at Length

You are viewing: Poetry

from Labyrinth

“Still the heavy kick drum of the bull-man’s gait shakes the boy’s gut,” writes Oliver de la Paz in this opulent version of an ancient myth. “Still the labyrinth gathers its boundaries in redundant corridors.”

Homeric Turns

A masterful poem of suffering, storytelling and gods from Alan Shapiro, in whose hands “the rank and file/Massed for a sleep walk into corpse fires” can become, for a moment, “A figure now for storm clouds out at sea.”

Delusion’s Enclosure: on Harry Partch (1901-1974)

“LISTEN TO THAT.” Stephen Motika makes his own original music in writing the life, work and migrations of a composer who once asserted, “tongue must couple with the cavity or there’s no resonant tone. yes, this is sexy.”

The Monongahela Book of Hours

V. Penelope Pelizzon strings her time in a mining town together with stories of an early coal baron, the workers who opposed him, and the art in the museum that bears his name, hunting “Illuminations sharp/enough to catch…/dark earth’s plunge/to underworlds where men still crouch to free/the stone whose flesh is flame.”

Two Prose Pieces

In one of the two prose poems here, Rachel Zucker deals with a friend’s death, her unreliable memory and her fascination with another poet known only as “one.” In the other, Elaine Bleakney begins, “This is the beginning of talking to you: deer in the yard,” setting off a series of meditations that cover a terrible job, a traumatic labor, and culture shock.

from The Book of the Red King

Marly Youmans‘ chronicle of a fool in search of his king is a rollicking tour through the traditions of English literature and the pleasures of the language itself. Introducing her hero she writes, “He shakes his rattle at the dark/And fills his antic hat with leaves.”

Where His Lines Run

Starting from a six-sentence obituary that ran in 1855, Adam Tavel crafts a riveting sequence of letters and monologues invoking suicide, infidelity, race, and the “bent trumpet of grief” that echoes over generations.

Six Poems from Five Poets

Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet, Jimmmy Santiago Baca, Erica Dawson, Patrick Donnelly, and Thom Satterlee cover parenthood, addiction, sex, love, and more in At Length‘s first-ever poetry issue.


“Easement to/estuaries,” begins Michael D. Snediker, searching for persuasive images of relief in river clay and stoneware, bottles, stars and Cygnus, who “Found/no body//but felt—//again and/again—//the body’s warmth.”

from Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels

Kevin Young recreates the letters and speeches of the Amistad rebels, probing their relationship to a white culture that both enslaved and liberated them. An excerpt from Young’s brilliant new book, which was 20 years in the making.