August 29, 2008

life and death

"The deepest thing I know is that I am living and dying at once, and my conviction is to report that dialogue. It is a rather terrifying thought that is at the root of much of my poetry. To have such a thought is, of necessity to relate the imagination to primary issues - moral issues, spiritual issues - and that separates me from those who think of poetry as a literistic game."

stanley kunitz (Worcester, MA, 1905-New York City, NY, 2006), as quoted in an article published in The New York Times, March 11, 1987

Further reading:

Archives of the Poetry Foundation

Biography at

Modern American Poetry

August 28, 2008


Low and below, time bent and catered for, the hole of night; again, the scarred flesh//
of Rita and Amanda, lovingly yours and stupidly waiting for Him to come.
God created sea monsters, they said and tingled; their hymens still intact.
Can you draw him with a fishhook? Press down his tongue with a cord?
Love your brothers and sisters, love them forever until Kingdom comes
and no more beach house in Delaware when the light of dawn shines on the horror,
horseshoe crab hordes pave the way for the coming of the Leviathan

* * *

Naked in the open daylight I stumbled upon the old poet; he was climbing out of a taxi//
Sir, I just heard you on the radio, I said. He gave me a sad, cold look, the old poet;
when he was young he shouted parricide
I have to kill you, sir; his moribund inventions, scripture for America's housewives,//
verse with discount coupons; a big editorial success
Son, I've been dead for a long time now
He disappeared in the early autumn fog
The old poet

* * *

God created the great sea monsters and iPods, lentils, guinea pigs, spiders, not seven but a hundred plagues; the cancer//
His wrath became a mere joke, He watches Monday Night Football while we crack the code, and He laughs since there is no code; there is no code//

Let those curse it who curse the day, who are prepared to rouse Leviathan
Let the cities fall apart, let the trains derail; let them eat a thousand Wal-Marts
like fiery locusts after their 3G iPhones,//
let them feast again and eat their children for desert, because their instincts shall not deprive them from fornication,//
let them strip these fields clear until they can scrape the bones;
let them curse, let them know you can't draw him with a fishhook,
and let them curse again while I lay myself to rest in your burning cathedral

david weinglas (Montevideo, MN, 1978)


noun · a quick sharp bark

Young American Poets

August 26, 2008

three haikus

petroleum spill
breaking news, at the beach
a penguin dies on tv

* * *

my parents
they didn’t like roberto
because he was latino

* * *

this bland cosmic hole
you call earth, home, life
my pain and hell is

felicity johnson-clark (Silver Spring, MD, 1982)

The Yale Series of Younger Poets

The Yale Younger Poets prize is the oldest annual literary award in the United States, also one of the most prestigious given to new American poets. Yale University Press will begin accepting submissions for the 2009 competition in just a few weeks, so it is now an excellent time to start preparing your entry according to these guidelines.

Take note: entries must be postmarked no earlier than October 1, 2008 and no later than November 15, 2008. The competition is open to any American citizen under forty years of age who has not published a book of poetry. There is an entry fee of $15.00, only one manuscript may be submitted.

The winner of the 2008 competition, as chosen by judge Louise Glück, was Arda Collins’s It Is Daylight.

Further reading:

Website for The Yale Series of Younger Poets

More on Louise Glück

Arda Collins at The New Yorker, Reading Between A and B, GutCult

August 25, 2008


and they came
marching in...
those little blue
men, and their
gaping maws --
swallowing ideas whole,
sans Tobasco

those thoughts didn't
belong to me
so i thought
alien presence in
the upper dormitories

an American heritage
and earthly solutions
coffee and nicotine
in an asphalt oasis
bolts of lightning
surface on the
purple fissures
of my cerebellum

and i think of
yesterday's tomorrows
and sigh
"change your light bulb!"
said the attendant
as he handed me a
towel to dry my imagination

what's your destination?

