“Ocean Swimming” by Ernest Hilbert in Clarion

The BU Literary Society was founded as BU Students for Literary Awareness in the fall of 1997, under the leadership of Jennifer Herron. The group’s original members meant to publish a magazine called The View from a Window; however, campus plans often being well-laid and then lost, the first issue of their new organ was released in spring 1998, under a more enigmatic title: a single question mark. Since 1999, that publication has been called Clarion, and been published under the aegis of a right red rooster.

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“Shoal of Sharks” by Richard O’Connell

Richard O’Connell lives in Hillsboro Beach, Florida. Collections of his poetry include RetroWorlds, Simulations, Voyages, and The Bright Tower, all published by the University of Salzburg Press (now Poetry Salzburg). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Margie, National Review, The Texas Review, Acumen, The Formalist, Light, and others. His most recent collections are American Obits, Fractals, and Dawn Crossing.

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“Chamise” by Amy Glynn Greacen

Amy Glynn Greacen is the author of A Modern Herbal (Measure Press, 2014). Her work also appears in Best American Poetry (2010, 2012), New England Review, Poetry Northwest, Southwest Review, The New Criterion, Unsplendid, and elsewhere.

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“‘THE LOST KINGS UPHOLD MY SIDE’” by Ernest Hilbert

“Hilbert has written poems of superb lyricism. It’s hard to think of another poet with such range, and indeed with such brilliant delivery. Beauty, trash, exaltation, and humor are contained in his capacious and exacting forms. These are, quite simply, original and essential poems.” – Justin Quinn, author of American Errancy: Empire, Sublimity, and Modern Poetry

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“Mirror” by Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath (1932-63) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and studied at Smith College. In 1955 she went to Cambridge University on a Fulbright fellowship, where she met and later married Ted Hughes. She published one collection of poems in her lifetime, The Colossus (1960), and a novel, The Bell Jar (1963). Her Collected Poems, which contains her poetry written from 1956 until her death, was published in 1981 and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

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Top Five Robin Williams Performances

Well, it’s really hard to pick out top five Robin Williams performances. He has had such a great career and played such a broad variety of parts. So I’ve picked five unusual appearances that are perhaps not on any other of the lists that people have started publishing.

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“Banking Hours” by Morri Creech

Morri Creech was born in Moncks Corner, S.C. in 1970 and was educated at Winthrop University and McNeese State University. He is the author of three collections of poetry, Paper Cathedrals (Kent State U P, 2001), Field Knowledge (Waywiser, 2006), which received the Anthony Hecht Poetry prize and was nominated for both the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Poet’s Prize, and The Sleep of Reason (forthcoming, Waywiser 2013). A recipient of NEA and Ruth Lilly Fellowships, as well as grants from the North Carolina and Louisana Arts councils, he is the Writer in Residence at Queens University of Charlotte, where he teaches courses in both the undergraduate creative writing program and in the low residency M.F.A. program. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and two children.

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“Ink” by Michael Shewmaker

Michael Shewmaker is a Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Yale Review, Southwest Review, Sewanee Theological Review, New Criterion, Measure, American Arts Quarterly, and other literary journals and anthologies. His work has been recently awarded a Gates Scholarship from Texas Tech University and a Tennessee Williams Scholarship to attend the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Currently, he lives in Menlo Park, CA, with his wife, Emily.

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“Pines” by Callie Siskel

Callie Siskel lives in Baltimore and teaches creative writing at Johns Hopkins University, where she earned her MFA in poetry in 2013. Her recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Yale Review, 32 Poems, and Passage North.

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Attention Judges and Juries: Top Five Methods of Determining Innocence and Guilt

Bethany says: “Think our justice system sucks? Try these other ones. Here are the top five things used at trial to determine innocence or guilt.”

