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North American Review


Coincidentally, this invitation to submit to NAR’s blog comes shortly after I shared “Class Trip” (the poem they generously published back in 2011) at a local reading, so I was already thinking about the poem, and the mindset I was in when I...

I often tell my poetry students that all poems are elegies, in the sense that even the most celebratory ode or heartfelt epithalamium has within its lines traces of that darker brush. We cling tighter to any moment of joy or celebration because we know it’s fleeting. The loved one is made all the more precious by the knowledge that he or she might leave us. Every poem tips its hat to this most basic principle, what Elizabeth Bishop called the “art of losing” in a poem I’ve often turned to in...

I consider myself an activist as well as a poet, and have long debated whether the twain need meet. I believe in poetry’s power to move people and that we are all products of our time, so even a small detail in a poem might hint at a problem of the day.

For example, say lovers are strolling along a riverbank at night, and some of the moonlight is reflecting off broken bottles and cans. The poem may never stray any further from the couple’s affairs, but that image and the suggestion of...

My poem “The Cheshire Cat Effect” reflects my interest in the intersection of quantum mathematics and poetry. This is an interdisciplinary field that’s really got me excited these days because I feel like there’s a lot of productive thinking to be done about the relationship of the arts and the sciences. And also our culture, whether it’s reflected through the arts, or through psychology or religion, still has barely begun to come to terms with the implications of quantum physics although it...

American Eye: What Makes Bernie Run? by Stephen Minot was featured in issue 274.4.

In the December 1989 issue of North American Review, Stephen Minot began his profile of Bernie Sanders with the following:

“The political career of Bernard Sanders is a succession of impossible events. How does an outspoken socialist from Brooklyn become mayor of Burlington, Vermont? How...


A few years ago, a writer named Matthew Batt (check out his great book Sugarhouse) visited my school in Florida to read. As part of the gig, he talked to my creative nonfiction class and opened with the question: What pair of shoes do you remember best?  Students I had been trying to coax out of their shells all semester long finally emerged to share vivid, funny, and...

Childhood dream



Nobody tells you this:

Every day is a creation story.


You’ll make a dome of light over waste and welter

some of the time, then wake one night


on your side of the bed and remember:

There weren’t many happy endings.


First the ripe fruit. Then the way he turned from her,

said it was her idea.


Nobody tells you this will happen again


Illustration by Matt Manley

Ideas for a project beyond survival

A friend says my picture looks like I am throwing a dazzling parade of ideas. I don’t have any ideas for a project beyond survival. This is from a project I am calling Survival. What am I currently working on? I am currently working on not getting sick/fired/overdrafted/divorced. I am currently working on forms and checks, not forgetting fucking milk. I am currently fixing the broken chain-link fence out back. I stand up in front of an audience and...

I do not mean to come off as overly idealistic. I can't feed, clothe, and provide compasses to all of the lost, broke, talented, and up-and-coming writers out there anymore than I can sustain myself. What I can do, however, is talk about submitting to literary journals from an empathetic standpoint, if only because for the last nine months I have done nothing but sit, write, workshop poems in a weekly group, and submit.

The past year has netted some great results. It has also netted...


North American Review
1200 West 23rd Street
Cedar Falls, IA 50614

Phone: 319-273-6455


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