“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.

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.

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

"OK, so we dunk her, and if she survives it means she's a witch, so we burn her, right? Wait. Is that how it goes?"

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Come we to the summer, to the summer we will come, For the woods are full of bluebells and the hedges full of bloom, And the crow is on the oak a-building of her nest, And love is burning diamonds in my true lover’s breast; She sits beneath the whitethorn a-plaiting of her hair, And […]

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Top Five Interesting Facts Learned from Watching “Tankman”

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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

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Directed by Jonas & Francois.

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“Pilgrim’s Progress” by David Barber

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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

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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

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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

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“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

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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

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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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“Summer” by Lucien Stryk

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A translator and influential practitioner of Zen poetics, Lucien Stryk was born in Kolo, Poland, in 1924. He moved to Chicago with his family in 1927 and studied at Indiana University; the University of Maryland, College Park; the Sorbonne; and the University of Iowa. A lifelong poet, he began writing in elementary school, even taking a copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass with him when he served in World War II. – Poetry Foundation

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“In The Summertime” by Mungo Jerry

A genuine, bona fide summer classic. Enjoy!

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“Barrier Island” by J.S. Renau

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J. S. Renau is a native of Charleston, S.C. For 15 years, Mr. Renau lived in New York and worked as a marketing consultant and speechwriter. In 2012, he relocated to rural South Carolina. His poems and reviews have appeared in American Book Review, Contemporary Poetry Review, Paris Review, and Wallace Stevens Journal, among other publications.

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“Sonnet XXXVI” by Ted Berrigan

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“The Sonnets are an enduring benchmark in mid-20th-century American poetics. Intimate, endlessly inventive, they make an extraordinary manifest of that time and all its habits of person and place. They are without question a great literary artifact but they are also the unique presence of our human world—just yesterday, as one says, and now forever and ever.” — Robert Creeley

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Top Five Creepy and Evil Blue Eyes

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Why is it that when writers go for inhuman eyes they so often select blue as the go-to color of evil? Is it because the blue reminds us of the distance of the sky? The coldness of ice or water? Surely the Nazi obsession with blue eyes didn’t help their reputation much. Who knows? But here are five examples.

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“Going Upstairs to Bed” by Stephen Berg

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Stephen Berg was the founder of The American Poetry Review and the author of many collections of poetry and translations, including Halo, Rimbaud: Versions and Inventions, The Elegy on Hats, and 58 Poems, published by Sheep Meadow. He passed away in June, 2014.

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“Summer Holiday” by Wild Nothing

Wild Nothing performs “Summer Holiday” live in the KEXP studio. Recorded 3/11/11.

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“My Life as One of King Charles II’s Mistresses” by Anna Evans

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“Historical poetry often makes me shudder, being either narrowly polemical or a means of piggybacking on someone else’s life when one’s own creativity is wanting. Anna M. Evans’s Sisters and Courtesans, in its sweep from the well-documented to the at least semi-mythical, from the (relatively) privileged to the humble, anonymous camp followers and drawers-of-water, is, by contrast, a work of generous and expansive imagination. It neither denies suffering nor wallows in it, and Evans is far too clever to let the demands of a unified sequence of sonnets obscure the specificity of the individuals she portrays. This is a poet who should have had a first book years ago. It’s good to see White Violet Press remedy that deficiency.” – Quincy R. Lehr

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