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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

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

by Sandro Penna

The insomnia of swallows. The quiet
Friend come to greet me
                                              at the station
L’insonnia delle rondini. L’amico
Quieto a salutarmi alla stazione.

Sandro Penna, translated by Alexander Booth

Out To Lunch

Back soon!

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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