Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review
No. 39, Winter 2013

Poetry Review Winter 2013 coverIssue 39 of the Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review was published in December of 2013.  It features new work from Claudia Emerson, Robert Wrigley, Terrance Hayes, Davis McCombs and many others. Our 4x4 this year muses over issues raised by Robert Frost in his famous introduction to a book by E.A. Robinson - should poems be patient or impatient? should poems voice grief or grievance?  Our cover this year is highly unusual - each issue was illustrated individually by artists, schoolchildren, poets, teachers, college students, and others.  They are all done in permanent marker, and each copy, of course, and like most things, is unique.


Aitana Alberti
Charles Battle
Craig Challender
Grant Clauser
Peter Cooley
Daniel Corrie
Hannah Craig
Stephen Cushman
Moira Egan
Claudia Emerson
Sylva Fischerová
Stuart Friebert
Jesse Graves
Eamon Grennan
Terrance Hayes
Ron Houchin
Christopher Howell

Harry Humes
Maria Hummel
Don Johnson
Toshiya Kamei
Lisa Lewis
William Logan
Amit Majmudar
Davis McCombs
Alicia Ostriker
J. Stephen Rhodes
Glenn Shaheen
Lydia Ship
Lisa Russ Spaar
Robert Wrigley
Charles Wyatt


by Hannah Craig

The morning rush has hedged the wedge-headed band
onto a grassy island where they stand, chuckling nervously
at passing trucks, plucking half-dead bugs
with nervous systems deadened by cold.

The gold shape of the honeylocust overhead
shifts by the moment, losing form with each rake
of the breeze. Leaves hover like radial diadems.
The turkeys shuffle forward, back—traffic won't relent.

But they don't want to seem alarmed. The young hens fluff
with indifference. The gobbler puffs his chest. We're here now,
he seems to say, and not at your behest. We're headed
somewhere you've never been.
Lord I don't want to go

with them. This world's so hard—snow sweeps
from the west, hives fall silent, and water drips
from mortar, brick, and eaves. The order
of our spirit has been pricked and now we wait
for death to call, for forward-motion, for the route
to be detoured. I can't see how to help them cross.

The light has changed.
                                         The light is changing once again.

Brightness Falls from the Air

by Alicia Ostriker

Brightness falls from the air
said the old woman
like Bach's cello concerto
played by Pablo Casals
travelling the universe gently
like deep blue dust
I call it evening

Brightness falls from the air
said the dark red tulip
and when it does I lock
myself in the house I draw the blinds
All night I breathe
my own suffocating perfume

Brightness falls from the air
said the dog
well so I use my brain
this happens all the time
if I go to sleep now
it will be bright again when I wake up


by Jesse Graves

A man walks into the middle of his life
with expectations of more years
exactly like the one he's just passed,
more years in the prime, if these
have been days he wants to live on.

A man walks to a stand of trees,
and behind the trees, who can see
ahead to tell him? Who can tell
whether there lies an open meadow,
tall grass sprinkled with wildflowers,

or whether the man walks through a forest,
more trees beyond those he can see,
tangled together with vines and briers,
undergrowth so thick he cannot pass,
and, of course, he can never turn back.

A man walks toward the voice of an owl,
not knowing what to believe about
the sayings, the old song of the corpse-bird
crying out that his time is near at hand,
or that good fortune has found him, after all.