All ye need to know?

1. Rita Dove—Penguin editor reviewed by Helen Vendler in the NYRB
2. Terrance Hayes—In Dove’s best-selling anthology, and young
3. Kevin Young—In Dove’s anthology, and young
4. Amiri Baraka—In Dove’s anthology
5. Billy Collins—in the anthology
6. John Ashbery—a long poem in the anthology
7. Dean Young—not in the anthology
8. Helen Vendler—hated the anthology
9. Alan CordleTime’s masked Person-of-the-Year =’s once-anonymous Occupy Poetry protestor?
10. Harold Bloom—you can bet he hates the anthology
11. Mary Oliver—in the anthology
12. William Logan—meanest and the funniest critic (a lesson here?)
13. Kay Ryan—our day’s e.e. cummings
14. John Barr—the Poetry Man and “the Man.”
15. Kent Johnson—O’Hara and Koch will never be the same?
16. Cole Swensen—welcome to Brown!
17. Tony Hoagland—tennis fan
18. David Lehman—fun lovin’ BAP gate-keeper
19. David Orr—the deft New York Times critic
20. Rae Armantrout—not in the anthology
21. Seamus Heaney—When Harvard eyes are smilin’
22. Dan Chiasson—new reviewer on the block
23. James Tate—guaranteed to amuse
24. Matthew Dickman—one of those bratty twins
25. Stephen Burt—the Crimson Lantern
26. Matthew Zapruder—aww, everybody loves Matthew!
27. Paul MuldoonNew Yorker Brit of goofy complexity
28. Sharon Olds—Our Lady of Slightly Uncomfortable Poetry
29. Derek Walcott—in the anthology, latest T.S. Eliot prize winner
30. Kenneth Goldsmith—recited traffic reports in the White House
31. Jorie Graham—more teaching, less judging?
32. Alice Oswald—I don’t need no stinkin’ T.S. Eliot Prize
33. Joy Harjo—classmate of Dove’s at Iowa Workshop (in the anthology)
34. Sandra Cisneros—classmate of Dove’s at Iowa Workshop (in the anthology)
35. Nikki Giovanni—for colored girls when po-biz is enuf
36. William Kulik—not in the anthology
37. Ron Silliman—no more comments on his blog, but in the anthology
38. Daisy Fried—setting the Poetry Foundation on fire
39. Eliot Weinberger—poetry, foetry, and politics
40. Carol Ann Duffy—has Tennyson’s job
41. Camille Dungy—runs in the Poetry Foundation forest…
42. Peter Gizzi—sensitive lyric poet of the hour…
43. Abigail Deutsch—stole from a Scarriet post and we’ll always love her for it…
44. Robert Archambeau—his Samizdat is one of the more visible blogs…
45. Michael Robbins—the next William Logan?
46. Carl Phillips—in the anthology
47. Charles NorthWhat It Is Like, New & Selected chosen as best of 2011 by David Orr
48. Marilyn Chin—went to Iowa, in the anthology
49. Marie Howe—a tougher version of Brock-Broido…
50. Dan Beachy-Quick—gotta love that name…
51. Marcus Bales—he’s got the Penguin blues.
52. Dana Gioia—he wants you to read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, so what r u waiting 4?
53. Garrison Keillor—the boil on the neck of August Kleinzahler
54. Alice Notley—Penguin’s Culture of One by this Paris-based author made a lot of 2011 lists
55. Mark McGurl—won Truman Capote Award for 2011’s The Program Era: Rise of Creative Writing
56. Daniel Nester—wrap your blog around my skin, yea-uh.
57. Yusef Komunyakaa—in the anthology
58. Adrienne Rich—in the anthology
59. Jeremy Bass— reviewed the anthology in the Nation
60. Anselm Berrigan—somebody’s kid
61. Travis Nichols—kicked us off Blog Harriet
62. Seth Abramson—poet and lawyer
63. Stephen Dunn—one of the best poets in the Iowa style
64. Philip Levine—Current laureate, poem recently in the New Yorker  Movin’ up!
65. Ben Mazer—Does anyone remember Landis Everson?
66. Reb Livingston—Her No Tells blog rocks the contemporary scene
67. Marjorie Perloff—strutting avant academic
68. John Gallaher—Kent Johnson can’t get enough punishment on Gallaher’s blog
69. Fred Viebahn—poet married to the Penguin anthologist
70. James Fenton—said after Penguin review hit, Dove should have “shut up”
71. Rodney Jones—BAP poem selected by Dove riffs on William Carlos Williams’ peccadilloes
72. Mark Doty—no. 28’s brother
73. Cate Marvin—VIDA and so much more
74. Richard Wilbur—still hasn’t run out of rhyme
75. W.S. Merwin—no punctuation, but no punk
76. Jim Behrle—the Adam Sandler of po-biz
77. Bin Ramke—still stinging from the Foetry hit
78. Thomas Sayer Ellis—not in the anthology
79. Henri Cole—poetry editor of the New Republic
80. Meghan O’Rourke—Behrle admires her work
81. Anne Waldman—the female Ginsberg?
82. Anis Shivani—get serious, poets! it’s time to change the world!
83. Robert Hass—Occupy story in Times op-ed
84. Lyn Hejinian—stuck inside a baby grand piano
85. Les Murray—greatest Australian poet ever?
86. Sherman Alexie—is this one of the 175 poets to remember?
87. Geoffrey Hill—great respect doesn’t always mean good
88. Elizabeth Alexander—Frost got Kennedy, she got Obama
89. A.E. Stallings—A rhymer wins MacArthur!
90. Frank Bidart—in the anthology
91. Robert Pinsky—in the anthology
92. Carolyn Forche—in the anthology
93. Louise Gluck—not in the anthology
94. Keith Waldrop—his Hopwood Award paid her fare from Germany
95. Rosmarie Waldrop—her Hopwood helpled launch Burning Deck
96. C.D. Wright—born in the Ozark mountains
97. Forrest Gander—married to no. 96
98. Mark Strand—translator, surrealist
99. Margaret Atwood—the best Canadian poet of all time?
100. Gary B. Fitzgerald—the poet most likely to be remembered a million years from now


