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Joy Jacobson
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Pueblo Bonito, gregorywass, flickr There is a field where my ancestors have pitched their tents. Maybe it’s like the squalid tent cities that housed the destitute during the Great Depression. But I can’t get a sense of those ancestors or what they need from me. The dead in my mother’s lineage are a tight-lipped bunch, zipped away from view. But I see the field in my mind’s eye, just as I saw Pueblo Bonito one recent evening while walking in the park. I had been working that day on a memoir of sorts about my mother’s father, a man named... Continue reading
Posted Jan 31, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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Seema Reza, photo by Willie Young Seema Reza is a poet who coordinates recreational arts activities at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, where she works with veterans and active duty service members in the Washington, DC, area. I met Seema last fall at a conference of the Transformative Language Arts Network, a gathering of writers, musicians, health care professionals, and others using language for personal and social change. Seema, who is of Bangladeshi heritage, will turn 33 next week. She has two sons, ages 13 and seven, and holds a bachelor’s in fine arts... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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A good friend and I sometimes exchange writing prompts. Last summer, as she began a sabbatical to begin a prose memoir, she asked for some prompts and I sent her a small envelope of words, fragments of poems, dictionary definitions and etymologies, quotations. Earlier this month, as she prepared to take a look at my prompts, she reread my letter and fashioned a passel of prompts for me. I received the small envelope this week. Today I offer a few jottings based on those prompts, each drawn at random, one at a time. (The prompts are in italics.) * It... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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Strangers. You, strangers, reading my poems. The thought makes me a little lightheaded. I’ve grown accustomed to being the solitary artist at work with words, spinning out a poem in its own idiolect. But when it comes time to send it out, so that it might find reception in the minds of strangers, I get a bit stymied. I’ve only recently begun to have poems published, realizing the primary purpose of poetry: a strange communion among strangers. Donald Hall, in his classic Goatfoot Milktongue Twinbird, defined a poem as “one man’s inside talking to another man’s inside.” I like that... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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Sandhills, Bosque del Apache refuge; © Tony Giancola, www.giancola.com I peek out back for new snow fallen overnight. None today. Even a dusting somehow manages to quiet the anxious crowd that tends to gather in my chest. I sit at my desk in the living room, blinds drawn, just after sunrise, and the wind sighs around the house. My partner and I have lived in this Brooklyn apartment 15 years. We came here from three and a half acres halfway up the northern edge of the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico. I have returned in my poems to those mountains,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2014 at The Best American Poetry
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Jan 23, 2014