Michael McGill (5 Poems)

Documentary A woman in a documentary is frozen in my mind. She stands behind an asylum window and whispers in a foreign language. The subtitle below her reads, “Please let me out of here.” She is framed by the subtitle; framed by the edit of her portrayal. Finally, she is framed by the asylum itself….

Anglo-Saxon Poetry (Forerunners)

Many thanks to David Cooke for contributing this week’s Forerunner, and it’s quite a treat. Below he has recorded a good portion of two Anglo-Saxon poems, “The Ruin” and “The Seafarer” in the original Old English. Also included is the original text, an English translation and, following “The Ruin,” David Cooke’s response to the poem,…

J. S. Belote (5 Poems)

Boriska Snowmelt mangles gray potato fields, oxcarts rot & sink by dung heaps, & month after month the heaps rise—   I don’t care. Again the sky is opaque. &, still, wizened, Andrei goes on painting icons. In one he gives Christ a cloak the color of earth. He hangs it nonchalantly over His left…

Robinson Jeffers (Forerunners)

Remember when poets made the cover of Time? It’s too bad the reputation of Robinson Jeffers has pretty much disappeared; but read any of the following poems aloud and see if you don’t hear something brutal, beautiful, and essential. While he seems to have staked his reputation on the longer narratives that pretty well fill his Collected…

David Cooke (6 Poems)

Gold Its lack of reaction has made it unique, that and the way it can magnetize fools: forty-niners, Midas, the futures mob— so gung ho, yet always dazzled by it, like urchins dreaming of gilded pavements. Locked in a vault, it validates paper. It’s what the rich cling to when the bubble bursts, smiling at…

Poetry from Egypt & Mesopotamia (Forerunners)

Eventually the usual suspects will fill the Forerunners section, everybody from the Beowulf poet forward. But I also hope to include a great deal of ancient and obscure poetry, translated into English by scholars who should have a larger audience. To start, it seemed best to present some of the oldest surviving poetry at all,…

Daniel Paul Marshall (6 Poems)

the fire festival men cook muricidae in their shells, on oak wood fires at the entrance to the marquee i can hear the small slugs of meat hiss like slow punctures —the scent of the wood turns my nose inside out. the residents of Hallim-eup get a coupon each for a free lunch—no one checks…