  1. David said,

    December 31, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    12. William Logan—meanest and the funniest critic (a lesson here?)

    Indeed. I’ve just finished reading a couple of Logan’s reviews of Mark Doty’s work. Doty, in his Granta essay, “Insatiable”, describes the pleasure of being urinated upon by a muscular African American man. He ought to enjoy the Logan treatment.

  2. December 31, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Happy New Year

    Conflicting view, this serene
    yet busy egret, tall and white
    against the green, seeking
    sustenance along the wooded
    thick-set border of the pond.
    So small against the further shore
    and the noisy background
    of the tractor in the trees now
    tearing down his home.

    Conflicting time, one to consider
    the new year’s hope and promise,
    the losses of the last one,
    and the worlds that soon will fall
    as the tractor approaches.
    We’ll mark them down with
    the losses of the next one.

    Copyright 2008 – Softwood-Seventy-eight Poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

  3. #72 support said,

    January 6, 2012 at 11:01 am

    72. Mark Doty

    (link below goes to his poem “At the Gym”)

    • David said,

      January 6, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      I’ll never be able to do bench presses again.

      • thomasbrady said,

        January 6, 2012 at 8:02 pm

        I’ll never go to a public gym again.

    • #72 support said,

      January 7, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      72. Mark Doty

      At the Gym

      This salt-stain spot
      marks the place where men
      lay down their heads,
      back to the bench,

      and hoist nothing
      that need be lifted
      but some burden they’ve chosen
      this time: more reps,

      more weight, the upward shove
      of it leaving, collectively,
      this sign of where we’ve been:
      shroud-stain, negative

      flashed onto the vinyl
      where we push something
      unyielding skyward,
      gaining some power

      at least over flesh,
      which goads with desire,
      and terrifies with frailty.
      Who could say who’s

      added his heat to the nimbus
      of our intent, here where
      we make ourselves:
      something difficult

      lifted, pressed or curled,
      Power over beauty,
      power over power!
      Though there’s something more

      tender, beneath our vanity,
      our will to become objects
      of desire: we sweat the mark
      of our presence onto the cloth.

