Archive by Author

Roxane Gay at Wigleaf

17 Dec

Roxane has an incredible piece over at Wigleaf titled “The Widow Takes Her Coffee Black.” In a very, very compressed space, this story gets at the heart of social expectations, the pressures that others put on us, the assumptions that they make about us–and the awkward and uncomfortable ways that we try to extricate ourselves from those expectations.

I almost didn’t write about it here: it feels a little like nepotism, now that she’s contributing here. But I kept coming back to it, or it kept coming back to me. And so I decided, nepotism or not, I was going to send you over there to read it.

Cami Park

10 Dec

We’ve lost Cami Park.

Here’s the opening from her poem “Flying or Falling,” which appeared in JMWW a few years ago:

One day, unconvinced of the best intentions
of physics, you leave the earth.
The first thing you notice is what is rendered
moot, like feet . . .

Hers is a voice that will be missed.

Secret Sonnet for the Cockroach

3 Dec

No, I’m not kidding. Really, if you’d told me ten minutes ago that I’d be endorsing a poem about a cockroach, I would have thought you were kidding. But I’m not.

Nic Sebastian posted a reading of this poem from Alex Grant’s Fear of Moving Water today.

I know you probably don’t want to spend the next few minutes with cockroaches. I know you probably would like to avoid cockroaches in all forms (including the sonnet) whenever possible. I know. I feel the same way. But trust me on this: read the poem at Verse Daily, and then listen to Nic’s reading of it at Whale Sound.

Single-Sentence Review: Sam Pink’s You Hear Ambulance Sounds and Think They Are for You

26 Nov

You are self-deprecating and a little funny and sometimes sad, and a little annoying sometimes, and I mostly like you even when you are so self-deprecating that you are a little annoying or sad.

Sam Pink’s You Hear Ambulance Sounds and Think They Are for You is available from Cow Heavy Press.

They Told Me To Lie

20 Nov

I’ve been absent from Vouched for a little while, buried beneath a stack of student work that would bury a small car. A Yugo, perhaps, if they still made them. Or maybe one of those Volkswagen pickup trucks, if they still made those. But tonight, after reading the most recent issue of TYPO, I’m back. I’m back to tell you that I’m especially struck by Anthony Madrid’s “They Told Me To Lie and I Said No.” And to tell you that you should read it.

God. Heaven. Hell. Buddha. Sex. Death. Love. Correcting the story of Adam’s rib. In nine sections. Seriously, I don’t know what you’re doing on this fine Friday evening, but if you have time to be reading this, then I’m guessing you have time to jet on over to TYPO and read this poem:

Indeed, the magic wand thing is always on backwards. You touch a thing
With the wand, yes—but it’s you who are magically changed.

And then, if you’re so inclined, check out some of his other work at AGNI, Conjunctions, and Shampoo.

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming’s “Dendrochronology”

5 Nov

In putting together the latest issue of Willows Wept Review, I got the chance to read a lot of great work. And much of the time, I’m able to articulate what I love about a piece pretty easily.

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming’s poem “Dendrochronology,” however, was an exception.

When I read it, I knew immediately that I wanted to publish it, but I wasn’t quite sure why. There was something about the poem that haunted me, and I found for days that it had stuck in my memory, that I was turning it over in my head while I was driving or running or cooking dinner. I knew it was great, knew there was something true in the comparison the poem makes, but I finally realized that I wasn’t sure what it meant to compare love to poplar.

The issue released last Friday, and it wasn’t until Tammy wrote about the poem on the Cha blog that I started to understand the poem in a rational way.

Lately, I’ve been teaching Jonathan Edwards’s “A Divine and Supernatural Light” and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” in my American literature classes, and Tammy’s poem has made me more aware of the distinction that both of these writers make between sensory knowledge and rational knowledge–I recognized this poem’s greatness when I first read it, had a sense of its truth, but it wasn’t until much later, until after reading her own thoughts about the poem, that I came to a logical understanding of it.

I’ll invite you to read the poem over at Willows Wept Review, to see if it has the same effect on you that it has had on me. And then, when you’re ready, to read Tammy’s comments about it.

Jon Cone Channels Whitman

7 Oct

Or maybe it’s Ginsberg. Or maybe it’s actually Dostoevsky. I like to think it’s Whitman, though.

In any case, you should check out his two poems over in the new issue of elimae:

My severed! Lonely, apart!

Rough-edged, bloody!

Read the rest over at elimae.

“Bones” by Rumjhum Biswas

27 Sep

The newest issue of Cha is out, and I think you’ll find it to be an excellent issue all around. I’m particularly taken with Rumjhum Biswas’s poem “Bones,” which begins this way:

The smallest bones I collected,
still warm and sticky
from your smoldering pyre.

You can read the whole poem over at Cha. When you’re done, check out Cha editor Tammy Ho Lai-Ming’s comments about the poem at the Cha blog.

Molly Gaudry’s “Soulkeeper”

23 Sep

Molly Gaudry has an excellent short prose piece over at Necessary Fiction titled “Soulkeeper”:

The third the troubled middle girl who fell in love with the tin woman did nothing she was taught nothing she was told. Was told to kill the tin woman. Burn the tin woman. Chop the tin woman into pieces. But would not.

Head on over and read the whole thing. When you’re done, come on back and tell us how great it is.

Or better, tell somebody else. We already know.

J. A. Tyler’s “Halfway to Noah Means”

22 Sep

From “Halfway to Noah Means,” a story by J. A. Tyler just up over at Annalemma:

They have felt the rain and the jarring of the earth when mechanized earthquakes shook each city to its bottom drawers. They know that this ark and Noah are the way to find new land, are the way to lift their hooves until the water has receded.

Read the rest over at Annalemma, and you’ll also get to check out the great art by Max Kauffman.