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New Poetry from Ela Harrison in NER 35.4

Categories: Poetry

Lithium | Ela Harrison

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third element of the Periodic Table; adjectival derivative of Greek lithos (rock); “made of rock”

Sisyphus with his tumblr_ngotb0IzPM1sfie3io1_1280rock knows
about same. Same rock. Same
journey forcing him into
same self. And now I too
have my daily rock
pushing me up against
a samer self.

What did you lose, Sisyphus?

Myself, I first lost the sense
of myself as lit fuse
stepping on detonators;
my old nickname, “Volcano.”

You lost far more than the yen
to rustle cattle. I’m sure of it.

[Read more]

Ela Harrison is a scholar of classical languages and literatures, and of linguistics and philology, as well as being a translator and editor, writer and researcher. Her writing has appeared in Cirque Journal and F Magazine, and her poem “Legion” was runner-up in the Fairbanks Arts Association’s 2012 poetry competition.

New Poetry from Richard Siken in NER 35.4

Categories: Poetry

Still Life with Skulls and Bacon | Richard Siken

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A thing and a thing and a thing held still—Steve Richey
you have to hold something still to find the other
things. This is speculation. You will die in your
sleep and leave everything unfinished. This is
also speculation. I had obligations: hope, but hope
negates the experience. I owe myself nothing.
I cut off my head and threw it on the ground.
I walked away. This is how we measure, walking
away. We carve up the world into feet and minutes,
to know how far from home, how many hogs
in the yard. My head just sat there. Fair enough.

[Read more]


Richard Siken’s poetry collection Crush (Yale University Press, 2005) won the 2004 Yale Series of Younger Poets prize, a Lambda Literary Award, and the Thom Gunn Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is a recipient of a Pushcart Prize, two Arizona Commission on the Arts grants, two Lannan Residencies, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His second poetry collection, War of the Foxes, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2015.

Poetry from Brigit Pegeen Kelly in NER 35.3

Categories: Poetry

The Dragon | Brigit Pegeen Kelly

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The bees came out of the junipers, two small swarms
The size of melons; and golden, too, like melons,
They hung next to each other, at the height of a deer’s breast
Above the wet black compost. And because
The light was very bright it was hard to see them,
And harder still to see what hung between them.

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Poetry from Debora Greger in NER 35.3

Categories: Poetry


Head, Perhaps of an Angel | Debora Greger

limestone, with traces of polychromy, c. 1200

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Point Dume was the point,
he said, but we never came close,
no matter how far we walked the shale
broken from California.
Someone’s garden
had slipped, hanging itself by a vine
from the cliffs of some new Babylon
past Malibu.

[Read more 

Poetry from Carl Phillips | NER 35.3

Categories: Poetry

Parable | Carl Phillips


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There was a saint once,
he had but to ring across
water a small bell, all

manner of fish
rose, as answer, he was
that holy, persuasive,

both, or the fish
perhaps merely
hungry, their bodies

a-shimmer with
that hope especially that
hunger brings, whatever

the reason, the fish
coming unassigned, in
schools coming

into the saint’s hand and,
instead of getting,
becoming food.

I have thought, since, of
your body—as I first came
to know it, how it still

can be, with mine,
sometimes. I think on
that immediate and last gesture

of the fish leaving water
for flesh, for guarantee
they will die, and I cannot

rest on what to call it.
Not generosity, or
a blindness, trust, brute

stupidity. Not the soul
distracted from its natural
prayer, which is attention,

for in the story they are
paying attention. They
lose themselves eyes open.

 (1998, Volume 19.3)

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Carl Phillips’s thirteenth book of poems, Reconnaissance, will be out from FSG in 2015. In 2014, Graywolf published his book of prose, The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination.

NER Classics | Northern Insomnia | Mark Jarman

Categories: NER Classics, Poetry

Mark Jarman’s poem “Northern Insomnia” appeared in NER 13.3-4:

Passing out of the rain into dull cloudlight,
heather, a field of sleep, and rock,
Into the discovery of water
And with it the recognition of wind.

Dark water, water showing,
In a basin cut lengthwise below a hill,
Nothing of the sky, a sheepish gray,
Nothing of the eye’s desire for rest…

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New from Marcelo Hernandez Castillo in NER 35.2

Categories: Poetry

Pulling the Moon | Marcelo Hernandez Castillo



I’ve never.
I’ve never made love.
I’ve never made love to a man.
I’ve never made love to a man but I imagine.
I imagine pulling the moon.
Pulling the moon out of his brow.
I imagine pulling 
the moon out of his brow and eating it again.

[read more]

New from April Ossmann in NER 35.2

Categories: Poetry

When Your People Call My People to Arrange a Meeting | April Ossmann


Know that lately,
I am giving myself
to sleep as I once
gave myself in love,
my body flung eagerly
into bed; limbs limp and heavy
with pleasure; the bedclothes
on waking arranged exactly
as I entered them.
I am in love now
with rest, with release
from the tireless ego—

[read more]

New from William Fargason in the New NER—Vol. 35, No.1

Categories: Poetry

Aquarium | William Fargason

You want to keep feeding the fish
inside you, but you keep

eating the fish because you’re hungry.
This is not the way it should go.

No one said you would not be hungry.
You knew the dimensions of the aquarium

inside you, knew it was inside you.
She who fogged the glass didn’t know

that you’d eaten the fish, but you did and do.
You hear the aquarium inside your chest

crack, and before you know it, the carpet
is soaked with bleached coral,

plastic kelp, and multi-colored gravel.
This is not the way it should go.

This is not how anyone should go under—
the water that you contained now contains you.

Read the PDF

New from Kelli Russell Agodon in the New NER—Vol. 35, No.1

Categories: Poetry

Braided Between the Broken | Kelli Russell Agodon


This morning apologies were falling
from the trees and the apples
were being ignored.
There’s a chapter in our lives
where I tried to shred pages,
where I tried to rewrite the tale.
Let’s call that chapter, The Numbness,
or The Boredom, or the place where we forgot
we were alive.
That morning I woke up and wandered outside
onto the backtrail,
past the No Trespassing sign into the arms
of an evergreen or a black bear. It didn’t matter
who held me then; I was moss, the lichen,
the mushroom growing on the fallen log. [Read more]