Hades on a toothpick
H'ordeuvres picante for
your more particular tastes
habeas corpus
carpe corpe mortis say i

dancing on marbles
in the ballroom of
Festus Xavier
with the Mistress of the Moon

golden lamps
and silver sheep
lavender mudflaps
whipping up mud
from the lips of dogs

S is for stealth
as i step deftly
through the gardenias
of your soul
tap out if you must

d.c. massey (Albuquerque, NM, 1972)

More from this author at Musings of a Mad Celt

August 22, 2008

julia roberts

so I had a dream last night
I don't have any idea where it came from
but it was so clear and crisp
so vivid
it was a little bit disturbing
it still makes me uneasy

it goes like this
at the very beginning I am with my girlfriend and her family
at some lame time share resort
everything looks old
run down
but I'm stuck there
with her parents and all
we are at the side of the pool
I am kinda bored
not really understanding how i got talked into that

I mean, I love my girlfriend
but I don't need to go on vacation with her whole family
to prove that
as it turns out, I learnt
loving is about proving things all the time
a constant show and tell
a very demanding exercise in patience and self control
but I digress

so we are now at the dining room
which actually is this couple of long tables under a thatch roof
as I said, everything is sort of poor looking but it's ok
I stand up and walk to the salad bar
not because I like salad but because
I need a break from my in-laws
and then I see her

it's Julia Roberts

you know how in dreams you take these things as natural things
Julia Roberts is there
and she just is
no whoa or anything
she is there

I walk past her
and I can see she's with some guy
like his boyfriend or something
she notices me though
and I notice her of course
because she's gorgeous beautiful
all stretched over a deck chair
still wet from a recent splash

and now it gets tricky and blurry
I can't remember exactly how it was
but I notice she's not enjoying herself
the guy is being a dick with her
am I still holding my plate for the salad?
I don't know
but all of a sudden I am holding her in my arms
man, she's so pretty it hurts
we're laying there, I am hugging her
I just can't help to utter what I always tell my girlfriend
"it's such a pleasure being with you. how did I get so lucky?"
and she goes: "it's such a pleasure being with you. I am the lucky one"
and we kiss

I spare you some details here
but right then something I could only define
as a primal rush of guilt
makes me stop and stand up

wait, I am with my girlfriend here
and her family
I can't do this
there's some more stuff happening around
and it is all so vivid and real
and she's so beautiful
but I go back to the table
with my salad plate

my girlfriend's there
I know she saw me kissing with Julia Roberts
but she doesn't say a thing and acts cool
as if nothing had happened
out of some sort of weird dignity
I know she knows
I can tell in the way she looks at me
it's all in her eyes
and I feel guilty as hell

then it all derives into something else
I find myself being pestered by my own family
but somewhere else
and then I woke up

jesus h christ

it was fuckin' Julia Roberts

and she looked damn hot in that pink bathing suit

val ordoñez (Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 1982)

the new interest in poetry

"Nowadays people talk piously about 'the new interest in poetry,' but it's not altogether clear what they mean. More people, no doubt, are writing poetry today, with professional intent, than at any previous time in American history. It may also be true, paradoxically, that a smaller proportion of people are actually reading poetry than were a century ago. Nobody knows for sure; many express opinions."

peter davison (New York, NY, 1928), an excerpt from the article "Discovering" young poets. How some of the best-known poets of this century got that way, originally printed in the The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 281, No. 6, june 1998

Further reading:

The Atlantic Monthly's Fiction & Poetry Pages

Peter Davison's bio

August 20, 2008

a book, my cell phone, an apple

woke up to the sound of construction work
across the road
it was raining

still confused by it all
i managed to take a shower
the skill of man producing rain inside

i had coffee, with milk
went over credit card bills i can't afford
and waited

mental checklist:
don't forget the book
my cell phone, an apple

it was still raining outside
i watched the construction workers
with their fluorescent orange rain jackets

laying the framework of future
luxurious apartments
for picture perfect families

i walked out in the rain
with no book, no cell phone, no apple
living a life i can't afford

michael wallace (Syracuse, NY, 1973)

August 19, 2008

ok, you're right, but what was i supposed to do? it's not easy for me either

it had been a mild winter in vermont
not the kind we got used to endure
and i was sort of unemployed
selling stuff on ebay, walking dogs

my friends were gone
my not so friends were stoned
and you, self-absorbed and focused
in that damn soon-to-be-opened position

so yeah, i screwed up
she was the owner of that cute beagle
and was just as cute herself
just as a lonely as i felt

and you're right, it was horrible
but what was i supposed to do?
abandoned by you and everyone
who ever thought i'd become someone

i would have never talked about this
while speeding on the road
but you insisted to know
where those missed calls were coming from

you called me names, how many of them
but since that day after the crash
i can only remember you calling me
a sad pathetic liar

stewart pellegrino (Hoboken, NJ, 1972)

