Completely Subjective: Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones” 

Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones,” published in July of 2016, depicts the conflict between the ugly world and the delicate innocence of a child. A mother of two herself, Smith grew up and still lives near the city of Columbus, Ohio. It was there that she explored the various corners of life, trying to discover the…

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Completely Subjective: Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones” 

The year is 2020. So far, the world has dealt with the glowing fires in Australia, the hyped-up threat of World War III, and the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter. Oh, and the coronavirus pandemic. It seems as if tragedies are happening all around us, and we are just waiting for the next…

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The Great Poem Series: Rajiv Mohabir’s “Dove”

Rajiv Mohabir’s “Dove” spirals the reader down a rollercoaster of a love story. The title itself plays with the reader’s expectations; doves are symbols of peace, hope, and purity, so the reader starts the poem with expectations of a positive experience. This is not so different from love. Going into love for the first time…

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Completely Subjective: Jill Bialosky’s “Daylight Savings”

I have never been close with my family. Any road trip is awkward, filled with broken down cars and arguments in the restaurant that make everyone else feel uncomfortable. There were times when I wished for a new family like the confused six-year-old that I was, but now I am plainly used to it, tired…

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Completely Subjective: Jill Bialosky’s “Daylight Savings”

Daylight savings, the event, not the poem, annually both bequeaths upon and steals away from us an hour. The significance of one hour has been rapidly both declining and growing over the years. With the increase in technology, more and more can be done in one hour. In the olden days, an hour could buy…

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“Ku(na)hay”: Five Questions with Charles Bernstein

Charles Bernstein was born in Manhattan in 1950. He has published more than twenty collections of poetry and three collections of essays. From 1978 to 1981 he co edited the magazine L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E. He co founded and directed the Poetics Program at the State University of New York, Buffalo. He is the co director of PennSound…

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“Citrus Freeze”: Seven Questions for Forrest Gander

Forrest Gander is an award winning poet, essayist, novelist, critic, and translator. Born in the Mojave Desert to a single mother, Gander’s childhood was financially difficult. Gander developed his love for travel, language, and culture when he and his family would tour extensively across the United States on summer road trips. He is known for…

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The Great Poem Series: Donald Hall’s “Her Garden”

Donald Hall’s poem “Her Garden” is published in the 2001 Edition of The Best American Poetry. The poem describes a dying garden, slightly melancholy, but implies some sort of release that was holding him back. What stood out to me first about this poem was the amount of imagery embedded in each stanza. For example,…

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Completely Subjective: Alan Bernheimer’s “20 Questions”

Ever since I can remember, I have always been a very curious child. Why is the sky blue? How do fireflies make light? Do dogs see color or black and white? These are all questions I would constantly ask my mom, hoping she would have an answer that would blow my mind. Most of the…

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“Almost”: An Interview With Rae Armantrout

Rae Armantrout, who is from California and a current poetry professor at UC San Diego, is a prolific member of the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, a group that arose in the late 1960s and emphasized a poem’s use of language, often employing stylistic techniques not seen in mainstream poetry to do so. She has received significant recognition…

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The Three That Speak to Us: “Do Unto Others,” “Country Western Singer,” “Dead Critics Society”

Daniel Johnson’s “Do Unto Others,” Alan Shapiro’s “Country Western Singer,” and Mike Dockins’ “Dead Critics Society” are three of the greatest, most thought-provoking poems featured in Best American Poetry’s 2007 edition. Nick and I read each poem in the volume looking for underlying themes, tone shifts, creative new ways of conveying messages, and other characteristics to narrow down the…

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Six Questions: An Interview With Christian Bök

Christian Bök is a renowned modern poet that hails from Toronto, Canada. “Vowels,” featured in the 2007 version of Best American Poetry, is arguably his most well-known poem. Mr. Bök spends most of his time as a professor at University of Calgary, but still writes poetry as often as he can. Nick Trager and I conducted an interview…

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The Great Poem Series: Cate Marvin’s “An Etiquette for Eyes”

Featured in the 2014 edition of Best American Poetry, Cate Marvin’s, “An Etiquette for Eyes”, analyzes a man with blues eyes who the speaker, a brown-eyed woman, had tried to win over in a bar. In it she reveals the pain she feels from her breakup with her past partner. I view the poem almost…

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Completely Subjective: Jericho Brown’s “Hustle”

As I looked through the 2013 edition of Best American Poetry in search of a poem to write about, Jericho Brown’s “Hustle” caught my eye because there was so much of it that I did not understand upon my first reading, and I wanted to figure it out. It is a brutally honest commentary on life as…

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Completely Subjective: Krista Benjamin’s “Letters From My Ancestors”

American writer and poet Krista Benjamin grew up in Lake Tahoe, CA, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Literature from the University of California in San Diego. Benjamin spent the early part of her career writing and publishing for various literary magazines, journals, and newspapers around the California/Nevada region. Later, Benjamin was awarded with an Artist Fellowship from…

Completely Subjective: Jennifer Keith’s “Eating Walnuts”

“This is going to sound super pretentious but” is probably the absolute worst way to start any literary analysis. That being said, this is going to sound super pretentious but the act of eating walnuts in Jennifer Keith’s “Eating Walnuts” is a metaphor for life. Here me out. More specifically, it’s a metaphor for the…

Completely Subjective: Ron Padgett’s “Survivor Guilt”

So here we are again. It’s late and you feel like you’re dying. Everything you’ve ever done that mildly upset someone crawls out of the hole it hides in when you have the energy to fight it and sinks its fangs into your unsuspecting conscience. Ron Padgett’s “Survivor Guilt” ecompasses this feeling beautifully. Still young…

Completely Subjective: Chana Boch’s “The Joins”

“Kinstugi is the japanese art of mending precious pottery with gold” Mending the broken. Sometimes it’s simpler just to throw away the fragments and find something new to love instead. Sometimes, though, on those monumentally rare and precious occasions, the kinds we treasure forever, we find something worth fixing. Not just worth the trouble and…