On Verse

The Impassive Listener: Rusty Morrison

A chainlink is an apt image for the way concepts and objects become a single edifice, the way objects and meaning create boundary and enclosure, the way perception becomes partition…

Of Grievance and Grief: Marilyn Chin

I first encountered Marilyn Chin’s poetry through a video clip from the San Diego Border Voices Poetry Festival. In the clip Chin—with her wild wavy hair and red lipstick—faces the…

Built of Voices: Kiese Laymon and Leigh Stein

Kiese Laymon and Leigh Stein do not appear to share much in the way of common experience. Laymon is a black man from Mississippi; Stein is a white half-Jewish woman…

6 Meditations Toward an Appreciation of Lynne Savitt

1. To Begin with Freud There’s a famous (or infamous, and possibly apocryphal) Sigmund Freud quote, which is also posthumously attributed and likely offhand: “The great question that has never…

404: Identity Not Found

In March 2008, a month shy of his forty-fifth birthday, the critic and poet Reginald Shepherd was battling an aggressive form of colon cancer. The disease had already metastisized to…

Someday You’ll Love Roger Reeves

Shortly after the New Year, the Poetry Society of America shared the responses of Black poets to the question, “What’s African American about African American Poetry?” in its ongoing “Yet…

Musica Ex Machinae

An incidental byproduct of machinery, music muttered under the breath, the sound of human voices and the human heart: Hum, the title of Jamaal May’s debut poetry collection, is also…

Reboot: Landscape: New England

Alexandria Peary’s Control Bird Alt Delete is her third book of poetry and winner of the 2013 Iowa Poetry Prize. It is a collection that plays with the idea of…

In Which The Critical Flame Dedicates One Year to Women Writers and Writers of Color

Women writers and writers of color are underserved and undervalued by the contemporary literary community. The phenomenon has been well documented by critics such as Roxane Gay and Ruth Franklin, and by…

A Feminist Ontology of Ooziness: On Kim Hyesoon

Kim Hyesoon’s 132-page translated collection All the Garbage of the World, Unite! contains a poetry that is not built on metaphysical or metaphoric associations. An object, image, or process does…

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