Tag Archive for: Poetry

An excerpt from “Fifty-seven-year-old Sharecropper Woman. Hinds County Mississippi” by Gail Peck (poetry ’87), published by The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.

Fifty-seven-year-old Sharecropper Woman. Hinds County Mississippi

When there are no doctors
you do what you can, a dime with a hole
on a string tied around each ankle
to prevent headaches.
Her bare feet rest on the planks
of a porch, her feet so calloused
it’s hard to feel splinters.
How many miles have they walked among rows?

[…continue reading “Fifty-seven-year-old Sharecropper Woman. Hinds County Mississippi” at Dead Mule.]

An excerpt from “Woof” by Peter Schireson (poetry ’17), published by Vox Populi.


I take Buster out for his walk,

above us, wild geese

fly south, honking,

going nowhere, geese without edges, 

no longer geese.

[…continue reading “Woof” at Vox Populi.]

An excerpt from “Operation Babylift” by Tiana Nobile (poetry ’17), published by Kweli Journal.

Operation Babylift

“We bucket-brigade-loaded the children right up the stairs into the airplane.”
– Col. Bud Traynor, pilot

April 4, 1975

Skin still wet with mother’s
grief. I brought my baby
to them, I admit it.

Airlift Takes Off

Tucked in cardboard and stowed
two to each seat.

At 23,000 Feet Systems Fail

In the event of being born
in a country ravaged by war –


[…continue reading “Operation Babylift” at Kweli Journal.]

An excerpt from “The Palace” by faculty member Kaveh Akbar published by The New Yorker.

“There are no good kings. / Only beautiful palaces.” Kaveh Akbar’s long poem “The Palace” is both magical and matter-of-fact. The voice is by turn declarative and distraught. The poet invokes Keats, and Keats answers back. “The Palace” also captures the pleasures of everyday life as both a delight and distraction—a simple meal, its possibilities and power. Heaven here is a palace, too: a place not always seen but suffused with wishes. The poem’s leaping form is one of forward-moving fragment and enjambment, of stepping toward and stepping around its chief subject: America.

In Akbar’s poem, America is a country both welcoming and withholding, a land where teens wear T-shirts that promise the obliteration of other places. It is a lettuce spinner, sizzling oil, a goat or a dream on a spit. “The dead keep warm under America / while my mother fries eggplant on a stove,” Akbar writes. There may not be any kings in America, but there are families; there is a father who immigrates, as most do, for opportunity, and a mother for whom opportunity is an earthly garden of goodness. Akbar’s poem is about them, too. Finally, the poem is about love, including the poet’s love for a country in which he is “always elsewhere,” with poetry the ultimate homeland. – Kevin Young, poetry editor for The New Yorker

The Palace

It’s hard to remember who I’m talking to
and why. The palace burns, the palace
is fire
and my throne is comfy and

Remember: the old king invited his subjects into his home
to feast on stores of apple tarts and sweet lamb. To feast on sweet lamb of
stories. He believed

they loved him, that his goodness
had earned him their goodness.

Their goodness dragged him into the street
and tore off

his arms, plucked
his goodness out, plucked his fingers out
like feather.

[…continue reading “The Palace” at The New Yorker.]

Photo by William Anthony

An excerpt from “Portrait in Nightshade and Delayed Translation” by poetry faculty member C. Dale Young, published by the Academy of American Poets.

Portrait in Nightshade and Delayed Translation

In Saint Petersburg, on an autumn morning,
having been allowed an early entry
to the Hermitage, my family and I wandered
the empty hallways and corridors, virtually every space

adorned with famous paintings and artwork.
There must be a term for overloading on art.
One of Caravaggio’s boys smirked at us,
his lips a red that betrayed a sloppy kiss

recently delivered, while across the room
the Virgin looked on with nothing but sorrow.
Even in museums, the drama is staged.
Bored, I left my family and, steered myself,

foolish moth, toward the light coming
from a rotunda. Before me, the empty stairs.
Ready to descend, ready to step outside
into the damp and chilly air, I felt

the centuries-old reflex kick in, that sense
of being watched. When I turned, I found
no one; instead, I was staring at The Return
of the Prodigal Son. I had studied it, written about it

as a student. But no amount of study could have
prepared me for the size of it, the darkness of it.
There, the son knelt before his father, his dirty foot
left for inspection. Something broke. As clichéd

as it sounds, something inside me broke, and
as if captured on film, I found myself slowly sinking
to my knees. The tears began without warning until soon
I was sobbing. What reflex betrays one like this?

[…continue reading “Portrait in Nightshade and Delayed Translation” at poets.org]

An excerpt from “Slippage” by Kim Hamilton (poetry ’16), published by Iron Horse Review.


We need to hear everything twice these days.
Click click of rabbit teeth in wildgrass.

These days tick, a metronome
counting down the dawn’s double

whammy: golden purse, timed bomb.
The skeleton of yesterday rises, holds watch

dial with its faint echo against cold bone.

[…continue reading “Slippage” at Iron Horse Review.]

An excerpt from “Model Tribute” by Ian Randall Wilson (poetry ’02, fiction ’16), published by The Olive Press.

Model Tribute

In the land of 100 million cars,
what kind of man chooses a bike?
What kind walks? Have they
a better sky sense
of what’s up?
Fluff does not call cloud its father.
The hallway paintings are not often seen.
I wanted to cover the walls
in black, the floors in white.
My suggestions were roundly rejected.

[…continue reading “Model Tribute” at The Olive Press.]

An excerpt from “An Astonishing Plentitude” by Sarah Audsley (poetry ’19), published by Alpinist.

An Astonishing Plentitude

Before the bitter cold of ice-shatter
from wind battering the treetops, snow
drifted from gusts, before the shadows
of dusk consume the length of day, before
it is too much to slot fingertips into
rimy seams of granite, before there is frost
coating the un-harvested squash
in the garden, sit still & remember
the question you didn’t know you asked
yourself against the flicker of campfire.

[…continue reading “An Astonishing Plentitude” at Alpinist.]

Melissa Berton (left) and Rayka Zehtabchi at the 2019 Academy Awards
Melissa Berton (poetry ’93) and Rayka Zehtabchi accept the Oscar for Documentary (Short Subject) for their film “Period. End of Sentence” at the Oscars 2019.

Melissa Berton (poetry ’93) and Rayka Zehtabchi post-win interview.

Learn more about Melissa Berton (poetry ’93) and her work on the film “Period. End of Sentence.”

Tiana Nobile (poetry '17)

An excerpt from “Why I Stay” by Tiana Nobile (poetry ’17), published by Vandal Poem of the Day.

Why I Stay

In spite of the summers with heat so thick you could cut it with a knife.

I stay even though sometimes it feels like everything is out to get you.

Even though I let the night swallow me whole. Even though I got grass stuck in my spokes.

Because I’ve never had a good enough answer for where I’ve been, where I’m going.

Because belonging is subjective, and I will find my way out of the mud.

[…continue reading “Why I Stay”]