"The track I break out when I need reminding that no matter how coal-lumpish whatever I’ve written is, time and pressure transforms coal into diamonds which can then be polished to dazzling brilliance. Despite the mood music, my usual method of revision wasn’t working—that method being staring at the words on the screen, and/or reading and re-reading a printed-out copy until new or different words magically enter my brain—and I was ready to give up on the unlovely mess before I keeled over mumbling and twitching or threw a brick through my computer monitor (perhaps an overreaction to bad prose)."

Q Lindsey Barrett: Writing Beyond Good: Mining for Diamonds

There are several things that matter. First, the composition of a magazine’s staff. Of our five senior staffers, three are women; four of our seven graduate editors are women; and eleven of our fifteen interns are women. Second, we have to consider a literary magazine in its entirety, not just as individual pieces. If we’ve accepted seventy percent of the content for an upcoming issue, looking at the gender breakdown, and seeing which way we are leaning, matters. Third, we have to encourage the writers whose work we turn down (which, rather obviously, is most of them) to send work to us again. Our submitters can’t feel shut out. The extra time it takes to write a personalized rejection and say “we want to see more from you” makes a huge difference, something our interns and staff are doing already.

Who will count the bones
Whoever has finished counting the stars


What are ribs
Beached coracles from a distant country
that has seven words for thirst


And metacarpals
They shine on x-rays like far off streets at night
that veer off into all we have touched


What are shins
Arrows falling for years


Then where is the bow
I saw it once shining
in a little boat drifting on the river


What is the heel
What has been rounded by the glassblower’s breath


What is the heel
The calyx that holds the moon


What are tracers
Embers of a stolen childhood


What are tracers
They shimmer like the black beads of a bracelet hanging from a hand
They return what has fallen to earth
They shine like skinned rabbits strung from a butcher’s window in last light


What is hair
The only thing that will pick a lock made of rain


What is the jawbone
A lyre in its next life


What is the heart
A web that holds drops of dew


Then where is the spider
It has gone to the river to bring back stars


Then what is the river
It shines like skin where the shroud has worn through


What is the river
It has untied the black scarf from your mother’s hair
& wrapped it around itself


Who are the people on the riverbank
Spots on the flank of a deer
rising from its bed of stars

Our poem of the week is Mark Wagenaar’s “Questions after a Mass Grave Is Found Outside Srebrenica.
I think that childhood is one of the relatively few times in our lives when poetry surrounds us, and so it makes sense that that’s when I started writing my own. At that point, I was pretty obsessed with rhyme, and it came much more easily than it does now, probably because so much of what I was reading and singing and memorizing was rhymed. The first poem I remember writing was a very long piece about Christmas, which I then typed up, decorated with holiday-themed clip art and printed out to give as gifts in fourth grade — my very first broadside. I spoke with my fourth grade teacher not so long ago, and she told me she still has it framed in her house. She probably has the only extant copy.

"2. Janet Jackson – Alright

Crank it. Totally appropriate for either barreling along the freeway unimpeded with the windows down or seat-dancing in an effort to forget your troubles while crawling through rush hour apocalypse. Off Rhythm Nation 1814, undoubtedly the most socially conscious new jack swing album ever recorded, a fact that you can use for cover should anyone question you playing this (at least that’s what I always do…)”

Wes Hazard: So You’re Picking Up Tracy K. Smith From the Airport

othernotebooksareavailable
In the end I am uplifted, profoundly so, by the bleakest, despairing work. It’s a great unburdening to read work of this sort. I do not want to be asked to pretend that everything is all right, that people are fundamentally happy, that life is perfectly fine, and that it is remotely ok that we are going to die, and soon, only to disappear into oblivion. I feel a kind of ridiculous joy when writing reveals the world, the way it feels to be in the world. That’s what hope is, a refusal to look away.
Ben Marcus (via mttbll)
"1. Poetics
Have you ever seen those magnetic poetry kits, the kind people have on their refrigerators? Poetics, which is by far the most creativity-oriented app on this list, takes that idea and translates it to the digital world. Like a curator of your very own scrapbook, the app allows you to super-impose little white blocks of text over your saved images. It also allows you to share the images on social media, as well as save them back to your phone, which is nice for poets who want to post their writing online, but prefer that it is subtle, here conflated with their visual art.”

Cary Stough: Our Friends Electric: Poetry of the Digital World

"1. Poetics

Have you ever seen those magnetic poetry kits, the kind people have on their refrigerators? Poetics, which is by far the most creativity-oriented app on this list, takes that idea and translates it to the digital world. Like a curator of your very own scrapbook, the app allows you to super-impose little white blocks of text over your saved images. It also allows you to share the images on social media, as well as save them back to your phone, which is nice for poets who want to post their writing online, but prefer that it is subtle, here conflated with their visual art.”

Cary Stough: Our Friends Electric: Poetry of the Digital World