The All-Poetry Issue


Vol.61 Issue 01
Cover Artist: Wayne Chang
Cover of TLR's "Chemistry" issue with cover art by Wayne Chang


Editor’s Letter by Michael Morse

It’s been a while since I’ve been in that kind of lab, but I’m still a student of composition and properties and how things are structured, even if the elements and compounds in question are more syntactical than chemical. There’s delight in mixtures that release energy…


Regan Good
Elegy for David Bowie January 10, 2016
Spring Starts Early in This Frozen Sphere: After Seeing a Drawing of a Tomb on My 50th Birthday
Sparrow’s Song
Clear as a Bell in the Cool Green Lair (Riding a Horse into a Pond)

the soul travels the various stages and stations up,
then is slotted into spheres that crank a boring song


Gabriel Dozal
You Whom They Border

their worlds don’t know
how to border each other
or where to draw the imaginary
dotted line we were crossing


Ted Mathys
Fracking Bakken
Fracking Anadarko
Fracking Barnett
Fracking Eagle Ford
A Raft of Rushes
Gold Cure
El Dorado

… Under pressure, let desire
descend, sift with deep marine snow and reside
on seafloor mud 300 million years before


Seema Yasmin
Forty-One Surah Yaseens

in this prayer circle,
we five women sway.
Staunching the flow
of three generations of bleeding.


Cait Weiss Orcutt
One of Two Parties

You’re one of two parties hiding in your bedroom, one
of two girls born of the Beauty Descendant
& a Nice—if Lapsed—Jew


Allan Peterson

On the midway a man was selling chameleons
He had many on strings pinned to his vest
It was Royal Stewart plaid


Martin Ott
Two Men Fall off Cliff Playing Pokémon Go
The Prison in the Middle of Nowhere

The monster has become the master and builds walls just for you.


Brittany Dennison
April 30th, 2016
The Denison Homestead

can i have a spiced rum daisy, please?
i say to the beautiful waitress
to imply that i’m a baby


John Gallaher
For the Asking
The World as Mirror

It’s one thing to understand yourself, it’s another altogether
to know what to do with that knowledge. How you can spot
faces anywhere, for instance.


Doug Ramspeck
Skating Rink

the bluing shape of the trees beyond the rink, and the vaporous
bursts of air slipping from their nostrils and their mouths


Andrew Hemmert

Every Christmas my mother unpacks her miniature houses.
She spreads out a white, glittering sheet beneath the tree


Lauren Hilger
New Year’s Eve Dress

The New Year’s Eve dress makes its wearer
the something to come, the edge of what we know.


Caki Wilkinson
How To Read a Busted Oracle

Was the sturgeon not a sturgeon? Did your squid perform like an eel? You’re new to this, aren’t you? 


Ben Pease
Poem Starting with Mirrors and Wearing Away
Family Names

Next to the room of handmade marionettes
an arcade fortune teller: two slots asking
for two quarters each, hold the question
silently in your mind


Kent Shaw
To Mountainize Is a Verb

The mountains have been moving. They have been evolving, but they’re not
telling anyone.


Scott Withiam
Laws Make It Difficult for Bob

In short, Bob’s rotting shed bordered public property, so he could disassemble and remove it himself or have it professionally removed, but he could not burn it down.


Farid Matuk
A Daughter That She May Touch the Deployments

you play at slapping us hard enough to get in trouble
I don’t know what I speak this into at any of your ages
some men in particular will think …


Mary Donnelly

Everything is carved from bone
everywhere. Ships and shoes and


M.L. Martin
[cross-talk]: an experimental translation of the Anglo-Saxon poem known as “Wulf ond Eadwacer”

Our wretched cub


Jazra Khaleed, GREECE
Translated by Peter Constantine
First Death of the Poet Jazra Khaleed
Give Me a Person

I will die the death of an immigrant from Chechnya,
you’ll find me in the trash
with throat cut and hands cold.


Conceição Lima, ISLAND OF SãO TOMÉ
Translated by David Shook
The Other Landscape
The Stone’s Voice

Of the smooth extension of the sand
Of the haughty waving of the coconut palms
Of the infinite scent of the orchard


Brendan Lorber
Bird above the fire
You have ten million new messages

Acts of domesticity     are a street
with the same name    as the one
I grew up on    but in a different city


Michael Kroesche
Morning After an Argument

a human conducted
in form and thought
like a spindle stuck
in trees, the simulacra
take shape, multiply


Jennifer Chang

The Middle Ages
Inside Voice

Nothing is right and nothing is wrong,
my neighbor admits. She’s smoking
Winstons on her stoop. I point


Fiona Sze-Lorrain
Never Once
Macabre Dance

On a night like this, I hear the spirit
in simple three-four beat. Even if my heart
gets tired believing.


