November 30, 2009

you’ll never make a living writing poems

"You’ll never be able to make a living writing poems. We’d better get this money business out of the way before we go any further. I don’t want you to have any illusions. You might make a living as a teacher of poetry writing or as a lecturer about poetry, but writing poems won’t go very far toward paying your electric bill. A poem published in one of the very best literary magazines in the country might net you a check for enough money to buy half a sack of groceries. The chances are much better that all you’ll receive, besides the pleasure of seeing your poem in print, are a couple of copies of the magazine, one to keep and one to show to your mother. You might get a letter or postcard from a grateful reader, always a delightful surprise. But look at it this way: any activity that’s worth lots of money, like professional basketball, comes with rules pinned all over it. In poetry, the only rules worth thinking about are the standards of perfection you set for yourself."

ted kooser (Ames, IA, 1939), excerpted from the poetry home repair manual: practical advice for beginning poets (University of Nebraska Press, 2005)

Further reading:

Ted Kooser's official website

Ted Kooser: Online Resources (Library of Congress Web Site)

Times Topics: Ted Kooser (The New York Times)

The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets (Google Books)

At Home with Poet Laureate Ted Kooser (All Things Considered, NPR)

November 25, 2009


young girl with short hair
she lies naked in bed
the mystery is over

ava grünberg (New York, NY, 1971)

November 24, 2009

lingering questions still unanswered

What about the unnecessary evils?
The garbage cans
and golden trucks
The mindless grrrl
who'll suck everybody's cock but yours

What about the nutrients in your food?
Vitamin infused yoghurt
edible roots and plants
artichoke hearts
bold assertions
and your hard earned trophy ass

What about the hours spent at the gym?
What about the fragrance coming from your armpits
after two hours pulling levers
being the fittest for survival
a treadmill nightmare ignored

What about the pain unknown?
What about the unforgivable desire
to pound your ass
to tear your blouse open

What about the unkempt desire
to posses your flesh for good
to be certain at last
and crave you not more

What about the stakes we held together?
What about the promises you made
the enacted pity and childish sorrow
About all those silly poems
and the sickness trail you left behind

For goodness sake
What about it?

paul christo (Olympia, WA, 1979)

November 20, 2009


The feminist in me, the one who reads
queer theory and gender analysis for fun,
the person who attends poetry readings
where the words “twat,” “cunt,” “yoni”
and “vagina dentata” get kicked around
like hackey sacks, balks at the fact that
I wish I were there to make you dinner
when you get home from work.
Wish I could watch you clear the
threshold, listen as the door thunks shut
behind you, see you peek your head
into the kitchen, loose tendrils of hair
from your ponytail brushing butterfly
kisses over your chin, catching briefly
on the wooly expanse of your beard.
I would have two mismatched bowls
of chicken soup on the table,
stainless steel spoons waiting anxiously
atop paper napkins folded into perfect
triangles. I would settle myself into
the seat across from you, observe
the slouch of your exhausted shoulders
as you hung your leather jacket in
the hall closet and shuffled over to me,
a barely there smile creasing your face.
I’d swallow warm broth as you prattled
on about the virtues of Linux and
the sins of Microsoft, might even attempt
to coax your teeth out from under
your lips with a silly joke I read in an email
forward, or a story about my hellish
work commute, exaggerated to the point
where sympathy teeters toward amusement.
I’d wash the dishes by hand while you
slipped into a pair of sweatpants and one
of the faded black heavy metal concert
t-shirts that wallpaper your closet, and
when I was done I would slide up next
to you on the couch, fit my head
between your neck and shoulder, and
watch episodes of Red Dwarf until
your breathing grew deep and I heard
you start snoring. In that moment,
I would place my ear over your chest,
listen to the soft gust of air filling your
lungs, the imposing gurgle of your
stomach, the steady beat of your heart;
sounds tended by love, blossoming out
of consistent care. I want to place
my arm across your stomach, feel
the coarse hairs scrape my wrist, and know
beyond the shadow of a marriage license,
a shared lease, joint bank accounts,
or stubborn gender roles, that I am home.

carla criscuolo (New York, NY, 1979)

November 13, 2009

gossip schmuck, angry duck

I get the boat afloat
Top of the class
Chocolate a mouthful
Beer maybe, pot sometimes

Discerning adults and gamblers
Would say I hit a double run
The loveliest girl in town
How can she do any harm?