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Ernest Hilbert’s Poem “Martini” Reprinted in Modern Drunkard Magazine

My poem “Martini,” inspired in part by The Martini: An Illustrated History of an American Classic by the perfectly named Barnaby Conrad III (also inspired in part by martinis). It first appeared in the estimable Boston literary magazine Poetry Northeast. A year later, it was selected to appear in Modern Drunkard (it’s in the current issue, on newsstands now!). Enjoy!

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“Corn Maze” by David Barber

David Barber is the poetry editor at The Atlantic Monthly. His first book The Spirit Level (Northwestern, 1995) was published as a winner of the Terrence Des Pres Prize. Barber’s poems have appeared in literary magazines such as Field, Georgia Review, The New England Review, The New Republic, Paris Review, Poetry, and Virginia Quarterly Review. His reviews and articles have appeared in The Boston Globe, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The New Criterion, Parnassus, and elsewhere. He lives in Somerville, MA, outside of Boston.

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“Over the Hills” by Edward Thomas

Philip Edward Thomas was born in Lambeth, London in 1878, of Welsh descent. He was educated at St Paul’s college and then Lincoln College at Oxford University, where he studied history. A prolific writer of prose (including biographies of Richard Jefferies, Swinburne, and Keats), and a moderately successful journalist, his work concentrated on the image of England and the countryside. Thomas suffered from severe bouts of depression and recurrent psychological breakdowns, feeling creatively repressed by the endless reviews and ill-paid commissions he had to do to support himself and his family. Although happier with his writings on countryside that mixed observation, information, literary criticism, self-reflection and portraiture, Thomas still felt that his style was not original enough to merit recognition and struggled to find a form which suited him. It was only after a meeting with Robert Frost, the American poet, in 1913 that he devoted himself fully to the medium of poetry. From 1914 the First World War became a shifting presence in Thomas’ poetry, acting to concentrate his mind on a vision of England, leading him to write ‘war poetry’ long before he reached the trenches.

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Lend a Hand in the Creation of Orison Books

Orison Books, a non-profit literary press “focused on the life of the spirit from a broad range of perspectives,” is the latest brainchild of North Carolinian poet and editor Luke Hankins. Watch the video, and help out by joining the cause on the Supporter, Friend, Contributor, Donor, Advocate, Ally, or Partner level through Indiegogo.

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“Lower Case i and j” by Orlando White

Orlando White’s poetry glimmers with Diné notions of “thought creating thought” while re-configuring saad (language) into floating archipelagos of states which mutate into flashes of images that compel and startle. His work then peels forth a new perception of what language might be if we eliminate our own desires to maintain stasis in a changed world. Bone Light is an occasion marking the illumination of the body’s silence, the blank areas in which our breathing shadows the stains of letters punched onto the surface of a blank page, where the poet pages back a blank sound, filling it with the “open dark” as he “amputates one letter to fix another” so that we too may be changed in the act of the recoding of language. – Sherwin Bitsui

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Ernest Hilbert and Beth Greenberg in the Valley

Here’s a nice little article about New York-based opera director Beth Greenberg at the Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado and her work with me, including her visit to my graduate course on the art of the opera libretto at Western State University of Colorado low-residency MFA in poetry this past week.

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“The Grocery Bouquet” by Isabella Gardner

Born in Newton, Massachusetts, poet and actress Isabella Gardner was the cousin of poet Robert Lowell and the great-niece of art collector Isabella Stewart Gardner. Educated at the Foxcroft School in Virginia, Gardner studied acting at the Leighton Rollins School of Acting and the Embassy School of Acting in London. After a period of professional acting, Gardner moved to Chicago, where she served as an associate editor of Poetry magazine from 1952 to 1956 under Karl Shapiro. She lived in Chicago for 16 years, where she met her fourth husband, poet Allen Tate.

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“Going to Bed” by Eric Thomas Norris

Eric Norris is the author of 3 books: Terence, Nocturnal Omissions—with Gavin Geoffrey Dillard, and Cock Sucking (On Mars). He is a founding editor of the online poetry journal Kin (wearekin.org). Eric is also a co-host of the Carmine Street Metrics reading series at The Bowery Poetry Club in New York City.