Ardengo Soffici
Translated by Olivia E. Sears
Café Paszkowski

Grenadine for sweetness
And the manager’s green tie
Spring at this hour drenched in mud the face in the windows


Sylvia Foley

When the sun finally came out yesterday, you saw the chalk girl. There, on the damp sidewalk in the colors of oyster and kelp, waving her worm fingers. 


Elizabeth Vignali

we are drawn to the frocked photos
of ghost towns 


Paul Vermeersch
Without Architecture
Without Transportation

There would have to be another vision for occupying space,
new rituals for sitting and standing, the physical interruption
of the planar world. 


Jesse Nathan

November 10
November 12

I had a grandfather Will
Who lost six cows to one lightning
But when I write will


Andrea Cohen
Attention Checkout
Allée; Rooms
Action Origami
Early Fervor

How much can you do
with one piece of paper—
creasing, tearing, adding
volume with air?


David Mills

The Apprentice (Chimney Sweeps)
Talking to the Bones (spirit of a woman shot and killed)
The Almost Audience (for Phyllis Wheatley)
Colonial Cemetery (Trinity Church, 1697–1795)

I’m what happens when a house
breathes out: black breath in a New York
throat, trapped caterpillar


Diane Mehta

I memorize the view of the old yard
behind the church, manicured and waiting.

It seems too big for anything besides flocks


Michael Klein
End of Summer: First Draft
The Birds

Today was a good day.  A little better than yesterday.
The dishes got done and the deck got swept up of—


Russell Brakefield
Irregular Heartbeats at the Park West
A Herd of Marbled Cows on a Hill in Kentucky

What once was a nest, humming in the blue
stage light, unravels. Neons that slide through
my skin and inflate me. 


Sean Patrick Hill
A Drink to the Dead Beside Us

I hadn’t thought of the clouds as bread,
let alone torn. Shredded manna. 


Dana Jaye Cadman

i’m the little parakeet girl
her caged and useless
beat her flight of wings


Glenn Shaheen
Figs Sharp Cheeses Saffron

Is pretty verse a way to produce an endless
thinking or feeling or


Stephanie Burt
Cardboard Matchbox

Either I keep
getting bigger or
my world


Brian Laidlaw
Five Paragraph Essay on Sleepwalking
The Belles

Because sleepwalking is far more compelling
than waking-walking, or stationary sleeping,



Peter Streckfus
Place in Mind

Neuroscience tells us that, when we observe another person in physical activity, mirror neurons in our minds fire as if we ourselves performed or experienced the action. 


Tynia Thomassie
The Wooden Furniture

Mounds and mounds of boxes line the wall, whispering histories, demanding a reckoning. Overwhelmed by all that I have to clear out, I am equally overwhelmed by what is not here. 


Chris Arthur

When I rediscovered my father’s pocket watch, years after first seeing it, it immediately made me think of a scene of prehistoric slaughter. I was surprised both by the strength and the unexpectedness of this linkage. The watch is quite ordinary looking. There’s nothing in its appearance to account for bringing such a violent image to mind. 




Chris Arthur’s most recent book of essays is Reading Life. A new collection, Hummingbirds Between the Pages, will be published in 2018. His awards include the Akegarasu Haya International Essay Prize, a Theodore Christian Hoepfner Award, and the Gandhi Foundation’s Rodney Aitchtey Memorial Essay Prize. The Sewanee Review awarded him their Monroe K. Spears Essay Prize in 2015. This is Arthur’s sixth appearance in TLR. 

Russell Brakefield is the author of Field Recordings, forthcoming from Wayne State University Press. His writing has appeared in the Indiana Review, New Orleans Review, Poet Lore, Crab Orchard Review, Hobart, and elsewhere. 

Stephanie Burt is professor of English at Harvard and the author of several books of poetry and literary criticism, most recently Advice from the Lights and The Poem Is You: 60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them. Read her poem here.

