poem index

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        For Nicole and John

     She drew a name full of winning flesh,
Victory, I mean, so that any Yes she has to say
     We might say is a Yes achieved happily all her own—

And he drew a name large as any god,


Outside on Fremont Ave, black
snow and no such thing as a
white wig or a lovestruck violet
who sings his heart out. My lungs
ached, huge with breath and the harsh
sweetness of strange words. Veilchen,


Squint a little, and that’s my husband
           in the photograph, the sailor on the left—
the one wearing a rose composed of ink
           and the Little Bo Peep who stands
before a tiny setting sun and the blur
           on his forearm which might be a boat—


Poetic Terms/Forms

verbless poetry: Poems without verbs. On one hand, the verbless poem can create a static quality, a sense of the arrested moment, which is why it has appealed to poets who write haiku and other types of imagist poems. For example, Ezra Pound’s defining imagist poem, “In a Station of the Metro,” consists of fourteen words without a verb. It juxtaposes two images without a comment, suggesting rather than stating the relationship, and in the process freezes a moment in time. Here is the version that first appeared in Poetry (April 1913):

     The apparition  of these faces in     the crowd :
     Petals  on a wet, black bough

On the other hand, the verbless construction can give, as the linguist Otto Jespersen points out in “The Role of the Verb (1911),” “a very definite impression of motion.” That’s why verbless constructions especially appealed to the futurists, such as F. T. Marinetti (1876–1944), who eliminated verbs in order to create a sense of telegraphic

Poetic Terms/Forms

riddle: “A mystifying, misleading, or puzzling question posed as a problem to be solved or guessed often as a game” (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary). Though the dictionary definition focuses on the riddle as a question and describes it as a game, the riddle is more than a puzzle. It is both an interrogative and an expressive form, possibly the earliest form of oral literature—a formulation of thought, a mode of association, a metaphor.

The comparative work of folklorists suggests that riddle-making is virtually a universal activity, a lyric root, a contest of wit, a process of naming. The earliest riddles on record are preserved on a clay tablet from ancient Babylon. They are inscribed in Sumerian along with Assyrian translations. Here is one that Archer Taylor, the premier scholar of riddles, presents in The Literary Riddle before 1600 (1948):

Who becomes pregnant without conceiving,
who becomes fat without eating? The

Prize Citations

James Tate was the winner of the second Wallace Stevens Award. The $100,000 award recognizes outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry. The judges for the 1995 Wallace Stevens Award were John Ashbery, Jorie Graham, and Charles Simic. John Ashbery wrote the following citation.

It seem especially appropriate that James Tate has won this year's Tanning Prize [Wallace Stevens Award]. Dorothea Tanning, who established the prize in 1994, was born in the Midwest and moved to Paris with her husband Max Ernst, one of the founders of the Surrealist movement in painting; Tanning's own paintings are Surrealist, sometimes dark and haunted, but also tinged with eroticism and a witty sensuality. Tate, born in Kansas City, landed in New England where he has developed a homegrown variety of Surrealism almost in his own backyard, which figures frequently in his poetry. Both Tanning and Tate refute the idea of Surrealism as something remote from daily experince, a hermetic art for a


Poetry Book
When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz
Poetry Book
Play Dead by francine j. harris
Please Excuse This Poem, edited by Brett Fletcher Lauer and Lynn Melnick