PRINCIPLE I: MAKE THE SONNET NEW
To quote Ezra Pound, the poet must "Make it new." William Carlos Williams took Pound's dictum to mean that poets must be relentless avant-gardists, the shock troops of the new. Thus, for Williams, "all sonnets say the same thing of no importance. What does it matter what the line 'says'? There is no poetry of distinction without formal invention, for it is in the intimate form that works of art achieve their exact meaning. . . ." Williams was so focused on inventing new (i.e., free verse) forms that a fixed form such as the sonnet was to him mere repetition, the stamping out of the same product again and again by a factory press. The form for Williams is the content.
On the other hand, Williams didn't truly understand metrical form, despite his early, Keatsian attempts at writing formal poems. For Williams, the fixed-form poem is a container into which you pour content, and it is true that you can fill an urn with blood or semen or earth from Sicily, and it will retain its shape. But set forms are significantly more elastic than Williams gave them credit for being. "The Sound must seem an Eccho to the Sense," wrote Alexander Pope in his Essay on Criticism, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in defining what he called "Organic Form," wrote:
The form is mechanic when on any given material we impress a pre-determined form, not necessarily arising out of the properties of the material, as when to a mass of wet clay we give whatever shape we wish it to retain when hardened. The organic form, on the other hand, is innate; it shapes as it develops itself from within, and the fullness of its development is one and the same with the perfection of its outward form. Such is the life, such the form.
For Coleridge and Pope, form should have an organic relation to sense, not merely be the vase into which content is poured. The well-wrought urn is shaped to match its content. And those who write in form today have found countless ways to reanimate the great tradition of the sonnet form. Inevitably, for those who become inveterate sonneteers, sonnet writing becomes a form of experimentation, of hybridizing and reinventing.
. . . form should have an organic relation to sense, not merely be the vase into which content is poured.
Alexander Pope writes, "But most by Numbers judge a Poet's Song, / And smooth or rough, with them, is right or wrong" (Essay on Criticism). But many contemporary sonneteers dispense with meter altogether or use it in only a few lines of the sonnet and rhyme slant and irregularly, perhaps just in the couplet or glancingly throughout the poem. The first example I have found of this poetic practice is actually in the work of Williams. Though his early attempts at writing sonnets were unmitigated failures ("I've fond anticipation of a day / O'erfilled with pure diversion presently, / For I must read a lady poesy / The while we glide by many a leafy bay"), later in life Williams wrote a poem modeled upon the sonnet form that was simply a free-verse poem in fourteen lines. Nevertheless, he titled it "Sonnet," as if to say, "Here is how you make the sonnet new; you turn it into free verse." Certainly, that is one way to do so.
For those who follow William's approach to modernizing the sonnet, the sonnet becomes simply a fourteen-line poem, with occasional rhyme, perhaps, and just the ghost of meter. T.S. Eliot, in his "Reflections on Vers Libre," writes that "the ghost of some simple metre should lurk behind the arras in even the 'freest' verse; to advance menacingly as we doze, and withdraw as we rouse. Or, freedom is only truly freedom when it appears against the background of an artificial limitation." For Eliot, the definition of good free verse is poetry in which can be glimpsed the ruins of meter. Robert Lowell wrote hundreds of unrhymed blank-verse sonnets in his Histories, but when a sonnet has neither meter nor rhyme, what distinguishes it from free verse? Perhaps the fact that it is written in fourteen lines. But why should line count be the deciding factor? After all, the great sonneteer, George Meredith, wrote his novella-in-sonnets, Modern Love, in sixteen-line sonnets! And what of the poems in Gerald Stern's American Sonnets, which are meterless and rhymeless and vary wildly in line count? Are they sonnets simply because he calls them sonnets? Each of us has to answer that question in our own way. Certainly, Stern's title asks us to think of his sequence of short lyrical poems in the context of the tradition of the Petrarchan sonnet sequence, and, in that sense, they are in conversation with tradition, seeking ways to expand or renew that tradition, which for me, at least, creates an instant spark of interest. In fact, as I see it, any practice is acceptable so long as it works as poetry.
It's clear that free verse has much to learn from the sonnet tradition. I would assert, however, that the reverse is true as well: the sonnet has much to learn from the predominant (one might almost say hegemonic) mode of American poetry, from free verse. Free-verse aesthetics can renew the sonnet form in more interesting ways than Williams's fourteen-line experiment, if they are allowed to truly permeate the sonnet form.
The sonnet is as addictive as heroin, because it gives the writer certainty about the world. When it truly is in you, ideas come out in sonnet form, thoughts stream in iambic feet. Free verse reminds me of a passage from Nietzsche's The Gay Science:
Indeed, we philosophers and "free spirits" feel, when we hear the news that "the old god is dead," as if a new dawn shone on us; our heart overflows with gratitude, amazement, premonitions, expectations. At long last the horizon appears free to us again, even if it should not be bright; at long last our ships may venture out again, venture out to face any danger; all the daring of the lover of knowledge is permitted again; the sea, our sea, lies open again; perhaps there has never yet been such an "open sea."
After the much heralded death of form in modernism (though, to paraphrase Mark Twain, "the rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated"), free verse emerged from the wasteland and set sail on a newly opened sea. Poets set sail like Columbus, unsure whether they would sail forever, sail off the waterfalling edge of a flat world, or encounter India or other new worlds. There is something comforting about knowing the destination of your journey. Sonnet-mariners know they will arrive at a port after a voyage of fourteen lines. With free verse, one travels into the fog, and must map the world again with every poem. With free verse one has to ask each time, "What makes this a poem?" Why should I break my line here and not there? What sort of stanza shape and length should I have? What voice shall I speak in, with what attitude, with what rhetoric, with what image structure? We have to come up with organic ways of making it poetry, because the mechanic form has been dispensed with. A hundred years later, these "new" lands of free-verse form are no longer new, no longer radical or avant-garde. But they remain powerful enough that they have become the central practice of American poetry, while formal poets are on the periphery once claimed by free-verse poets and by experimental, L*A*N*G*U*A*G*E, and elliptical poets. Why not create a hybrid sonnet poetics that learns from free-verse practices, that echoes free-verse love of the vernacular, of biblical rhetoric (especially anaphora), of attitude, of the collapse of high and low, and of precise, archetypal, resonant images?
Sonnet-mariners know they will arrive at a port after a voyage of fourteen lines. With free verse, one travels into the fog, and must map the world again with every poem.
While free-verse poetry often suffers from a lack of necessity, the necessity of form in the sonnet too often makes it feel artificial, distant, and more written than spoken. One solution might be to abandon the sonnet construction in which each stanza is seen as a separate box, and the boxes stack up to make the whole: octave, turn, tercet, tercet, or octave, turn, quatrain, couplet. How about a sonnet constructed like Whitman's poems, or Ginsberg's, through anaphora, sentence rhythm, and breath? A biblical rhetoric that wraps through the form until the sonnet form is invisible, transparent? In my sonnet, "Marriage Psalm," for example, I set out to adapt Whitmanian anaphora to the sonnet form:
Blessed is the mattress on which they feast.
Blessed the yellow sheet on which she lies,
blessed her skin and blessed are her breasts,
and blessed are the body's lamps, her eyes
lighting the room, rolling in dream, in lies,
and blessed is the darkness that descends
and carries them through sleep. Blessed the ways
of limbs entwined, a tangle without end
that only lack of love or death or time
can untie. Blessed mouth that eats the wool
pants and the folded sweaters, blessed blind
pink worm that digs, the insect in the wall
that feeds on them like rot in fruit yet gives
them years alive with blessings in their lives.
Or consider this sonnet from Chad Parmenter's Batsonnets, a sequence of sonnets about the world of the comic book character Batman:
A Holy Sonnet for His New Movie
When Batman finally casts his batarang
across the Gotham skyline, don't you sleep,
my children. Don't you close your eyes to weep
or let them blur with tears; no watering
the roses in your cheeks; he's glittering
beyond these sponsors. Hallelujah. Keep
his theme inside your heart and go ye, reap
your sugar harvest at the snack machine
between the previews. Batfans, think how long
we tried to pray away the preshow night,
how low our spirits flew while he was gone.
Now fill your mouths with Batman candy. Bite
your tongue and swallow that amen. It's dawn
onscreenhere comes your Christ in vinyl tights.
Here is the true contemporary sonnet: conversational, idiomatic, tongue-in-cheek postmodern ("don't you sleep/my children"), blending high rhetoric and archaism ("no watering/the roses in your cheeks," "Hallelujah," "go ye") with pop culture reference ("batarang," "Batman candy"), regular Petrarchan metrics with slant rhyme (batarang/watering/glittering/machine). The content is honest, unembarrassed, adult and maturenot a safe, polite sonnet to show the "Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls" with their "comfortable minds." As Richard Wilbur says, ". . . I think that poetry which tries to fend off the inelegant, popular world is in danger of seeming prissy and stuffy." With poems such as this, the sonnet has entered the twenty-first century. I am tempted to say that this is not your parents' formal poetry, though, in fact, most of these techniques were anticipated by e.e. cummings in his sonnets of the 1920s!
COUNTER-PRINCIPLE IA: FIND OLD WAYS TO MAKE THE SONNET NEW
Yes, it is tempting to apply the modernist avante-garde principles of perpetual renewal and relentless invention to the sonnet, to follow the dictum of old Ezra. On the other hand, when we dig a bit further into Pound, we find that his dictum was itself nothing new. He was cribbing his famous phrase from the Confucian classic The Great Learning, the Da Shue, which is also, in Chinese, the term for "University," so you might say that Pound went to school in China.
I think Robert Frost stated Pound's idea a bit more interestingly when he wrote that he likes to find "old ways of being new." Frost notes that the modernists "ran wild in the quest of new ways to be new," and he complains that
Those tried were largely by subtraction, elimination. Poetry, for example, was tried without punctuation. It was tried without capital letters. It was tried without metric frame on which to measure the rhythm. It was tried without any images but those to the eye: and a loud general intoning has to be kept up to cover the total loss of specific images to the ear, those dramatic tones of voice which had hitherto constituted the better half of poetry. It was tried without content under the trade name of poesie pure. It was tried without phrase, epigram, coherence, logic and consistency. It was tried without ability.... It was tried without feeling or sentiment like murder for small pay in the underworld. These many things was it tried without, and what had we left? Still something.
There is still something left after a century of free verse. In the words of the great Tang Dynasty statesman and writer Han Yu, to write in form is to "Dance in Chains." That is, the joy of writing in form comes not in slavishly following the rule of prosody, of pouring content into a predefined form, but in creatively interacting with a tradition, renewing and modernizing it. It is in the interaction of dance and chain, of freedom and restriction, breath and rhythm, that the interest comes.
. . . the joy of writing in form comes not in slavishly following the rule of prosody, of pouring content into a predefined form, but in creatively interacting with a tradition, renewing and modernizing it. It is in the interaction of dance and chain, of freedom and restriction, breath and rhythm that the interest comes.
At the same time, there is a certain pleasure that comes from a sonnet that has traditional forms of elegance, and the studied ease that the best free-verse has. As Alexander Pope would have it, "True Ease in Writing comes from Art, not Chance, / As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance" (Essay on Criticism). Consider this sonnet by Jorge Luis Borges, for example:
Antes que los remeros de Odiseo
Fatigaran el mar color de vino
Las inasibles formas adivino
De aquel dios cuyo nombre fue Proteo.
Pastor de los rebaños de los mares
Y poseedor del don de profecía,
Prefería ocultar lo que sabía
Y entretejer oráculos dispares.
Urgido por las gentes asumía
La forma de un león o de una hoguera
O de árbol que da sombra a la ribera
O de agua que en el agua se perdía.
De Proteo el egipcio no te asombres,
Tú, que eres uno y eres muchos hombres.
Jorge Luis Borges
Before the oarsmen of Odysseus
strained their arms against the wine dark sea,
I see strange forms, as if in prophesy,
of that old god whose name is Proteus.
