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Vital Desert Lesson Number One Nothing can be more useful to a man than a determination not to be hurried. – Henry David Thoreau   Living on beans and bread in an abandoned cabin no larger than a tool shed, I’d be happy,   I once said. If I could just remain immobile, silent. No place to go, I’d read Dante’s Inferno and ponder   the nature of mass movements, the building of Babel’s tower, the steam locomotive.   Dawn and dusk I’d thank sun and moon that I’d escaped the grinding bustle, that nothing disturbed my dreams.   Oh, I know it all seems too idyllic, but one vital lesson this desert’s teaching: let nothing rush me—not the heat   I try to keep out of, not the man [...]


TheThe Poetry Blog's Infoxicated Corner has nominated the following poems (and poets) for 2015's Best of the Net:   Annie Won's "The Nine Circles of IKEA" Jezmina Von Thiele's "Transfiguration of the Black Madonna: Gypsy Goddess, Gypsy Saint" Leigh Anne Hornfeldt's "Dilemma" Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie's "Blue Libation" Margaret Bashaar's "There Is Really No Such Thing As Winning" Saba Razvi's "Gingerbread Girl"   We were privileged to give these poems a home, and wish only that we could have nominated even a bit more of the amazing work with which we've been graced in the past year. Looking forward to 2016's poetry features! Until then: onwards, and with love.

Some Men    Men who’ve kissed with passion the full lips of women they didn’t love, men   who’ve grown too reticent for the confessional, who’ve cleaned public restrooms,   wiped menstrual blood from their walls, who’ve written— then scrubbed off—vile graffiti from the rusting doors   of shithouse stalls. Men who’ve grown enormous with disregard, rolls of it bellying over   their wide belts. Men who’ve been barbers of the dead and were happy for the work,   men who’ve become what they’ve microwaved, who overvalue the quality of their erections   and fawn over them like the town’s new Wal-Mart. Men who look awful in suits, who’ve been there   and back yet grew impatient, men who go to wakes to keep up appearances, who’ve made a deal [...]

The Bride I met her on her wedding day Walked up to her, and smiled, No one ever talks to the bride I thought it might be interesting to try something new, Break tradition Henna patterns wrapped around her wrists climbed up her arms Spreading blossoms on tender flesh Her lips were a wilted crimson Tilted ever so slightly to the side, A perfect almost smile The first thing her mother taught her was to wipe the tears before the blood dries, Shredded knees heal, but shame never fades away, Don’t climb trees or ride bikes, That’s how little girls lose their virginity She sat on a porcelain throne beads and bows holding plastic flowers to the arm rests “are you alright?” I asked “I shouldn’t cry” she said, fingers [...]

emily vogel

There's a tenderness and intimacy beneath the book's howling winds and snowfall, a celebration of love between the narrative's speaker, her husband, and their firstborn daughter.

'Seaglass Picnic' has the beauty, vibrancy and whimsy of sea glass, as well as the unpredictability and destabilizing force of rape and PTSD

  Father took a hand saw to the rain gutter, but doubted my garbage bin would fill. How do I explain that there is no     water?   The bin filled in five minutes and we bought three more no fancy DIY spout nozzles, just hacked gutters, trash bins and screen for the worms/leaves/debris   I’ve watched the fog, but it’s more than fog -- I’ve watched the ocean’s selfie, haha, an imprint of itself: imagine the Pacific CRASHING against rock, the spray, the sonic boom of it all, now imagine that spray collecting - grabbing on to each other and pulling the marine layer from just above our heads and running, like bodies screaming for justice on the highway, for the mountains. I’ve watched the fog crash over the [...]

Rest Stop We are all the year’s worries tossed into the dark dustbin of the sea. Swirling plastic returned, reared on its haunches. Let’s live slow and die when we do. Below the mess, kids are walking home from school. Gash the screen door to let the bugs in–– let them pinch my skin. I’ll coo investment tips in your ears. Anchor me to the all of our lives nestled in the hollow of this lake. Unbuckle my seatbelt. Unfasten my tongue. ___________________________________________ Devi K. Lockwood is a poet / touring cyclist / storyteller currently traveling the world by bicycle and by boat to collect 1001 stories from people she meets about water and/or climate change. You can keep up to date with her travels at

For Emmett   And if you are a boy, you might imagine the hairline that crawls backward without resistance.   The barber was a good barber. Give him a blade and his grandfather emerges from the palm, like a slave that was a good slave, raking the weeds back until all you see is a shaven field of grass, ready for eyes to bear witness to this marvelous thing. The barber might’ve talked to Emmett about his grandfather, the hands that grooms the America black folk always attempt to believe in. I’m sure Emmett would’ve cracked a joke, light- ened the mood for the body to settle in and humor toughens the skin, I am told. I know he could not have bled even if the razor wished to carve [...]

