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“What no one ever spoke of / was saying itself through the little that was said.” Race, money, power, resentment, and unspoken understandings, frequently misunderstood but still inherited, swirl like smoke through memory in a new poem from Alan Shapiro.

Two Poems

“Now you’re learning / the enemy’s language. Nothing / special. Just the everyday // conjugations of your body’s verbs: / I burn, I live, I leave, / I burned, I lived, I left, / I will burn, I will live, I will leave“: In “Contact Sheet For Kim Phúc” and “Semi-[idio][auto]matic,” Deborah Paredez seeks a sufficient language for America’s war in Vietnam and its nearly endless aftermath.

On a Late Photograph of Ezra Pound

“’You wouldn’t understand it. Most people don’t,’ // he told the girl the chaplain brought, / who said she wrote poetry but hadn’t read his.” David Caplan meditates on Pound, mired in his final years.

A Poem for the Scoundrel Lucian Freud

“Enviable talent, absent parent, he made / sex and paint his life’s pursuits, eager / to seed his world with likeness.” A new poem by Derek Mong confronts “the world’s priciest portrait” and the artist who made it as the speaker reckons with his own awkward exchanges between art and love.

Ode to Mark Frechette

He’s twenty— / a talent / scout / famously said— // and he hates.” In swift currents, a new poem from Randall Mann records the brief, bright promise of a radical life.

A Field Guide to the Natural Disasters of Southern California

“There were faults we couldn’t see, and we built a home there.” A two-track poem from Charles Jensen sets a story of sex, love, despair, and eventual, imagined restoration alongside an account of the ways in which the earth, air, and water of California, afflicted by humans, periodically afflict humans in turn.

The Poem That Won’t Leave You Alone, Volume 2

Featuring Chad Parmenter on Shakespeare; Jay Deshpande on Lucie Brock-Broido; Ricky Varghese on Akhil Katyal; Deanna Dikeman on Longfellow; Craig Santos Perez on Gina Myers; Chad Davidson on Craig Raine; Steve Castro on Vallejo; and Jonathan Farmer on Yeats.

Old Times There

“He’s     dreaming, and // I see his dream.” In Shane McCrae‘s new verse drama, Jim Limber looks down on Jefferson Davis from heaven–and Davis grasps at him from hell.

Muscularity and Eros: On Syntax

“Possibly the most disturbing thing about prosody–but about syntax especially, because it involves choice–is its utter fidelity to our innermost–truer?–selves. We sing–and we are betrayed.”Carl Phillips maps the work of syntax through examples from Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Hayden, Tommy Pico, Shakespeare, Hemingway, Sharon Olds, Ed Skoog, Linda Gregg, and francine j. harris.

Exit Music (For My Sweetheart The Cheater)

“I elbow crawled / through car bombs and bar brawls just to find you. I’m not your limp // Virginia dick…. I’m the woman / swathed in bloodshot, rising up from unclean seas.” A new poem of fierce vengeance and striking vulnerability from Brandi Nicole Martin.