A Year in the Literary Life

American Poets Abroad is no longer accepting submissions and will not be publishing new poetry for the foreseeable future. We extend our apologies to all those who sent us work in the past few months, as we have not responded. Be sure that we appreciate your participation.

APA was begun as an experiment, in part to see what the submissions process was like from an editorial perspective, in part with the hope of contributing to the ever-growing sphere of the online literary galaxies that tend to dwarf the less bright stars. Much more poetry was submitted than we ever thought possible in the beginning–some excellent, some very bad. It has been an education, to say the least.

To everyone whose poetry we did publish: a heartfelt thanks for sending us your work. It will remain in the archive, of course. We are still here–a record of twelve months in the life of a tiny literary journal in the year 2008.


The Editor

See You in January!

American Poets Abroad is taking a break until the new year. Anyone who submitted poetry before November 15 will hear from us eventually. We apologize to those who are patiently awaiting a response–it has been beyond our abilities lately, but we hope to get to you soon. If you submitted after Nov. 15, you either did not consult the “submissions” page or did and sent poems anyway. Sorry, but they will not be considered.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and a Cool Kwanzaa to everyone!

The Editors

House Coffee

With a purpose, like a lung,
I stroll in the dark, like a kidney.
This morning the borough bristles with activity,
the coffee is good and Garrison Keillor is nowhere to be found.
My brain feels like a wet sponge.
So for now, in the name of Mr. Leavy’s Advance to Literacy class,
and all the classes who should read more and learn to write,
for now, for them, I write.
This daily practice,
the perambulations of a man looking for a thread.
I don’t feel the dark today, that comfy negation
which lends mock gravity to a poem
whose only real desire is lightness.
Like a student makes bricks of HD’s syllables
while reading to the class
it is almost an accidental, naïve state,
to fall into gravity’s loose, loving hold.
In praise of living,
of deciding not to destroy,
let’s move on like seagulls, freighters, trains, trucks, hitch hikers:
these images, a few of an infinity
used to describe the senses’ experience,
are culled from the dusty trousers of the dead
like a pickpocket, a thief, a good listener.

We read to make truths of our fictions.
We write to make fictions our truths.

Kevin Stack

Heaven, Or Notes on a Cemetery in Hong Kong

In one area of this neighborhood cemetery
are the Japanese.  Loved ones
bring sticks of incense, which smoke
throughout the day.
Some leave cups of sake,
bottles of beer.
One woman burns paper money,
for her husband’s love
of gambling. 
I imagine my former lovers
leaning from heaven’s windows, shouting
my name, inviting me up.
But here in the Christian area of the cemetery
a sad resignation reigns.
Most relatives have moved long ago,
found jobs in other cities,
left behind their flower vases
like mailboxes in front
of abandoned houses,   


Bob Bradshaw


Nothing but eyes. Eyes wrapped tight
In black cloth. Painful eyes
Hard to look at.

Do they make reports
To a pantheon of gods
As we watch from binoculars?

Surely it is some strange call.
They pass the cell phone
And hold minute debates.

Soon they will steal to low decks
And scatter among the freight,
Brandishing kaiser blades.

But for now they are waiting,
Bobbing in their skinny wooden dowels
That rock in the mint tones.

Steven Blythe

Haceta Head Beach

Our stark shadows at the waters edge
wavering on the sand
following maybe leading us
the candor of the ocean at our feet
rushing over an arch
engulfing an ankle
a lifetime, an afternoon.
I walk behind you
an old man’s hat on your head
brim cocked towards the sky
your hair braided down your back
pantaloons tucked in
high woolen socks
a woman from the Andes—

Janice D. Rubin

Our New Windmills

Have you seen the windmills recently
Don Quixote?
They have grown,
Giants now if they ever were.
I suppose that is the way of things.
No longer just one in the fields,
Looking to pick a fight.
They have banded together. Dozens. Hundreds.
Sleek and hard-bodied.
They stand, unmoving, in rank and file
Across our wide open spaces,
Never sleeping.
Their red blinking eyes watching us
And arms that never stop swinging
Through the entire night.
How are you supposed to fight something like that?

Daniel Gilmore

Contrasting Views

"Literalism is a feature of boorish translators." Cicero "The clumsiest literal translation is a thousand times more useful than the prettiest paraphrase." Nabokov

The Faerie Queene

"John Ashbery said reading the Faerie Queene was like reading an endless beautiful comic strip." Kenneth Koch

Sigmund Freud

"Everywhere I go, I find a poet has been there before me."


December 2019
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