The Incredible Sestina Anthology, recently published by Write Bloody, demonstrates editor Daniel Nester’s penchant for greatest hits. On a Wednesday night at the NYU Bookstore, Daniel Nester is excited, and he bounds to the podium each time another of the poets, recently published in The Incredible Sestina Anthology, finishes their piece. During the reading he sits in the front row in his usual pose, hand on cheek, rapt, along with the rest of the audience. Compiling a varied collection of more than 100 sestinas, the collection is reawakening a genre. Obsessive and enchanting, The Incredible Sestina Anthology is a pleasure to flip through, and an essential to own. For interviews with many of the sestina authors, visit here, for a sestina sampler, see below.
Beth Gylys NOT AN AFFAIR: A SESTINA
You’re crazy if you called this an affair.
We slept together, and I made you come.
No big deal. You’ve got a lot of strange
ideas. You think you know so much about me,
think because you’ve seen me naked that counts
for something. Just because I put my head
Victor D. Infante SIX PORTRAITS OF DISINTEGRATION
This is where we meet, in the crumbling,
navigation by skin flakes, chips of bone,
these trails of ourselves that we leave behind
as we learn what’s breadth and what is breathing,
that baby teeth were our first offering,
hard truths that fell unbidden from our mouths.
Noelle Kocot WHY WE GO TO COUPLE’S COUNSELING
In spite of all common sense, I make my home in the rotisserie
Of your teeth. This was all prewritten on the gravity
Of a giant planet, and those slightly corrupted
Particles of light that formed the stars.
You say the Eternal. The eternal is not mine but has a Big Mission.
Despite our differences, we manage to create a hoax.
Eric LeMay THE SESTINA OF O
Rule one: The mouth rounds open as an O.
That shape’s yours, Slave, to lavish and caress
Whatever Master thrusts in you. It’ll go
Hard on your ass unless you mouth, “O yes!”
Drool, too. Unlike love, drool’s a no-no.
Droolers are beat in a big and baby’s dress.
Florence Cassen Mayers ALL-AMERICAN SESTINA
One nation, indivisible,
three strikes you’re out
Jeffrey Morgan WHEN UNREAL GIRLFRIENDS DIE: THE MANTI TE’O SESTINA
Sadness pulls its drawstrings tight and a tragedy
that never happened becomes loss we
can’t answer for by carving a rectangle in the ground.
This kind of duplicity is so much more than two.
A tabernacle of coaches, a clowder of teammates;
we are poor indeed when only life measures death.
Amanda Nadelberg MY NEW PET NAME IS MOZZARELLA
My new pet word is mozzarella
and I like how it sounds. You
mozzarella me when you park the
car. When you open the mail with
your teeth. Teeth are not tools my
friend’s mom says and she’s a
Kiki Petrosino CRUSADERS
The note you dropped became a bird.
It sleeps in my chest.
Wings abjure in dreaming white.
How fast it dreams.
A silence in the canebrake.