      Here is some halo
      the living made together.

      Mark Doty

      • thomasbrady said,

        January 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm

        And for my next trick, I will write a poem on the glories of the public restroom…

        And then I’ll steal the plums from your fridge…

  4. David said,

    January 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    I went through a recent and very brief phase with Doty’s poetry, and even thought that I liked it. For the most part, it was a way of taming my judgmental attitude toward homosexual persons. I’ve moved beyond that phase (from a literary standpoint, at least) and now see Doty’s poetry for the shameless treacle that it is.

    Tim Murphy is a far superior poet, and he gives me greater pause in my judgment of homosexuals.

  5. David said,

    January 7, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    I think it’s interesting to compare the following two laments against bigotry:

    Bigotry’s Victim
    by Percy Bysshe Shelley

    Dares the lama, most fleet of the sons of the wind,
    The lion to rouse from his skull-covered lair?
    When the tiger approaches can the fast-fleeting hind
    Repose trust in his footsteps of air?
    No! Abandoned he sinks in a trance of despair,
    The monster transfixes his prey,
    On the sand flows his life-blood away;
    Whilst India’s rocks to his death-yells reply,
    Protracting the horrible harmony.

    Yet the fowl of the desert, when danger encroaches,
    Dares fearless to perish defending her brood,
    Though the fiercest of cloud-piercing tyrants approaches
    Thirsting–ay, thirsting for blood;
    And demands, like mankind, his brother for food;
    Yet more lenient, more gentle than they;
    For hunger, not glory, the prey
    Must perish. Revenge does not howl in the dead.
    Nor ambition with fame crown the murderer’s head.

    Though weak as the lama that bounds on the mountains,
    And endued not with fast-fleeting footsteps of air,
    Yet, yet will I draw from the purest of fountains,
    Though a fiercer than tiger is there.
    Though, more dreadful than death, it scatters despair,
    Though its shadow eclipses the day,
    And the darkness of deepest dismay
    Spreads the influence of soul-chilling terror around,
    And lowers on the corpses, that rot on the ground.

    They came to the fountain to draw from its stream
    Waves too pure, too celestial, for mortals to see;
    They bathed for awhile in its silvery beam,
    Then perished, and perished like me.
    For in vain from the grasp of the Bigot I flee;
    The most tenderly loved of my soul
    Are slaves to his hated control.
    He pursues me, he blasts me! ‘Tis in vain that I fly:–
    What remains, but to curse him, — to curse him and die?

    Charlie Howard’s Descent
    By Mark Doty

    Between the bridge and the river
    he falls through
    a huge portion of night;
    it is not as if falling

    is something new. Over and over
    he slipped into the gulf
    between what he knew and how
    he was known. What others wanted

    opened like an abyss: the laughing
    stock-clerks at the grocery, women
    at the luncheonette amused by his gestures.
    What could he do, live

    with one hand tied
    behind his back? So he began to fall
    into the star-faced section
    of night between the trestle

    and the water because he could not meet
    a little town’s demands,
    and his earrings shone and his wrists
    were as limp as they were.

    I imagine he took the insults in
    and made of them a place to live;
    we learn to use the names
    because they are there,

    familiar furniture: faggot
    was the bed he slept in, hard
    and white, but simple somehow,
    queer something sharp

    but finally useful, a tool,
    all the jokes a chair,
    stiff-backed to keep the spine straight,
    a table, a lamp. And because

    he’s fallen for twenty-three years,
    despite whatever awkwardness
    his flailing arms and legs assume
    he is beautiful

    and like any good diver
    has only an edge of fear
    he transforms into grace.
    Or else he is not afraid,

    and in this way climbs back
    up the ladder of his fall,
    out of the river into the arms
    of the three teenage boys

    who hurled him from the edge –
    really boys now, afraid,
    their fathers’ cars shivering behind them,
    headlights on – and tells them

    it’s all right, that he knows
    they didn’t believe him
    when he said he couldn’t swim,
    and blesses his killers

    in the way that only the dead
    can afford to forgive.