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“Summer” by John Clare

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Top Five Interesting Facts Learned from Watching “Tankman”

Bethany says “I just saw Tankman, the Frontline documentary about the Chinese man who stood in front of a long line of tanks on June 4, 1989, during the Tiananmen Square protests. Watching it, I learned I really knew virtually nothing about the circumstances. Since the 25th anniversary of those events just passed, I want to point out the top five most interesting bits of information conveyed in the documentary, and urge you to go watch it.”

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“cruel, cruel summer” by D.A. Powell

“Born in Albany, Georgia, D.A. Powell received an MA at Sonoma State University and an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His first three collections of poetry, Tea, (1998), Lunch (2000), and Cocktails (2004), are considered by some to be a trilogy on the AIDS epidemic.” – Poetry Foundation

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“Lazaretto” by Jack White

Directed by Jonas & Francois.

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“Pilgrim’s Progress” by David Barber

David Barber is the author of two collections of poems published by Northwestern University Press: Wonder Cabinet (2006) and The Spirit Level (1995), the winner of the Terrence Des Pres Prize. He is poetry editor of The Atlantic, where he has been a staff editor since 1994.

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“Seen From Space” April Lindner

April Lindner is the author of two poetry collections, This Bed Our Bodies Shaped (Able Muse) and Skin, winner of the Walt MacDonald First Book Prize from Texas Tech University Press. She is also the author of three young adult novels, all published by Poppy: Jane, Catherine, and Love, Lucy (forthcoming in January 2015). A professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University, April lives in Havertown, Pennsylvania.

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“Sugar Dada” by J. Allyn Rosser

J. Allyn Rosser teaches at Ohio University and is the author of Foiled Again. She teaches at Ohio University, where she edits New Ohio Review.

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“Psalm” by Joshua Mehigan

“Joshua Mehigan’s Accepting the Disaster is the rare new book of poetry that is entirely alive, entirely aloft. No allowances have to be made for these darkly lucid, sad, and humane poems; they are the thing itself. Robert Frost spoke of ‘the figure a poem makes,’ and Mehigan’s poems do what the best poems of the past do: They make utterly individual “figures” out of sentence rhythm, metaphor, tone of voice, and point of view. Yet Mehigan’s individuality does not take the form of eccentricity or egotism. Instead, he achieves a kind of limpid, epigrammatic speech that, while retaining the inflections of his voice, creates the illusion—common to the best poetry—of a poem speaking itself.” – The New Republic

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“Carrion Birds Wheeling Overhead”: New E-Verse Drink for the Summer: Introducing, the Black Sabbath

On my recent trek through Scotland I found myself seated in the back room of a small pub in the northeastern village of Huntly, in Aberdeenshire. I learned of the latest drink to emerge from the long dark nights of the highland winter. It’s called the Black Sabbath, and it’s very easy to concoct. In fact, it’s so elementary as to almost escape the category of “drink” altogether.

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“Something Whispered in the Shakuhachi” by Garrett Hongo

Garrett Hongo was born in Volcano, Hawai‘i, lived as a child in Kahuku on O‘ahu, and grew up thereafter in Los Angeles. He is the author of two previous collections of poetry, three anthologies, and Volcano: A Memoir of Hawai‘i. His poems and essays have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and Virginia Quarterly Review, among others. He has been the recipient of several awards, including fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation. He lives in Eugene, Oregon, and teaches at the University of Oregon, where he is Distinguished Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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Top Five Movies in which the Good Guys are Trying to Stop a Nuclear Bomb from Detonating, Usually One Sent by Other Good Guys

This trope has been around for awhile, but I’ve recently noticed it in three big summer blockbusters. There are probably more—can you think of any? Basically, it involves some nominally good guys (usually the US government) nuking someone, while Our Hero tries to stop them.

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