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Jordan Davis

Citizen: An American Lyric

Claudia Rankine

Therapy is exhausting. Bringing everything that is uppermost out for someone you pay to respond makes you doubly vulnerable — you relive traumas instead of repressing them, and you rely on a guide for empathy and reason as they support your attempt to make sense…

Liner Notes

Andy Mister

The name on my favorite chapbook of 2007, Hotels, is Andrew Mister. For his first full-length collection, Liner Notes, 165 brief paragraphs about music and suicide, Mister has chosen to shorten his name to sound more like another visual artist who wrote a little. I…

My Life in Heaven

Mary Ann Samyn

Just as there are not that many ways to feel truly satisfied, there are not that many serious subjects for poetry. (Sorry.) Leaving one companion and finding another are Mary Ann Samyn’s subjects in My Life in Heaven, and though she treats them so lightly…

Okay, Okay

Diana Hamilton

Google as a tool for the making of art has had a separate life from Google as a prosthesis for navigating the world and its culture, the way the pencil has had separate lives in the studio and at the office. Taking up the disinterested…

what is amazing

Heather Christle

In her third book in four years, Heather Christle asks the right question and has the sense to leave it rhetorical. What is amazing is indeed what packs the crowds into the stadium, as opposed to what is sincere, or labored, or beautiful. There’s a…

William Carlos Williams Part III

Spring and All

At the spur off 71 to 271 up to Erie there’s an old billboard sort of faded for something called Ashbury Estates, with a U, but still. So, thought experiment. What would modern poetry look like without William Carlos Williams. Let’s just put our thumb…

William Carlos Williams Part II

Spring and All

There ought to be a terminology for writing that describes without making the scene intelligible to the reader. It’s not that Williams decontextualizes it, he just talks about the experience of it. He doesn’t say, “Here I am at…” That’s a depletion of energy. The…

William Carlos Williams Part I

Spring and All

Editor’s Note: The following text, written mostly via dictation on Routes 84, 80, 76, 71 and 70 as they carve through Pennsylvania, Maryland and Ohio, responds to the New Directions 2011 facsimile edition of William Carlos Williams’ 1923 Spring and All and “Something Urgent I…

Some Math

Bill Luoma

There were a few years in the mid-nineties when it looked like the poets gathering in New York might fuse a thousand disparate styles and beliefs and wishes into a single beam of classical beauty, rude comedy and what can only be called zen clarity…