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
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
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
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.