At a time when many of us are yearning for clear directions from a reputable source, when a simple how to get from here to there feels impossible, when the world seems anything but ordinary, Kathryn Cowles’ Maps and Transcripts of the Ordinary World is a reminder to see the world around us, a beautiful return to noticing, an invitation to circle and remember.
Crosscut by Sean Prentiss University of New Mexico Press, 2020 In a time when human communities have become more divorced than ever from the natural world, Sean Prentiss’ debut collection of poems, Crosscut, celebrates the binding and clarifying effects of...
“None of the books has ever got it right”: A Review of LOVE UNKNOWN: The Life and Worlds of Elizabeth Bishop by Thomas Travisano
During my first semester at New York University, I was excited to take a survey course in American Poetry. When the old, male professor passed out the syllabus I wasn’t at all shocked to see that it contained just two women: Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop. This was the early 1990s. A time when no one batted an eye to see a canon that was still almost 100 % white and male. The fact that these two women had crossed the line, had somehow been accepted was extraordinary to me. I tried to love Marianne Moore, but got tangled in her long lines. It was Bishop who spoke to me.
Poetry That Invites Gratefulness in the Midst of Darkness and Blood: A Review of LOUDER BIRDS by Angela Voras-Hills
From the first moment I stepped into Angela Voras-Hills’ collection, Louder Birds, I knew I was in the presence of something vital.
Seventh inning, score tied, and Shaw leans back in his favorite chair and begins another beer. I’ve already had my usual three and have turned down his offer of a fourth. Since I got here he hasn’t said a word about anything but the ballgame, one we’ve been looking forward to against our division rivals. He doesn’t look at me when he comments on the game and doesn’t seem to care if I reply.
I’m the strut of starlight / in the open tabernacle— / I’m the songs of leopard frogs / in the dew-spackled grass.
That absence filled with water, and we swam: / kept to the surface, above rusted beams / and weeds and car or body parts, above / sequins of glass, or rutted signs, or cans / crushed to bright coins, or hypodermics.
I remember when you found your mother, said your uncle. / You close your eyes, / smell chlorine. See the backyard’s cedars, / bougainvillea shadow her swollen body.
The enormous collage, Jheri Now, Curl Later, by L.A. artist Mark Bradford has been a part of the Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection for over fifteen years. My love affair and subsequent fixation with Bradford’s work began in the year 2004, during an early iteration of the museum’s First Saturday program
Waking from a troubled sleep, I turned / and asked my wife what time it was. / Who are you? she asked. Your husband, / I said. I eat grapefruit, repair the washer. / You’re not my husband, she said. Yes, / I am, I said. If you’re my husband, / then who prepares the coffee? I do, I said, / every morning. And the glass bottles:
And there you were, elegant and engaging, though not / with the people around you, more with the air of the room, / an intimacy between you that I sensed as I watched
She leaps up / Ready to answer / Ready to answer / In her session / We see many