    • thomasbrady said,

      January 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm

      Shelley speaks for himself and his poem is universal; Doty speaks for someone else as a journalist du jour.

  6. David said,

    January 7, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Shelley’s poem is also more honest:

    What remains, but to curse him, — to curse him and die?

    Not the Christian response, to be sure, but it’s real..

    Doty, on the other hand, in his faux canonization of Charlie Howard, invents a crowning act of heroic virtue as bogus as any that might be found in the most fanciful hagiography:

    … and blesses his killers // in the way that only the dead / can afford to forgive.

    What does that mean, anyway?

    • thomasbrady said,

      January 8, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Yea, I think Doty is angling for a hollywood screen writing job.

      Doty is clever, there’s no doubt about that. It probably kills him that his sister is a better poet than he is. “in the way that only the dead can afford to forgive” seems to be saying several things at once: 1. the living cannot afford to forgive those who try to kill them a) because this goes against survival instincts b) since the dead cannot forgive, the highest form of forgiveness is impossible 2. Charlie Howard is ‘dead’ to those who tried to kill him. So Doty is simultaneously saying Charlie Howard is a transcendent hero, that this transcendence is based only on the hatred and ignorance of others, and that transcendent heroism is impossible. It manages to be cynical and ‘fairy tale’ at once. It’s too ‘thought-out’ and it’s why even the good poets like Doty find only a tiny, specialized audience. Doty is a ‘great’ chef—whose food (dramatic ideas) cannot be eaten.

      Shelley is the greater genius, not because he is ‘smarter,’ but because he implicitly understands the possibilities of poetry and drama in terms of honesty and accessibility.

      • marcusbales said,

        January 9, 2012 at 2:38 am

        Doty’s poetry is better than it sounds.

        • thomasbrady said,

          January 9, 2012 at 5:21 pm


          The ‘sound’ of poetry is how it ‘reaches’ its ‘target.’

          Doty has a whole lot of magnificent powder—which blows up in his face.

  7. #46 support said,

    January 9, 2012 at 10:40 am

    46. Carl Phillips

    Like a Lion

    Fallopian, estranged somehow,
    forgetless against a backdrop of plain
    sky, the limbs of the trees
    fail, and rally. Everywhere
    the kinds of patterns that
    should be breakable, but by now it’s
    been this way, it seems, forever. The wind

    strikes. The wind dies down. To amplify
    what’s true past recognition—never mind
    the cost … Hard to believe, though I
    do believe it, that that’s all
    pleasure meant, once. Why not? Why
    not be totally changed
    into fire, as they used to say,
    I say
    to no one. Cargo; rift; nostalgia; gold. I

    fairly sway with my own aloneness, the only
    half-blinding after all and, therefore,
    not so unbearable flash of it, and the years
    of my life, reducible to a shuddering
    scant reflection in a body
    of water nowhere visible, stir,
    stir back.

  8. #26 Support said,

    January 13, 2012 at 10:47 am

    26. Matthew Zapruder

    (reading his poem “Schwinn” in Sacto)

    • #26 Support said,

      January 13, 2012 at 10:49 am

      26. Matthew Zapruder


      I hate the phrase “inner life.” My attic hurts,
      and I’d like to quit the committee
      for naming tornadoes. Do you remember
      how easy and sad it was to be young
      and defined by our bicycles? My first
      was yellow, and though it was no Black
      Phantom or Sting-Ray but merely a Varsity
      I loved the afternoon it was suddenly gone,
      chasing its apian flash through the neighborhoods
      with my father in vain. Like being a nuclear
      family in a television show totally unaffected
      by a distant war. Then we returned
      to the green living room to watch the No Names
      hold our Over the Hill Gang under
      the monotinted chromatic defeated Super
      Bowl waters. 1973, year of the Black Fly
      caught in my Jell-O. Year of the Suffrage Building
      on K Street NW where a few minor law firms
      mingle proudly with the Union of Butchers
      and Meat Cutters. A black hand
      already visits my father in sleep, moving
      up his spine to touch his amygdala. I will
      never know a single thing anyone feels,
      just how they say it, which is why I am standing
      here exactly, covered in shame and lightning,
      doing what I’m supposed to do.

