Best Poems Each Month in Poetry Magazine 2013




Ode to the Steambox by Matthew Nienow

[the shortlist]

Best Line:

That arch and bridge
will form a shape of repentance.
-Fanny Howe from Three Persons


The Last Time I Slept in This Bed by Sara Peters

[the shortlist]

Best Line:

The poetry of the earth never ceases
-Dan Beachy-Quick from The Cricket and the Grasshopper


Sonnet by Anthony Opal

[the shortlist]

Best Line:

Across the road our neighbor starts his truck
while God, feather by feather, downs a wren
-Bruce Snider, Devotions


A Chair in Snow by Jane Hirshfeild

[the shortlist]

Best Line:

I’d love to be the silk-shimmer

against the curve of anyone’s arm
-Jamaal May from Hum for the Bolt


The Day by Geoffrey Brock

[the shortlist]

Best Line:

Now the lovers’ mouths are open-
maybe the miracle’s about to start
-Peter Coal from Song of the Shattering Vessels



Landays translated by Eliza Griswold


A Thank-You Note by Michael Ryan

[the shortlist]

Best Line:

We kiss on lips, where the tenses attach.
-Christina Davis from Mankindness


Thicket by Atsuro Riley

[the shortlist]

Best Line:

dark furlings of
tiny church feelings
-Meghan O’Rourke from  Sun In Days


Summer by Heather Christle

[the shortlist]

Best Line:

Water skips
over outcrops
-Tom Pickard from Prologue


Snake Oil, Snake Bite by Dilruba Ahmed

[the shortlist]

Best Line:

in the earth a corpse snapped
God’s rope
-Fady Joudah from Tell Life


Trying Fourleggedness by Rebecca Hazelton

[the shortlist]

Best Line:

I was like you once, he added, in love with turbulence.
-Louise Gluck from Aboriginal Landscape


Poetry Magazine : December : 2013



Always tempted to make a top ten list of Ange Mlinko’s extensive vocab. Some more gems in Epic.

Eileen Myles’ Prophesy is crass and necessarily so.

It’s uncivil of me to suggest, but Alex Dimitrov’s poem Together and by Ourselves is much better if you start in the middle: from “we must have been lonely people…”

A devious, but wonderful poem, Rebecca Hazelton : Trying Fourleggedness

Tomas Q. Morin evokes quite a lot in Nature Boy

Michael Dickman : Where We Live

Both poems by Patricia Lockwood are full of biting humor and dark forboding: Government Spending and The Hypno-Domme Speaks, and Speaks and Speaks

You must always read Rae Armantrout with interest: Geography

What Does Little Ernest Croon

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Psalm of Life”:

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not the goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

E. E. Cummings, 26 from No Thanks:

what does little Ernest croon
in his death at afternoon?
(kow dow r 2 bul retoinis
wus de woids uf lil Oinis

Poetry Magazine : July/August : 2013

T. Alan Broughton

Sweet love, I love the earth
because it brought you here
where seasons imitate
the losses we must live.
The first and only person in your flesh
since the world began bends
to admire that budding crocus,
then walks to me through shade and light
to shape this passing hour.


The 4th section of Christina Davis’ Mankindness.

Phillis Levin : Lenten Song

A brutal but wonderful A Thank-You Note by Michael Ryan

The 4th section of James Longenbach’s Allegory

A Waffle House makes an appearance in Wilmer Mills’ Double Vision


Poetry Magazine : April : 2013



Anselm Hollo

the way
the blue room
lights up

as you turn to
be held
and to hold me


Stephen Stepanchev : For Jane

Adam Kirsch is quite smug and condescending to his subjects in his recent poems, but at least the Revolutionaries, 1929 probably deserved it.

A powerful poem on betrayal by Gwyneth Lewis : Fooled Me for Years with the Wrong Pronouns

Jane Hirshfield : A Chair in Snow

Randall Mann : Nothing

Two poems by Dean Young that are full of treasures : Everyday Escapees and Emerald Spider Between Rose Thorns