Oklahoma Loves Me

Despite the occasional unsavory remark I have–from time to time–lobbed in its direction, the Sooner State continues to publish my poems. My wife, Tulsa-born, must still have some karmic pull. Or maybe my poetry hero, John Berryman, who was hails from McAlester, home to the state pen. Which is all to say that I’ve a [...]

“First Book Poets in Conversation: Derek Mong & Dean Rader” and “99 Poems for the 99%”

My sojourn from Portland to the AWP conference in Seattle last month gave me an opportunity to chat with the poet Dean Rader, the first time I’ve been able to do so since  November of 2012 when the family and I left San Francisco for the friendlier environs of the Pacific Northwest. Dean is a generous [...]

Mantis 12 Available at AWP in Seattle!

For all of you visiting Seattle this weekend, consider dropping by the Mantis table at the Bookfair to check out our twelfth issue. The poetry, as you’ll no doubt glean from my introduction below, is outstanding: The poetry in this, Mantis’s twelfth issue, begins with a Yes and ends with the New. “Yes!” as Meredith [...]

Three New Amelin Poems Up on Asymptote

You know an online literary journal is maximizing its chosen medium when it 1) releases a (genuinely cool) Youtube trailer for its latest issue, 2) has built a searchable map of its contributors, and 3) can justifiably describe itself as located both “everywhere and nowhere” because its masthead covers the globe. Welcome to Asymptote, a [...]

A Poetic Footnote that Ends with the Department of Homeland Security

When Steve Fellner and Phil Young accepted “Flying Is Everything I Imagine Now and More”–the opening poem in Other Romes–for their 2012 anthology Love Rise Up: Poems of Social Justice, Protest & Hope, they asked for a prose note to accompany the work. Such authorial footnotes can be either enlightening (a poet reveals a telling, personal context; [...]

The Sweetest Children’s Book I Ever Did Read

When a former student asks me for a letter of recommendation, I’m generally touched. Who doesn’t want to be remembered, and remembered as a teacher, even if it entails a few hours lost to an academic endorsement? Sometimes those letters matter in an application process, sometimes they don’t. A few years ago I wrote one [...]

First Reading: W.S. Merwin, September 2000

Jane Scott, the longtime rock critic for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, used to say her career began with the greatest interview of her life. The year was 1966, the Beatles were playing Municipal Stadium, and Scott had managed to secure an exclusive with Paul McCartney. He was “charming as predicted,” she’d write, though he warned [...]

Maxim Amelin Wins 2013 Solzhenitsyn Prize, New Translations Online

On May 15th, Maxim Amelin won the prestigious 2013 Solzhenitsyn Prize, an honor given to those Russian writers and scientists–living in Russia–whose work reflects the “rare moral purity and sense of tragedy” that accompanies Russian life. The prize was bestowed by Natalya Solzhenitsyn, Solzhenitsyn’s widow. We’re pleased to honor Maxim’s accomplishment with the publication of three new [...]

Two (Relatively) Recent Audio Interviews

Call it vanity, but I wanted to post a pair of audio interviews I did shortly after Other Romes was published in 2011. I recently recovered links to these audio files before they descended into deep, internet obscurity. Let the nostalgia begin. Both interviews were conducted in the fall of 2011 and the conversation, in both [...]

I am Now the Poetry Editor at Mantis: A Journal of Poetry, Criticism, & Translation

A little less than a year ago, Virginia Ramos invited me to edit the new poetry for Mantis: A Journal of Poetry, Criticism, & Translation. Mantis–named after Louis Zukofsky’s sestina “Mantis”–appears annually with the support of Stanford University’s Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, and has been doing for over a decade. Our eleventh issue is [...]

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