      • Quib said,

        January 13, 2012 at 11:01 am

        Oh the humanity!

      • thomasbrady said,

        January 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm

        This has a Dean Young energy. I enjoyed the bike part, but then the cute references and all the proper name punning overwhelmed. The super bowl reference (Miami’s perfect season) is when I threw up my hands. The poetry quickly morphed into nostalgic tom-foolery.

    • thomasbrady said,

      January 15, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      As to the video of Zapruder reading his poem:

      When someone reads a poem to us, we must like it, and do, because of empathy.

      Empathy will make anything good.

      Empathy, the great enemy of beauty.

      • David said,

        January 15, 2012 at 5:23 pm

        Interestingly, it was after watching / listening to a video of Mark Doty reading a poem that I began to like his poetry. There was also the motive of wanting to empathize with people of Doty’s, er, persuasion, to become less judgmental. Along the way, I forgot to judge the quality of Doty’s poetry. Lessons learned reading this blog, combined with my disgust at Doty’s pornographic essay in Granta, made me take a second look.

        • thomasbrady said,

          January 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm

          ‘the devil wears prada’

          the devil reads his poem on video


  9. #78 Support said,

    January 13, 2012 at 11:31 am

    78. Thomas Sayers Ellis


    My father was an enormous man
    Who believed kindness and lack of size
    Were nothing more than sissified
    Signs of weakness. Narrow-minded,

    His eyes were the worst kind
    Of jury—deliberate, distant, hard.
    No one could outshout him
    Or make bigger fists. The few

    Who tried got taken for bad,
    Beat down, their bodies slammed.
    I wanted to be just like him:
    Big man, man of the house, king.

    A plagiarist, hitting the things he hit,
    I learned to use my hands watching him
    Use his, pretending to slap mother
    When he slapped mother.

    He was sick. A diabetic slept
    Like a silent vowel inside his well-built,
    Muscular, dark body. Hard as all that
    With similar weaknesses

    —I discovered writing,
    How words are parts of speech
    With beats and breaths of their own.
    Interjections like flams. Wham! Bam!

    An heir to the rhythm
    And tension beneath the beatings,
    My first attempts were filled with noise,
    Wild solos, violent uncontrollable blows.

    The page tightened like a drum
    Resisting the clockwise twisting
    Of a handheld chrome key,
    The noisy banging and tuning of growth.

    • thomasbrady said,

      January 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Interesting how the poet feels compelled to compare the beats and breaths of his poem to the violence of his father—were this done humorously, it would be more effective, since we cannot help but notice the tremendous difference between a big man’s violence and poetic rhythm—yet the situation itself is anything but funny, thus precluding this strategy, unfortunately for the father, the poet—and his poem, which strains under the weight of the over-wrought metaphor. The poet who errs most in this way—who comes immediately to mind—is Seamus Heaney.

      • #21 Support said,

        January 15, 2012 at 12:08 am

        Act of Union

        Seamus Heaney


        To-night, a first movement, a pulse,
        As if the rain in bogland gathered head
        To slip and flood: a bog-burst,
        A gash breaking open the ferny bed.
        Your back is a firm line of eastern coast
        And arms and legs are thrown
        Beyond your gradual hills. I caress
        The heaving province where our past has grown.
        I am the tall kingdom over your shoulder
        That you would neither cajole nor ignore.
        Conquest is a lie. I grow older
        Conceding your half-independant shore
        Within whose borders now my legacy
        Culminates inexorably.


