Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review
No. 47, Winter 2021/2022


2021/2022 Cover of the Poetry Review

It was another busy and unpredictable year at HSPR. Covid carried on. The issue dragged itself across the turn of the year and into spring. In ways, it was fitting, as it felt like 2021 would never end, and so, the magazine itself refused even to come out and round out the year. But it is finally here and, at least, the other consistent thing is the excellent work we have for you this year. From Marianne Boruch's strange travelogue to Shane McCrae's reworking of the story of Helen of Troy to an interstellar dialogue between Terri Witek and Amaranth Borsuk, the journal is full of unforgettable poems--unforgettable, we hope, in the opposite way that the past few years will also turn out to have been unforgettable....  


Dan Albergotti  
Amaranth Borsuk  
Marianne Boruch
Will Brewbaker
Jonathan Cannon
Dylan Carpenter
Michael Dechane
Lauren Hilger  
Tiffany Hsieh
Alexis Ivy
Ellen Kaufman
John Koethe
Steve Kronen
William Logan  

Matthew MacFarland
Shane McCrae
Paul Nemser
Michael O'Leary
Ruben Merriweather Peña  
Deborah Pope
Tao Qian
Valencia Robin  
David Rock
Nicholas Samaras  
Hilary Sio
Matt Thomas
Brandon Thurman
Mark Truscott
Terri Witek

The Garden by Ellen Kaufman

The Garden

He is the pear before the leaf,
flower before the seed is sown.
She is the tear before the grief,
but he is the pear before the leaf.
She is the loss before the thief.
She is of him, but still her own.
He is the wreck before the reef.
She is the flesh before the stone.

She is the pear before the leaf,
harvest before the seed is sown.
He is the tear before the grief,
and she is the fall before the leaf.
She is the grain before the sheaf.
She is like him, but still her own.
He is the blight before the reef.
She is the grave before the bone.  

The Crickets by Matthew MacFarland

The Crickets

Lord I have not written for
ninety-three days. Lord I am
in trouble now. Lord the words
go silent the way crickets
go silent as I walk near their tree,
and when I’ve moved on down the path
they cry out again, louder.
Like Rilke’s Orpheus they bear a harp
grafted to their limbs:
Lord I am in trouble, now
and then. Here is an image of a man
wearing a suit of crickets
and a woman with a gown of same
wearing their music on their sleeves,
gathered to them as iron filings
gather to a magnet swept
across the workshop floor
between the humming lathes. Admit
them, admit them. I would like
to know those angels’ names.

Les Temps by Paul Nemser

Les Temps

The day’s glare almost stops you. The shade
is never dark enough. Head angles, re-angles
toward a dimmer oblique. One-eyed, you read through
the sinuous text, and lose all to the curves,
and every curve was there before
when you, the “European” girl, were fluent
in cat’s-eye glasses. Letters melted
like the Seine into the Seine.

You’re in blind spume now. Brightness floats,
ice crusts the text, and still
your eye curves through the long perfections.
The world’s remembered more than read,
yet read, it runs like goose fat over flame
and fries the raw light gold.