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NER CLASSICS | Sadness | Aliki Barnstone

Categories: NER Classics, Poetry


Aliki Barnstone’s poem, “Sadness,” appeared in NER 21.2:

Rilke says sadness is the moment the future enters us
By surprise and pushes us into the unknown
The handsome bartender says,”Your drinks are on me”
—And leans across the counter—”What’ll it be?”
Alcohol is heat in my ears as I catch my reflection
In the mirror, happy flirting without forethought.
But days later alone the question comes back:
What will it be?
                           and I remember moments with you
When time raced quickly around us like a romping young dog
And we were amused. Today time reminds me of the hound
Knowingly guarding the underworld. Sadness slips in,
Doesn’t it? even in the gentle pleasures of the body
Which pass too and remind us of loss. 

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“When It Is Over It Will Be Over” | Paisley Rekdal

Categories: Poetry

A first look at NER Vol. 34 Nos. 3–4

after a pen and ink drawing by Troy Passey
of a line by Edna St. Vincent Millay

passey detail

Hurricane of what must be
only feeling, this painting’s 
sentence circling to black

on blank, ever-
tightening spiral
of words collapsing

to their true gesture: meaning
what we read
when not reading,

as the canvas buckles
in the damp: freckled
like the someone

I once left sleeping
in a hotel room to swim
the coast’s cold shoals, fine veils

of sand kicked up by waves where
I found myself enclosed
in light: sudden: bright

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Okaloosa | Derrick Austin

Categories: Poetry

From NER Vol. 34 Nos. 3–4


I like the heron best
because it has no song,
flying over the water, its mating
cry mournful, aggressive, and internal.
Seaweed and creamy foam
float on the tide’s restless lapping,
licking my feet like a lost dog.
I am no master.
The Gulf collects its own scraps:
rows of hotels
hollowed out and plastered
ochre by sunsets, knocked down by Ivan
or Dennis—you lose track
after so many seasons.
Mist hangs over shoddy condos.
Beachcombers scan the quartz burrows
of ghost shrimp. A drunken couple
stumbles somewhere. Before they were expelled
Choctaw called this place Okalusa,
“dark water.” 

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Ignatevsky Forest | Arseny Tarkovsky

Categories: Poetry

From the current issue, NER 34.3–4
Translated from the Russian by 
Philip Metres and Dimitri Psurtsev
Read the PDF

The last leaves burn in self-immolation
And rise to sky. The whole forest here
Lives and breathes the same irritation
We lived and breathed in our last year.

In tear-blurred eyes the path is a mirror
As the gloomy floodplain mirrors the shrubs.
Don’t fuss, do not disturb, don’t touch
Or threaten the forest’s quiet by the river.

The old life breathes here. Listen:
In damp grass, slimy mushrooms appear.
Though slugs gnaw their way to the core,
A damp itch still tingles the skin.

You’ve known how love is like a threat—
“When I come back, you’ll wish you were dead.”
The sky shivers in reply, holds a maple like a rose.
Let it burn hotter—till it almost reaches our eyes.


Let’s Go to Morocco | Anzhelina Polonskaya

Categories: Poetry

From the current issue, NER 34.3–4.

Maybe things are different there:morocco-shore
mountains and seas, other streets.
Lions don’t fall into traps,
and hares don’t whine like babies.
And people don’t have scars from collarbone to shoulder.
An old lady will come up to us:
“let me tell your fortune?”

“Predict your future luck.”
Sorry, I don’t know those terms.
Better take this coin and buy yourself
a bright scarf and some loose pants.
And we will go, sail away, leave.
But still, Morocco will never end.
Under a deep blue sky we’ll become like an almond branch.
This will extend your life, and mine as well; at least for a time.

(PDF View)

Recent Poetry Collections by NER Authors

Categories: NER Authors' Books, Poetry

We are pleased to announce four new collections from poets previously featured in NER.