Cynthia Atkins opens her second collection of poetry with a meditation on family love by early twentieth century poet, T.S. Eliot, who writes of such unions as “love that’s lived in, but not looked at, love within the light of which all else is seen, the love within which all other love finds speech.” “This love,” continues Eliot “is silent.”

Jackleg Opera: Collected Poems, 1990 to 2013. BJ Ward. North Atlantic Books, 2014. 272 pages, ISBN: 978-1-58394-677-0 Jackleg Opera is the fourth collection by BJ Ward and is a collected poems gathering together over twenty years of amazing work. It was published at the end of 2013 by North Atlantic Books and should be on everyone’s bookshelf. Ward’s poetry is an incredible blend of wit, intelligence, playfulness and insight. He is a poet that not only loves language and craft but loves humanity, the adept phrasing that reflects the hidden emotional realities, charting what Emily Dickinson called the “internal difference where the meanings are.” His own words describe the accomplishment of his poetry, for his poems are a net to capture the moment but release the energy --Suzuki Dance This [...]

Michael T. Young: Thank you, BJ, for agreeing to an interview. Your newest collection, Jackleg Opera, is your fourth, and is a new and collected poems. Could you comment on putting it together: how and if you worked on the new poems to connect thematically in any way to the whole or just worked on the newer poems independently of any overall cohesion? BJ Ward: I worked on the new poems as they came to me, not concerning myself with how or where they connected to the other work. Once I had about sixty poems that were publishable or had already been published somewhere, I chose and arranged the thirty-three new poems that make up the first part of the book. The thirty-fourth new poem I placed after my 2002 book, [...]

Sarasvati Sarasvati at the river in the gaze of a goose foraging like I am at her banks through gratitude and fear willing that some bridge appear carry me down the middle of this way mapped by blood and memory she sees me wraps me in her veil shows me her name everywhere in river reeds and starlings honey mirror at the bottom of my tea the billboard I see reads: the path is clear I am ready   Listen to the audio version of this poem here.     GROW Me... Mine... My... You  will  all  expire whether  your  spine is  crushed in  9  places or  your  body  just runs  out  of  breath and  right  after  your  death some  other voice  talking  through dirt  shaped into  skin will  walk [...]

Keisha-Gaye Anderson is author of the poetry collection Gathering the Waters (Jamii Publishing, 2014), which has been described as "a lyrical outpouring of kinship, heritage, and a woman’s transformation within the world that envelops her . . . a rich compendium of heartfelt poetic verse." As both a writer & reader of mystical poetry, I found her work lovely and compelling, and invited her to the Infoxicated Corner for a conversation about her aesthetic, influences, process, and work overall. Fox Frazier-Foley: I first learned about your work from your book, Gathering the Waters, which I was drawn to read because I thought the cover was so lovely and striking. Can you tell us a little bit about the genesis of that book? What was your process like in creating it? And [...]

    Montana Ray is a feminist poet, translator, and scholar. She is the author of five chapbooks and bookworks. Her first full-length poetry collection, (guns & butter), is now available from Argos Books. She’s a PhD student in comparative literature at Columbia University and the mom of budding zoologist, Amadeus.

Montana Ray is the author of (guns&butter), published this year by Argos Books. Intrigued by the poem she sent me for TheThe's Infoxicated Corner (also appearing here today), I asked whether she'd be interested in doing a Q&A on the blog as well. Here's the deeply enjoyable conversation that ensued:   Fox Frazier-Foley: Tell me a little bit more about the project of (guns & butter). Did you know from the start that you wanted to write a book of gun-shaped poems? How did that come together? What is your overall vision for the book? And, other than the beautiful sonic resonance between the two words -- what's butter got to do with it? (I mean, I guess butter has to do with everything for some of us. My family [...]