s death is really what holds Monsters together.
Our prayer was not dissimilar. It’s the one in which man meets woman and they’re yoked at the loins, pinned at the heart, pulled together by centrifugal force. Grant us good sex, amen.
It was as though technique somehow made you a slave to the system, a system that dictated a structure that boxed you in and held you back from the free expression of who you were. Lose the structure, shed the form, and you were revealed.
We wake like bees and peel a lemon. / Then there is a glowing. / Do you want to eat it wedge by wedge?
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