He was the herdsman tending to the seas
and had the gift of reading omens too,
but he preferred to hide most things he knew
and wove odd scraps into his auguries.
When urged by people he would take upon
himself a lion's shape, be a huge blaze,
grow treelike by the river, giving shade,
and then like water in a wave be gone.
Don't shrink from Proteus the Egyptian,
you, who are one, and yet are many men.
Translated by Tony Barnstone
In the Spanish, Borges does some interesting things with the meter: using Petrarchan a-b-b-a quatrains and ending with a Shakespearean couplet; using trochaic substitution in the second and last lines, using widespread elision, and shifting from pentameter to alexandrines in the final section. It's a somewhat loosened metrical scheme. However, one of the pleasures of this poem is just how unapologetic it is about its sonnet structure. It is happy to place a clear volta after the octave, and it asserts its Shakespearean roots with a strong second turn in the couplet. Its form is argumentative and dialectical: thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Furthermore, it fills each stanza with a single sentence, thus easing the tension between form and speech and moving the mind with each sentence just the distance of one stanza.
In this poem, Borges is thinking of the sonnet in terms of a series of stanza-length rhetorical movements. I like the way Rhina Espalliat described this effect in a panel on the sonnet at the West Chester Poetry Conference in 2005: the sonnet is a chest of drawers, with each stanza a drawer that pulls out to reveal its own content. There is something elegant about a good chest of drawers. The drawers hold things, open and close smoothly, and keep things organized. Without a chest of drawers, we are left with those contents piled in the middle of the bedroom floor.
PRINCIPLE II: TRANSLATE FOREIGN LANGUAGE SONNETS INTO SONNETS IN ENGLISH
The art of the translator is to make the past new by a kind of literary ventriloquismone gives voice to the dummy without appearing to move one's lips. And yet how valuable can such a "new thought" really be to us when delivered through translation? Walter Benjamín tells us in "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" that art is a crafted product of the individual genius revealing its own unique aurait is by definition "original," not reproduced, and certainly not created through the ventriloquism of working with already-written words. How then can the translator speak with his or her own lips, in an original voice, not in a diminished copy?
Some years ago, I translated several sonnets into English and was happy with the fact that my translations were, in fact, sonnets in English, formally regular, though utilizing a combination of true and slant rhyme. Normally, formal poetry in other languages is translated into English as free verse. This is partly because free verse dominates the American poetry scene, and so, by converting formal poetry into free verse, the American audience is more likely to like the translated poetry, and partly because translating into form is more work-intensive and takes a specialized and somewhat arcane skill in which many translators haven't been trained.
The sonnets I translated were by Jorge Luis Borges, Petrarch, and by the Chinese poet Feng Zhi. With the Borges, I worked from my own faulty Spanish and a good fat Spanish-English dictionary. With Petrarch, I worked from bilingual editions, with a bilingual dictionary and multiple alternate translations to convert a prose translation into sonnet form. With the Feng Zhi, I used my minimal Chinese and collaborated with the Chinese poet and scholar Chou Ping.
One translates formal poetry into English as free verse to make the reader comfortable with the translated poem, while simplifying the translator's task. But if, as Robert Frost commented, to write free verse is to play tennis without a net, then translating formal poetry into free verse is like presenting a game of dodgeball as an excellent example of professional tennis. If I were to show you a donkey hung with a placard labeling it Grevy's zebra, you would most likely laugh. After all, they're simply different animals.
COUNTER-PRINCIPLE IIA: TRANSFORM SONNETS IN ENGLISH INTO SONNETS IN ENGLISH
Now, here is the interesting thing: the process of translating these sonnets into English gave me something beyond the emotion, the meaning, the imagery, the rhetoric of the poetry. It gave me the engine that sets emotion, meaning, imagery and rhetoric into motion, a machine of language, Coleridge's "mechanic form." It gave me the sonnet. Suddenly I realized that I had the machine in my head, and thus, at that time, in the midst as it turns out of a painful divorce, I began writing sonnets and continued writing them obsessively, for months. I began by working from the Petrarch sonnets, trying to adapt and imitate the rhetorical patterns, the Petrarchan sonnet form, and the conceits behind the poems into sonnets that would reflect my own situation. Here, for example, is my translation of Petrarch's Sonnet 195:
Relentlessly, my face and hair grow old
but still I need the hook and lure so sweet
and still can't let go of the evergreen,
the Laurel tree that scorns both sun and cold.
The sea will drain of water and the sky
of stars when I no longer dread and need
her gorgeous shadow; only then I'll cease
to hate and love love's wound I cannot hide.
I cannot hope to rest from breathless work
until I'm flayed, demuscled and deboned,
or till my nemesis will sympathize.
Though everything impossible occur,
still none but she or death can heal the wound
made in my heart with her amazing eyes.
And here is my adaptation, or transformation of that sonnet:
Perhaps She Needed to Be Cruel to Make Him Understand
Look at how his face grows fat, and look,
his hair curls only like a sea around
an island of bald rock, and yet he's found
he still can't worm free from this hidden hook.
A subtle needle threads its way through him,
and stitches everything he does with pain.
Each time she says "We need to talk" to him,
he sees the sun go blank, the oceans drain
into the toilet, planets rotting through.
He gnaws on every little thing she says
and feels the bones extracted from his flesh.
When she says, "I'd feel better without you,"
he feels his skin pulled off, his muscles flayed.
He needs her more the more she needs him less.
In this sonnet, I am picking up on the imagery of aging and hooks, on the apocalyptic and anatomical imagery, the exaggeration of pain, and modernizing the diction to make it a poem about a twenty-first century divorce. The catachresis (that is, the extreme, exaggerated use of metaphor) in the Petrarch poem is wildly romantic, and certainly we see this in "Perhaps She Needed" as well, but hopefully the hyperbole of "the oceans drain" is saved for the modern reader by the anticlimax of "into the toilet," just as the understatement of "we need to talk," one hopes, will contrast pleasingly with the emotional hyperbole of "he sees the sun go blank."
I found that approaching the sonnet as a translation game was a very generative creative mode. The translator wears the skin of the author. It is a kind of spirit possession. In my own work, I have learned much about traditional form by wearing the skin of the Chinese sonneteer Feng Zhi, of Petrarch, and of Borges. In addition to learning their techniques in the process of translating their poems into sonnets in English, I have developed a technique of transformation that I have attempted to apply intralingually as well as interlingually. I might, for example, work from one of Shakespeare's sonnets, using some of his rhymes and filling in my own lines, or write poems in direct conversation with the imagery of a source poem. As an example, consider first the source poem, Shakespeare's Sonnet 49:
Against that time if ever that time come
When I shall see thee frown on my defects,
When as thy love hath cast his utmost sum,
Called to that audit by advised respects;
Against that time when thou shalt strangely pass
And scarcely greet me with that sun, thine eye,
When love converted from the thing it was
Shall reasons find of settled gravity:
Against that time do I ensconce me here
Within the knowledge of mine own desert,
And this my hand against myself uprear
To guard the lawful reasons on thy part.
To leave poor me thou hast the strength of laws,
Since why to love I can allege no cause.
Here is my intralingual translation (or transformation) of Shakespeare's sonnet:
The time has come he never thought would come
when he sees her see in him just defects.
As if his heavy love has kept her down,
what once she thought was perfect she rejects.
She takes an audit of his qualities,
subtracts affection, multiplies distress,
and so, in sum, she takes his sum and sees
the countless reasons she should need him less.
She knows him better than he knows himself
so if she finds his love to be oppression,
and reads all the good years as years of lies,
then he must turn his mind against himself
and see, laid out in infinite regression,
his net and gross of failure in her eyes.
In intralingual transformation there is, as in traditional translation, a conversation going on with the originals, but the game is different. The poem is a tribute to the original that is meant to update it for the present day. Translation is the creation of an original poem in your own language that pretends to be someone else's poem in another language. In writing transformations, however, I found myself happy to dispense with the idea of being secondary; I felt in no way that I had diminished authority compared to some "original," or that my work needed the label of "copy" instead of "original creation."
COUNTER-PRINCIPLE IIB: TRANSLATE NONPOETIC TEXTS INTO SONNETS
Translating the Borges and Petrarch sonnets started me off on years of experimental sonneteering, years during which I found myself engaging in an ever-increasing and widening gyre of translation, transformation and imitation. I realized, for example, that instead of working from a prose translation of Petrarch and sonnetizing it, I could work from a prose palette of my own materials and make a sonnet that translated the palette into sonnet form.
With these techniques in hand, I have continued to write sonnet sequences, many of which continue to originate from these translation, intralingual translation and transformation practices. I call this work readymade poetry, with reference to the readymade assemblages of Marcel Duchamp, because the sonnet is the last step in adapting and reworking readymade material into poetry. For ten years I have been writing a sequence of poems set in the Pacific Theatre during WWII, spoken from the points of view of participants in, observers of, and victims of Pearl Harbor, the Island warfare campaign, and the atom bomb drops on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and based upon years of research into letters, diaries, histories, and interviews with American and Japanese soldiers, scientists such as Oppenheimer, President Truman, kamikaze pilots, prisoners of war, and citizens of Hiroshima who survived. I consider this sequence a form of poetic journalism.
The poem "White Pig, Dark Pig" is an example of such poetic journalism. For this sonnet, I researched transcripts, oral testimonies, reports and memoirs about cannibalism in New Guinea and the Philippines in Yuki Tanaka's account of Japanese military atrocities in WWII, Hidden Horrors: Japanese War Crimes in World War II, Patrick K. O'Donnell's Into the Rising Sun: In Their Own Words, World War II's Pacific Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat, and Studs Terkel's The Good War: An Oral History of World War Two. Here are some excerpts from Tanaka's book:
There was absolutely nothing to eat, and so we decided to draw lots. The one who lost would be killed and eaten. But the one who lost started to run away so we shot him. He was eaten. You probably think that many of us raped the local women. But women were not regarded as objects of sexual desire. They were regarded as the object of our hunger . . . All we dreamt about was food. I met some soldiers in the mountains who were carrying baked human arms and legs. It was not guerillas but our own soldiers who we were frightened of. . . .
. . . Ogawa Shoji noted that toward the end of the war, Japanese soldiers referred to the Allies as "white pigs" and the local population as "black pigs."
Many other cases refer to the fact that Japanese cannibalism extended to the entrails and the genitals of the victims; in some cases the brains were taken out . . .
It seems clear that Japanese soldiers removed the bodies of Allied soldiers from the area in which fierce combat was occurring and carried them to a safe area to be cooked and consumed, while others held back the Allied forces in order to prevent them from recovering the bodies. This indicates that these incidents were not isolated or sporadic acts but part of an organized process.
. . . and here is the sonnet I wrote based upon these source materials:
White Pig, Dark Pig
I didn't rape the women, didn't lust
for their dark flesh, not like you think. I dreamed
of food, not sex. A man does what he must
to live. I ate dark breasts and brains. It seemed
normal, almost. I met some soldiers near
the camp. They carried a cooked human arm
from a white pig (that is, a prisoner
from the West). They were lucky, with a farm
of endless white pigs to roast up. But we
had to track down the dark ones hiding, and
we starved. At last we drew lots, and the one
who lost we'd eat. The loser tried to flee.
He'd been my friend. I shot him with my gun,
then wept. I got his leg and his left hand.
(Japanese Soldier, New Guinea)
Although in these journalistic sonnets I often create composite character, I seek to do so while adhering to journalistic principlesto invent nothing but, instead, to report clearly and without editorial judgment on what happened and to let the readers judge for themselves.
Like literary translation, the essence of readymade poetry is a transcendence of the self in which the writer channels other lives and histories and cultures. By transcending the self and speaking from the point of view of others, the intense emotional effect of the confessional lyric can be duplicated, but the poem can be used to address larger historical and philosophical concerns than usually fit within the constraints of confessional poetry. The art of translation is an art of transformation, and it is one that need not be limited to the transmission of a poem from one language to another. The act of translating without translation is infinitely generative.
