Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review
No. 42, Winter 2016


Winter 2016 Cover Poetry Review

Issue 42 of the Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review was published in December of 2016. This is a hightly unusual issue for us and possibly a first in the history of small American magazines. For this year's issue we have 49 sonnets all commissioned specifically for the journal. Writers, both solicited and unsolicited were asked to write a sonnet on one of five themes: AWalk, Silence, Water, Frames and Containers. Each poet was given only an hour to compose the poem (minus small revisions), and the form of a 'sonnet,' could be interpreted however was seen fit. Our idea began with John Keats' famous (or infamous) sonnet challenges with his friends, but it grew to something more than just a challenge, as his poems did too. In this issue you'll find a variet of takes on the sonnet, and on our themes, by writers like Maurice Manning, Jennifer Clarvoe, Lisa Jarnot, A.E. Stallings, Timothy Donnelly and many more.


Dan Albergotti
Anna Lena Phillips Bell
Jordie Albiston
Julia Bloch
Don Bogen
Laynie Browne
Stephen Burt
Laton Carter
Jennifer Clarvoe
Robert Cording
Peter Cooley
Stephen Cushman
Debra Kang Dean
Timothy Donnelly
Stephen Dunn
Patrick Ryan Frank
Eamon Grennan
Jay Hopler
Maria Hummel
Lisa Jarnot
Richard Jones
John Kinsella
William Logan
Cate Lycurgus
Maurice Manning

Mark McMorris
Nicholas D. Nace
Hannah Faith Notess
Bob Perelman
Jon Pineda
John Poch
Mira Rosenthal
Shane Seely
Glenn Shaheen
Rob Shapiro
Derek Sheffield
Evie Shockley
Britton Shurley
Lisa Russ Spaar
A.E. Stallings
Katrina Vandenberg
Wendy Videlock
Connie Wanek
William Wenthe
Fred Wilbur
Jessica Wikinson
Jess Williard
Eleanor Wilner
Robert Wrigley

step foot

by Evie Shockley

if nothing rhymes with orange toe polish, why
do i wear it? to make my feet stand out
when i step out. they are my alibi,
my good excuse, my reasonable doubt,

my shield. my nails are a caution: don't touch,
don't shoot. this orange-with-a-hint-of-red screams
of confident fuck-yous, but won't do much
to repel ghosts or bullets. the street seemssafe as any place else. my home's no less
impenetrable than my body, and
my skin's no tougher than my heart. just guess
what scares me most: the shit others have plannedin fear of me. so long as i'm deemed danger,
i won't bite my lip, but paint my toes oranger.

Off Milden Road

by Don Bogen

It must be the distance that makes those ponies seem
so magical in their yard up on the hill.
Or the way this morning's particular angle
of sunlight blanches the wet grass, bathing them
in blurred glare, as if they stood outside of time.
Or I did, and this walk you knew so well
had freed me from the past so you were still
alive here in the world, not just in dream.
And yet the ponies set us both in time.
I remember you thought they were too small to ride:
just pets, unlike the bulldog near the gate.
Unlike the deer, they'd linger, unafraid.
Alone in their world now, they stare at mine
Calmly. There's no need to know their names.

Cup-Stacking at the School Talent Show

by Maria Hummel

For every mumbled song, we mothers clapped,
faking joy-until that boy claimed the stage's glow,
his fingers lifting, setting, slipping, slap
to the table, red plastic stacks and rows 
blooming and collapsing like epochs
in the hands of time. He lives for this,
his mom to me above the roar, eyes locked
to her enormous camera. He practices 
for hours. Well, he's good, he's really good,
I told her. I have seventeen scrapbooks
already, she added, and then, I couldn't
have any more. The doctors looked
inside me. The boy piled his red hoard
high again, all the emptiness toward the floor.


by Patrick Ryan Frank

Oh broken-open apple, black body cracked
against the gravel, a cell-phone camera rolling,
the men around him standing, but scroll back
and see them kneeling there, see them holding
the arms already pinned behind his back,
already still, go back and see him falling
to the sidewalk, rewind and see them pulling
out their sidearms, watch, watch, go back-
Here's what you see: a black man, thirty years old.
Here, he's only smoking, and then he's smoke.
There he drifts out past the shaking frame
beyond where any hand or word can hold him.
And here, again, everything is broken,
and, somehow, everything still looks the same.

Under the Hunger Moon

by Robert Wrigley

From facets of fallen snow, some shimmers,
which are silent. The moonlight makes no noise
at all, you know this, but still you are poised
to listen, both hands cocked behind your ears.
What you think you hear may be the murmur
of your own blood, its pump-gush given voice,
which, in such a silence, you have no choice
in the hearing of: there's nothing else there.

Or else everything is, but it's quiet.
If you placed a fingertip in each ear
you could hear it better, a kind of hiss,
a kind of drone or hum. So you try it,
and there it is, inside, your blood's murmur,
but it is the greater silence you miss.