Tom Laichas: 9 Poems from “Naming the Animals”

Named and Nameless In the midst of the naming, the boy asks: What’s your name? The Voice remembers: years in the future, others will ask this question. The reply is the same: I am what I am. The boy: That’s not an answer. We’re all what we all are, nameless or no. The Voice: But…

Melissa Rendlen (6 Poems)

Snowless Woods In snowless winter woods, tree trunk skeletons raise brown branches toward grey skies suspended softly inches above. Oaks cling to their few remaining dry dead leaves, like a mother, aware too soon her children will be lost. Under foot, crunch of leaves mold into the feel of soft mulch as dog and human…

Emily Dickinson (Forerunners)

While some of Emily Dickinson’s more well-known lines had been in my head for years, I didn’t sit down with all of her poems until a flight from Atlanta ages ago, to attend my grandmother’s funeral back home. As Dickinson says, time does not assuage; but her strange words and stranger company of her presence…

Ken Craft (6 Poems)

from the collection The Indifferent World Trigger This is where I held my breath— a stand of red pine, needles and snowdust scribed about my boot, cold crescent resisting a swollen finger itchy-numb with November. This is where a buck held its breath— mouth mid-meal amid the mast, a single line of berry drool spiking…

Robert Okaji (6 Poems)

As Blue Fades Which defines you best, a creaking lid or the light-turned flower? The coffee’s steam or smoke wafting from your hand. Your bowls color my shelves; I touch them daily. Sound fills their bodies with memory. The lighter’s click invokes your name. And the stepping stones to nowhere, your current address. If the…

Prufrock & Other Observations (Forerunners)

A hundred years ago, in June of 1917, the small Egoist Press in Bloomsbury, London, issued a book of poems by the American expatriate, T. S. Eliot, Prufrock and Other Observations. Much like trying to read the Bible after a religious upbringing, it is almost impossible now to read especially the first four poems—“The Love…

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…