Cover of Issue 41Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review
No. 41, Winter 2015

Issue 41 of the Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review was published in December of 2015.  The issue came together, unexpectedly, as a surprisingly diverse book of forms - there are sonnets, rhymed quatrains, blank verse, rhymed couplets, odes, elegies, persona poems, nonce forms, free-verse and more. We didn't intend this effect, but it is a nice reminder that any talk of a 'current' poetics is a little silly.  There are folks out there doing anything we can imagine, and we've got a good selectin of it here. This year's issue features poems by Marriane Boruch, John Burnside, Laura Kasischke, Chri Dombrowski, Eduardo Chirinos and many others.  The 4x4 this year focuses on an enduring question - that of teaching creative writing.  Our four respondents  muse on how to run a workshop, what can be learned from favorite poems and what we all might be doing wrong when we think about learning to write.


Mikhail Aizenberg
Marianne Boruch
John Burnside
Eduardo Chirinos
Adam Clay
Jeremy Dae Paden
Chris Dombrowski
John Philip Drury
Nausheen Eusuf
Piotr Florczyk
James Harms
Tom Jungerberg
Laura Kasischke
J. Kates
Peter Kline
Jan Kochanowski
Margaret Mackinnon
Amelia Martens
Christophe Miles
Chad Parmenter
Patrice Pinette
G.J. Racz
Linwood Rumney
Ron Smith
Susan Stewart
Lesley Wheeler
Greg Wrenn
Theodora Ziolkowski

Pale, Crazy Syllables

by Eduardo Chirinos

The hand that touches spirit touches
sweetness, avoiding the slash of death
that exists in all perfection. It's a hand
that reaps the wind, jumbling pale,
crazy syllables; a hand that kisses spoons,
runs over dogs, smooths out best it can
the purity of stars, wombs that tremble
absent cold, breasts that burn sadly. It's
the happiness and sorrow in a letter that
never arrives. The fire forgets the smoke,
the ashes forget the fire. That's how it's
always been. The hand that touches spirit
touches sweetness, avoiding the slash of
death that exists in each of our bodies. In
all perfection I hear pale, crazy syllables.
                               - Translated from the Spanish by G.J. Racz

What Held the Cathedral Aloft

by Marianne Boruch

Muffled to telepathy, blood never
talks outright to heart.
Still the dumbest things

pass my lips because I just
want to hear you
say again. Not to get it.

It's the getting, rush-tunnel of
cooler water in water
when we were

swimming that time. But fish,
their all color
slow motion, beginning

and end ever
no sound who they are
in lit blue. Like-

no disrespect to
the cornerstone-the flying buttress
holds the cathedral aloft.

I won't say lift. Nothing
leaves the ground for good.
Love, I won't

say the heart
a ridiculous muscle either-
lopsided, pretty boring,

repeating itself senseless all
every long reach,
lower limb to brain to

what becomes of us, inner
ear and pulse hushed
blood at a slant.


by Tom Jungerberg

I do so many things, so many things
Prepared and done: the skinny, dusty wings
Of ceiling fans wiped down; the dough made bread;
The lists drawn up of things I should have said
The last time that we talked, when last we met;
The centerpiece's plumage fatly set;
The spoons rubbed spotless; napkins folded up
Like ruffled oyster shells beside each cup;
The mouse-holes planked; the tacks plucked from the shoe;
The broken vase made whole with super-glue.

God help me, how I shuffle and I fuss
Awaiting you, your bumbling Greyhound bus.
God help me, suffering the commonplace.
Your face, in memory, is not your face.