Volume 107, Number 1/2

Volume 107, Number 1/2

pl10834-lg Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle.
—Walt Whitman

Cover Caption: A page from Walt Whitman’s notebook on perceptions. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

Purchase »

Editors’ Page

Walt Whitman’s notebook page floats on our cover, a raft of words on the subject of perception. His handwritten entry offers an image of invention—the act of composition as an interplay of bold moves and careful refinements. For Whitman, as for any serious writer, precision is as much a matter of discovery as it is a matter of style.

How many of us, today, barely recognize our own handwriting? Even the term “notebook” has a new meaning. In the digital age, the process of revision often goes undocumented—an invisible project in which new drafts replace old with the click of a mouse. Each time we make changes in a manuscript, we have to decide whether to “save” them.

From the stupefying flux of experience, a poet can save changes of a more profound kind. To paraphrase Whitman, the brain embraces “diverging and converging” sensations, thoughts, feelings—wondrous but baffling until we make something of them. Whitman suggests two possibilities: the brain can “either make much of the finest thread of silk or wind its fingers around the world.” This issue showcases work that does both. For example, three poems by Denise Duhamel revisit and transfigure scenes from domestic life, former U.S. Poet Laureate Maxine Kumin bears witness to the burial of a “contrary overloved game mare” in language that tenders a broader elegy, and David Ray confronts childhood trauma and recovery.

Also in these pages, we’re proud to introduce “World Poets in Translation,” celebrating the seriously playful work of Dan Turèll, whose poems have been translated from the Danish by Thomas E. Kennedy. Given Poet Lore’s ground-breaking contribution to translation early in its history, this feature is long overdue. And finally, among our “Essays & Reviews,” you’ll find a canny examination of “documentary poetry” along with three other engaging book reviews.

The cover of our Fall/Winter 2005 issue bears an iconic photo of Whitman—a Poet Lore reader himself (he purchased ads for Leaves of Grass in three issues)—but this notebook page presents a more intimate portrait. Here we see him at work, hand moving in fits and starts as he examines his experience and seeks to understand it. The image radiates conviction and expansiveness. Who can fail to recognize Whitman in that?



Josh Rathkamp Read with Dick and Jane

Anya Silver Junior Assembly

Kurt Steinwand Erosion

James Scruton Bang Bang

Richard Robbins Vanishing Point

Denise Duhamel Chin Chin

Dara Barnat Practical Things

Richard Jones Broom

Tresha Faye Haefner Vermin

Denise Duhamel Kindness in Its Entirety

Evie Frankl From Her Lips to God’s Ears

Mary Kovaleski Byrnes First Communion

Bronwen Butter Newcott After the Ultrasound

Jeanne Emmons Feeding the Baby in the Cemetery

Sharyn Skeeter Lounge Lady with Red Lipstick

Sally Lipton Derringer Lessons

John Gery For Biljana, Who Says the Older She Grows, the Less She Knows

John Bargowski Strip Poker

Denise Duhamel Poker Hands

Sean M. Rumschik Vicissitudes of Red

Gary Fincke The Year One

Maria Terrone The Day After

Josh Rathkamp The Dark

Sharyn Skeeter Parable of the Eye Exam

Naomi Thiers Crowning Glory

Brad Johnson Elegy for Patriarchs

Mary-Sherman Willis Terminal

Maxine Kumin Indian Pipes

Peter Kline Elegy for Myself

Laura Madeline Wiseman Section Eight Housing: Teen Bedroom

Melissa Morphew Diane Arbus’s Ghost Tells It Straight

Afaa Michael Weaver Recognition

Robert Lunday Steampunk Poem

William Winston Visitations

Richard Robbins The Reading Light

Amorak Huey Robert Johnson Discovers the Blues Buried in a Cast-Iron Kettle in the Bayou

Jodie Hollander Metronomes

Vuong Quoc Vu The Great Wall

Jim Tilley Particle and Wave

Leslie Ullman And My Life Wandered On

Richard Jones The Dresser’s Mirror

James Scruton An Old Hotel Elevator in Rome

Steve Myers Sorrento: The Morning Masses

Amy Eisner Ventilation

Andrea O’Rourke An Old Photo of You Taken in a Gin Mill Outside Zagreb

Ken Poyner The Glorious Campaign

Lisa Hartz Hannover/Kandahar

Lisa Hartz Kertesz Convalesces at Esztergom, 1917

Anya Silver Doing Laundry in Budapest

Carrie Shipers Migration

Janice Lynch Schuster Setting Sail

Perie Longo The Familiar

Roger Desy Windbreaks

June Frankland Baker At Immediate Care

Carol Hamilton Train Ride From D.C. to Philly in March

Michelle Turner March Equinox

Mary-Sherman Willis The Square Nest

Colette Inez Quake Notes

Ace Boggess Flight of Fancy

Richard Pierce Ride the Galaxy Ferris

Lee Colin Thomas Going Somewhere

David Ray Overcoming Literary Despair


World Poets in in Translation

Dan Turèll (Denmark) Introduction by Thomas E. Kennedy

Total Euphoria

It Isn’t Easy

I Should Have Been a Taxi Driver

Today’s Sermon According to Disney

Charlie Parker on Isted Street



Essay & Reviews

Mary-Sherman Willis reviews Nox by Anne Carson, That This by Susan Howe, and One with Others [a little book of her days] by C.D. Wright

Sunil Freeman reviews torch song tango choir by Julia Sophia Paegle, Flamenco Hips and Red Mud Feet by Dixie Salazar, and Human Nature by Gary Soto

Barbara Goldberg reviews Rookery by Traci Brimhall and Say So by Dora Malech

Robert Levine reviews Incarnality: The Collected Poems by Rod Jellema

Index: Volume 106, 1-4