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J. Allyn Rosser
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Okay, face it: the academic year is about to begin. This ain’t no party. This ain’t no disco. This ain’t no fooling around. Put away the sunscreen, dump all those plans you had for the Summer of Continuous Industry and Focus out back with the compost. For many of us reading this blog, the creative writing workshop is heading straight at us, whether we’ll be teaching or taking one. So I can think of no more appropriate poem to post today than this beauty by Rodney Jones, the tongue-in-cheek raconteur I am always eager to read, because just as you... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Whoops, thanks for the correction, David! --Jill Sent from my iPad
“A Mile In” was selected by 2011 judge Nancy Eimers as the winner of our annual New Ohio Review Poetry Contest, and was published Fall 2011, in New Ohio Review 10. What grabs me about this poem is the non-event it describes: a sudden and inexplicable hyper-awareness, prompted by an inherently insignificant announcement. A Mile In The snow had been with us for awhile and was dingy and not well lit. But the sun promised to come out. The light fog lifting against the skinny tree trunks and the grounded limbs they’d lost and the thick, half-detached vines would lift... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Last week’s posting of Kevin Prufer's “A Giant Bird” put me in mind of “Little Bird” by Lawrence Raab, which first appeared in New Ohio Review 4, Fall 2008. “Little Bird” has a deceptively straightforward movement, yet the steps taken are in effect stationary – that is, if a poem is a walk (as A.R. Ammons has eloquently argued), then this one’s a moonwalk. Those two clouds passing unsuggestively, literally, passionlessly, seem to be props in a kind of still-life video that, by poem’s end, has turned itself inside out. The speaker of the poem splits in two (just as... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Today’s poem is an eerie parable, fairly characteristic of Kevin Prufer’s recent work. His poems are haunting because they are genuinely and fascinatingly haunted. His speakers don’t seem to be thinly disguised versions of Prufer – rather, they seem to express different moods of a postmodern Tiresias, emoting with a stunned but mutedly down-to-earth credibility. They speak with a dual awareness of their isolation and the fact that their feelings and impressions must also represent those of others. Perhaps the best introduction to my favorite kind of Prufer voice is to imagine a Greek play’s chorus collapsed into a single... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
The following poem by Steven Cramer first appeared in New Ohio Review 6, Fall 2009. - - - - - - - Bad It got bad; pretty bad; then not so bad; very bad; then back to bad. Jesus, let’s let things not get even worse. A weird fall. Nearly ninety one day, leaf mold making our house all red eyes and throats. Don’t think about Thanksgiving, but hope for a decent Halloween. Everywhere gas-powered leaf-blowers growling— Christ, let’s let things not get even worse. - - - - - - - - The first stanza demonstrates what I feel... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
The poem I’m presenting today is by Denise Duhamel, one of America’s most distinctive voices in contemporary poetry. I love the way she’ll grab hold of a thought that looks straightforward, then turns into an ornery comet – the way she’ll hang on while it whips her all over the place, into Barbie-littered playrooms, thumping down escalators, into classrooms, through ditches, careening along the waxed floors of hospitals, whizzing past billboards, and swooping back into the bathroom where she’s quietly washing her father’s hair. These veerings appear at first digressive, but Duhamel always finds, and finely renders, their harmony. She... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
The Associated Press just reported that so far during the year 2012, more soldiers have committed suicide than have been killed in combat. I can’t think of anything more depressing than that. Reading this fact reminded me of a poem by Laura Read we published in the Fall 2010 issue of New Ohio Review: - - - - - - - - - How to Be Sad You’ll be heavier in the mornings, waterlogged. Don’t try to put on anything from the upside down clean clothes basket. Just wear yesterday’s pants. There’s no need to bring in the paper. Or... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Jill Allyn Rosser presents a poem by Angie Estes from New Ohio Review 7 on the Best American Poetry blog. Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Thanks, Ryan! More where those came from. Check out and note our free-copies-for classrooms program while you're there. Sent from my iPad
Perhaps the hardest thing to do when on a roll is to get off it with panache. I’ve read work by so many poets who can beautifully deliver a riveting description of something occurring between humans, without knowing quite how to make an exit, and stick their landing. The following poem by Mark Kraushaar does so beautifully. It originally appeared in New Ohio Review 7, Spring 2010. - - - - - - - - Cake She’s in the first booth left of the planters. She’s been waiting an hour now. She’s been waiting at the Watertown Family Buffet with... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Alex Green’s poem “Blue Door Option” was first published in New Ohio Review 6, Fall 2009. It’s wonderfully paced and narrated with an authenticity of weirdness that I find terrifically appealing. When students ask how to know if one’s poem should be lineated or in prose format, I invariably say a lot of words that amount to a mystified shrug. What I want to do is point to a poem like this one and say, See? When it is a prose poem it just IS one. Prose poems aren’t distinguished just by the primacy of narrative, though certainly that’s part... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Susan, Glad you're enjoying the poems, even when they unsettle! Jill (Rosser) Sent from my iPhone
Today's offering is perhaps not the usual Hallmark take on Father's Day, okay. Tony Hoagland as usual slashes right through convention with the straight razor he keeps in his back pocket even when he's sleeping. This poem rides on a wave of brutal honesty that is riveting, disturbing, and perversely satisfying, the way the person at the funeral who stands up and tells an unflattering anecdote about the deceased is the only one who makes you finally break down and weep. I have admired Tony Hoagland's work since I first encountered it for his absolute, Lawrentian insistence on candor at... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Somehow, Sunday seems an appropriate day to present this poem by Claire Bateman, a fine and under-recognized poet from Greenville, South Carolina, with six books to her name: Coronology (2009); Leap (2005); Clumsy (2003); Friction (1998); At the Funeral of the Ether (1998); and The Bicycle Slow Race (1991). We often hear the word quirky applied to contemporary poets (just glance at five random blurbs, you’re sure to find quirky), but perhaps no one writing today inhabits the word quite as fully as Bateman. The premises of her poems are apparently beamed into the atmosphere at a slant from another,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
Note: This week we revive our practice of having a Sunday poetry editor, chosen from the ranks of lit mag editors, to pick a poem from a recent issue and add a comment on it. The poet J. Allynn Rosser doubles as Jill Allyn Rosser at the helm of New Ohio Review, and it is to her (with thanks for her editorial acumen and her willingness to take on this task) that we turn for the summer of 2012. -- DL I don’t know about you, but there are times I truly can’t claim to know the first thing about... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2012 at The Best American Poetry
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Jun 2, 2012