October 17, 2018

When I was in my twenties, toward the end of a not-especially-dissolute but nonetheless untethered youth, there was a period of a few months when I spent a lot of time with a man who had been the big local rock DJ when I was in high school. He had moved into my threadbare downtown apartment building—an unrestored Art Deco gem swallowed around by concrete, in a midsize Deep South city during the height of the 1990s crack epidemic. Most… Read more

October 15, 2018

The other day it was raining. The clouds were impossibly low, skimming the tops of buildings as they scuttled across eastern Michigan on their way to somewhere nice. The rain fell not so much as drops but as a fine, coating mist that moistened rather than drenched. A pack of stray dogs picked their way through an empty lot to my left, heading, no doubt, toward the dumpster behind the Little Caesar’s a couple of blocks away. They held their… Read more

October 12, 2018

The compelling narrative of “Lord, Sky,” set during the time of an election, is also sheer poetry. The writer repeats diction (“light,” “sky,” “moon,” “grin”) and layers language (“heaven,” “rainbow,” “stars,” “night,” “midnight”) to invite us “little trees of heaven / stuck in concrete” to pay heed to the world above and around us, to “vot[e] for earth all over again.” The writer deftly moves the setting and action of the narrative from the “grinning moon” (l.8) of a late… Read more

October 10, 2018

In the video James Corden approaches a podium wearing a dark grey suit and a light grey wig to address a room full of reporters, but instead of making prepared remarks, he launches into song. He’s announcing his indictment of the President, and he and his audience are thrilled. “Robert Mueller’s Indictment Song” is the moment in The Collusion Follies—the dark-comic, absurdist goat-song we’ve been writing in our minds for two years now—when the hero finally brings the hammer down… Read more

October 8, 2018

Amidst the constant stream of bad news these days, we would do well to make more time for acknowledging the good things in life. The ode is just that: “a formal, often ceremonious lyric poem that addresses and often celebrates a person, place, thing, or idea,” according to The Poetry Foundation. Unlike other poetic forms I’ve been exploring these past months, such as sonnets, sestinas, and villanelles, the ode seems less form than mode, defined primarily by intent and tone… Read more

October 5, 2018

My oldest daughter’s was gifted a butterfly garden for her 3rd birthday. We watched the six larvae plump up. Then each formed a chrysalis and after a few weeks all emerged as beautiful, painted lady butterflies. We fed them watermelon and pineapple and when the day came for release, I wasn’t sure my daughter would be ready. I thought she would cry and resist, but instead she celebrated their freedom. She shrieked with joy as one sat in her hand,… Read more

October 3, 2018

You’ve been gone for only hours In a casket made of wood When no one else could save you I thought maybe I still could —“Goodbye” by Sister Sinjin The song catches me off-guard. It is nudged between other songs on an album of ethereal harmonies. Sister Sinjin sounds either like a trio of cloistered women offering up their haunted harmonies and lyrics in the small rays of sunlight off stained glass, or they are wise women who run with… Read more

October 2, 2018

“When I write a poem, I am crawling into the dark. Or else I am an aperture. Something needs to be put into language, and it chooses me,” says critic, activist, and biblical scholar Alicia Ostriker, whose poetry appears in Image’s recently released issue #98. We asked Ostriker, winner of the Jewish National Book Award and this year’s New York State Poet, about her poems. (more…) Read more

October 1, 2018

Image issue #98 includes poems by critic, activist, and biblical scholar Alicia Ostriker, winner of the Jewish National Book Award and many others. She has said, “Composing an essay, a review or a piece of literary criticism, I know more or less what I am doing and what I want to say. When I write a poem, I am crawling into the dark. Or else I am an aperture. Something needs to be put into language, and it chooses me.”… Read more

September 28, 2018

Like Emily Dickinson, Bray describes hope as thing with feathers, “an eastern phoebe.” Turning on sound and image, the poem “Bird on Knee” subtly shifts, inflecting new meaning. Each element nests in the other, layered, like a bird perched on a lap. Keening sounds repeat in “lightly,” “knee,” “eastern,” “phoebe,” and “me.” The density and sharpness in these lines imitates a bird’s piercing cry. Despite, or because of, this directness, the poem is gentle. “How I wish it had been… Read more

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