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The Visible Boy

“in the book as I remember it is surrounded by / parentheses / The illustrator / keeps him moving 

black / Parentheses like as if his brown skin struck / black / Sparks on the air with every step.” Shane McCrae‘s recollection of a 1940s children’s book reanimates the terrible power of its depictions and their violent persistence in memory and beyond.

Soft Power

“Your pupils widen on all / Adra prison will swallow. / Wives rock, fingering their beads.” While her husband observes political trials in Syria, V. Penelope Pelizzon wanders “the republic of poetry,” seeking language to account for their encounters there.

from The Woman With No Name

“How to cull the fuckery that follows a woman who does as she wants?” Michael Luis Dauro‘s female gunslinger chases the fantasy of violence and revels in the history-heavy liberty of words.

from Floodstrains

“Days before death he was surprised by it,” writes David Micah Greenberg in this elegy keyed to compositions for solo piano, summoning awe “As we imagine the departed / hearing music we now hear…. As some light will never reach us.”


“In their baskets, they carry / small tokens of privilege that they barter / for magic beans, freedom // from our protection, from our / spurned friendship with the world.” Patty Seyburn’s neighborhood tour takes in six houses, plenty of fear and a seemingly endless appetite for more.


“The writing’s on the wall, lit morning and night.” Rattling through Philadelphia’s subterranean corridors, “haul[ing] a bagful of anthologies from place to place,” a teacher grapples at a culture that will not lift. By Sebastian Agudelo.


“Love / Is quick and murderous, bleeding // Proof of talent,” writes Jericho Brown in this tender and terrifying poem about our violent legacies of gender and sex.

Famous Men, Real and Imagined

In an excerpt from Mr. West, Sarah Blake treats Kanye as subject, muse and audience, while Jill McDonough‘s “Oh, James!” makes 007 into an icon of his many eras.

Superstition Freeway

“A tired voice we don’t remember fills us/ With its story half buried and held many exits away.” Circling over familiar roads and persistent appetites, a spare, sad, beautiful new sequence from Miles Waggener makes room for ghosts.

from In a Landscape

“We’re both happier this way, making these things/ real, because someday we won’t be.” Pulling meaning from contingency, John Gallaher composes a heartbreakingly sweet essay in verse.