An Excerpt from “57 Octaves Below Middle C” by Kevin McIlvoy

An excerpt, “at dusk, as always, Bender sang to us,” from 57 Octaves Below Middle C, by Kevin McIlvoy:

At dusk, as always, Bender sang to our congregation, silver hair greasing her blouse, tin on the toes of her boots.

When we were grade-school children, she and I liked duct tape. We liked it like you could never believe. Our favorite thing to steal from the corner store was that silver coil. The way it ripped across, how it stretched over. It gripped!

She stood on the white twenty-gallon empty drum, her boot heels burning the plastic, her tempo uneven. We were a communion of over a dozen church-bums who loved her and were frightened by her hawk-at-the-tree-crown and hawk-on-the-glide shoulders and head, her wings at her sides, her hands palms out, fingers curled up.

Bender and I once duct-taped a picture of our father, who was dying in the Simic State Penitentiary hospital, to a globe sent by our Aunt Horror. On the globe our father clung to the deep South. He spun fast without flying off. When the globe slowed down, his head did a half-turn on his neck, then a turn back by half that. We tore the thing apart, duct-taped the entire planet, kicked it anywhere we wanted. Dented part of Asia, most of Antarctica. Had to re-tape.

57 Octaves Below Middle C (Four Way Books, 2017). Order here from Four Way Books.

Four Poems by Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Four Poems by Gabrielle Calvocoressi appear in The Kenyon Review Online:

[There’s a point]

There’s a point where it all gets still,

    when the Bandleader’s there between the branches

of my fingers. When I cover my eyes

   as if to block 𝄋 out. To the left of us,

to the left of the city an hour away,

[. . . continue reading ‘[There’s a point]’ and three other poems here.]


Community Digest


Extended Famlies: A Memoir of India by Ven Begamudre (fiction, ’99) is available now for through Cocteau Books.


A collection of short stories, The Dark Dark by Samantha Hunt (fiction ’99) is available from Farrar, Straus & Giroux.


Lesley Valdes (poetry, ’15) has a poem, “At the corner store–” in The Boiler. 




Two poems by Dilruba Ahmed (poetry, 09) appear in Alaska Quarterly Review:



57 Octaves Below Middle C by Kevin McIlvoy is available now from Four Way Books.




The Hidden Machinery: Essays on Writing by Margot Livesey is available now from Tin House Books.

“The White Road” by Daniel Tobin  (poetry ’90)

“The White Road” by Daniel Tobin (poetry ’90)

“The White Road” by Dan Tobin (poetry ’90) appears in the recent edition of PLUME

I am walking along the dazzling ruin of a road I knew
When I was fourteen, summer, and the days stretch out
Like the road itself, or like that song about a road heading
Somewhere far off into the unseen and the one walking,
Caminante no hay camino, knows he’s come upon his life
Rising up to him in white quartz macadam and heat-haze.

Read the rest of the poem here: THE WHITE ROAD

Daniel Tobin is the author of seven books of poems, most recently Belated Heavens (winner of the Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry), The Net, and From Nothing, as well as the critical studies Passage to the Center and Awake in America: On Irish-American Poetry.  He is the editor of The Book of Irish American Poetry from the Eighteenth Century to the Present, Light in Hand: Selected Early Poems of Lola RidgePoet’s Work, Poet’s Play and The Collected Early Poems of Lola Ridge (Spring 2017). His awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

Two Poems by Rodney Jones, excerpts from Village Prodigies, on Poetry Daily

LXXXIII (Chanterelles)

Black trumpets, whale-colored pamphlets, or shingles, or ears, book-
marks of the netherworld, breakast food of the box turtle.

For a long time, she could not find them, hovering just above them
the way an inanimate lamp will hang blindly above the lucidities
of geometry.

. . . continue reading here.


How quickly they came to their bodies and never that protean instant of
metamorphosis, only one day both were inexplicably large with the downy,

. . . continue reading here.