(MINI)PRINCIPLE III DICTION: AVOID OVERUSE OF MONOSYLLABIC WORDS
Another lesson about writing in form comes from Alexander Pope's Essay on Criticism, in which he rails against the limping use of many monosyllabic words to fill out a line of pentameter (using ten monosyllables himself to illustrate the problem): "And ten low Words oft creep in one dull Line."
COUNTER-(MINI)PRINCIPLE III: DICTION: USE MONOSYLLABLES TO ACHIEVE NATURALNESS
On the other hand, I wonder if this aesthetic betrays a Latinate aesthetic prejudice. Certainly I enjoy the way that Robert Frost makes peace with the Anglo-Saxon linguistic tradition and uses monosyllables to craft a poetry that sounds as natural as free verse. In "White Pig, Dark Pig," for example, the plainspoken voice of the Japanese soldier, reveals its sorrow in the straightforward simplicity of its monosyllabic diction: "At last we drew lots, and the one / who lost we'd eat. The loser tried to flee. / He'd been my friend. I shot him with my gun, / then wept. I got his leg and his left hand."
PRINCIPLE IV: USE TRUE RHYME AS A MNEMONIC DEVICE
In the past few years I have been thinking a good deal about the question of rhyme's function in the sonnet. Why bother to rhyme at all? Why not just write blank verse sonnets? Some of the easy answers still make sense. Rhyme literally makes the poem more memorable. Twenty years ago, I was living in a small apartment in Beijing and teaching at the Beijing Foreign Studies University. I had been working for several hours on a sonnet on my portable computer. In those daysthe mid-1980sportable computers were the size of a suitcase and didn't have internal battery backups or programs that saved themselves automatically. Thus, when the power suddenly went off, the sonnet disappeared into the ether. However, I noticed, in the absolute darkness, that the pixels of light on my screen were still glowing, so I ran my eyes down the fourteen rhyming words and chanted them as I stumbled around the room, blindly seeking pen and paper. I scrawled them down in the darkness and, when the lights came on again, was able to reconstruct the entire sonnet.
Thus rhyme creates an effect of expectation. As in music, knowing that in two lines a rhyming end word will appear helps the sluggish brain to perform. Paradoxically, however, in the moment of composition this effect of expectation has the effect of introducing the unexpected into the poem. Whatever the topic of the poem, whatever the projected arc of the sentence rhythm and image flow, the rhyme word militates that a random element must enter the poem. The poet Alan Michael Parker tells his creative writing students to avoid taking the first exit off of the freeway when they write. He's suggesting that his students allow their imaginations to carry them further from home than their brains will feel comfortable traveling. Rhyme forces the writer to stay on the freeway all the way from Indiana to Montana, from Austin to Boston.
Rhyme should function to open the poem to wildness.
However, centuries of using the same rhymesbreath and death, fire and desire, love and dovehave put up roadblocks that close off this mental voyage. The long road between breath and death has been shortened as it has become the road more traveled, paved, and marked with signs. Even in the eighteenth century, rhyme was in danger of being exhausted through overuse, so that Alexander Pope complains about the "Tuneful fools" who use expected rhyme:
While they ring round the same unvary'd Chimes,
With sure Returns of still expected Rhymes.
Where-e'er you find the cooling Western Breeze,
In the next Line, it whispers thro' the Trees;
If Chrystal Streams with pleasing Murmurs creep,
The Reader's threaten'd (not in vain) with Sleep.
Then, at the last, and only Couplet fraught
With some unmeaning Thing they call a Thought . . .
COUNTER-PRINCIPLE IV: USE SLANT, SIGHT, REPETITION, INCLUSION, ANTONYM, HOMOGRAPH, REVERSE RHYME, AND bouts rimes INSTEAD OF TRUE RHYME
I take a highly experimental approach to rhyme on the theory that the excitement that rhyme lends to formal poetry has been eviscerated by the overuse of rhyme in advertisement and popular song. Rhyme should function to open the poem to wildness. A rhyme scheme forces the writer to, in the words of poet Marvin Bell, "become comfortable with randomness." Rhyme is, in fact, an arbitrary element in the poem, essentially a surreal move in which the poet chooses the word not based primarily on meaning, but upon its aural similarity to another word. Much of the pleasure of writing and reading formal poetry comes from the difficulty of the balancing act, as the poet surfs the chaos, keeping the head of the surfboard aimed at the shore while wave after wave of iambs and rhyme try to knock him or her into the sea. However, overuse of rhyme has caused the exact opposite to happen much of the time. As noted above, we know when we hear "fire" that the obvious rhyme is "desire" just as "breath" suggests "death." In other words, rhyme no longer functions to shock us with wildness but, instead, often creates a feel of predictability. Predictability is useful when, in an oral culture, one wishes to remember how to recite a poem, but in contemporary print culture it can make the poem seem stale and trite.
If true rhymes in English are largely exhausted, no longer startling, no longer bringing a surreal unruliness into the poem, then perhaps it is necessary to open up the sonnet's semantic range by embracing alternate and even experimental forms of rhyme."
If true rhymes in English are largely exhausted, no longer startling, no longer bringing a surreal unruliness into the poem, then perhaps it is necessary to open up the sonnet's semantic range by embracing alternate and even experimental forms of rhyme. I use experimental rhyme as a way of varying the palette available to the poet in the moment of composition. More importantly, I hope to reintroduce that wildness that I think is at the heart of rhyme, while still maintaining a high level of difficulty and visual and aural pleasure.
I tend to use a combination of true, slant and sight rhymes, with a preference for full consonance. In this way, the palette of meanings is not limited to the expected rhyme (fire/desire, love/dove), and yet the pleasures of sound remain in the poem. If "desire" is the first exit off the freeway for "fire," then down the road one could, perhaps, detour into full consonance: fire and fear, fire and flare, and fire and flower are more interesting pairings. Fire and Darfur, fire and heretofore, and fire and atmosphere take us even further down the road.
"The Rose Garden" is an example of a number of these techniques put to use:
The Rose Garden
A world perhaps can fit inside a word,
a sword asleep inside its sheath, but no
thing can be created out of no-
thing and no word can sing outside the world.
A rose is not a rose is not a rose,
as it turns out because the rose turns in-
to something else, some blossoming red thing
at the mind's core, inverted, just a ruse
within the mirror, mirroring without
becoming, much less being. So how to be
when all things multiply their glassy poses
inside our eyes, confusing us about
the real and really false? The world we see
is just some word that fills our eyes (with roses).
The first stanza uses inclusion rhyme ("word" is included in "world") and repetition rhyme ("no" and "no-"). The second stanza uses inclusion rhyme ("in" and "thing") and full consonance ("ruse" and "rose"). The advantage of inclusion rhyme is that, by its very nature, it will tend to also work as consonance and assonance, as, that is, slant rhyme. The last six lines round out the poem with three sets of true rhyme. As a side note, I should mention that this poem is also an attempt to deepen my understanding of the basics of Classical rhetoric, such as chiasmus, in which two sets of words are arranged in reverse parallelism ("within the mirror, mirroring without"); polyptoton, in which repeated words derive from the same root but have different suffixes ("becoming, much less being. So how to be" and "the real and really false"); and epanalepsis, in which the end of a clause repeats the word that began it ("but no / thing can be created out of no- / thing").
A traditionalist sonneteer might complain that the use of slant rhyme makes sonnet-writing too easy, that the difficulty of finding a fresh rhyme and still making the poem flow is naturally part of the pleasure. I can't deny that, but some of the rhyme games and experimental practices that I use and introduce here actually make the process more difficult. In fact, I invented five of these rhyme experimentshomograph, antonym, reverse, composite, and inclusion rhymespecifically to make writing the sonnet more difficult. Here are some examples of what one might call a radically experimental use of rhyme:
1. Antonym Rhyme
In the poem "Antonyms," I set myself two structural games:
1) The poem is one of a series of what I call Amazing Shrinking Sonnets, in which the sonnet either shrinks from 7 iambs to 1 iamb, or shrinks from 4 iambs to 1 iamb and then expands like an hourglass back up to 4 iambs again. The latter structure is an attempt to adapt the hourglass shape of George Herbert's "Easter Wings" to sonnet form, though my hourglass sonnets shrink one foot per couplet, whereas Herbert's poem shrinks one foot per line.
2) All the rhyme words in this poem are "antonym rhymes," meaning that they are antonyms of each other. Although I use repetition rhyme (one/no one), sight rhyme (not here/somewhere) and slant rhyme (retract/give . . . back), the sonnet was immensely difficult to write because of the intense restriction of the antonym game.
Although his love is on the incline,
she feels she just can't breathe, not here
with him, has to decline
this life and float somewhere,
to be away
where she can stay
wanting no one.
She's chosen to retract
her love until his death.
He wishes she would give him back
his damage: half his life, each breath.
Although this sort of sonnet might seem an intensification of mechanic form, the antonym game and the hourglass game are organically tied into the poem's content. Herbert worked the shrinking and expanding stanzas both into imitative form (the two stanzas are shaped like two pairs of wings, when viewed sideways) and into organic form, as the lines become slender as the protagonist becomes "most thin" and "most poor" and widen as his soul broadens into spiritual flight. Similarly, in "Antonyms, the use of antonym rhyme is meant to create a structural reflection of the inimical relationship between the man and the woman in the poem, and the shrinking and expanding form is meant to pick up on the contrast between her shrinking and his expanding love.
2. Homograph Rhyme
In another sonnet, "Homograph Hymn," I set out to write a poem in which the words in each rhyme pair are homographs of each other (words that have the same spelling but differ in meaning and pronunciation):
Last year I dropped off thirty pounds, content
to live my salad days on lettuce, raven-
ously unfilled, or unfulfilled, the content
of my poor heart a wish, a croaking raven
from someone else's poem, an unwound
dockline, a white-winged sailboat in the wind
that tacked out of my life. Now I'm a wound,
and you a nevermore, and nights unwind
towards dawn with dreams that scavenge like a dove
whose manic B-B eye seeks through the refuse
for you. Today I ate some air then dove
back into bed alone. I won't refuse
the slightest anorexic hope. I close
my eyelash wings. No black bird brings you close.
3. Composite Rhyme
In "Aftereffect," the rhyme game was to rhyme on as many composite words containing the word "after" as possible, as a way of echoing the lustful reverberating aftereffect of the lover's presence:
I'm reading at my desk, the afterword
of a new book, but cannot concentrate
because my mouth is filled with aftertaste
from an imagined kiss. And afterwards
I batter weights down at the gym, but after-
images hover in the mirror, floating dreams,
her green eyes watching me, the way she seems
to burst each time she detonates with laughter,
the way we stood too close that afternoon
at my place after lunch, and I moaned, "No,
it's hard to stop myself, you'd better go."
She hugged me fast and then she flew
to the door, laughing, while deep aftershocks
rang me and left me just these afterthoughts.
4. Repetition Rhyme
"Laughing Poem" explores a statement that Robert Pinsky made when he came to visit my campus years ago: that we think words rhyme because they sound the same, but in fact they rhyme because they sound different. This is true to some extent, though true rhyme is defined as two words that sound the same from the final stress to the end of the word, and sound different beforehand. Still, I was attracted to the idea that Pinsky seemed to be rejectingin that momentthat repetition is in fact a form of rhyme. Actually it turns out that the earliest Italian sonnets were not rhymed but used repeated words instead, as in a sestina. I often choose to use repetition rhymes in my poems, but "Laughing Poem" was the first I wrote using the same word repeated throughout:
He started laughing. But what kind of laugh?
A funeral black laugh. A bad joke laugh.
A cracked man laugh. He couldn't stop the laugh,
it came out of his mouth, a dead life laugh,
a dead love laugh, a laugh at faith, a laugh
at his sad, laughable self. What a laugh,
she said "Don't fight for me," and what a laugh,
she said "I'm tired of you," and what a laugh,
she said "Let me alone." That's when the laugh
erupted. What a joke, he thought, and laughed
again, a tight chest laugh, a heave, a laugh
from the odd clown, from the numb mind, a laugh
and then collapse onto the couch, a ha
all teeth and tears and gasping, ah, ha, ha.
