Tag Archive for: Poetry

“In the year of our Lord’s rising this April first” by Idris Anderson (poetry ’06), published by Peacock Journal.

In the year of our Lord’s rising this April first

Easter and Fool’s day. Aren’t they the same?
Well yes, today anyway. And it’s spring,
cherry blossoms full out, blowing like snow,
scatterings of snow, for it has been cold
and the sky is castover, the air not clear,
trees hiving with bees humming one sustainable note,
electric tremblings,  hundreds of tiny fluorescent bulbs.
Light! Light! The sun has risen but is dimmed.

[…continue reading “In the year of our Lord’s rising this April first” as well as four other poems by Idris Anderson (poetry ’06) at Peacock Journal.]

“The Children” by Dilruba Ahmed (poetry ’09), published by Four Way Review.

The Children

How each one is taken  
with care from car 

to school doorstep, each one 

hand-in-hand with an adult.  
How the mothers 

and fathers kiss 

their foreheads, first 
pushing aside their bangs 

or smoothing 

a stray wisp.  One 
parent straightens 

her daughter’s velvet 

headband; another wipes 
dried oatmeal 

from his son’s pink lips.  

[…continue reading “The Children” as well as two other poems at Four Way Review. You can also find another poem, “When the Time Comes,” at Blackbird.]

“Blake Griffin Dunks Over A Car” by faculty member Matthew Olzmann (poetry ’09), published by Four Way Review.

Blake Griffin Dunks Over A Car

with a full gospel choir crooning behind him,
with twenty thousand spectators surging to their feet, 
with an arena of flashbulbs flashing its approval, 
and I’m spellbound, thinking it’s all so spectacular, until 

the broadcast team weighs in, 
and Charles Barkley says, “That wasn’t the greatest dunk,” 
and Marv Albert says, “But the presentation was pretty fun,”  
and I’m made to revisit what I thought I saw 
as one question replaces all others—

Was it truly extraordinary? Or, by the paragon 
of unimpeachable aesthetic standards by which 
the annual NBA Slam Dunk Competition is adjudicated, 
was it actually pedestrian, mortal, a somewhat meh occurrence
made mythic only through gimmicks and frills?  

[…continue reading “Blake Griffin Dunks Over A Car” at Four Way Review.]

“In Praise of Lucille Clifton” by Reginald Dwayne Betts (poetry ’10), published by The New York Times.

In Praise of Lucille Clifton

The poet Reginald Dwayne Betts, whose new collection is “Felon,” on the writer who helped him come to terms with himself.

A decade after Lucille Clifton’s “Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir, 1969-1980” and “Next: New Poems” were both finalists for the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in poetry, I was a prisoner at Red Onion State Prison in Virginia, befriended by a brother with long locs, a knife stashed in the dirt on the rec yard and a copy of Michael Harper’s anthology “Every Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep.” The man’s name I’ve long forgotten, but Clifton’s poems in that book — all of them taken from her first four collections, also found in “Good Woman” — would follow me in a way rivaled only by those years in a cell.

This is the thing. Back then every day teemed with violence, and the poems, like all of Clifton’s poems, let me imagine even the wildest dudes around me as my brother. I read “cutting greens” as a way to understand my bid and all its contradictions. Prisons held our “bodies in an obscene embrace” and we were left, often, “thinking of everything but kinship.” But at some point, you realized that “the pot is black, / the cutting board is black, / my hand, / and just for a minute / the greens roll black under the knife / and the kitchen twists dark on its spine / and i taste in my natural appetite / the bond of living things everywhere.”

During those days, no one called me by my father’s name. Instead, for a few years I’d been going by Shahid, christening myself with the Arabic word for witness. Everyone around me was changing his name, the chosen nom de plumes all abstract and aspirational: Divine God Allah, Wisdom Self, Double-barrel, Icepick. Then I read Clifton’s “my poem.” The poem was an announcement, this is who I am: “mine is already / an afrikan name.”

[… continue reading “In Praise of Lucille Clifton” at The New York Times.]

“Comorbid” and “Frankenstein’s Monster” by Timothy Cook (poetry ’08), published by [PANK].


Among the living & the dying,
IV bags filled with blood
or chemo meds, air disinfected, floor

& walls antiseptic & machines
humming. The narrative
less important than

the documentation, lost
on a crashed hard drive,
red marker circles around

all the puncture wounds in my
forearms from blood
tests & MRI contrast injected

while my body lay prone
on a plastic slab. 

[… continue reading “Comorbid” and find “Frankenstein’s Monster” at [PANK].]

“Living” by Kimberly Kruge (poetry ’15), published by The Missouri Review.


All I have ever wanted in this life is to live,
but our ghosts all day climb and descend the stairs.

When you sleep, I must shake you awake at least
three times, monitor the rise and fall of your abdomen.

When the dog sleeps I must do the same.
Every morning I wonder why we planted

a tree with ephemeral blooms, and I mourn
what has been devoured by our industrious ants.

[… continue reading “Living” by at The Missouri Review.]

“The End of the War” by Shadab Zeest Hashmi (poetry ’09), published by ink node.

The End of the War

I entered the city gates in a blind-fold
led by nothing but the summer drift 
of fairy-roses
the secret musk of books

How the market puffed up
with flags and shrouds
For a few drachmas
I bought a shroud for my sword
and buried it
under the Bitter-Almond tree

[… continue reading “The End of the War” at ink node.]

photo courtesy of Vievee Francis

“Letter Beginning with Two Lines by Czeslaw Milosz” by faculty member Matthew Olzmann (poetry ’09) was part of Jenny Holzer’s new series of light projections at Rockefeller Center, VIGIL, which ran October 10-12. She projected poems from the anthology Bullets Into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence, among other works

“November 5, 1980” by Reginald Dwayne Betts (poetry ’10), published by the Boston Review.

November 5, 1980

I have called, in my wasted youth, the concrete slabs
Of prison home. Awakened to guards keeping tabs
On my breath. Bartered with every kind of madness,
The state’s mandatory minimums & my own callus.
I’ve never called a man daddy; & while sleep, twice
Wrecked cars; drank whiskey straight; nothing suffices—
I fell in love with sons I wouldn’t give my name. Once
Swam at midnight in the Atlantic’s violence,
Under the water, rattling broke the silence. I cussed
Men with fists like hambones & got beaten to dust.

[… continue reading at “November 5, 1980” at the Boston Review.]

An excerpt from “Late Sonogram” by Amanda Newell (poetry ’17), published by Rattle.

Late Sonogram

I bled through the first month of every pregnancy.
I have been bleeding for weeks. I am bleeding even now,
and I have ruined at least fifteen pairs of underwear.
Poet M says no one wants to read about my underwear,

especially not in the first stanza. She said nothing
about the second, though, or where in the poem
the poet should introduce the subject of her underwear
if she’s going to write about it. Poet A didn’t mind underwear
in the first stanza. But it was only my first draft,
and maybe he was afraid to say anything.

[… continue reading at Rattle.]