Dana Jaye Cadman is a poet and visual artist who currently lives in New York, where she teaches writing and runs arts events. Her work has appeared online and in print, and has been a featured performer at North American Review Bicentennial Creative Writing and Literature Conference, Colorscape Chenango Arts Festival, and New York Shakespeare Convention. Read her poem @danajaye here.

Jennifer Chang is the author of The History of Anonymity and Some Say the Lark. She teaches at George Washington University and lives in Washington, DC. 

Andrea Cohen’s poems have appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, The New Republic, and elsewhere. Her most recent poetry collection is Unfathoming. Other books include Furs Not Mine, Kentucky Derby, Long Division, and The Cartographer’s Vacation. Cohen directs the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge and the Writers House at Merrimack College. Read her TLR Share here, and her published poem here.

Peter Constantine’s recent translations include Augustine’s Confessions, The Essential Writings of Rousseau, The Essential Writings of Machiavelli, and works by Chekhov, Tolstoy, Gogol, and Voltaire. A Guggenheim Fellow, he was awarded the PEN Translation Prize for Six Early Stories by Thomas Mann, and the National Translation Award for The Undiscovered Chekhov. He is the publisher of World Poetry Books and the director of the Program in Literary Translation at the University of Connecticut.

Brittany Dennison is a poet from St. Louis and Seattle who currently lives in New York, where she works at New Directions. She has published poems in Electric Literature, Gramma, The West Wind Review, Abraham Lincoln, and the Pacifica Literary Review. Read her poem here.

Mary Donnelly’s poetry has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Hunger Mountain, The Iowa Review, Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner, and The Yale Review. She is an editor for DMQ Review and teaches through Gotham Writers Workshop in New York City, where she lives, and in the low-residency MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Sierra Nevada College. 

Gabriel Dozal is from El Paso, TX. He is an MFA candidate at the University of Arizona. This is his first publication. Read his poem here.

Sylvia Foley’s first collection of short stories, Life in the Air Ocean, was named one of the Best Books of 1999 by the Los Angeles Times. Her stories have appeared in various journals including Story, Open City, Zoetrope, and The Antioch Review; and in anthologies, most recently They’re At It Again: Stories from 20 Years of Open City. Her poetry has appeared in Black River Review, Sinister Wisdom, Conditions, and Alaska Quarterly Review. 

John Gallaher is the author of In a Landscape. His new collection, Brand New Spacesuit, is forthcoming from BOA. He lives in rural Missouri and coedits The Laurel Review. His work appeared in TLR in 2014. 

Regan Good is the author of The Atlantic House. She is currently the managing editor of Bennington Review. She lives and teaches in New York City. This is her third time appearing in TLR. 

Andrew Hemmert’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, Forklift, Ohio, Hunger Mountain, and Natural Bridge.

Lauren Hilger is the author of Lady Be Good. She has received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has appeared in BOMB, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review Online, and Kenyon Review Online, among other journals. She serves as a poetry editor for No Tokens.

Sean Patrick Hill (poetry 166) is the author of three collections of poems, and is currently at work on a book about Pine Mountain in eastern Kentucky. He has been awarded fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center (where this poem was written), the Kentucky Arts Council, and the Elizabeth George Foundation. He lives, makes art, and photographs in Louisville, KY.

Jazra Khaleed lives in Athens, writes exclusively in Greek but has been widely translated, and is known as a poet, translator, editor, and filmmaker. He is a founding coeditor of the poetry magazine TEFLON, which publishes cutting-edge literature from Greece and the world. His newest short poetry film Gone is Syria, Gone has been selected for the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the Kasseler Dokfest, and L’Alternativa. 

Michael Klein is a member of the resistance. He teaches at Hunter College and Goddard College. His current book is When I Was a Twin. This is his third appearance in TLR. 

Michael Kroesche currently teaches at the University of Nevada–Las Vegas while working toward a master’s degree in higher education administration with a focus on advocacy and student affairs. He is primarily a poet but has published creative nonfiction, short fiction, and critical work in a number of literary magazines including The Colorado Review, Foliate Oak, Cactus Heart, Interim, and Bayou Literary Magazine. He enjoys spending what little free time he has cooking, playing piano, and being tormented by his cat, Eurydice. 

Brian Laidlaw is a poet-troubadour based in Boulder, CO. He has released the poetry collections Amoratorium and The Stuntman; each includes a companion album of original music. Another book called The Mirrormaker is forthcoming from Milkweed. Brian is currently working toward a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Denver, and continues to tour nationally and internationally with his band The Family Trade. 

