Archive for the 'From the Editors' Category

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

The New Yorker Incident

Muhammad Rahmans Kwik Meal #1 in Manhattan

Muhammad Rahman's Kwik Meal #1 in Manhattan

For anyone who missed it, which is most of you, an interesting anecdote appeared in the New Yorker’s Book Bench blog recently. It is a modest tale about a struggling young poet in Manhattan and an ambitious midtown falafel chef. Some of you who read this site regularly (we know you’re out there somewhere) might recognize a warped name or two in all of this.

Shouts go out to Macy Halford, our favorite moonlighting blogger!

Of pleasures gastronomical I sing
Incomparable treasures; everything
Cooked to perfection by the expert hands
Striving to meet
read more!

From the Editors

It’s the end of August and the end of summer, a slow time in the northern hemisphere and even slower in Italy. After a brief hiatus, American Poets Abroad resumes its semi-regular schedule of publishing. It is semi-regular because we, like you, work for a living. Were we able to dedicate all our time to the necessities of publishing, we would no doubt have a much broader readership. But, as the saying goes, ze ma she’yesh–this is all we’ve got to work with. We would like to thank all the poets who have sent us their work, excuse ourselves for all the poems we still haven’t gotten around to responding to, and encourage others to send their work to us and help us grow. Poets need readers, and readers need poetry. Our submissions guidelnes are here.

Our readers will notice that, slowly but surely, the site is being made more reader-friendly. To replace author pages we have created author categories, found on the right-hand side of the page. An author’s poems should all be accessible by clicking on his or her name on the sidebar. Thus no poems should be lost in the archives.

Welcome back!

The Editors

Else Lasker-Schuler

Franz Marc Grazing Horses

“This was the Black Swan, the Prince of Thebes, Jussuf, Tino of Baghdad.” So wrote German poet Gottfried Benn about his ex-lover Else Lasker-Schuler, the erratic, impoverished, fantastical German-Jewish poet. Lasker-Schuler, one of interwar Berlin’s most prominent poets, fled Germany in 1933 after being beaten by Nazi thugs with an iron rod. She was sixty-four. She fled to Switzerland and, eventually, Israel. She looked, in the memorable words of Jerusalem friend Heinz Politzer, “…like a solitary, exotic nightbird, with enormous eyes in an ageless face. The whole of her seemed as if carved from a mandrake root.”  At her funeral on the Mount of Olives, her poem “I Know” was recited in German, unheard of in the Jerusalem of 1945.

O God

Everywhere only brief sleep
in man, in green leaves, in the chalice of the wind.
Each turns homeward into his dead heart.

Would that the world were still a child–
and could tell me of its very first breath.

Long ago there was a great goodness in heaven,
the stars gave each other the Bible to read.
If only once I could grasp God’s hand,
or see the moon perched on his finger.

O God, O God, how far I am from thee!

Translation and biographical notes taken from the volume Else Lasker-Schuler, Selected Poems, Green Integer 2002.

Dude, where did you find that poem?

by Kurt Schwitters

Our colleague Adam Penna has found a wonderful poem in my interview with Mike Stocks  about his Belli translations. Below is the first stanza (click link for the rest). The original article can be read here.

These days Belli would write about the kids on their motorini.
He’d write about the mayor. He’d write about parking disputes.
He’d write about the druggies and alcoholics with their dogs
and their comic books. He’d write about mobile phones


On a roof in the Old City
laundry hanging in the late afternoon sunlight:
the white sheet of a woman who is my enemy,
the towel of a man who is my enemy,
to wipe off the sweat of his brow.

In the sky of the Old City
a kite.
At the other end of the string 
a child
I can’t see
because of the wall.

We have put up many flags,
they have put up many flags,
to make us think that they’re happy,
to make them think that we’re happy.

Yehuda Amichai, translated by Stephen Mitchell.

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."


January 2020
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