musings

 

Two Poems on the Sun: The Kenyon Review & Lindenwood Review

Years ago, my friend and fellow poet, Alexa Forrester, offered up one of the coolest lines I’ve yet heard from a small child: “Mom, when the earth flies into the sun it will be morning every day.” The source was her son, Cameron. I couldn’t help but take that sentiment and spin it into a [...]

That Time I Wrote a 300-Line Seduction of a Desert Saint

It took a few years, but I eventually finished (and published!) “Colloquy with St. Mary of Egypt,” the longest single poem I’ve ever written. The poem draws a desert ascetic into open dialogue. The historical Mary of Egypt lived as a prostitute and (later) a penitent. Her two lives offer twin virtues that the poem’s speaker, [...]

Writers Resist: Hoosier Writers Unite

My friend and fellow poet, Josh Brewer, did a wonderful thing recently: he put together Writers Resist: Hoosier Writers Unite (Chatter House Press, 2017), a post-inauguration anthology of resistance writing. I was honored have been a part of the initial reading–in Bloomington–that shape this book. I’m thrilled to have an essay (“An Open Letter from a Poet on [...]

Derek Mong and Anne Fisher Win the 2018 Cliff Becker Translation Prize

Annie and I are thrilled to announce that we’ve won the 2018 Cliff Becker Translation Prize from the American Literary Translator’s Association. On October 7, 2017, we read from what is now our forthcoming book at the annual ALTA conference in Minneapolis. Here is judges’ citation for The Joyous Science: Selected Poems of Maxim Amelin: “Mong and Fisher [...]

The Ego and the Empiricist Is Available for Purchase!

Last October, the good folks at Two Sylvias Press brought The Ego and the Empiricist into the world. The book is a 30-page poetry collection that draws on Silver Age, Medieval, Jesuit, and Neo-Latin poets to create—as Robert Lowell said of his experimental translations in Imitations (1960)—“one voice run[ning] through many personalities, contrasts, and repetitions.” It is a [...]

John Felstiner: Poet, Translator, and Scholar

I am late to this news, living so far now from Stanford, but I’m saddened to learn that John Felstiner, the great translator, died last February of aphasia. The condition “leads to a loss of ability to understand and express language.” Few deaths could be crueler. When I arrived in Palo Alto in 2010, Felstiner [...]

Reviewing New Poetry for the Gettysburg Review

Last weekend, during a Memorial Day trip to Chicago, I had the good fortune to hear Deborah Landau read from The Uses of the Body at the Poetry Foundation. She was accompanied on stage by Inna Faliks, a wonderful pianist. Landau would read a few poems, Falik would play Bach or Liszt, and together they made [...]

Why I No Longer Subscribe to the Indianapolis Star

To the Editorial Board of the Indianapolis Star: Because you failed to denounce the appointment of an avowed white supremacist to the President-elect’s inner circle (Steve Bannon); and because you, unlike your parent paper (USA Today), did not renounce Donald Trump as “unfit” for the office from the start; and because you normalize autocracy (flag burners [...]

The NEH Supports Indiana Poetry, National Poetry Month, and My Poem About Eating Hot Dogs

I once wrote a poem about a hot dog eating contest. Yesterday, it was beamed out to all of Indiana for National Poetry Month. These are your NEH dollars at work people. (With thanks for Shari Wagner and the Indiana Humanities for this opportunity.)

“Glaciers” in Crab Creek Review 29.1 (winter 2016)

In last year’s winter issue of Crab Creek Review, I wrote a poem in the voice of a glacier. Pick up a copy of this fantastic journal if you have a chance, or subscribe. My thanks to Jenifer Lawrence and my old friend and press-mate, Martha Silano. What follows is a brief note that accompanies [...]

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