        And I am still imperially
        Male, leaving you with pain,
        The rending process in the colony,
        The battering ram, the boom burst from within.
        The act sprouted an obsinate fifth column
        Whose stance is growing unilateral.
        His heart beneath your heart is a wardrum
        Mustering force. His parasitical
        And ignmorant little fists already
        Beat at your borders and I know they’re cocked
        At me across the water. No treaty
        I foresee will salve completely your tracked
        And stretchmarked body, the big pain
        That leaves you raw, like opened ground, again

        • thomasbrady said,

          January 15, 2012 at 4:37 pm

          yah. thanks, nice link demonstrating what i iz talking about…

          heaney’s sex as ‘bogland’

          metaphoric ewww.

          too clever by half…

          better just get to the point.

          Let me try…

          Mountains and Valleys Are Making Love

          The rains, as I run into the valley, mist my face.
          O Heaney, your metaphors are sticky
          And fall into a sacred place.
          With a Ph.D.
          You ravage me.

        • David said,

          January 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm

          That’s ugly.

          • David said,

            January 15, 2012 at 4:54 pm

            I refer to Heaney’s sordid lines, not Tom’s reply.

    • thomasbrady said,

      January 15, 2012 at 4:49 pm

      an acid trip of “fat, wigged men with demonic expressions…”

      a nightmare of dead white males haunts the hippie feminist poet o let allen ginsberg sing you a lullaby we love you we do we know you must do what it takes to get by we obey your words, poet, even your eye

  10. #85 support said,

    February 21, 2012 at 10:22 am

    85. Les Murray


    We were at dinner in Soho
    and the couple at the next table
    rose to go. The woman paused to say
    to me, I just wanted you to know
    I have got all your cookbooks
    and I swear by them!

    I managed to answer her, Ma’am
    they’ve done you nothing but good!
    Which was perhaps immodest
    of whoever I am.

  11. February 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    101. Joyce Carol Oates

    Waiting on Elvis, 1956

    This place up in Charlotte called Chuck’s where I
    used to waitress and who came in one night
    but Elvis and some of his friends before his concert
    at the Arena, I was twenty-six married but still
    waiting tables and we got to joking around like you
    do, and he was fingering the lace edge of my slip
    where it showed below my hemline and I hadn’t even
    seen it and I slapped at him a little saying, You
    sure are the one aren’t you feeling my face burn but
    he was the kind of boy even meanness turned sweet in
    his mouth.

    Smiled at me and said, Yeah honey I guess I sure am.

  12. R said,

    February 26, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    I am curious to know the story about how it came to be that he was invited to the White House.

    • thomasbrady said,

      February 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm

      He knew somebody

  13. #32 support said,

    February 27, 2012 at 10:36 am

    32. Alice Oswald


    Various stars. Various kings.
    Various sunsets, signs, cursory insights.

    Many minute attentions, many knowledgeable watchers,
    Much cold, much overbearing darkness.

    Various long midwinter Glooms.
    Various Solitary and Terrible stars.
    Many Frosty Nights, many previously Unseen Sky-flowers.
    Many people setting out (some of them kings) all clutching at stars.

    More than one North star, more than one South star.
    Several billion elliptical galaxies, bubble nebulae, binary systems.
    Various dust lanes, various routes through varying thickness of Dark,
    Many tunnels into deep space, minds going back and forth.

    Many visions, many digitally enhanced heavens,
    All kinds of glistenings being gathered into telescopes:
    Fireworks, gasworks, white-streaked works of Dusk,
    Works of wonder and of water, snowflakes, stars of frost …

    Various dazed astronomers dilating their eyes,
    Various astronauts setting out into laughterless earthlessness,
    Various 5,000-year-old moon maps,
    Various blindmen feeling across the heavens in Braille.

    Various gods making beautiful works in bronze,
    Brooches, crowns, triangles, cups and chains,
    Various crucifixes, all sorts of nightsky necklaces.
    Many Wise Men remarking the irregular weather.

    Many exile energies, many low-voiced followers,
    Watchers of whisps of various glowing spindles,
    Soothsayers, hunters in the High Country of the Zodiac,
    Seafarers tossing, tied to a star…

    Various people coming home (some of them kings). Various headlights.