In the couplet that ends the poem, I gave myself the leeway to substitute a conceptual repetition rhyme for a true repetition rhyme (that is, the sound of laughter for the word "laugh").
5. Reverse Rhyme
In the next poem, "Reversal at the Battle of Midway," the rhyme game was to have the rhyme word of each pair be either the phonetic or the alphabetic reverse of each other (thus, "saw/was" and "keep/peak"). So, in the case of the example discussed above ("fire"), the reverse rhyme would be "rife," and for "laugh," the reverse rhyme would be "fall."
Reversal at the Battle of Midway
The lookout yelled hell-divers and I saw
three black planes plunging towards my head. We shot
a frantic burst from the guns but it was
too late. Their bombs were off. I knew to toss
my body to the deck and quickly crawl
behind rolled mattresses we used to keep
safe from the shrapnel. Like a dark sky lark
diving to snatch a fly, from a high peak
above the cloud-cover, the next plane came
screaming. A flash, strange blast of warm air, then
a startling quiet. We'd been tricked. They'd hid
high up and sent planes skimming low to make
us waste a flight. Then we were in the net,
fueled planes on deck, nothing to do but die.
(Japanese Sailor, Aircraft Carrier Akagi)
"Reversal at the Battle of Midway" is based upon an oral history by Mitsuo Fuchida, posted online at http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/midway.htm. The Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor. She was sunk in the Battle of Midway on June 5th, 1942. The poem relates how the Americans turned the tide of the Battle of Midway and ultimately of the war in the Pacific by sinking a number of key ships in the Japanese fleet. The Americans first sent in low-flying torpedo bombers, and the Japanese zeros scrambled to engage them. Many of the American planes were shot down, and few of them got their torpedoes off. However, when the Japanese zeros settled back on the aircraft carriers to refuel, the Americans launched a surprise dive-bomb attack from out of the cloud cover, and the Japanese fueled planes on deck, when hit by the U.S. munitions, acted as small bombs. As in "Antonyms" and "Aftereffect," I came up with this rhyme game when searching for a way to mirror the poem's content in the form.
6. Bouts Rimes
Bouts rimes is a French rhyme game in which the poet uses the rhyme words of someone else's sonnet. Here, for example, is Seamus Heaney's "The Forge":
All I know is a door into the dark.
Outside, old axles and iron hoops rusting;
Inside, the hammered anvil's short pitched ring,
The unpredictable fantail of sparks
Or hiss when the new shoe toughens in water.
The anvil must be somewhere in the centre,
Horned as a unicorn, at one end square,
Set there immoveable: an altar
Where he expends himself in shape and music,
Sometimes, leather-aproned, hairs in his nose,
He leans out on the jamb, recalls a clatter
of hoofs where traffic is flashing in rows;
Then grunts and goes in, with a slam and flick
To beat real iron out, to work the bellows.
...and here is my bouts rimes adaptation of the poem:
And when I surfaced topside from the dark
the air was red as if the world were rusting.
The zeros swooped around us in a ring
of fire, and smoke was blossoming, hot sparks
were shooting, fuel oil poured out on the water
and like a metal pot stuck in the center
on a gas stove, we cooked. I'll tell you square,
I lost it, on my knees like at an altar,
till all the beaten metal made dream music.
I almost died then, but smoke in my nose,
heat on my face, woke me. And through the clatter
inside my head I dove, swam from the rows
of ships, then turned and watched flames swell and flick.
I watched as that punk Death worked at the bellows.
(Seaman, USS Arizona, Pearl Harbor)
I chose to echo the blacksmith imagery of Heaney's poem in order to give figurative resonance to the bombing and sinking of the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, but part of the fun with bouts rimes is to see what radically different poems can be constructed out of the same rhyme words. I particularly enjoyed doing a bouts rimes poem based upon Heaney's "The Forge," because of his loosened use of rhyme. He rhymes plurals with singulars, accented syllables with unaccented ones, and dispenses with traditional rhyme schemes.
In the poems above, and elsewhere, I set out to reexamine some of the prejudices of sonnet aesthetics. Why not rhyme accented with unaccented syllables? Why not rhyme plural with singular nouns? Why not redefine what it means to rhyme in order to charge the poem with an unexpected music and to create organic relationships between rhyme and content? The advantage of experimental rhyme is that it broadens the palette of possibility, allows the sonnet to have more natural diction, to choose the just-right word more often, and thus it norms the formal poem to the dominant free-verse aesthetic and makes old-fashioned poetry attractively contemporary while still building the poem upon a solid skeleton of form.
The advantage of experimental rhyme is that it broadens the palette of possibility, allows the sonnet to have more natural diction, to choose the just-right word more often, and thus it norms the formal poem to the dominant free-verse aesthetic and makes old-fashioned poetry attractively contemporary while still building the poem upon a solid skeleton of form.
As I see it, much of even the best American poetry today suffers from a lack of wit, a paucity of rhetorical interest, and is thus remarkably unmemorable. In many free-verse poems that I love and would have a hard time living without, little would be lost if a line were lost here and there or if words were added to or subtracted from the line. How then to write lines that have a rhetorical necessity, a memorable and epigrammatic wit? One way to do this is to go to school in the techniques of the past. We lost something as poets when the American educational system moved away from an education in the classics. We lost familiarity with Greek and Latin rhetorical tropes, and thus were no longer required to have training in the art of being witty.
We have lost also a traditional training in the use of form. Free-verse poets are, of course, aggressively defensive about this, as are formalist poets about the centrality of free-verse practice and the marginality of formal poetics. But, though traditionalist formal poets might pooh-pooh a free-verse poet who titles a fourteen-line free-verse poem "Sonnet," who cares? Let it be a good poem, and let it learn from the formal tradition, and the two camps can meet in the middle. Though the free-verse poet might launch an ad hominum attack against the formal poet, who cares? Such arguments are patently ridiculous, and the formal poet still has much to learn from the free-verse poet. To be contemporary, the sonnet needs to reinvent itself as something that goes beyond literary politics, something that speaks for our age, while learning from the sonnet tradition of ages past.
In his Essay on Criticism, Alexander Pope celebrates the consistency and the regularity of the formal poem:
No single Parts unequally surprize;
All comes united to th' admiring Eyes;
No monstrous Height, or Breadth, or Length appear;
The Whole at once is Bold, and Regular.
However, he continues that:
Whoever thinks a faultless Piece to see,
Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, nor e'er shall be.
Though poets of each aesthetic camp will take issue with one formal practice or another, the sonnet today is an immensely expansive form. It is large, it contains multitudes. It is large enough to include Whitman and Borges, to include free-verse practices and aesthetics and Greek and Latin rhetoric, large enough to include experiments with line, stanza, and rhyme. Whole continents can fit within those famous fourteen lines.
WILLIAM AARNES: "Kindly"
CHANTEL ACEVEDO: "Rubies in Her Ears"
JONATHAN ALEXANDER: "Its Own Music"
SHERMAN ALEXIE: "Homily"
GIL ALLEN: "Blueberries"
GILBERT ALLEN: "Primary Research"
IDRIS ANDERSON: "Rim"
RANE ARROYO: "Surviving Utah"
HERMAN ASARNOW: "Double Fault"
CYNTHIA ATKINS: "Google Me"
AMANDA AUCHTER: "Photograph, April 1956"
AMANDA AUCHTER: "Wasteland of Parts"
DAVID B. AXELROD: "Autographs"
CRYSTAL BACON: "Margaret's Heart"
WILLIAM BAER: "The Stand-In"
JASMINE V. BAILEY: "Procession of Santa Lucia"
DAVID BAKER: "Humble House"
DAVID BAKER: "Midwest: Georgics"
DAVID BAKER: "Separation"
JOHN BALABAN: "Finishing Up the Novel After Some Delay"
JOHN BALABAN: "For John Haag, Logger, Sailor, Housepainter, Poet, Professor, and Grower of Orchids"
JOHN BALABAN: "A Gift of Morning Water"
NED BALBO: "Dead Man Walking"
NED BALBO: "For My Stepdaughter, Who Missed the Apparition"
NED BALBO: "From the Maelstrom"
NED BALBO: "Marco Polo Reaches Kobiom, at the Edge of the Desert"
NED BALBO: "On Goodbyes"
BARRY BALLARD: "Autumn"
BARRY BALLARD: "Paper Trees"
BARRY BALLARD: "The Re-invited"
JON BALLARD: "The Peach Orchard"
WALTER BARGEN: "Paperwork"
WALTER BARGEN: "Prague Floods, 2002"
WALTER BARGEN: "Visual Appeal"
WALTER BARGEN: "War Feathers"
WENDY BARKER: "Beyond a Certain Age, I Look for Paris in Paris"
LISA BARNETT: "The Night Watchman of Alcatraz"
TONY BARNSTONE: "Oh, Great, He Gets To Go on Vacation"
TINA BARR: "At the Infirmary"
JUDITH BARRINGTON: "Frequencies"