Conceição Lima is a Santomean poet from the town of Santana in São Tomé. She studied journalism in Portugal and has worked in radio, television, and print in her native country. She has published three books of poetry: O Útero da Casa, A Dolorosa Raiz do Micondó, and O País de Akendenguê. Read her poem here.

Brendan Lorber is a writer and editor. He’s the author of several chapbooks, most recently Unfixed Elegy and Other Poems. His work has appeared in in American Poetry Review, Fence, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere. Since 1995 he has published and edited Lungfull! Magazine, an annual anthology of contemporary literature which prints the rough drafts of contributors’ work in addition to the final version, in order to reveal the creative process. He lives atop the tallest hill in Brooklyn, New York in a little castle across the street from a 500-acre necropolis. 

M.L. Martin is a translator and poet whose experimental translations of Old English can be found in Waxwing and Anomaly (f.k.a. Drunken Boat). Her poetry has appeared in Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, The Fiddlehead, The Massachusetts Review, PRISM international, and many other Canadian and American literary journals. She is the recipient of the Inprint Verlaine Prize in Poetry and is currently a Literary Arts Fellow at Tulsa Artist Fellowship. 

Ted Mathys is the author of Null Set and two previous books of poetry. The recipient of fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, and Poetry Society of America, his writing has appeared in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Conjunctions, The Iowa Review, PBS NewsHour, and elsewhere. He lives in Saint Louis, where he teaches at Saint Louis University and cocurates the 100 Boots Poetry Series at Pulitzer Arts Foundation. 

Farid Matuk is the author of This Isa Nice Neighborhood and, most recently, The Real Horse. He currently serves as an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Arizona and on the editorial teams at FENCE and The American Age. 

Diane Mehta’s poetry collection, Morning of the Monsoon, comes out in 2019 with Four Way Books. She has been an editor at PEN America’s Glossolalia, Guernica, and A Public Space. Her poems are in Prairie Schooner, AGNI, Subtropics, Poetry, BOMB, Southern Review, Gulf Coast, and Harvard Review. Her poetry has been featured in public art projects with Nitehawk Cinema and O, Miami. She is working on a small book about poetry and is completing a historical novel set in 1946 Bombay. Mehta is a frequent contributor to TLR.

David Mills is the author of two books, The Dream Detective and The Sudden Country, a Main Street Rag book-prize finalist. He has received fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Arts Link, and elsewhere, as well as a BRIO award. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Crab Orchard Review, Jubilat, Fence, Callaloo, and The Brooklyn Rail. His poems have been displayed at the Venice Biennale and Germany’s Documenta International Art Exhibition. He has performed his poetry on ESPN and recorded with RCA Records. Mills was previously published in TLR in 2009. Read his poem here.

Jesse Nathan’s poems appear in Boston Review, The American Poetry Review, The Nation, and elsewhere. He lives in San Francisco and studies poetry at Stanford. A recent essay on Fairfield Porter can be found in the summer 2017 issue of The Threepenny Review. With Ilya Kaminsky, he is a coeditor of In the Shape of a Human Body I Am Visiting the Earth.

Cait Weiss Orcutt’s work has appeared in Boston Review, Chautauqua, FIELD, Hobart, Juked, and more. Her poems were nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets 2016, and her manuscript “Valleyspeak” won Zone 3 Press’s First Book Award. She is pursuing a PhD in poetry from the University of Houston, and she is the recipient of an Inprint C. Glenn Cambor/MD Anderson Foundation Fellowship. 

Martin Ott is the author of seven books of poetry and fiction, including Underdays, Ernest Sandeen Prize Winner and Forward Indies Finalist. His newest poetry book, Lessons in Camouflage, will be published in 2018 by C&R Press. His work has appeared in fifteen anthologies and more than two hundred magazines. Ott’s work previously appeared in TLR in 2009.

Ben Pease is the author of Chateau Wichman: A Blockbuster in Verse. He is a board member of the Ruth Stone Foundation and leading the renovations of Ruth Stone’s property in Goshen, VT. He lives in Brandon, VT with his wife and daughter.

