Volume 105, Number 3/4


Volume 105, Number 3/4

pl10534-lg Today a muddy road / filled with leaves, tomorrow / the stiffening earth and a footprint / glazed with ice. —John Haines

Cover Caption: Ice skaters on Mirror Lake in Yosemite, 1911. Courtesy of the Library Of Congress, Washington, DC.

Purchase »

Editors’ Page

When the skaters in our cover photo posed for the camera a century ago, winter was outside them. Alive and capable, arrayed against the backdrop of Yosemite’s snowy peaks, which of them was picturing his or her own diminishment, his or her own demise? Which could have imagined a future (our moment) in which winter itself would change—would be changed—the shrinking ice-fields just another measure of our staggering carelessness?

Poets have always seen the seasons as metaphors for personal cycles of growth and decline, a mirror for experience. In his notebooks, Samuel Coleridge wrote: “In looking at objects of Nature…I seem rather to be seeking, as it were asking for, a symbolical language for something within me that already and for ever exists.” Spring, summer, autumn, winter. Birth, growth, maturity, decay.

A number of poems in this issue evoke the turning of the year in distinctive ways. Elizabeth Oness’s “Winter Solstice”–a poem about love and morality–makes this deceptively simple claim: “It’s hard to imagine the earth / tipped away from the great light….” In “Thoreau’s Garden,” Todd Davis contemplates the ancient drama of cultivation, as Henry David fetches water for “potatoes and cabbages, / for scallions pushing their fingers // from winter’s grave.” Joseph Ross’s stark, affecting “First and Last” pivots on the role reversal between mother and child in the span of a human lifetime, that most familiar of cycles, as the poet realizes the last thing his mother hears is: “My voice, from outside her / this time, at the level of her heart.”

And in this issue, we also feature the poems of native Alaskan dg nanouk okpik, whom D. Nurkse brings to our pages in “Poets Introducing Poets.” Nowhere are the effects of climate change more palpable than in the far North. Ms. okpik’s ritualistic narratives–steeped in Inuit folklore and sobered by the rudimentary predicaments of survival–conjure up a way of life as miraculous and endangered as the Arctic itself. In “Oil is a People,” she writes: “I see the pipeline cracking, the Haul road / paved. I fall asleep as you are dancing / with the dead….”

Is this a vision? A warning? The eerie lines do what poetry does best: unsettle us with the truth–and maybe move us toward it.

 

Poetry

Todd Davis Thoreau Hears the Last Warbler at the End of September

Joan I. Siegel In Late November

Ed Ochester Fall

Amanda Newell November

Doris Ferleger What I Mean by Beauty

Gerard Grealish The Twinge

Elizabeth Oness Winter Solstice

Doug Ramspeck Snow Falling

Susan Deer Cloud Sunday Night Snow

Phillip Sterling Every Next Train

Marcela Sulak The Love-Life of Objects

Susan L. Lin What Happens Behind Boarded Windows

Susan L. Lin House of Cards EP

Janice Miller Potter The Past, the Past

Joseph Ross First and Last

Tara M. Taylor Dead Ringer

David McAleavey Telepathy

Josh Kalscheur Fire

Sharon L. Charde this fire

Stacie Leatherman Phillumenist

Ken Poyner The Magician

Dallas Crow The Wonderland Blues

Anya Silver Chasing a Grasshopper at the Indian Mounds

Lee Rossi Paseo Miramar

Elizabeth Oness Train of Thought

Cordell Caudron Praying Mantis

Kate Hanson Foster Dear Lowell

Gary Fincke Light and Shadow

Michael Fulop The Mysterious Future

Carol Tufts Blue Numbers

Marcela Sulak Allison took the Facebook quiz, “What Dictator are You?” & the result was: Mussolini

James Lautermilch Untitled

Jared Harel Translation

Janet McNally Eve in Manhattan

Jeff Hardin In the Park

Brian Swann The Flock

Virginia Konchan John Keats

Mark Gordon Each Time You Breathe I Hear the Sigh of a Hundred-Year-Old Book

Lynne Sharon Schwartz The Key

Daniel Nathan Terry For All of Its Windows

Kurt Steinwand Looks Like I’m Flying

Chuck Tripi Landing in Weather

Donald Berger You Should See

Andrea O’Brien Walls/Windows

Daniel Becker Standing in Line at the Pet Forum

Naton Leslie You Have the Right to a Plaster Cast

Dian Duchin Reed Growing Up on Thirty-First Street

K.B. Kincer In My Neighborhood

Christine Tierney 16 Things You Should Know About the Fort

Lucinda Roy Primary Circles

Katherine J. Williams Before the First Knife

Todd Davis Thoreau’s Garden

Arthur Vogelsang The Canon and the Personal Canon

Travis Mossotti Rain

Greg McBride Woman

Emily M. Green The Problem with the Only Tailor in Town Being Your Ex

Anya Silver Running an Errand for the National Geographic Society Library, 1992

Margaret Hasse And All Points West

Kay Comini New Year’s Day Bridge

James Pollock Lullaby

Virgil Suárez So Blue

Nancy Morejón A Cousin translated by David Frye

Josh Kalscheur Vista

Mary Morris Hanuman

Greg McBride Laps

Brent Schaeffer An Unfinished Memorial

 

Poets Introducing Poets

Dennis Nurkse introduces dg nanouk okpik

An Ice Shelter

The Flying Snow-Knife

The Sun, the Moon, and the Dead Man

His Cell-Block on the Chena River

Oil is a People

Cockroach Robot

Quonsot Hut

Old Squaw Duck

I Am Prey

Amulet-for-the-Spirits-Around-the-Bend

 

Essay

“Guarding Master’s Head: Reflections on My Emily Dickinson” by Maryhelen Snyder.

 

Reviews

Ravi Shankar reviews The Veiled Suite: The Collected Poems by Agha Shahid Ali
Judith Harris reviews Hand of the Wind by Geraldine Connolly
Nan Fry reviews Then, Something by Patricia Fargnoli and Never-Ending Birds by David Baker
Merrill Leffler reviews Hovering at a Low Altitude: The Collected Poetry of Dahlia Ravikovitch translated by Chana Bloch and Chana Kronfeld