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Poetry

An article I wrote for Ohio Outdoor News this summer detailed the industry that, in Ohio, is uniquely Lake Erie: Fish cleaning houses.  They are smelly, wet and when the fishing is good, extremely busy.  The workers are paid piecework, generally -- that is, by the pound.  The more they clean, the faster they clean, the more they get paid.  It is long, hard, dirty work, but can pay well.  While I usually clean my own walleye, I always take my yellow perch (which are tiny compared to walleye)...

I taught the composing of poetry for thirty-seven years at the college. Here is a little note and a list I sent out before each class began.

Let's make poems for some real reasons to enter art—to bring worlds to one another that we otherwise would not have, to create a place where you are safe to be you, to give your inward self the care and validation it needs and deserves, to write in order to have moments IN the writing that bring to you what you most cherish, care about, that...

Chelsea Henderson's poem "Errata" won second place in the 2010 James Hearst Poetry Prize.

A note from the author: I wrote "Errata" the summer after my second year of college, a summer that was difficult and emotional in many ways.  I read Simic's "Errata"---which inspired my somewhat shameless take on his poem---and something about the emotional compression, the barely-muted desperation and longing, in his poem really struck me.  In writing "Errata," which I wrote in about 30 minutes...

Ted Kooser's poem "The Corpse of an Old Woman" can be found in Vol. 251, No. 6 (Nov., 1966), p.14, http://www.jstor.org/stable/25116500.

THE CORPSE OF AN OLD WOMAN

It has been lying on a braided rug
with a teacup in its hand since yesterday
at supper-time, and the neighbor-ladies shrug
and say "She lets the lights burn night and day."

...

Prayer for My New Daughter

After Yeats, and inspired by an attack on transgender students using a “bathroom with urinals” at a college in the northeastern US.

A soul in chrysalis, in first agonized molt,
must choose: LADIES, or MENS.
For some—for you—these rooms are fraught,
an open field...

Sort of a strange experience on the writing of these two poems. I was an avid reader of Anna Akhmatova’s poetry, but it’s been years since I’ve read her work. The other night I had a dream about her: I was in a dark café—probably the Stray Dog, a name that always stuck with me in the biography, where Russian poets would meet and read their poems. Akhmatova stood up on the stage. I was trying desperately to make out the words of the poem, but I couldn’t hear her. The only thing I could hear...

Gaye McKenney's poem "Demolition" from the 2009 Spring issue of the North American Review received an Honorable Mention in the James Hearst Poetry Prize.

...

Devi Laskar's "The All-Saints, Ga., Overeaters Support Group (meeting 18)" was a finalist in the James Hearst Poetry Prize in Spring 2011.

The All-Saints, Ga., Overeaters Support Group
(meeting #18)

First we talk about watermelons—
a modern, American reference...

Michael Kriesel's poem "Mineral Kingdom" was published in issue 295.2, Spring 2010. Michael was also the 2015 James Hearst Poetry Prize winner.

Notes from the author:

"Mineral Kingdom" comes from an 18-month period during which I wrote 72 Abecedariums & Double Abecedariums, all with a metaphysical / occult theme. I was working 4 hours each evening as a janitor in a small rural elementary school, a job intentionally chosen for its low mental stress. The rest of my my day was...

Philip Dacey's "Leaves of Lucre" was published in the North America Review's 2009 spring issue.

Author's note: “Leaves of Lucre” appears in a completed but as as-yet-unpublished book manuscript of poems entitled The Ice-Cream Vigils: Poems on the Life and Work of Walt Whitman. If the book is ever published, it...

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