9780547928289Charles Simic’s new collection, New and Selected Poems 1962-2012 has been published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Simic’s poetry was featured in NER 24.4 and his translations of Novica Tadic appeared in NER 29.1.

From Los Angeles Times: “It takes just one glimpse of Charles Simic’s work to establish that he is a master, ruler of his own eccentric kingdom of jittery syntax and signature insight.”

New and Selected Poems 1962-2012 is available from Powell’s Books and independent booksellers.

headwaters.inddHeadwaters, a new collection of poetry from Ellen Bryant Voigt, has been published by W.W. Norton & Company. Voigt’s poetry appeared in NER 25.3.

From Publishers Weekly: “Voigt’s…eighth collection of poetry is defined by a liquid precision.” 

From Library Journal: “A highly recommended book by an important poet.”

Headwaters is available from Norton and independent booksellers.

9780393239157_custom-b74df594bf7ff45a6d55ca31a0d9bb20f477975c-s6-c30A. Van Jordan’s new poetry collection, The Cineaste, has been published by W.W. Norton & Company. Van Jordan’s work appeared in NER 28.1 and 32.4.

From Publisher’s Weekly: “Drawn from his experience as a moviegoer, these poems prove anything but safe—each film is its own playground of dangers, of ‘strangers who mistake me for someone/ they owe.’”

The Cineaste is available from Powell’s Books and independent booksellers.

trace-webTrace, a new collection of poetry from Eric Pankey has recently been published by Milkweed Editions. Pankey has been featured in NER numerous times, most frequently in NER 34.1.

From Chase Twichell, author of Where the Answers Should Have Been: “In this age of both religious extremism and cynical atheism, Eric Pankey’s poems gleam with authenticity.”

Trace is available from Milkweed Editions and other booksellers.

VT Poet Laureate Sydney Lea to teach a class and read at RWC

Categories: NER Community, Poetry, Readings

leaVermont’s Poet Laureate, Sydney Lea, will be teaching a poetry class for 8-12 students at the Renegade Writers’ Collective on Sunday, November 24. This class is for committed writers and will take place in the RWC classroom in the Karma Bird House at 47 Maple Street in Burlington. The class is from 4-6 pm and will be followed by a reading of his work, Q&A, and book signing, which will take place in the first floor gallery in the same building. The reading will take place from 6-7pm, and is free and open to the public. You do not have to take the class to come to the reading. Click here for a full course description and to reserve your spot in the class.

Sydney Lea is a founding editor of New England Review, and his work has appeared in the magazine in recent years.

Grief! | By Mark Bibbins

Categories: Poetry

800px-NYC_fire_escapesfrom the current issue (34.2):

Once I told someone
he should call his poem that
but I don’t know how
it turned out.
You could say Good
magazine or There’s a celebrity
on the fire escape
behind you,
and enough people
would still want to hear
the part about fire. I have
one enemy
but we don’t know it yet.
When we do we will meet up
at the balloon show
with a box of pins.

The Point of the Needle | By Dana Levin

Categories: Poetry

From the current issue (34.2):

Hyalophora-cecropia-mating copy

Since you got to behead


           hollyhock crown
           with your round
           of a mouth—
I hope you get to spin inside your
           paper house.
           Emerge noctuidae,
           owlet moth,
           laying your eggs in leaves at night.

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Du Bellay in Rome | By Seamus Heaney

Categories: Poetry

From the current issue (34.2):Joachim_Du_Bellay

You who arrive to look for Rome in Rome
And can in Rome no Rome you know discover:
These palaces and arches ivied over
And ancient walls are Rome, now Rome’s a name.

Here see Rome’s overbearing overcome—
Rome, who brought the world beneath her power
And held sway, robbed of sway: see and consider
Rome the prey of all-consuming time.

And yet this Rome is Rome’s one monument.
Rome alone could conquer Rome. And the one element
Of constancy in Rome is the ongoing

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