Allan Peterson’s most recent books are Other Than They Seem, winner of the Snowbound Chapbook Prize from Tupelo Press; Precarious, 42 Miles Press 2014, a finalist for The Lascaux Prize; and Fragile Acts, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Doug Ramspeck is the author of five poetry collections and one collection of short stories. Individual poems have appeared in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Slate, and Kenyon Review. Ramspeck has had six poems in TLR since 2008.  

Olivia E. Sears is a translator of Italian poetry. Her recent translations have appeared in A Public Space, Chicago Quarterly Review, and Words Without Borders, with work forthcoming in Kenyon Review and Jubilat. She is founder of the Center for the Art of Translation and serves on the editorial board of Two Lines Press. 

Glenn Shaheen is the author of the poetry collections Predatory and Energy Corridor, as well as the flash fiction chapbook Unchecked Savagery. Individual pieces have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Ploughshares, The New Republic, and elsewhere. Read his TLR Share here.

Kent Shaw’s first book is Calenture. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Denver Quarterly, and The Cincinnati Review. He is an assistant professor at Wheaton College in Massachusetts. 

David Shook is a poet and translator in Los Angeles, where he is founding editor of Phoneme Media. 

Poet and painter Ardengo Soffici (1879–1964) spent seven pivotal years in Paris, exhibiting his art alongside Picasso and Braque and trading poems with Apollinaire. Returning to Italy, he became one of the most innovative poets linked with Futurism with his 1915 volume BÏF§ZF+18: Simultaneities and Lyric Chemisms (due out in English translation in 2019). 

Peter Streckfus is the author of two poetry books: Errings, winner of Fordham University Press’s 2013 POL Editor’s Prize, and The Cuckoo, which won the Yale Series of Younger Poets competition in 2003. His poems appear in journals such as The Chicago Review, The New Republic, Seattle Review, and Slate. His awards include fellowships and grants from the Peter S. Reed Foundation, the University of Alabama, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Academy in Rome where he is a fellow in literature. He lives in the Washington, DC area with his wife, poet and translator Heather Green, and is on the faculty of the creative writing program at George Mason University. 

Fiona Sze-Lorrain is the author of three books of poetry, most recently The Ruined Elegance, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in poetry and one of Library Journal’s Best Books 2015: Poetry. She is also a zheng harpist and a widely published translator of contemporary Chinese, French, and American poets. Her translation of Yi Lu’s Sea Summit was shortlisted for the 2016 Best Translated Book Award. She lives in Paris. Sze-Lorrain has appeared in TLR four times since 2016. 

Tynia Thomassie  is the author of four picture books, including Feliciana Meets D’Loup Garou, which won the Louisiana Young Reader’s Choice Honor Award in 2001 when third, fourth, and fifth graders selected it as their favorite book after Harry Potter. She has been published in Oil and Water and Other Things That Don’t Mix. She taught for thirteen years at West Orange High School and currently serves as the technology integration specialist for the West Orange Public School District. She is working on a memoir about her relationship with her mother. Thomassie was previously published in TLR in 2011. 

Paul Vermeersch  is professor of publishing at Sheridan College and senior editor of Wolsak and Wynn Publishers, where he heads his own imprint: Buckrider Books. He is the author of five collections of poetry, including The Reinvention of the Human Hand and Don’t Let It End Like This Tell Them I Said Something, and the editor of over sixty books of poetry, fiction, and memoir. A new collection of his poetry is forthcoming next year from ECW Press. He lives in Toronto.

Elizabeth Vignali is an optician and writer in Bellingham, WA. Her poems have appeared in various publications, including Willow Springs, The Cincinnati Review, Tinderbox, Natural Bridge, and Crab Creek Review. 

Caki Wilkinson is the author of the poetry collections Circles Where the Head Should Be, which won the Vassar Miller Prize; and The Wynona Stone Poems, which won the Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice Award. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Horsethief, The Nation, and The Yale Review. 

Scott Withiam’s second book of poems, Doors Out of the Underworld, will be published by MadHat Press in fall 2018. His poems have most recently appeared in Chattahoochee Review, Diagram, Notre Dame Review, Plume, and South Carolina Review. He works for a non-profit in the Boston area. He has been published twice before in TLR.

Seema Yasmin is a poet, doctor, and journalist from London currently living in the US. Her poems appear in Coal Hill Review, Glass, and Diode, among others. Her chapbook, For Filthy Women Who Worry About Disappointing God, won the Diode Editions contest and was published in 2017.