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Carol Frost | Concert for Dead Composers

Carol Frost’s Poem “Concert for Dead Composers” was published in NER 14.3.

Some of the birth houses of the masters
need repairing and paint (Hapsburg yellow
for Mozart’s), and the reputations
of the lately dead the esteem of violin,
percussion and horn, a swelling of their own
sung forms. Street sounds, a bit of jazz,
the twelve tones hung on a musky breeze
like attic smells of an eccentric aunt
swirl in the great outdoor room.
The audience is especially moved by the chord
structures of fever and deafness. Dead
by his own hand, one composer is applauded
a long time. He lies quietly within
his song, stirring from bar to bar no more
than the wings of a moth in a window. It is afternoon
on the lawn, and former students are here,
with their forget-me-nots of ear and tone-
This is where we are in music. I was there.
The last lover in his tuxedo
cannot think of anything else but how
the master once dipped a tin cup in a stream
and dripped cold water down his neck.
The day grows silent; the most beautiful hour
is behind the acoustic shell, but in failing to last
there is joy more fulfilling. The crowd thinks so.

NER Author Wins Press 53 Award for Short Fiction

Press 53 LogoCongratulations to Dennis McFadden, winner of the 2016 Press 53 Short Fiction Award for his story collection Jimtown Road.

Kevin Morgan Watson, publisher and judge for the Press 53 Short Fiction Award, writes, “Jimtown Road is a uniquely linked collection of stories that span years and lifetimes, sometimes gritty and hard-hitting, other times laugh-out-loud funny. Each story kept me riveted and I found myself at the end of each looking forward to wherever the next story would take me.”

The book will be published in October.

McFadden has published stories in numerous journals, including Missouri Review, Massachusetts Review, and New England Review, most recently in 35.3.

Angela Torres Reads at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference

UnknownAngela Narciso Torres gave an insightful poetry reading from Blood Orange (Willow Books, 2013) at the 2015 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, where she was the 2015 Stanley P. Young Fellow in Poetry. Blood Orange won the Willow Books Literature Award for Poetry.

Torres, a reader for NER, has poetry in Cimarron Review, Colorado Review, Drunken Boat, Crab Orchard Review, and other journals, as well as in Spoon River Poetry Review and Kyoto Journal. A graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, she has received fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, Ragdale Foundation, and Midwest Writing Center. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Manila, she resides in Chicago, where she teaches poetry workshops and serves as a senior poetry editor for RHINO.


Carol Frost | The Poet’s Tact and Necessary Tactlessness

Carol Frost’s essay, “The Poet’s Tact and Necessary Tactlessness,” appeared in NER 20.3:

Originally tact was a word for the sense of touch—“the various Percepts and Percipienda of tact, vision, hearing—sweet, hot, light—have each its bodily organ” (Plato). The meaning of the word modulates in to the possession of a keen faculty, likened to the tactile, which can apprehend what is likely to offend. Today it is common enough parlance for the delicate perception of what is proper or fitting in dealing with others. IT implies skill in dealing with people in difficult situations, composure, and even a ready knowledge of how to act (savoir faire). In poetry’s context, the poet being in Lorca’s definition “professor of the five senses,” tact seems a particularly apt word for an activity of the poet which involves the senses and some (sometimes more and sometimes less) awareness of the audience. Indeed, a letter from Coleridge to Sotheby in 1895 helps to establish this usage of the word: “You…must needs have a better tact of what will offend that class of readers.”

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