    Two or three children standing or sitting on the low wall.
    Various winds, the Sea Wind, the sound-laden Winds of Evening
    Blowing the stars towards them, bringing snow.

    • R said,

      February 29, 2012 at 9:40 am

      Gorgeous poem. I am not familiar with Oswald – will be looking into her.

      • thomasbrady said,

        February 29, 2012 at 2:45 pm

        Gorgeous? Seems rather prosaic to me.

        • R said,

          February 29, 2012 at 3:07 pm

          Oh really? Prosaic? Mmkay,Tom. Well, we disagree.

          • R said,

            February 29, 2012 at 3:15 pm

            Why exactly are you finding this poem ‘prosaic’? The way it is written? The subject matter?

          • thomasbrady said,

            February 29, 2012 at 9:09 pm

            All that “various” and “many” and “more,” for a start.

  14. #36 support said,

    February 29, 2012 at 9:27 am

    36. William Kulik

    The Eye Behind

    My secretary: what a girl! You never know what she’ll do next. Like coming to work in a blouse two sizes too small, top two buttons undone. Even better, with no skirt on; just a pair of ice-blue panties (black, one guy insists) she keeps tugging at, snapping the elastic where it circles her upper thigh, right beneath her cute round ass with its tight little tuck (especially in those four-inch stilettos we love to see her wear). Imagine what it’s like to watch as she fingers the lacy waistband, drawing it slowly down to reveal a glimpse of pubic hair, thick and dark (or is it thin and light?). As she does her jobs—filing, taking dictation, reading email (who, we wonder, is sending her all those messages?), her silky brown (or maybe it’s blonde?) hair falls lightly on her shoulders. But it’s equally possible it could be tied in a bun or braided or fastened by a glittering black clip, an exotic Polynesian comb or an elegant silver chain that barely tinkles as she parades back and forth all day long, the sensuous apprehension of baby eyes upon her

  15. #65 support said,

    March 4, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    65. Ben Mazer


    Their floors and floors of unknown lives conspire
    to neon, darkness, fog and rain and fire.

    * * *

    All lay in bed, and toss in negligees
    or monogrammed pajamas, have their ways
    of trimming their hair or doctoring their water.
    One stares in blankness at the jewels he bought her,
    goes to the window, braced to see the fog.
    One fingers old certificates of stock,
    and ties his tie. Although they all will die,
    each one looks fabulous in evening dress,
    and sloughs off the incipient duress.
    The city is reflected in the sky,
    has its own taxis, bars, Empire State
    building. Theirs is a common fate.
    The monstrous outgrowth of a humble start
    crushes the spirit, suffocates the heart.

  16. #41 support said,

    March 5, 2012 at 10:44 am

    41. Camille Dungy


    Sing the mass—
    light upon me washing words
    now that I am gone.

    The sky was a hot, blue sheet the summer breeze fanned
    out and over the town. I could have lived forever
    under that sky. Forgetting where I was,
    I looked left, not right, crossed into a street
    and stepped in front of the bus that ended me.

    Will you believe me when I tell you it was beautiful—
    my left leg turned to uselessness and my right shoe flung
    some distance down the road? Will you believe me
    when I tell you I had never been so in love
    with anyone as I was, then, with everyone I saw?

    The way an age-worn man held his wife’s shaking arm,
    supporting the weight that seemed to sing from the heart
    she clutched. Knowing her eyes embraced the pile
    that was me, he guided her sacked body through the crowd.
    And the way one woman began a fast the moment she looked

    under the wheel. I saw her swear off decadence.
    I saw her start to pray. You see, I was so beautiful
    the woman sent to clean the street used words
    like police tape to keep back a young boy
    seconds before he rounded the grisly bumper.

    The woman who cordoned the area feared my memory
    would fly him through the world on pinions of passion
    much as, later, the sight of my awful beauty pulled her down
    to tears when she pooled my blood with water
    and swiftly, swiftly washed my stains away.