Then the rumors make
Enough noise to shake
The trees and thunder prevails
She's a total slut

You cope with that bull
From the usual schmucks
But they make you angry
Now you are an angry duck

Watch out for mayhem
And sober up your act
This wunderkind is pissed
This feathered gut is hard

Kids are cruel, nevermind
The bollocks or the sick
And envious with no plans
For a life, wasted wandering

What the future would be like
And they say there is no future
Just like they said I was a smut
On a used car windscreen


The angry duck ducks in the water
No offense taken, seriously
Gotta sail to new horizons
Shanks and feet are paddling hard
And you can keep wondering
How it all happened
But please do me a favor:
Get a life

avital roizner (Boston, MA, 1982)

November 12, 2009

poetry submissions, winter break and the road ahead

Deadline for 2009 submissions is December 21st. Materials sent after this date will not be considered.

The Young American Poets staff will resume poetry reviews on January 11th, 2010.

Want to submit? Read our guidelines here.

As we have said, we are working on a major facelift for our site. Plans for 2010 include also new sections, illlustrations and, hopefully, "a room of one's own". Keep coming back for updates.

We would like to thank once again all writers, readers and fellow bloggers who help keep this project alive with their contributions, comments and advice.

The Young American Poets team


YAP Submissions Deadline: December 21st, 2009

Useful Posts:

YAP Poetry Submission Guidelines

What We Look For: a brief guide for submissions assessment (YAP)

Further reading:

Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke (Google Books)

Advice To Poets (Copper Canyon Press)

November 11, 2009

lasting echoes of getting over it

A spider web, used condoms, magic tan
The stuff my girlfriend left at home behind
Nail polish, one black bra, a stare: deadpan
Enough to haunt, night and day, this troubled mind
She said had to get on with it, so blunt
I was helpless, hapless, called sister, mom
But seems it was not good enough a flaunt
Not good enough for her at least, she'd never come
So I moved on, got on with it, those scars
Still fresh and dripping yet no questions asked,
When in public hiding at hideous bars,
Walking away from angry dogs, from her, they barked
Now who was right but wrong and has plenty of time
Keeps enacting the same love, stale, past his prime

henry satriano (Columbus, OH, 1973)

November 10, 2009


so I've been thinking about it
and you need not worry
about me meeting Zooey
at the press junket tomorrow

yes, she's hot and smart
and she can sing
but you know I wouldn't change you
for all the Zooeys in the world

now, for those several hundred megabytes
worth of her pictures you found in my pc
first off, you shouldn't be spying on me
it's personal stuff

it's lame you become jealous of a compressed jpeg image
when it all boils down to endless strings of zeroes and ones
the same goes to the porn I have carried in the past
and had to delete upon your -now I realize absurd- request

I understand it is my right to look at whatever I feel fit

but back to Zooey, I didn't hide the fact she was costarring
in Yes Man; I just didn't know
and The Happening, you know how much I hate Shyamalan movies
but you insisted we should see that one

so darling
you need not worry
because we both well know
I don't stand a chance
of even the slightest slant
to this, our shared uneventful


val ordoñez (Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 1982)

November 9, 2009

dear god


How does your ultimate plan include babies that get left in hot cars with the windows rolled up and die? It can't be because the babies are being punished because they aren't really capable of much, and you don't even like it when slime babies aren't kept alive. If the plan here is to teach the parents a lesson, don't you think there is a method that doesn't involve baby frying? It seems a little diabolical I guess.

Also, why do so many of us need our tonsils removed? Things are confusing enough, at least let us start out with parts we need.

What does the Bible say about cutting in line? If nothing, is there a specific punishment you could offer?

Why do some people like it when they get cum in their face? Is that something you knowingly incorporated as part of the plan?

Finally, how do you feel about classic cars?

-Confused in America.

garrett west (Detroit, MI, 1984)

November 4, 2009

the young american poets, they are a-changin'

so yes, we've been absent for a little while, for reasons fair and strong enough to halt our regular posting.

basically, as you may have noticed, our masthead has changed. we welcome our good friend and longtime contributor to this blog Beatrice Kaplan (Pembroke, NH, 1985), who has recently joined our editorial team. that should put an end to our existence as a boys-only club, something we never intended to be.

as for our friend and YAP co-founder Julian Bailey, he is just taking a break from YAP to pursue an MFA in his native Arizona. let this post be a virtual yet warm send-off for him. Julian, you will be missed.

also, we want to announce that Young American Poets will undergo a major facelift, to be completed towards the end of November. we'll keep you posted about the news.

now, back to poetry.

The Young American Poets team