JACKIE BARTLEY: "The Moon through Blue Glass"
ANNETTE BASALYGA: "Going Blind"
CLAIRE BATEMAN: "Another Poem on Blue"
CLAIRE BATEMAN: "Flight Path"
CLAIRE BATEMAN: "Plunge"
CLAIRE BATEMAN: "Pudding"
GRACE BAUER: "Brief Elegy"
JILL PÉLAEZ BAUMGAERTNER: "How She Became a Ziegfeld Girl"
JILL PÉLAEZ BAUMGAERTNER: "Uprooted"
MICHAEL BAZZETT: "The Wasp in March"
J.P. DANCING BEAR: "Chiroptera"
J.P. DANCING BEAR: "Island Like a Heart"
J.P. DANCING BEAR: "Stone City"
PHILIP BELCHER: "Another Good Morning"
NATHANIEL BELLOWS: "Mercy"
ROY BENTLEY: "Rimbaud Dying"
STEPHEN BENZ: "St Ambrose's Boarding School"
MAXIANNE BERGER: "Childless at the Shoestore"
MAXIANNE BERGER: "Exposure"
PAM BERNARD: "War Work"
ROBERT JAMES BERRY: "Maps"
MARY BIDDINGER: "The Last Man She Ever Knew"
MARY BIDDINGER: "Other Countries"
MARY BIDDINGER: "Saint Monica Burns It Down"
MARY BIDDINGER: "Treaty Line"
GEORGE BILGERE: "Strange Opera"
MICHELLE BITTING: "The Exterminator's Wife"
MICHELLE BITTING: "Premiere"
MICHELLE BITTING: "Wheel of Fortune"
SHEILA BLACK: "Romance"
SHEILA BLACK: "What I Know of You"
KIMBERLY BLAESER: "Apprenticed to Justice"
SALLY BLIUMIS-DUNN: "Beets"
CHANA BLOCH: "Try, Try Again"
MICHAEL BLUMENTHAL: "Autobiography of a Face"
DEBORAH BOGEN: "Dakota Schism"
DEBORAH BOGEN: "October"
DEBORAH BOGEN: "November"
DEBORAH BOGEN: "Vigil"
ACE BOGGESS: "'What Is Your Favorite Movie'"
KATHLEEN SHEEDER BONANNO: "Still Life"
DAVID BOND: "At the Annual Thresherman's Show"
DAVID BOND: "Catalpa"
ELLY BOOKMAN: "Las Vegas, 1981"
KARINA BOROWICZ: "Genie the Imprisoned Child"
KARINA BOROWICZ: "The Old Country"
NANCY BOTKIN: "A Crowd Inside"
ANNE BRITTING BOWMAN: "Looking Back up the Hospital Drive"
JAMES BRASFIELD: "Northern Bay"
TARA BRAY: "Ice Fishermen Through a Library Window"
SCOTT BRENNAN: "Toboggan"
GAYLORD BREWER: "Apologia to Mars and Moon"
KIM BRIDGFORD: "Iceland"
KIM BRIDGFORD: "Postcard of Speckled Eggs, Iceland"
KIM BRIDGFORD: "Remembrance"
KIM BRIDGFORD: "Tightrope Walker"
RONDA BROATCH: "Impermanence"
RONDA BROATCH: "Reasons for Your Forgetting"
RONDA BROATCH: "Woman Feeds on the Fragments of a Day Without Rain"
ANNE C. BROMLEY: "Monsoon Theatre"
MICHELLE BROOKS: "Speak Without Blood"
T. ALAN BROUGHTON:"Acceleration"
T. ALAN BROUGHTON: "Bird in the Garage"
T. ALAN BROUGHTON: "The Dead, Reclining"
T. ALAN BROUGHTON: "Discoveries"
T. ALAN BROUGHTON: "I Always Wanted to Fly"
T. ALAN BROUGHTON: "Keepers of the Dead"
SARAH BROWNSBERGER: "A Golden Plover"
DEBRA BRUCE: "Women's Divorce Group"
JULIE BRUCK: "Snapshot at Uxmal, 1972"
NICK BRUNO: "Malinconia"
CHRIS BULLARD: "Narcissus"
SARA BURANT: "Timeless"
E.G. BURROWS: "The Beach at Moon's Resort"
SARAH BUSSE: "Folding the Clothes"
KATHRYN STRIPLING BYER: "Beachwalkers"
LAURA BYLENOK: "Elegy with Snow"
KAREN CARISSIMO: "Christine"
MARTHA CARLSON-BRADLEY: "Woodcut Illustrations"
JARED CARTER: "Artifice"
JARED CARTER: "Dark Transit"
JARED CARTER: "Daydream"
JARED CARTER: "Hidden Door"
JARED CARTER: "Honor System"
JARED CARTER: "John Brown and His Men, with Some Account of the Roads Traveled to Reach Harper's Ferry"
JARED CARTER: "Journeyman"
JARED CARTER: "The Pool at Noon"
JARED CARTER: "Prophet Township"
JARED CARTER: "Scything a Path"
JARED CARTER: "Treadwheel"
JARED CARTER: "Vespers"
JARED CARTER: "War"
JARED CARTER: "Weed-Eater"
JARED CARTER: "While Cleaning Out the Garage"
PATRICIA CASPERS: "Year of Drought"
MICHAEL CATHERWOOD: "Three Variations on the Suspension of Time"
JAMES CERVANTES: "Spring Loaded"
CHRISTOPHER CESSAC: "Romance, Wisconsin"
CATHERINE CHAMPION: "Winter Solstice"
ROBIN CHAPMAN: "Bowing to the Ostrich"
ROBIN CHAPMAN: "Provisioning, Moab, Utah"
ROBIN CHAPMAN: "Six True Things"
ROBIN CHAPMAN: "Triggering Town"
ROBIN CHAPMAN: "White Canoe"
MIKE CHASAR: "Echinoidea Freddy"
SUSANNA CHILDRESS: "Why Every Man Should Knit"
GEORGE DAVID CLARK: "Numismatist and Laughing Girl"
PATRICIA CLARK: "After Lightning"
PATRICIA CLARK: "Elegy for Wilma"
PATRICIA CLARK: "Grove"
PATRICIA CLARK: "It Was Raining in Middlesburg"
PATRICIA CLARK: "Olentangy Elegy"
PATRICIA CLARK: "Turning Away from the River"
JOANNE M. CLARKSON: "Not My Father's Arms"
LIZ N. CLIFT: "Dirt, Like a Lover's Hand on the Small of My Back"
LIZ N. CLIFT: "Quarry"
LIZ N. CLIFT: "Strangers"
BRAD CLOMPUS: "Elephant House, 1977"
STEPHEN CLOUD: "Dead End in Istanbul"
SUSAN COHEN: "Valentine"
KATHARINE COLES: "Collector"
KATHARINE COLES: "Hawks"
BILLY COLLINS: "Fiftieth Birthday Eve"
NICK CONRAD: "Mountain"
MARK CONWAY: "Having Gone to the Ends of the Earth"
MARK CONWAY: "Orpheus Speaks"
MARK CONWAY: "No Orpheus, No Way Home"
CHRISTINA COOK: "Elegant Wreckage"
PETER COOLEY: "The Climbers"
WILL CORDIERO: "Zion"
ALFRED CORN: "Antarctic"
ALFRED CORN: "Bond Street Underground"
ALFRED CORN: "Swiss Army Knife"
NICK COURTRIGHT: "The Scoreboard"
KELLY CRESSIO-MOELLER: "White Stones"
BARBARA CROOKER: "All There Is To Say"
BARBARA CROOKER: "The Comet and the Opossum"
BARBARA CROOKER: "Driving Under the Clerestory of Leaves"
BARBARA CROOKER: "Ears of Wheat, 1890"
BARBARA CROOKER: "Impressionism"
BARBARA CROOKER: "In the Late Summer Garden"
BARBARA CROOKER: "Lemons"
BARBARA CROOKER: "One Word"
BARBARA CROOKER: "Oriental Poppies"
BARBARA CROOKER: "Swans"
BARBARA CROOKER: "White Lilacs"
BARBARA CROOKER: "Women Picking Olives, 1889"
CHRISTINE CUCCIO: "New Jersey Spring"
HEIDI CZERWIEC: "Reverse Railroad"
HEIDI CZERWIEC: "Victorian Daguerreotype Series (Late 19th Century)"
CYRIL DABYDEEN: "Anaconda's Doubt"
PHILIP DACEY: "Song of the Dented Can"
PHILIP DACEY: "Choreographing Whitman: Timber Creek"
RACHEL DACUS: "Flight"
RACHEL DACUS: "Flame"
RACHEL DACUS: "What Respite"
CATHERINE DALY: "Buttercup"
JIM DANIELS: "All in the Presentation: Spring Water, Michigan, 1977"
JIM DANIELS: "Comic Short, December Night, Pittsburgh"
JIM DANIELS: "Communism, Marlboros, Peaches"
KAT D'ANGELO: "Greenbelt"
LIGHTSEY DARST: "June"
CAROL V. DAVIS: "Early Morning, Beijing"
CAROL V. DAVIS: "Long Shadows"
CAROL V. DAVIS: "Porto and Sherry Sandeman (an advertising poster, 1931)"
CAROL V. DAVIS: "Singer and His Sewing Machine"
PAMELA DAVIS: "Flight"
WILLIAM VIRGIL DAVIS: "The End of the Week"
WILLIAM VIRGIL DAVIS: "In a Parking Lot"
WILLIAM VIRGIL DAVIS: "Still Life"
KWAME DAWES" "Among the Dithering Feathers"
KWAME DAWES: "Rituals Before the Poem"
LUCILLE LANG DAY: "Autumn, the Girl"
LUCILLE LANG DAY: "Birds of San Pancho"
MARK DEFOE: "At a Website I Am Asked for My Mother's Name"
MARK DEFOE: "The Desperate Acts of Aging Men"
TENEICE DURRANT DELGADO: "Susan"
HEATHER DERR-SMITH: "Impartation"
JEANINE DERUSHA: "Robert Segee's Confession"
PAUL DICKEY: "Dean's Tree Service"
PAUL DICKEY: "Workshop on Metrics"
MICHAEL DIEBERT: "Razorback Gift Shop"
MICHAEL DOBBERSTEIN: "Autobiography"
MOCHAEL DOBBERSTEIN: "Chiaroscuro"
MICHAEL DOBBERSTEIN: "Greenville Road"
MICHAEL DOBBERSTEIN: "Our Story"
MICHAEL DOBBERSTEIN: "November as Meditation"
MICHAEL DOBBERSTEIN: "Ruck"
JEANNINE DOBBS: "I Confess, I Wanted To Be June"
LYNN DOMINA: "Creeping Things"
DANIEL DONAGHY: "Snapshot: Four Turkeys at the Feeders"
SUSAN DONNELLY: "Congo School"
SUSAN DONNELLY: "The Guardian"
SUSAN DONNELLY: "Mrs. Maher's Iron"
SUSAN DONNELLY: "Who Would True Valour See"
SEAN THOMAS DOUGHERTY: "The Snow Capped Mountains That Surround the City Begin to Dance"
JOHN DREXEL: "No History, No Geography"
WENDY DREXLER: "Needlepoint Sampler"
JOHN DRURY: "In the Green Room"
REBECCA DUNHAM: "Forgiveness"
REBECCA DUNHAM: "Rebecca"
REBECCA DUNHAM: "Toast of the Terrarium"
REBECCA DUNHAM: "Letter-Elegy"
REBECCA DUNHAM: "Two Photographs"
CORNELIUS EADY: "Aretha Franklin's Inauguration Hat"
CORNELIUS EADY: "The Inaugural Poem, January, 1961"
LYNNELL EDWARDS: "Easter Monday"
LYNNELL EDWARDS: "Hunt"
LYNNELL EDWARDS: "The Offices of Flowers"
LYNNELL EDWARDS: "Suite for Red River Gorge"
LYNNELL EDWARDS: "To Rake Leaves"
W.D. EHRHART: "Coaching Winter Track inTime of War"
W.D. EHRHART: "Golfing with My Father"
AMY EISNER: "2012"
GEORGE EKLUND: "Homage to Jim"
SUSAN ELBE: "Constellations"
SUSAN ELBE: "Will Come Back"
CHRIS ELLIS: "The Aquarium"
CHRIS ELLIS: "Finding the Dragon"
CHRIS ELLIS: "Heavy Snow"
CHRIS ELLIS: "Morning"
CLAUDIA EMERSON: "Ground Truth"
CLAUDIA EMERSON: "Vacancy"
MYRON ERNST: "The Carousel at the End of August"
MYRON ERNST: "On Being Old in Winter"
KATHERINE SANCHEZ ESPANO: "Glassmaking"
JOHN ESTES: "Round About"
R.G. EVANS: "Certain Words"
R.G. EVANS: "Forecast"
BERNARDINE EVARISTO: "The Betrothal"
BERNARDINE EVARISTO: "Londinium Tour Guide (Unofficial)"
BERNARDINE EVARISTO: "The Price You Pay, My Beautiful Wife"
WILLIAM FARGASON: "What We Are Given"
PATRICIA FARGNOLI: "Anniversaries"
PATRICIA FARGNOLI: "Cold River Season"
PATRICIA FARGNOLI: "Dreamwork"
PATRICIA FARGNOLI: "Hallows"
PATRICIA FARGNOLI: "Hopper's Paintings"
PATRICIA FARGNOLI: "Midnight in the Moabi Tree"
PATRICIA FARGNOLI: "Oh, So You're Doing a Handbook Again"
PATRICIA FARGNOLI: "The Places Between"
PATRICIA FARGNOLI: "Sag Harbor Sundown"
PATRICIA FARGNOLI: "The Swankeeper"
PATRICIA FARGNOLI: "The Weight"
ALAN FELDMAN: "Repairing the Deck"
JENNIFER FETT: "Islamorada"
CLIFFORD PAUL FETTERS: "A Walk in an Open Gallery"
ANNIE FINCH: "Each in Our Own Craft"
ANNIE FINCH: "Fawns"
ANNIE FINCH: "Wine-Glass Woman"
GARY FINCKE: "Before Salk"
GARY FINCKE: "Competitive Eating"
GARY FINCKE: "The Properties of Birds"
GARY FINCKE: "The Rain After Sunrise"
GARY FINCKE: "What's Next?"
