Not long ago, I wrote an essay reflecting on the many forms delusions can take that included some snippets from my childhood that I’d more or less suppressed for years. When I shared the essay with some other writers, I knew they would tell me that it was great. That I was great. But they didn’t. Nearly all of them wrote in the margin by the passage about my father, “this isn’t enough, go deeper.” I knew it wasn’t enough, hence the suppressing. But their pointing it out meant I had to do something about it or bury it for good.
Ilya Kaminsky’s second poetry collection, Deaf Republic, is an exhilarating and anguished poetic narrative. Sixty poems tell the story of an unspecified event wherein, “SOLDIERS—arrive in Vasenka to ‘protect our freedom,’ speaking a language no one understands.” The chilling poems that begin and end the collection suggest an acceptance of the preposterous—an all too familiar, yet distressing reality in today’s Unites States of America.
I turned to the breath-steamed window, parting a pane with my ungloved hand. There among the ornamental maples of the cemetery, I could just make out the wise men: bulb-lit, clustered, faces in prayerful repose. They appeared the day after Thanksgiving and stood through late January, long after we’d packed the plastic mistletoe in tissue, dragged molting trees to the curb. I never found out where the extension cords led.
EMILIA PHILLIPS is the author of Signaletics (University of Akron Press, 2013) and two chapbooks. She lives in Richmond, Virginia and is at work on her second collection, Heaven and Men and Devils.
Bucharest in 1991 had tens of thousands of street dogs, a number that’s estimated today at 50,000, according to local media. They still cause problems. A Romanian woman died in 2011 when she was mauled by a pack of homeless dogs. A survey conducted in 2011 by the National School of Administration and Political Science found that in Berceni today, residents cited a lack of cleanliness and stray dogs as the districts two biggest problems.
When the door to the next room opened, there was only a hanging chair in the dead center. The chair was red and connected to ropes that hung from the ceiling.
In Allen Learst’s collection, Dancing at the Gold Monkey, a group of Vietnam veterans struggle with the question of what comes next. The question already suggests the impossibility of either healing or forgetting. “Next” only comes in relation to what came before,...
DAVID ALLEN SULLIVAN teaches English and Film at Cabrillo Community College in Santa Cruz, California, where he edits the Porter Gulch Literary with his students, and serves on the Veterans Task Force Committee. Two poems from his ﬁrst book, Strong-Armed Angels, were read on The Writer’s Almanac by Garrison Keillor. Another two recent poems were selected by Alberto Rios and recorded as part of the permanent public art and poetry project Passage, in Phoenix, Arizona. His second book is from Tebot Bach, and is in multiple voices dealing with the Iraq war. Every Seed of the Pomegranate was a finalist for the May Swenson and Sarabande book prizes. He lives with the historian Cherie Barkey and their children, Jules and Amina Barivan.
Amy Newman’s latest collection, Dear Editor (Persea Books, 2011), is as funny as it is poignant. Told in three ‘seasons’ of prose poems, almost every poem begins “Dear Editor: Please consider the enclosed poems for publication.”
The current issue of Green Mountains Review (Winter 2012) features the below poem by Sarah Messer. “Poisoned Mouse” accomplishes so much with so little that we thought we’d ask Sarah to talk about how it came about. –The Editors
They stood pressed together in an alley between crummy apartment buildings, the sky sick with rosy city-darkness. It was late and damp and they were parting, her staying, him going. Happy others, their age, smoked cigarettes and pot on back staircases and porches, laughing and leering, clinking bottles, their voices stumbling from on high into echoes.