Monday, December 5, 2016

From Volume 37: A poem by Henry Walters

By Henry Walters

Not till this old-fashioned morning, Son House singing
through fifty pushups, fifty situps, some pain-
ful stretches into lower registers

that can’t be reached, on a skipping record,
Got a letter this morn-, Got a letter this morn-,
not till I rifled every kitchen cupboard

& poked through sacks of nothing but dry goods,
& the fridge the same, no eggs, no meat, no greens,
& I, who have never been poor, sat down, tired,

not till then did I think about the milkman,
a real man to my parents’ generation
but myth to mine, who’d come in the dawn & leave

two bottles on the stoop beside the door,
uncapped, they said, & frothy, &, sometimes, warm,
narrow-necked bottles that flared out like the bell

of a gramophone, like the mouths of changeling twins
you found each morning, unswaddled, unexplained,
& take in full, & put out empty, & think

no more about than mail arriving twice,
or papers by evening, or kids after school, or sun
going up & down by everybody’s watch.

But now your bottle floats up into mind,
milkman, minstrel, waylaid messenger,
without a message, without milk, without

even a sun to slip slow through your glass,
& you say, Hush—I thought I heard her call
my name, & suddenly your being gone

delivers me a second time into the world,
brimful, & fuller, maybe, than before,
having had no taste of what there’d be to lack.

*reprinted with permission from Field Guide A Tempo (Hobblebush Books, 2016)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

2016 Pushcart Prize Nominees

The Worcester Review has selected its 2016 Pushcart Prize Nominees. 

In no particular order, the nominees are:

Karen Sharpe, "Neutrals"
Henry Walters, "Milkman"
Renee Bibby, "Than All the Treasures"
Heather Treseler, "Voyeur in June"
Judy Kaber, "Elvers"
Hu Xian / Zhang Ziqing / Rodger Martin, "Chinese Wolfberry"

Best of luck to all our nominees!

Monday, November 7, 2016

From Volume 37: A poem by 李白, Li Po



Climbing the Xiling Pagoda [1] in Yangzhou, Autumn [2]
By 李白, Li Po

The pagoda points into blue sky,
and I climb on its top, looking at distant landscape.
The top merges with the sky’s vigor
and towers above the clouds like a brilliant sign.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Volume 37 Cover Reveal

Coming November 2016!

Volume 37 Featuring the 2016 Frank O'Hara Prize Winners, the Manuscript Winner of the 2016 WCPA College Poetry Contest, New poetry and fiction from emerging and established writers, and a Feature Section on Scofield Thayer.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

From Volume 36: A poem by Rimas Uzgiris

by Rimas Uzgiris
were swept downstream
in a flood that began with small
buds of water blossoming
into wreaths of rain
that thrust us into a movie
that went faster as we approached the end
and you could scarcely keep up
or enjoy the scenery
passing the sand bar
it all seemed so arranged
driftwood skeletons draped
with souls like shredded sheets
and mewing gulls of memory poked
a sagging sky
then the sea
opened its mouth
O peace that passeth understanding
the part of us that is made of water
will be taken up into clouds.

In the Spotlight: Rimas Uzgiris

Rimas Uzgiris is a poet, translator, editor and critic. His work has appeared in Barrow Street, AGNI, Atlanta Review, Quiddity,The Iowa Review, The Hudson Review and other journals. He is translation editor and primary translator of How the Earth Carries Us: New Lithuanian Poets (Vilnius, 2015). He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MFA in creative writing from Rutgers-Newark University. Recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Grant and a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship, he teaches literature, translation and creative writing at Vilnius University. His poem "We" is featured in Volume 36.

First, what was your inspiration for your poem "We"?

I was reading and translating a Lithuanian poet at the time, Donatas Petrošius, who had written a series of poems in response to films. One of these was inspired by Jim Jarmusch's "Dead Man". I recalled the river journey at the end of the film where the character William Blake floats out into the ocean to die. There is a dramatic and beautiful shot of his boat going out to sea with rain clouds looming beyond, sunlight breaking through. This image and the preceding journey triggered a strong personal response, which also struck me as archetypal. So I wrote the poem with that in mind--William Blake's journey is our journey. Hence the first-person plural, which I almost never use. The specific imagery of the poem is all from my own memories of rivers and seas. I made no attempt to comment on the movie because the thought of it had called up so many personal associations. The style of the poem was influenced by my reading W.S. Merwin's The Shadow of Sirius at the time. I was inspired by a number of his un-punctuated poems with no stanzaic form which seemed to fit the theme here of a continuous journey that is over so quickly you hardly realize what has happened.

How did you get into writing? When did you know that it was something you wanted to pursue seriously?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

From Volume 36: A poem by James McKee


by James McKee

The home seemed pleasant from the street;
Two weeks of rest and therapy,
No more, should put you on your feet.
It didn't sound too bad to me.

Yours was a quiet floor, except
For a lounge where house rules allowed
One shared TV, which the staff kept
Always turned on and always loud.

To reach your bedside, I passed through
Fifty residents slumped in rows,
Unknown to me, although I knew
You would never be one of those.

In the Spotlight: James McKee

James McKee and his wife live in New York City, where they each work as educators. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Virginia, he held a number of jobs before spending over a decade as a teacher and administrator at a small progressive high school in Manhattan. He currently works as a private tutor and spends his free time, when not writing or reading, traveling less than he would like and brooding more than he can help. His poem "Home" appears in Volume 36 of The Worcester Review.

Your poem "Home" describes a situation many people encounter, having a loved one move to a nursing home. What is your experience with this and how did it inspire you to create a poem about it?

When my mother became ill for what turned out to be the final time, I simply refused to acknowledge the gravity of her condition until the visit depicted in the poem, when at last I was forced to admit she was dying.  We were very close—I was her only son—and in recent years she had been hospitalized more than once, always returning home after a week or so.  This time was different, and I wanted the poem to present the speaker’s experience becoming irrecoverably aware of a loved one’s imminent death.  Once she knew that I had finally accepted, or at least understood, what was happening, there was very little time left; under the weight of what was soon to come, we were often unable to say very much to each other.  Somehow every trivial detail of the home, which was really not so bad as such places go even if my memories of it have a Grand Guignol savagery, exacerbated my grief at soon losing her.

A lot of people talk about the "sandwich generation" as being the generation of people that have to simultaneously care for their children and their parents. What's your take on that situation?

My wife and I don’t have children, and even though my mother continued to live on her own until her final illness, the strain of worrying about her all the time & checking up on her regularly took its toll on me (and on my wife).  On the one hand, I can only imagine how stressful raising children while caring for a declining parent might seem—yet I also think they would be, in their boisterous and uncomprehending way, a great comfort and source of strength, a distraction from grim clinical realities.

How did you first get into writing?

I have wanted to be a poet almost continuously since my teenage years, although it took me a long time to attain the discipline necessary to write in a sustained and artistically serious way.  Certain poems I read in high school, "Prufrock," "Dover Beach," "The Tiger," haunted me in a way that at the time I hardly understood, but that now I recognize as something like a summons.