LINDA M. FISCHER: "Quickening"
ANN FISHER-WIRTH: "Frequencies"
ANN FISHER-WIRTH: "Happiness"
ANN FISHER-WIRTH: "Sweetgum Country"
CHARLES FISMAN: "Diwali Morning"
CHARLES FISHMAN: "Passing September"
BRENT FISK: "Pine Lake, Late Summer"
STACIA FLEEGAL: "Standing Guard"
LAURA DAVIES FOLEY: "Echoes"
LAURA DAVIES FOLEY: "My Father's Roses"
LAURA DAVIES FOLEY: "Where There Is Rejoicing, There Should Be Trembling"
LAURA DAVIES FOLEY: "The Absent Place"
RUTH FOLEY: "January Thaw"
WILLIAM FORD: "Dragging at Richmond"
WILLIAM FORD: "Fisherman"
WILLIAM FORD: "The House of Music"
WILLIAM FORD: "Mom's Eightieth Birthday"
WILLIAM FORD: "My Old Paperbacks"
WILLIAM FORD: "Orange County Church"
REBECCA FOUST: "Elocution Lesson"
REBECCA FOUST: "On the Wagon"
REBECCA FOUST: "Prodigal"
KATE FOX: "Kathleen Scott-Young's Sonnet to Mallory"
KATE FOX: "No More"
KATE FOX: "That Evening Sun"
DAISY FRIED: "Jackie's Wedding"
DAISY FRIED: "Liberalism"
JEFF FRIEDMAN: "Night of the Bat"
JEFF FRIEDMAN: "Two Salesmen (Sunday Night, Fall 1961)"
ALICE FRIMAN: "Blue"
ALICE FRIMAN: "Of Crockery and Mythic Tales"
ALICE FRIMAN: "This April"
ALICE FRIMAN: "The Visitation"
ANDREW FRISARDI: "No Photo"
CAROL FRITH: "Figures on the Street"
CAROL FROST: "One Fine Day"
KATE GALE: "Poker Players"
BRENDAN GALVIN: "A Neolithic Meditation"
PAMELA GARVEY: "The Wasp Nest Growing Inside Our Window Frame"
KATE GASKIN: "The Weight of It"
PAMELA GEMIN: "Bottom of the Cup"
PAMELA GEMIN: "Desire"
PAMELA GEMIN: "Raspberries"
PAMELA GEMIN: "What's Going On"
REGINALD GIBBONS: "After Weng Wei"
REGINALD GIBBONS: "Logic"
REGINALD GIBBONS: "Refuge"
JOHN GILGUN: "Ahab's Son"
JOHN GILGUN: "The Ant in the Shadow of This Blade of Grass"
BENJAMIN GOLDBERG: "Inverse Icarus"
SIERRA GOLDEN: "Elegy for a Boat"
ELLEN GOLDSTEIN: "You Ask If I Have Plans"
JESSICA GOODFELLOW: "Search Party, Called Off"
BRENT GOODMAN: "Monona Bay"
HENRIETTA GOODMAN: "Navigation"
DAVID GRAHAM: "Annabelle's Story"
DAVID GRAHAM: "Cold Comfort"
DAVID GRAHAM: "Controlled Skid"
DAVID GRAHAM: "Self-Portrait Against Dream"
DAVID GRAHAM: "Strange Glitter"
DAVID GRAHAM: "These Are the Days of Deer Flies and Mosquitoes"
TAYLOR GRAHAM: "Listening for Answers"
TAYLOR GRAHAM: "Monday on the Lake"
TAYLOR GRAHAM: "Talavera"
ETHAN GRANT: "Observation Hours"
JESSE GRAVES: "Elegy"
JULIANA GRAY: "May Morning, Dachau"
TIMOTHY GRAY: "Samaritan"
CARRIE GREEN: "Selecting Oranges in Lue Gim Gong's Grove"
WILLIAM GREENWAY: "Good Stories"
CAROLYN GUINZIO: "Floor & Wall"
BEN GUNSBERG: "Escape from Classical Music"
MEREDITH DAVIES HADAWAY: "My Mother in the Darkroom"
ANNE HAINES: "Swallowed"
H.PALMER HALL: "A Dream of Hoops"
H. PALMER HALL:"Ghost Lights"
H. PALMER HALL: "New Names"
H. PALMER HALL: "Relics in Verse of an Old War"
H. PALMER HALL: "Something"
H. PALMER HALL: "A Sonnet for Napalm"
H. PALMER HALL: "Vietnam Roulette"
CAROL HAMILTON: "Tourists"
KALIMA HAMILTON: "Kindle"
PAMELA HAMMOND: "Near a Desert Monastery"
CHERA HAMMONS: "Outflow"
ELIZABETH HARLIN-FERLO: "Drift"
JAMES HARMS: "Keep My Word"
BARRY HARRIS: "In Your Dreams"
JUDITH HARRIS: "Before Dawn"
GWEN HART: "Spell"
PENNY HARTER: "The Lens of Fire"
KATHLEEN HELLEN: "Pastel"
ELISE HEMPEL: "Blind Dates Back Then"
ELISE HEMPEL: "Mosaic"
ELISE HEMPEL: "Today's Mail"
DANIEL HENRY: "Jumpshots in the Dark"
DANIEL HENRY: "Love Poem (with Plane Crash)"
GREGG HERTZLIEB: "Scraper"
GRAHAM HILLARD: "Sidewinder"
BERNHARD HILLILA: "Grant Park Concert"
BERNHARD HILLILA: "Plaza Beach Motel"
BERNHARD HILLILA: "Sand Mining"
IVAN HOBSON: "At the Fair's Speed-Pitch Booth"
JOHN HOGAN: "Thurifer"
JONATHAN HOLDEN: "The History of the Wedge"
JONATHAN HOLDEN: "Knowing"
JONATHAN HOLDEN: "The Names of the Rapids"
MARGARET HOLLEY: "Night Radio"
THOMAS ALAN HOLMES: "Dish"
SUZANNE MARIE HOPCROFT: "Mollusk"
RANDALL HORTON: "A Blues Birthed into Go-Go"
ANN HOSTETLER: "Heirlooms"
ANN HOSTETLER: "Topeka, Indiana"
PAUL HOSTOVSKY: "Bagpiper Among the Geese"
RAY HOUCHIN: "Hymn to Her"
ADAM HOULE: "The Vine Knife"
T.R. HUMMER: "Evening Report"
T.R. HUMMER: "Everything That Is the Case"
TOM C. HUNLEY: "Um"
BETHANY SCHULTZ HURST: "Ice Cave: Shoshone, Idaho"
JASON HUSKEY: "34-Counter"
JOSEPH HUTCHISON: "White Peak"
COLETTE INEZ: "Doors"
CHARLES ISRAEL: "At the South Carolina Home for the Feeble-Minded, 1857"
Z. MICHAEL JACK: "Postcard, 1959: Coon Rapids, Iowa. Halcyon Days"
Z. MICHAEL JACK: "1955:An Incendiary Year in the Register, Claiming"
GRAY JACOBIK: "The Apple Tree"
GRAY JACOBIK: "Sasturgi: Wind-Sculpted Snow"
RHODA JANZEN: "Fingerling Lice Cup"
RHODA JANZEN: "First Time"
ANDREW JARVIS: "Rail Man"
EDISON JENNINGS: "Elegy, Two Years Later"
GWENDOLYN JENSEN: "Circus"
HALVARD JOHNSON: "Nimbus"
HALVARD JOHNSON: "Obligation"
MARCI RAE JOHNSON: "William Blake Contemplates Enlightenment"
MICHAEL JOHNSON: "Once a Whaling Station"
DOUG JONES: "Coverings"
MARIE C. JONES: "Cape Cod"
NATHAN S.JONES: "Man Looking into the Sea"
ALLISON JOSEPH: "Ballade for Motherless Daughters"
ALLISON JOSEPH: "Ghazal for My Sisters"
ALLISON JOSEPH: "Little Epiphanies"
ALLISON JOSEPH: "Petition"
DAVID JOSEPH: "Childhood"
ADRIANNE KALFOPOULOU: "Holy Agony"
ADRIANNE KALFOPOULOU: "Skin"
MARILYN KALLET: "Dr. Robert Darwin Weighs In"
JULIE KANE: "Frequencies"
JEN KARETNICK: "Millipedes in the Wet Season"
JEN KARETNICK: "Reflection at Umatilla"
JULIA KASDORF: "Seasonal Work"
GREG KEELER: "Our Lusts"
GREG KEELER: "Our Pleasant Assassins"
GREG KEELER: "Recipe for Late September"
GREG KEELER: "Under the River's Rush"
ROBIN KEMP: "Climbing"
LAURA KENNELLY: "Pre-Op"
JESSE LEE KERCHEVAL: "Bang"
RUSS KESLER: "Fisherman"
RUSS KESLER: "From a Fifties Childhood"
RUSS KESLER: "Self Portrait"
CLAIRE KEYES: "Sand into Stone"
ATHENA KILDEGAARD: "In the Kirkegaard, December"
ATHENA KILDEGAARD: "Middle Age"
ATHENA KILDEGAARD: "Nocturne"
ATHENA KILDEGAARD: "Tenderness"
DAVID KIRBY: "Joe Louis in Idaho"
LEIGH KIRKLAND: "Flautist at the Al Fresco Wedding"
ELIZABETH KIRSCHNER: "The Creamy Gardenia"
JAFF KNORR: "Alfalfa"
JEFF KNORR: "Hands"
JEFF KNORR: "Winter Turkeys"
JOHN KNOX: "Pentecost: 30 June 1993"
JAN KOENEN: "August"
SANDRA KOHLER: "Woken"
JESSICA DE KONINCK: "The Funhouse"
MIRIAM N. KOTZIN: "Remission"
MIRIAM N. KOTZIN: "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Poetry Reading"
KAREN KOVACIK: "Flooding the House"
NORBERT KRAPF: "The Blueberry Bush"
NORBERT KRAPF: "Goodnight Irene"
NORBERT KRAPF: "Still Dark"
LEN KRISAK: "Conflation"
JUDY KRONENFELD: "Her Vacated House"
JUDY KRONENFELD: "Malaise"
THEA S. KUTICKA: "At the Department of Motor Vehicles"
CHERYL LACHOWSKI: "The Burn"
CHERYL LACHOWSKI: "Looking West"
STEPHEN LACKAYE: "Trick"
SARA LAMERS: "In My Religion"
LAURIE LAMON: "Not in a Certain Light"
LAURIE LAMON: "Walking the Dog in the Dark"
ELIZABETH LANGEMAK: "Marriage"
SANDY LANGHORN: "The Summer Saint"
W.F. LANTRY: "Seed"
MICHAEL LAUCHLAN: "Finch"
REBECCA LAUREN: "Dearth"
DORIANNE LAUX: "Mine Own Phil Levine"
MICHAEL LAVERS: "One Version of a Dream"
MERCEDES LAWRY: "Canted"
MERCEDES LAWRY: "Whiskey Songs"
ANNA LEAHY: "Cornfields"
GARY LECHLITER: "Bobby Signs Bluegrass"
MELINDA LEPERE: "Amputations"
KATHLEEN BREWIN LEWIS: "Sapelo"
LISA LEWIS: "A Threat in May"
LAURENCE LIEBERMAN: "Angel at the Helm"
LAURENCE LIEBERMAN: "The Ballad of Jack-Tar Rum"
LAURENCE LIEBERMAN: "Exodus of Butterflies"
LAURENCE LIEBERMAN: "Frontyard Burials"
LAURENCE LIEBERMAN: "Ode to Radio Antilles"
LAURENCE LIEBERMAN: "Stick Paramours"
LAURENCE LIEBERMAN: "White Shadow, Yank Hitcher"
ROBERT LIETZ: "Adapting the Cuisine"
ROBERT LIETZ: "Street-Class Harmonies (1)"
APRIL LINDNER: "Her Hands"
FRANNIE LINDSAY: "Grandmother of the Groom"
FRANNIE LINDSAY: "Keeping a Tropical Plant Alive in the North"
FRANNIE LINDSAY: "In Praise of the Nearly Forgotten"
FRANNIE LINDSAY: "Mercies"
FRANNIE LINDSAY: "Mother and Father, Father and Mother"
FRANNIE LANDSAY: "My Mother's Shoes"
FRANNIE LINDSAY: "Prayer on Janet's Birthday"
FRANNIE LINDSAY: "Talking to My Father About God"
FRANNIE LINDSAY: "Walking an Old Woman into the Sea"
JOHN LINSTROM: "Out of State"
MARY LINXWEILER: "Fearless"
MARY LINXWEILER: "Mistaken Words"
JULIA LISELLA: "Frequencies"
THOMAS DAVID LISK: "Metaphors and Sausage"
DIANE LOCKWARD: "April at the Arboretum"
DIANE LOCKWARD: "How Heavy the Snow"
DIANE LOCKWARD: "'How is a Shell Like Regret'"
DIANE LOCKWARD: "Hunger in the Morning"
DIANE LOCKWARD: "Last Dance"
DIANE LOCKWARD: "Sinkholes"
DIANE LOCKWARD: "Sweet Images"
DIANE LOCKWARD: "Temptation by Water"
DIANE LOCKWARD: "The Temptation of Mirage"
RACHEL LODEN: "Continental Drift"
RACHEL LODEN: "Reconstructed Face"
JOEL LONG: "Cold June"
JOANNE LOWERY: "At the Farmer's Market, Death"
JOANNE LOWERY: "Columbus Day Weekend"
KIM LOZANO: "At the Titanic Museum"
SHERYL LUNA: "Elegy for Narcissus"
MARGARET MACKINNON: "Mary Shelley's Dream"
MARGARET MACKINNON: "Your Garden in Winter"
JENNIFER MACPHERSON: "Aphasia"
AUSTIN MACRAE: "Cycling"
MARK MADIGAN: "Forsythia"
AL MAGINNES: "Old Records"
AL MAGINNES: "The Moon as Absence and Desire"
MARY MAKOFSKE: "Another Art"
MARY MAKOFSKE: "In the Braille Garden"
PETER MAKUCK: "New Year's Day, Bogue Banks"
HEATHER MARING: "Taco Bell, Hannibal, Missouri"
DIANE K. MARTIN: "As It Never Was"
DIANE K. MARTIN: "Life Drawing"
DAVID MASON: "Bristlecone Pine"
STEPHEN MASSIMILLA: "Plum Summer"
CHRISTA MASTRANGELO: "O"
SEBASTIAN MATTHEWS: "Miracle Day"
SEBASTIAN MATTHEWS: "Zones of Providence"
WILLIAM MATTHEWS: "On the Porch at the Frost Place, Franconia, N.H."