August 18, 2008

187 reasons mexicanos can’t cross the border

"Herrera had energy from the beginning: he needed to find forms that would let him use it. Like Ginsberg — like Pablo Neruda, like Walt Whitman — Herrera found such forms in long lists, long lines, long poems made out of short parts, and in the literary device called anaphora, where many lines begin with the same words. No poet alive, perhaps, uses anaphora better; none relies on it more. The title poem in 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border is also the first in the book. Each of its 187 lines begins 'Because': 'Because multiplication is our favorite sport,' 'Because someone made our IDs out of corn,' 'Because we’re still running from La Migra / Because we’re still kissing the Pope’s hand.'"

stephen burt on juan felipe herrera (Fowler, CA, 1948), excerpt from ‘Punk Half Panther’, published in the Sunday Book Review, The New York Times, August 10, 2008

poetry submission guidelines

Updated: April 2011

we welcome submissions by poets born on or after july 20, 1972, from all 50 states, the district of columbia, puerto rico and all territories of the united states of america. we do not accept poetry from underaged writers, sorry.

we only accept e-mail submissions, which should be addressed to "Young American Poets blog" at this e-mail address:

please send two to six unpublished poems written in English, bound in the e-mail body or as an attached .doc (MS Word) or .rtf (Rich Text Format) document. poetry may include dedication and should be accompanied by full name of the poet, birthplace, year of birth and a brief biographical statement.

incomplete submissions and referrals to web sites or personal blogs will not be considered. translations are not acceptable. please do not send work that has been submitted elsewhere ("simultaneous submissions"). contributions are accepted in an ad honorem basis.

we ask our contributors to allow three to four weeks for review and a decision.

The Young American Poets team

Related posts:

What we look for

by submitting your poetry you acknowledge that the materials offered are your own original work, and agree that they can be posted and archived in this site. you also acknowledge and agree that you grant Young American Poets a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free right and license to reproduce and distribute the submitted materials for usage in any publication, be it electronic, print or otherwise.

August 15, 2008

i wish i had a renault 4

i just turned sixteen last week
and my dad gave me a used honda civic
i can't see anything more uncivic
than buying a japanese car
let alone used, stick shift, hatchback

even kids in south central LA have better cars than this crap
i protested
my complains unheard, made fun of
you think jen is going to show herself around
riding in this rusted piece of a wheeled anchovie can?
nobody's ever going to even talk to me again at school

'cause everybody's riding their pimped bel airs, impalas
with their gas guzzling, roaring V8s
brand new hummers rocking to subwoofers
larger than my mom's new frost free chest freezer
(which was not cheap, let me tell you)
drooling over custom built mustangs
getting hard-ons driving muscle vintage camaros

and yet i don't wish for any of that
my demands are way more humble
i wish i had a renault 4
pure french elegance
fabric sunroof
retro looking coolness
and i can only imagine myself
sticking my eight-track collection
driving jen all the way to malibu


travis delillo (Los Angeles, CA, 1990)

August 14, 2008


write poetry like a fish would do
jump, see the sun
dive into the deep obscure sea
twist your lips, do funny faces
cross your eyes if you need to

write poetry like a fish would do
don't get trapped in nets
don't bite the easy worm hanging from the hook
because that's bait
jump and see your home from above

sliding, gliding across the blue obscure sea
dive and breathe with your gills and your soul
write poetry like a fish would do
and swim

(i don't know,
sounds fishy to me)

kate osbourne (Minneapolis, MN, 1987)

August 11, 2008

naysayers say no, ride the merry-go-round

this little old country
of naysayers and religious fanatics

these allergies of mine
making my eyes cry cry cry

this poorly paved road
leading to nowhere

this merry-go-round
making me sick sick sick

turning my stomach upside down
making me cry

naysayers, bankers and mobsters
religious fanatics and corrupt congressmen

this sad merry-go-round
with that same eerie tune

making me sick
making me cry

andrew hoyts (Naples, FL, 1979)

ready for something new

"We are at the start of a century, and that, in the past, has marked new beginnings for the art. Pound and Eliot launched Modernism in the opening years of the twentieth century (...) But it's not really a matter of calendar. American poetry is ready for something new because our poets have been writing in the same way for a long time now. There is fatigue, something stagnant about the poetry being written today (...) A new poetry becomes necessary not because we want one, but because the way poets have learned to write no longer captures the way things are, how things have changed. Reality outgrows the art form: the art form is no longer equal to the reality around it."

john barr (Omaha, NE, 1943), excerpted from the article American Poetry in the New Century, originally printed in Poetry, volume 188, number 5, september 2006

Further reading:

Newsmakers: John Barr, President, Poetry Foundation (Philanthropy News Digest)

So What Do You Do, John Barr? (

Poetry and Investment Banking: It's All about Risk (Knowledge@Wharton, University of Pennsylvania)

