Author Archive

Total Eclipse

[O]nly one total solar eclipse swept past Amherst in Dickinson’s lifetime — on September 29, 1875 — which must have provided the raw material for her vivid verses:

It sounded as if the streets were running —
And then — the streets stood still —
Eclipse was all we could see at the Window
And Awe — was all we could feel.

By and by — the boldest stole out of his Covert
To see if Time was there —
Nature was in her Opal Apron —
Mixing fresher Air.

Also lots of good stuff by Mabel Todd, Dickinson’s first “publisher:” Brainpickings.

And also, some ancient theories on solar eclipses, with Empedocles for the win: “[A]n eclipse happens when the moon moves under the sun.”

Science This

My Heroes Haven’t Always Been Real

Oh hey, yeah, so it’s me on the AGNI blog:

At a recent reading, someone did in fact note how frequently my poems name-check historical characters.

“That’s because,” I answered, not altogether unseriously, “my poems are the only place my name is ever going to be alongside theirs.”

the AGNI blog

    Looking for Bobby Fisher

Two Lists of A-List Journals (For Submission Purposes)

This is the list I latched on to when I started submitting again in 2011 (46 to go…):

Top 50 Literary Magazines, via Every Writer.

It probably should be called “50 Top Established Literary Magazines” (not necessarily “best,” since that’s so hard to quantify), and it does need further updates (for example, Barrow Street has been taking online submissions for quite a while). It also leaves out online-only journals.

And this is a list I check as it is updated every year, a great resource:

Perpetual Folly Literary Magazine Ranking — Poetry, via

Hope these are useful.

Stephen Burt on Contemporary American Poetry

The poetry we’re going to talk about today belongs to the era that began in the 80s and ended around 2015. It’s an era characterised by an increased distance from the pre-modern past; by an increasing but in a lot of ways insufficient attention to the diversity of experiences and backgrounds, especially among white poets; by the integration of avant-garde techniques, techniques for avoiding prose sense, into poetry that ultimately did make prose sense. It’s also an era characterised by the integration of techniques and attitudes towards poetry that in the 50s, 60s, 70s and early 80s would have seemed to belong to distinct camps.

from Stephen Burt on Contemporary American Poetry.

New Poem: Learning to See in Another Language

In the beautiful new Poetry Northwest, Summer/Fall 2017.

Two New Poems

In the beautiful New American Writing:

Federico García Lorca: Ghazal for a Dead Child

Ghazal for a Dead Child
     by Federico García Lorca

Every afternon in Granada,
every afternoon, a child lies dead.
Every afternoon, water
takes a table to gossip.

The dead have moss for wings.
The cloudy breeze, the clean,
are pheasants clear of towers.
The day is a wounded child.

No trace of larks remained aloft
when I found you in wine’s grottoes.
No cloud crumbs remained aground
when you drowned by the river.

A giant fleshed in water fell on the hills.
The valleys tumbled with irises and dogs.
Your body in my hands’ violet shadow:
dead by the river, an archangel, cold.

                         Granada, Spain


Gacela del Niño Muerto

Todas las tardes en Granada,
todas las tardes se muere un niño.
Todas las tardes el agua se sienta
a conversar con sus amigos.

Los muertos llevan alas de musgo.
El viento nublado y el viento limpio
son dos faisanes que vuelan por las torres
y el día es un muchacho herido.

No quedaba en el aire ni una brizna de alondra
cuando yo te encontré por las grutas del vino.
No quedaba en la tierra ni una miga de nube
cuando te ahogabas por el río.

Un gigante de agua cayó sobre los montes
y el valle fue rodando con perros y con lirios.
Tu cuerpo, con la sombra violeta de mis manos,
era, muerto en la orilla, un arcángel de frío.

And here’s Ian Duhig’s take on this poem, and then his translation translated back into Spanish:

Federico García Lorca – Ian Duhig – Carlos López Beltrán & Pedro Serrano.