    • #41 critique said,

      March 5, 2012 at 10:46 am

      For this judgment I may be deserving of the lash,
      But this poem reminded me of J.G. Ballard’s Crash

  17. #47 support said,

    March 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    47. Charles North

    (Link below goes to North’s “Prometheus at Fenway”)

  18. #38 support said,

    March 7, 2012 at 10:36 am

    38. Daisy Fried

    She Didn’t Mean to Do It

    Oh, she was sad, oh, she was sad.
    She didn’t mean to do it.

    Certain thrills stay tucked in your limbs,
    go no further than your fingers, move your legs through their paces,
    but no more. Certain thrills knock you flat
    on your sheets on your bed in your room and you fade
    and they fade. You falter and they’re gone, gone, gone.
    Certain thrills puff off you like smoke rings,
    some like bell rings growing out, out, turning
    brass, steel, gold, till the whole world’s filled
    with the gonging of your thrills.

    But oh, she was sad, she was just sad, sad,
    and she didn’t mean to do it.

  19. #46 support said,

    March 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    46. Carl Phillips

    Leda, After the Swan

    in the exaggerated grace
    of his weight

    the wings
    raised, held in

    I recognized
    something more
    than swan, I can’t say.

    There was just
    this barely defined
    shoulder, whose feathers
    came away in my hands,

    and the bit of world
    left beyond it, coming down

    to the heat-crippled field,

    ravens the precise color of
    sorrow in good light, neither
    black nor blue, like fallen
    stitches upon it,

    and the hour forever,
    it seemed, half-stepping
    its way elsewhere—

    everything, I
    remember, began
    happening more quickly.

  20. Anonymous said,

    March 12, 2012 at 6:49 am

    The Gate


    I had no idea that the gate I would step through
    to finally enter this world

    would be the space my brother’s body made. He was
    a little taller than me: a young man

    but grown, himself by then,
    done at twenty-eight, having folded every sheet,

    rinsed every glass he would ever rinse under the cold
    and running water.

    This is what you have been waiting for, he used to say to me.
    And I’d say, What?

    And he’d say, This—holding up my cheese and mustard sandwich.
    And I’d say, What?

    And he’d say, This, sort of looking around.

  21. Anonymous said,

    March 12, 2012 at 7:12 am

  22. Anonymous said,

    March 12, 2012 at 7:22 am

  23. Anonymous said,

    March 12, 2012 at 7:52 am

  24. #71 support said,

    March 12, 2012 at 9:42 am

    71. Rodney Jones


    The old man William Carlos Williams, who had been famous for kindness
    And for bringing to our poetry a mannerless speaking,

    In the aftermath of a stroke was possessed by guilt
    And began to construct for his wife the chronicle

    Of his peccadilloes, a deplorable thing, a mistake,
    Like all pleas for forgiveness, but he persisted

    Blindly, obstinately, each day, as though in the end
    It would relieve her to know the particulars

    Of affairs she must have guessed at and tacitly permitted:
    For she encouraged his Sunday drives across the river;

    His poems suggest as much, anyone can see it.
    The thread, the binding of the voice, is a single hair

    Spliced from the different hairs of different lovers,
    And it clings to his poems, blonde and dark,

    Tangled and straight, and runs on beyond the page.
    I carry it with me, saying, “I have found it so.”

    It is a world of human blossoming, after all.
    But the old woman, sitting there like rust —

    For her, there would be no more poems of stolen
    Plums, of round and firm trunks of young trees,

    Only the candor of the bedpan and the fouled sheet,
    When there could no longer have been any hope

    That he would recover, when the thing she desired
    Was not his health so much as his speechlessness.

  25. #95 support said,

    March 20, 2012 at 10:33 am

    The Round World


    nature’s inside, says Cézanne and
    I do not like the fleshy

    even so, it is

    after this close proof
    vision is made
    of matter

    another mirror

    it’s possible
    the eye knows
    even where there should have been a lake

    this optic an illusion
    at the cat, his changing
    a habit


    the subject more than meets the
    situation, always
    at our own eye

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