A Passion for Poetry (And Profits); Charting a Literary Course With $100 Million (The New York Times)

Poetry Starts to Wear $100 Million Crown (The New York Times)

The Moneyed Muse (The New Yorker)

Annals of Poetry (The New York Times)

A Windfall Illuminates the Poetry Field, and Its Fights (The New York Times)

August 8, 2008

a day after, the emptiness

a pledge of allegiance
whiskey and hot wine
love confessions from a greek goddess
gay chatter, flirting and gazing
and in the backyard of the old french house
the young girls come and go
talking about cacciatore

from the gazebo
everyone looks so cool
when the party is so avant-garde
new hairdos and unbelievable outfits
people go up and down the stairs
bouncing to the beat of electroclash
let me in, he said

liberty, equality, fraternity,
hot saki, pizza, vintage cupcakes
a weird sense of accomplishment
followed by the indisputable truth
of vacuous, sheer emptiness
the day after

well done she said, with a kiss
well done

tom s. legrand (Portland, OR, 1976)

August 6, 2008

shocking news!

my scrotum is getting really huge these days
watch the video
jobless rate attributed to government
massive rod is what you need
to make your beloved lady adore you
learn how to get it!
it's 7:27 am

britney spears and paris hilton are lovers
video proof
are you worthy of wearing this?

Microsoft has paid Facebook $1 billion
to get access to their database
buy it for your girlfriends and boyfriends
experience greater control and order
with immense weapon of love
and a fascist government

if you love life don't waste time
for time is what life is made up of

spongebob denies reports that hes gay
be with me and over 2.100.000 players
playing the casino
receive 300 euros free
get a tight package today
make your shaft longer and harder
gain in diameter and strength
you won't have to put a sock in your trunks
on a beach

fat chinese man kills and eats brother because he was hungry

david weinglas (Montevideo, MN, 1978)

August 5, 2008

bad computer

you are so slow i can walk all five blocks to the nearest starbucks
have a double tall double latte cappuccino
no chocolate, sugar yes, please
and a cinnamon roll
talk to that sexy cashier of the morning shift
who usually ignores me
read the paper, our glorious post-gazette
take a leak in the still sanitized toilet
squeeze and shake
wash my hands with liquid soap up to the elbow
as employees are required to do
try talking to the cashier again
ask her out and get another no as an answer
i can walk back with an abnormally unhurried pace, counting license plates ending in prime numbers
which are all natural numbers that have exactly two distinct natural number divisors, one and themselves
i can do all that
and still your startup is not over
and i can't sit down to finish this poem
bad computer
i can hear that tired hum
your circuitry laughing at me
the ever flipping hourglass turning and turning
well, go to hell
and i'll just go old school
put pen to paper instead

ewan parsons (Pittsburgh, PA, 1978)

August 4, 2008


the lack of words
the likes a plenty
made them previous efforts
pure banality

the time was right, the air was hot
he was running on instincts
she just knew
I spied

the lovers sparing kisses
one loud moan and they stand still
like frogs on natgeo
and I stand still

a boy turning a girl into a woman
a flower in full bloom
another girl becoming aware
she is another flower in the distance

no moral and no adverbs
the rocking and the splashing
and they stand still and my hands fly
one flower, two flowers

in full bloom

audrey villisac (Indianapolis, IN, 1988)

August 1, 2008

decline, stagnate

on a friday i decline, in the weekend i stagnate; funny you should ask 'cause you eat and yet you starve, looking dull behind those inch thick spectacles. a myriad reasons i could cite for being uncontent, unconvinced, unpleasant, unmarried, unscrupulous; girls always turn their backs on me. rejection, sometimes, makes you even stronger, self sufficient. so another weekend's coming and you have no plans, no friends, no nothing. devoid of attention you turn to yourself and then you no longer decline. you don't even stagnate. you decay. you just decay. and i would help myself having you over for a beer maybe, and some pointless, stupid conversation. but i can't look past your spectacles, which bring back my deformed and sad looking image. i can't look past the little cookie crumbles tightly adhered to the outskirts of your ugly mouth. what went wrong i don't know. i guess we could only multiply our miseries. i'll walk you to the metro station, if that makes you happy. it will be the only thing i have done for someone in the last five years. i can't look past. another weekend is coming. i stand up and see all pods are empty. shitty pods. little cells of mediocrity. and you standing there. i can't look past. another weekend. i don't decline. i decay.

ian svensson (Detroit, MI, 1974)