LUCIAN MATTISON: "Goring"
CATHY MCARTHUR: "Rooms"
GREG MCBRIDE: "Crossing Over"
GREG MCBRIDE: "Dead Man's Word"
GREG MCBRIDE: "Night Game"
GREG MCBRIDE: "The Occupation"
GREG MCBRIDE: "Whistled Alive"
MARILYN MCCABE: "Lakeshore Limited"
JANET MCCANN: "The Bookstore on Broadway in Albany: AWP Conference 1999"
JANET MCCANN: "Taking Off the Face"
TODD MCCARTY: "The Language of Stalks and Water"
JOEL MCCOLLOUGH: "Cards Every Friday"
JOEL MCCOLLOUGH: "Scroll"
SJOHNNA MCCRAY: "The Widower"
JOHN MCDERMOTT: "Broken Jukeboxes Half Buried in Sand"
WALT MCDONALD: "Grandmother's House at Kitty Hawk"
WALT MCDONALD: "Leaving the Scene"
WALT MCDONALD: "The War in Bosnia"
WALT MCDONALD: "The Winter They Bombed Pearl Harbor"
RON MCFARLAND: "Vaulting Ambition"
ROSE MCLARNEY: "Guts, Gleam"
SUSAN MCLEAN: "The Mirror's Desolation"
BOB MCNAMARA: "Digging Morning Glory"
MOLLY MELLINGER: "Dziadek"
MICHAEL MEYERHOFER: "The First Law of Thermodynamics"
MICHAEL MEYERHOFER: "Portrait of a Midwestern Exile on Wheels"
CHELLE MIKO: "Pickpocket"
PEGGY MILLER: "Trees and Air"
TERRY MINCHOW-PROFFITT: "This Blanched Abrasion We Call 'In'"
TERRY MINCHOW-PROFFITT: "Gasoline"
NORMAN MINNICK: "For a Wounded Hawk"
NANCY MITCHELL: "Ceremony"
WENDY MNOOKIN: "After Her Husband Dies"
JEFF MOCK: "A Brief History of the Future"
JEFF MOCK: "The Riches of the Garden"
JEFF MOCK: "Undoing"
JUDITH MONTGOMERY: "Blue Crow and Shadow"
JUDITH MONTGOMERY: "Death Slips Up at Ristorante Monte Carlo"
JUDITH MONTGOMERY: "On the Comb as Outward and Visible Sign"
JUDITH MONTGOMERY: "Vacation"
GEORGE MOORE: "Saint Agnes Outside the Walls"
JULIE L. MOORE: "Afterlife"
JULIE L. MOORE: "Barn Burning"
TRAVIS MOSSOTTI: "Autumn"
TRAVIS MOSSOTTI: "My Brother's House"
TRAVIS MOSSOTTI: "Picked Clean"
RICK MULKEY: "Connecting the Dots"
KATHLEEN MULLEN: "Cleome"
KATHLEEN MULLEN: "Narcissus"
KAY MULLEN: "An Dinh Palace"
KAY MULLEN: "Never the Same"
KAY MULLEN: "Sidewalk Artist"
KAY MULLEN: "Who Knows"
KAY MULLEN: "With Intention"
KAY MULLEN: "You Ask Why I Left"
PETER MUNRO: "Observants"
JIM MURPHY: "Basement Occupations"
STEVE MYERS: "Brief Conversation, Milbridge, ME"
ERIC NELSON: "In Her Memory"
MURIEL NELSON: "Ground"
MURIEL NELSON: "In a Fog"
PAUL NELSON: "Busy"
PAUL NELSON: "Making Me Look"
JEFF NEWBERRY: "Pantoum on a Line by Weldon Kees"
RICHARD NEWMAN: "Old Lady at the Beach"
JOEY NICOLETTI: "The Cook-Out"
JOEY NICOLETTI: "Maintenance"
JOEY NICOLETTI: "Reverse Graffiti"
JOEY NICOLETTI: "Risotto Elegy"
JOHN A. NIEVES: "Garage Door"
JOHN A. NIEVES: "Grain Moon"
JOHN A. NIEVES: "Historiography"
JOHN A. NIEVES: "Through Ends of Autumn"
JEAN NORDHAUS: "All There Is of Light"
JEAN NORDHAUS: "As If to Say"
MIL NORMAN-RISCH: "Downingsville Road, Vermont"
WILLIAM NOTTER: "On the Come-Along"
EDWARD NUDELMAN: "Photo"
RICHARD O'CONNELL: "Voladores"
ANGELA ALAIMO O'DONNELL: "Night"
ANGELA ALAIMO O'DONNELL: "Sonnet for St. Sylvia"
APRIL OSSMANN: "The Mechanical Home Care Bed"
APRIL OSSMAN: "Venture"
ALICIA OSTRIKER: "Surface/Draft 6"
MARTIN OTT: "Breathless"
JOHN OWEN: "Grief Harbor, 1995"
JAMES OWENS: "Albedo"
JAMES OWENS: "Temple"
DARLENE PAGAN: "The Quarry"
WILLIAM PAGE: "The Flush of Hearts"
WILLIAM PAGE: "The Heathen"
WILLIAM PAGE: "Illusions"
WILLIAM PAGE: "Swifts"
NANCY PAGH: "Oars"
JON PALZER: "Advice for Night Time"
ELISE PASCHEN: "Cicadas"
ELISE PASCHEN: "Hive"
ELISE PASCHEN: "Moving In"
LEE PASSARELLA: "Immanence"
RICHARD PAU-LLOSA: "Caudillo Rising"
RICHARD PAU-LLOSA: "Flight to L.A."
MEGAN PEAK: "Gulf Coast, 6th Grade"
JOANNA PEARSON: "The Conjoined Twins"
JOEL PECKHAM: "Blind Spots"
JOEL PECKHAM: "My Son, Five, Dancing"
JOEL PECKHAM: "Nightwalking"
NICOLE PEKARSKE: "On the Birth of My Mother's Youngest Brother"
ALISON PELEGRIN: "Bestiary of the Bayou State"
MARGARET PERRY: "At Stes. Maries de la Mer, Summer 1977"
MARGARET PERRY: "Snow Apples"
ALLAN PETERSON: "Singing and a House"
ALLAN PETERSON: "Superstition"
ALLAN PETERSON: "Touched Often"
ALLAN PETERSON: "Visible in Strings"
ROGER PFINGSTON: "Drought Bouquet"
ROGER PFINGSTON: "Mountain Fog"
ROGER PFINGSTON: "Parking, 1958"
KEVIN PILKINGTON: "Capri"
KEVIN PILKINGTON: "Parthenon"
KEVIN PILKINGTON: "Promises"
KEVIN PILKINGTON: "Sunset in the Refrigerator"
STANLEY PLUMLY: "'The Morning America Changed'"
MARIANNE POLOSKEY: "Beyond the Fence"
MARIANNE POLOSKEY: "Cape May"
MARIANNE POLOSKEY: "Graveyard at Saarbruecken"
COLIN POPE: "Echo"
COLIN POPE: "Packing Up the House"
JOHN POPIELASKI: "Detachment"
CONNIE POST: "How to Watch a Bird Die"
ROSE POSTMA: "In the Delivery Room, After Hours of Hard Labor"
DONNA PUCCIANI: "Jet Lag"
SAARA MYRENE RAAPPANA: "Torch"
KEVIN RABAS: "Reseed"
DOUG RAMSPECK: "Birthmark"
DOUG RAMSPECK: "Bright Snake"
DOUG RAMSPECK: "Fanfare"
DOUG RAMSPECK: "Fourteen Omens in Nine Days"
DOUG RAMSPECK: "History of Solitude"
DOUG RAMSPECK: "Mud Eulogies"
DOUG RAMSPECK: "Old Men Weeding Their Gardens"
DOUG RAMSPECK: "October Snow"
DOUG RAMSPECK: "Waterbourne"
D'ARCY RANDALL: "Frequencies"
GREG RAPPLEYE: "The Apprentice Lithographer's Story"
GREG RAPPLEYE: "Sun Gems CA. 1864-1865"
ROCHELLE RATNER: "Fish Tank"
JEREMY REED: "Three Months After the Fire"
ELIZABETH REES: "After Apollinaire"
MICHELE REESE: "Plant Life"
THOMAS REITER: "Called Back"
THOMAS REITER: "Forcing the Forsythia"
THOMAS REITER: "Kit Elegy"
THOMAS REITER: "My Grandmother's Journey, 1891"
THOMAS REITER: "Pokeweed"
THOMAS REITER: "A Redbud Tree in Ground Fog"
CAROL COFFEE REPOSA: "Lines Composed in the Computer Classroom"
THOMAS REYNOLDS: "Klamanth Jazz Festival"
REBECCA REYNOLDS: "From Latin Insula or Island"
SUSAN RICH: "Aperture"
SUSAN RICH: "Waving Goodbye to River Road"
SUSAN RICH: "You Might Consider"
TAD RICHARDS: "Three Days"
ROBERT RICHSTONE: "Light Fails on the Morning"
KATHERINE RIEGEL: "Some River"
JAMES RIOUX: "Possum"
LIZ ROBBINS: "China Poem"
SUZANNE ROBERTS: "Rain in Venice"
ANN ROBINSON: "New York Train Station"
ANDRÉS RODRIGUEZ: "The Late Age"
JOHN RONAN: "Wallpaper"
JOHN J. RONAN: "Arrowhead"
KATHLEEN ROONEY: "Robinson's Car Is Nothing Like a Prairie Schooner"
LAURA SOBBOTT ROSS: "Darwin and the Eye"
SEAN DAVID ROSS: "Yartzeit"
LEE ROSSI: "Lasting Things"
LEE ROSSI: "Snake Skin"
DAVID ROTHMAN: "Some Accusations"
JOHN RUFF: "In the Dark Room"
JOHN RUFF: "Isabel's View"
JOHN RUFF: "'July, 1935-1943' (from a painting by Charles Burchfield)"
HELEN RUGGIERI: "After The Hands by Paul Delvaux: A Family Portrait"
LINWOOD RUMNEY: "After the Blueberry Harvest"
LEX RUNCIMAN: "August Night"
LEX RUNCIMAN: "Broadmoor"
LEX RUNCIMAN: "How Dawn Begins"
LEX RUNCIMAN: "I Noticed the Peaches"
LEX RUNCIMAN: "Old Light of Stars"
LEX RUNCIMAN: "Two Stories and an Epilogue"
TANYA RUNYAN: "Bonner Heritage Farm"
DON RUSS: "Myself in You"
F. DANIEL RZICZNEK: "Green Tree Memento"
DANIEL SAALFELD: "Snake Meat"
MICHAEL SALCMAN: "Metonomy: Part for the Whole"
RALPH SALISBURY: "At Play in the Earth of Uncle Jimmy's Grave"
RON PAUL SALUTSKY: "Camping"
NICHOLAS SAMARAS: "Repetitions of Oswiecim"
JORDAN SANDERSON: "Oral Hygiene"
MICHAEL SANDLER: "When Heifetz Played for One"
