Volume 108, Number 1/2


Volume 108, Number 1/2

pl10834-lg How quickly we forgot the morning,The morning that old unread Ottoman script

(Either from left to right with a butterfly,

Or with a reed from bottom to top)

Would be rapidly erased.

—Melih Cevdet Anday

Cover Caption: Landscape of Cappadocia, Turkey, 1935. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

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Editors’ Page

If there’s a single longitude where East meets West, it must cross Turkey—a nation that touches Iran on one side, Greece on the other, and shares borders with six other countries. The imaginary line might bisect Cappadocia, the otherworldly landscape featured on our cover. For centuries a travelers’ destination, this maze of spires, chimneys, knobs, and caves is notable for what it hides: beneath the eerie beauty of its surface lie underground cities built in ancient times.

Turkey’s “crossroads” identity has inspired writers from near and far for generations. It was the nation to which novelist, playwright, and (yes) poet James Baldwin retreated throughout the 1960’s, finding himself strangely at ease there when turmoil at home became oppressive. Who could have foreseen, then, the regional transformation that’s unfolding today, propelling Syrian refugees across its southern border?

In keeping with Poet Lore’s historical interest in world writers—a commitment our founding editors made in 1889—we open this issue with the work of 20th-century Turkish poet Melih Cevdet Anday, whose spare lyrics are both direct and enigmatic.This portfolio of translations by Sidney Wade and Efe Murad includes poems that pose complex questions in language so plain we can almost frame answers (“How did we so quickly forget the morning?”), poems with claims so universal they could be anyone’s (“Our new coffins have just arrived”).

Other poets in this issue cast lines around the globe as far as Kyrgyzstan (Kurt Olsson’s “Cleanly”), India (D. Nurkse’s “Early Morning at Hurani”), China (Thomas Hawks’s “The Tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi”), South Africa (Matthew Gavin Frank’s “In the Parking Lot of the N17 Hospital…”), and Brazil (Jonathan Barrett’s “Knowing the Dam Will Break”). And there are poems that travel distances more difficult to measure, by writers as diverse as Ellen Bass, Robin Becker, Jim Daniels, Rita Dove, Stuart Friebert, Amy Gerstler, Michael S. Harper, David McAleavey, Nathaniel Mackey, and David Ray.

Sometimes a journey is just a journey, but within a poem the literal and figurative can co-exist to unforgettable effect. In the best case—when lines bear revisiting over the course of a lifetime—we uncover something new each time we return.

World Poets in Translation

Melih Cevdet Anday (Turkey) Introduction by Sidney Wade

The Unquiet Tree

Letter from a Dead Friend

The Coffin Shop

Didn’t These Swallows Just Leave?

Laurel Forest

Forgetting is for the Birds

[from] Changes, 2.

[from] Changes, 3.

[from] Changes, 5.

[from] Changes, 8.

The Loneliness of Macbeth

In the Sun

Poetry

Adrienne Su Technology

Corinna McClanahan Schroeder The Stage Carpenter’s Wife

Heather Swan The Curtain Maker’s Children

Rachel Mennies Solomon

Robin Becker The Weight

Paul Martin Eating Steamed Crabs at Price’s

Paul Martin The Pigs

Ellen Bass Morning

Kurt Olsson Stillborn

Kelly Cressio-Moeller In the Bedrooms of Dead Soldiers

Amy Gerstler What I Did with Your Ashes

Marge Piercy Things that will never happen here again

Jim Daniels In the Face of Another War

Lee Rossi “What a Bringdown”

Jaclyn Dwyer Put a Soda Counter in the ER Waiting Room

Alicia H. Gregory The Turning

Patricia Fargnoli At Allen Brothers Garden Center

James Bertolino The Promise of Wings

Richard Peabody Thor Ballyee, 1977

Rita Dove The Spring Cricket Repudiates His Parable of Negritude

Ellen Bass Night Music

Kurt Olsson Cleanly

Jonathan Barrett Knowing the Dam Will Break

Thomas Hawks The Tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi

D. Nurkse Two Glasses

D. Nurkse Early Morning at Hurani

Miriam Green V’higiyanu

Chana Bloch The Ark

Sara Burnett Pupusas at St. Camillus Church, Maryland

Gary Fincke Citing the Purgatory Museum

Bernadette Geyer For Years

Barbara Crooker Odalisque Avec Anémones, 1937

Kathy Engel Volunteer

Laura Read You Are on the Green Level

Doug Ramspeck Kallos

Helen Tzagoloff Chanteuse

Laura Madeline Wiseman Four Walls

Shannon Wagner Emergency Response

Kara van de Graaf Washing

David Ray Saint Marilyn

David McAleavey New Colossus

David McAleavey Balancing Act

Doug Ramspeck Interior Offerings

Chana Bloch Cleave

Ellen Bass The Dog’s Tooth

David Ray Canine Angst

Jack Ridl Within the Moment of Indefinite Suffering

Alima Sherman I Smell the Burning

David Ray Portrait of a Former Slave, U.S.A.

Rochelle Jewel Shapiro Administering to the President, April 14th, 1865

Matthew Gavin Frank In the Parking Lot of the N17 Hospital, Early Afternoon, Gauteng Province, South Africa

Lesley Wheeler In Other News

Helen Wickes Silver Lake Rituals

Sharon Doyle This is Why We Play the Game:The Glass Chess Set

Michael S. Harper PICC Line Assembly at Epoch Senior Care

Ronald Wallace Turnips

Gail Martin The Next to the Last Thing My Mother Taught Me

Gail Martin Not a House You Can Live In, Cold

Elizabeth Harlan-Ferlo Fall

D. Nurkse The Island after Labor Day

Joan I. Siegel Starlings in Early November

Patricia Fargnoli Winter Grace

Stuart Friebert Panking

Kate Angus Winter Song

Christopher Presfield Small Voice

Chris Green Student Roofer

Martin Lammon A Fable: Why the Village Will Never Be Empty

Nathaniel Mackey Oldtime Ending

John Bargowski Goshawk

Kara van de Graaf Exhibit

Essays & Reviews

“Alternatives to Absurdity: Prose Poems by Mary Oliver & Campbell McGrath” by Dallas Crow

Susan Deer Cloud reviews No Surrender by Ai

Katherine E. Young reviews Corpse Whale by dg nanouk okpik

Anne Harding Woodworth reviews An Individual History
 by Michael Collier

 

Index: Volume 107, 1-4