February 27, 2013
When the light-stunned doewent stupid, I couldn’t fire,a furtive scruple that meant nothingto the blue light that whooped onbehind us, us with two pistolssliding across the seat. Bobbyslapped the lights o! and gunned it,slamming into the dark.
Poem with the Window Left Open
February 25, 2013
All you have to do is open the windowto let the night in: then mothseffervesce in a streamtowards the lamp, then the cool airthat blows between the blackbird andthe bat, air that blues the whole worldlets itself in, the whole worldstared at so intent
How Baudelaire Revolutionized Modern Literature
February 21, 2013
Baudelaire thought that everything natural was corrupt. This perverse, humiliating belief changed the face of literature.
February 20, 2013
The massive, grimy river shouldered its waytoward the harbor.
What A Dog Wouldn't Eat
February 15, 2013
You fell into it like someone falling through a doorand found yourself in a cozy nightmare of spotlights,naked onstage in a tiny theater where the audiencewore masks and wasn’t above slapping you around. Your performance was subject to criticism from
Hikmet: Çankiri Prison, 1938
February 03, 2013
A VersionToday is Sunday.Today, for the ﬁrst time, they let me go out into the sun.And I stood there I didn’t move,struck for th
January 30, 2013
The one book where we never lose our place spreads its covers to a gooseﬂesh Braille. We are bookmarks slipped into each other. In that book, we read each night of a couple who go without touching for hours on end; then, the dishes put away, the toddler powered down and set to charge for tomorrow, they thumb a lock and make a greenhouse where once there was a master bedroom. Orchids push open the drawers.
The Constant Leaf
January 29, 2013
I wish my father was here. His features were calm and striking, even when his breaths were horrible. Remote pale yellow sunlight behind a screen of clouds. Landscape in darkness. Rain comes straight down in dense strands that cover the street with rain froth. The trees are so full it makes everything seem constant but fragile, as if any moment could be the last. All the news is the same news: somebody bombing somebody, somebody cheating somebody, somebody hurting the one they love, so we talk about forgiveness in a low-key unabashed way: forgive me for the errors of my youth; forgive me for th
Sound Check: W.S. Merwin’s Love of Foreign Language
January 25, 2013
A translator who puts his mark on poems—a bit too strongly.
The Knife—The Sharp Poetry of Louise Glück
January 08, 2013
IF LOUISE GLUCK had released a Collected Poems a dozen years ago, we would have known what to make of her. She was a walking dysphemism, a blade without a handle, a poet so intent on “unmasking … the ordinary to reveal the tragic,” as she put it, that any sign of kindness prompted bitter cynicism. “Mothers weep at their daughters’ weddings,/ everyone knows that, though/ for whose youth one cannot say,” she wrote in 1985. “My father liked/ to stand like this, to hold me/ so he couldn’t see me” (1990).