SHEROD SANTOS: "Airport Security"
SHEROD SANTOS: "Black Corsage (1880-1918)"
SHEROD SANTOS: "A Theory of Asylum"
SHEROD SANTOS: "A Writer's Life"
MIA SARA: "Asking for Trouble"
TERRENCE SAVOIE: "The Blue Ribbon"
TERRENCE SAVOIE: "Ma Mére"
RICHARD SCHIFFMAN: "Aftermath"
RICHARD SCHIFFMAN: "April Apparition"
MARGOT SCHILPP: "The Fish Channel"
MARGOT SCHILPP: "If You Agree I'm Telling the Story"
MARGOT SCHILPP: "Revisiting Gauguin"
MARGOT SCHILPP: "Secrets"
MARGOT SCHILPP: "Simplify"
MARGOT SCHILPP: "Words a Hospitality"
MATTHEW W. SCHMEER: "Chess"
DON SCHOFIELD: "First Journey Alone"
J.D. SCHRAFFENBERGER: "Kentucky News Butch"
STEVEN D. SCHROEDER: "Here Be Dragons"
STEVEN SCHROEDER: "South from Sweetwater"
MAGGIE SCHWED: "Man Dining (The Artist's Father)"
NIC SEBASTIAN: "the novices practice forgiveness"
NIC SEBASTIAN: "The Olive Farmer"
SHANE SEELY: "Viewmaster"
PETER SERCHUK: "Facing the Wall"
PETER SERCHUK: "Nature Walk"
PETER SERCHUK: "Not Like This Rose"
PETER SERCHUK: "Reveille for a Winter Morning"
PETER SERCHUK: "Wedding Song"
DIANE SEUESS: "Maybe the Fishmonger, Who Hands over the Dead"
DEEMA K. SHEHABI: "Of Harvest and Flight"
STEVEN SHER: "The Day George Steinbrenner Died"
ALIMA SHERMAN: "Khartoum"
CARRIE SHIPERS: "Edison's Talking Doll"
VIVIAN SHIPLEY: "Digging Up Peonies"
VIVIAN SHIPLEY: "First Blood"
BRITTON SHURLEY: "The Red-winged Blackbird"
RITA SIGNORELLI-PAPPAS: "Evening in Vezelay"
RITA SIGNORELLI-PAPPAS: "Parmigianino Thinking"
RITA SIGNORELLI-PAPPAS: "Requiem"
MARTHA SILANO: "Because I Knew"
MARTHA SILANO: "No Refunds, No Exchanges"
ANN SILSBEE: "Bluer Than Sapphire"
BETH SIMON: "The Girl of Sixteen Who Desires"
BETH SIMON: "Rock, Bird"
BETH SIMON: "Taste Is"
BRIAN SIMONEAU: "A Constant Reminder"
BRIAN SIMONEAU: "Spring Cleaning"
JEFFREY SKINNER: "Event Horizons"
FLOYD SKLOOT: "At Rowan Oak"
FLOYD SKLOOT: "Labor Day Party"
FLOYD SKLOOT: "The Moonlight Manuscript, 1696"
FLOYD SKLOOT: "The Reading"
FLOYD SKLOOT: "Sock Basketball"
KAREN SKOLFIELD: "Art Project: Earth"
LAUREN GOODWIN SLAUGHTER: "Tornado Season"
LEE SLONIMSKY: "Pythagoras Goes to Work"
DAVE SMITH: "Ailanthus"
DAVE SMITH: "Glasses"
KATHERINE SONIAT: "The Swing Girl"
KATE SONTAG: "American Honeymoon Lyric, Circa 1987"
KATE SONTAG: "Migration"
KATE SONTAG: "Second Nature"
BARRY SPACKS: "Two Portraits in a Gallery"
RICHARD SPILMAN: "Morning Frost"
VINCENT SPINA: "Before Dawn: Otavalo Market"
A.E. STALLINGS: "The Boatman to Psyche, on the River Styx"
A.E. STALLINGS: "The Eldest Sister to Psyche"
A.E. STALLINGS: "Persephone to Psyche"
JOANNIE STANGELAND: "Drowning"
JOANNIE STANGELAND: "Self-Portrait with Crows"
JANNIE STANGELAND: "Then the Wind Kicks In"
JOANNIE STANGELAND: "The Verbs Will Not Conjugate"
JOANNIE STANGELAND: "When the Nights Lie Down White"
CATHERINE STAPLES: "Hacking Out"
MARJORIE STELMACH: "Scorpion Eggs"
RICARDO STERNBERG: "Paulito's Birds"
JEANINE STEVENS: "A Date at the La Brea Tar Pits"
JEANINE STEVENS: "The Meaning of Monoliths"
JEANINE STEVENS: "Sunday"
CHRISTINE STEWART-NUNEZ: "Art Lessons"
ALISON STINE: "Child Bride"
ALISON STINE: "Marriage"
DONALD STINSON: "As in Certain Paintings of Paul Klee"
DONALD STINSON: "On Three Hats of My Father's"
LYNN STRONGIN: "Ghostly"
VIRGIL SUAREZ: "Caribe"
VIRGIL SUAREZ: "Isla de la Juventud"
VIRGIL SUAREZ: "Song for the Banyan"
VIRGIL SUAREZ: "Song for the Cucuyo"
VIRGIL SUAREZ: "Uncle Isidoro"
TERESE SVOBODA: "Octopus"
ELIZABETH SWADOS: "The Dark Ages"
ELEANOR SWANSON: "Everglades"
ADAM TAVEL: "My Wife's Swimming Lessons at Hampshire Heights Apartments"
ADAM TAVEL: "On a Biographical Pamphlet of Luther Ladd, First Martyr of the Civil War, Who Died During the 1861 Baltimore Riot"
MARILYN TAYLOR: "Poem for a 75th Birthday"
MARILYN TAYLOR: "Rondeau: Old Woman with Cat"
ALEXANDRA TEAGUE: "Hurricane Season"
ELAINE TERRANOVA: "Mahler"
MARK THALMAN: "Family Photos, Waitsburg, Washington, 1910"
LARRY THOMAS: "Dory"
LARRY THOMAS: "Goldfish"
LARRY THOMAS: "Oyster"
LARRY THOMAS: "Plumbago"
LARRY THOMAS: "Signs"
DWAYNE THORPE: "Freeze Frame"
LIZ TILTON: "Alto"
DANIEL TOBIN: "BB"
DANIEL TOBIN: "Hearth 'n Kettle"
DANIEL TOBIN: "Hope Chest"
DANIEL TOBIN: "The House"
J.L. TORRES: "Legacy"
ALISON TOWNSEND: "Great Horned Owl"
TONY TRIGILIO: "Back Porch, Blackout"
CATHERINE TUFARIELLO: "Death of a Doorman"
CATHERINE TUFARIELLO: "Flowering Pear"
CATHERINE TUFARIELLO: "Light Riddles"
CATHERINE TUFARIELLO: "Small Girl in a Gift Shop"
ROBIN TUNG: "A New Earth"
BRIAN TURNER: "Al-A'imma Bridge"
BRIAN TURNER: "The Battle of Fucine Lake, AD 52"
BRIAN TURNER: "Helping Her Breathe"
BRIAN TURNER: "In the Guggenheim Museum"
BRIAN TURNER: "Molotov Cocktails"
CHRISTINA-MARIE UMSCHEID: "Alanson"
LEE UPTON: "The Bottled Minotaur"
PAM USCHUK: "Another Easter Snowstorm"
SALLY VAN DOREN: "Shill"
SUSAN VARNOT: "Impressionism"
KATHRINE VARNES: Four Sonnets from "His Next Ex-Wife"
KATHRINE VARNES: "Frequencies"
CINDY VEACH: "Sewing Lessons"
ANGELA VOGEL: "Rosebud, or Now That I Am Older"
CONSTANCE VOGEL: "At the Pool in the YWCA"
BENJAMIN VOGT: "Uncle with Landscape—Kansas, 1954"
JEANNE WAGNER: "Civil Twilight"
LYNN WAGNER: "Woman Blowing Soap Bubbles"
SHARI WAGNER: "First Flight"
SHARI WAGNER: "The Naturalist"
DAVI WALDER: "Dr. Levi-Montalcini's Passion"
DAVI WALDER: "Fighting with Nothing"
VALERIE WALLACE: "Travel"
MARTIN WALLS: "A Bend in Onondaga Creek"
WILLIAM WALSH: "The Big Cat Tracks My Grandmother"
WILLIAM WALSH: "Homage: For My Father"
WILLIAM H. WANDLESS: "Sojourner's Séance"
LAURA LEE WASHBURN: "Cheyenne Valley, Autumn"
LAURA LEE WASHBURN: "How To Live in This World"
LAURA LEE WASHBURN: "Perspective: Visiting the Homestead"
LAURA LEE WASHBURN: "A Poem in the Midst of History, 2015"
ROBERT N. WATSON: "Visitation"
BOB WATTS: "Map of the Unknown World"
CHARLES HARPER WEBB: "Best Policy"
CHARLES HARPER WEBB: "Restless Leg Syndrome"
WILL WELLS: "The Stamps He Sent Me"
SCOTT WELVAERT: "Pushing a Dodge Charger into a Gas Station"
INGRID WENDT: "Armistice"
INGRID WENDT: "The Keeper of Secrets"
INGRID WENDT: "True to Form"
SARAH WETZEL: "Martini with Borges Eyes"
LESLEY WHEELER: "Damage Reports"
LESLEY WHEELER: "Frequencies"
LESLEY WHEELER: "Red Wolf Howl"
LESLEY WHEELER: "Tornado Season"
JAMES R.WHITLEY: "Postcard from Orbis Tertius"
JAMES R.WHITLEY: "Nights of Gin and Ashes"
ANNE WILSON: "Taranto"
LORI WILSON: "When to Wake Is to Head Down a Road"
STEVEN WINN: "Masaya"
ROSEMARY WINSLOW: "Kingdom of Cloth, Three Women, A Naked Boy"
VINCENT WIXON: "Simple Pleasures"
VALERIE WOHLFELD: "A Dare"
VALERIE WOHLFELD: "Heart: Specimen"
VALERIE WOHLFELD: "Rune"
VALERIE WOHLFELD: "Villanelle: Wedding Portrait"
PUi YING WONG: "Spring, Beijing"
CHARLES WRIGHT: "Is"
CHARLES WRIGHT: "I've Been Sitting Here Thinking Back Over My Life . . ."
CHARLES WRIGHT: "Nostalgia"
CHARLES WRIGHT: "Road Warriors"
CHARLES WRIGHT: "WKPT, Kingsport, Tennessee"
KIRK M. WRIGHT: "Explaining the Moon"
LEILANI WRIGHT: "Flash Flood"
JENNIFER YAROS: "Jack-O'-Lantern"
JENNIFER YAROS: "Sisters"
KATHERINE E. YOUNG: "Birdsong"
FREDRICK ZYDEK: "Family Secrets"