Tag: Poets Read

Poets Read: Cathleen Calbert

We are pleased to offer our Poets Read series in honor of National Poetry Month 2019 and will run it throughout the month of April. 

Every day in April, our website and our YouTube channel will feature the voice of a poet whose work has appeared in our pages over the past year. On Sundays, we will offer two poets for your enjoyment. 

Today’s poem is I Don’t Want to Read a Poem About Baseball by Cathleen Calbert and it appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of Gyroscope Review.

I Don’t Want to Read a Poem About Baseball
by Cathleen Calbert


I’m tired of the American spirit, 
the boys of summer and their fans,
team effort and hey batta batta.

Maybe it’s just another thing
I don’t understand. Like God or jogging.
Adopting babies in Romania.

I was that black-clad chick
behind the bleachers, smoking.
I don’t know anything

about sports, period
(My brother shakes his head:
“There are many ways to be stupid.”)

True, for me there was no beauty,
no satisfying crack of ball and bat,
just another chance to be a girl

without hand-eye coordination. 
A ball coming in my direction 
meant I should do three things:  

duck, cross 
my arms like an X
over my head, and wait for death.

I’ve got enough
adult humiliations 
to write about already, don’t you? 

Shouldn’t your poems be 
about girls like me anyway?  
How you loved kissing us in the rain?  

How nothing was better 
than the mist of menthol
between our shining lips?

Don’t get me wrong.
I don’t care if you play the game.
Have fun. Slide into home.

But I don’t want to 
bask in the amber glow
of another boyhood in Brooklyn,

hear about your World Series 
heartbreak or existential loneliness 
first encountered in the outfield.

Don’t try to prove
you’re not as fey as a poet
by applauding jocks, please.

I don’t want to read those poems
just like you don’t want to 
read about my body.

Since you’re the editors,
you win, you rock, you rule.
The rest of us are pussies.

About the Poet: Cathleen Calbert’s writing has appeared in many publications, including Ms. Magazine, The New Republic, The New York Times, and The Paris Review. She is the author of four books of poetry: Lessons in Space, Bad Judgment, Sleeping with a Famous Poet, and The Afflicted Girls. Her awards include The Nation Discovery Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Sheila Motton Book Prize, and the Vernice Quebodeaux Poetry Prize for Women. 

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Poets Read: Jimmy Hollenbeck

We are pleased to offer our Poets Read series in honor of National Poetry Month 2019 and will run it throughout the month of April. 

Every day in April, our website and our YouTube channel will feature the voice of a poet whose work has appeared in our pages over the past year. On Sundays, we will offer two poets for your enjoyment. 

Today’s poem is An Answer to a Question My Brother Asks Me by Jimmy Hollenbeck and it appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of Gyroscope Review.

An Answer to a Question My Brother Asks Me
by Jimmy Hollenbeck


Once, you asked if I’m scared to die. We were on the porch, 
and you told me about the first time you contemplated suicide. 
The cold air outside pumped our lungs like so much smoke. 
I thought about how, each year, leaves shrivel and jump 
from the trees. Sometimes, I think I can hear my veins tighten 
with blood, and I’m afraid they’ll overflow.

Father, tell me what death is like.

Now, I’m on a different porch, and you’re not here. It’s cold, I blow
cigar smoke into the bright morning. At the bottom of the porch,
a crow makes a guillotine of its beak. I read a book in high school
on numerology of crows that said a single crow marks death. The snow
mutes the world like a finger on a tuning fork; it’s that simple.
Sound becomes pure, white silence. Thanksgiving, my grandfather
sits alone in the living room because he can’t hear any of us. My heart,
a broken mirror, refracts everything it sees. I have a question,

Father: what is death like?

Strip me of arteries, peel me like a forest fire, leave me scorched,
barren. I’ll still be here on the porch, listening to crow carrion-consume.
Death may follow: I’ll make a friend of her; tell her all my secrets. We’ll lay
together in bed and she’ll use me until I’m out of breath. I’ll be her marionette,
one day, and her voice will come from my sin-mouth, this curse-tongue
will lick away my fears. Right now, I’m alone, and I can hear the snowfall.

Father, tell me what death is like.

About the Poet: Jimmy Hollenbeck is a graduate student/assistant at Central Michigan University. His hobbies include brewing beer, reading comic books well past the typical age, and listening to jazz and pretending he understands it. He hopes to graduate December 2019 with his M.A. and to pursue an M.F.A. following that. 

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Poets Read: Lois Marie Harrod

We are pleased to offer our Poets Read series in honor of National Poetry Month 2019 and will run it throughout the month of April. 

Every day in April, our website and our YouTube channel will feature the voice of a poet whose work has appeared in our pages over the past year. On Sundays, we will offer two poets for your enjoyment. 

Today’s poem is Something About Marriage by Lois Marie Harrod and it appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of Gyroscope Review.

Something about Marriage
by Lois Marie Harrod


It’s not that one morning you decide
to walk out of your little house—

the cabin at the edge of the Minnesota woods
or the semi-detached in rural New J
and go into the cold in your thin cotton gown
and calloused feet, 

it’s the chill that slides into your kitchen 
and stands behind you 

as you measure out the coffee, 
the nip that slips into the bedroom as you bent to smooth the sheets, 

like one of those ghosts you’ve dreamed
wafting down the corridor 

at the mental hospital, the sudden rush
of cold that makes you know

how solitary you are.  And you are not sure
if the icy wraith is telling you something you already guessed

or if this is a revelation: 
the fire in the hearth 

which you have imagined flickering all these years 
is gone.

Of course, sometimes like frost
the chill is brief.

About the Poet: Lois Marie Harrod’s 16th and most recent collection Nightmares of the Minor Poet appeared in June 2016 from Five Oaks; her chapbook And She Took the Heart appeared in January 2016, and Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) appeared in 2013. She is published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. She teaches at the Evergreen Forum in Princeton and at The College of New Jersey. Links to her online work at http://www.loismarieharrod.org.

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Poets Read: Paul Edward Costa and Mary Ellen Talley

We are pleased to offer our Poets Read series in honor of National Poetry Month 2019 and will run it throughout the month of April. 

Every day in April, our website and our YouTube channel will feature the voice of a poet whose work has appeared in our pages over the past year. On Sundays, we will offer two poets for your enjoyment. 

Today’s poems are Magic Lamp Semantics by Paul Edward Costa, which appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of Gyroscope Review, and Light of Newgrange at Winter Solstice by Mary Ellen Talley, which appeared in the Winter 2019 Issue of Gyroscope Review.

Magic Lamp Semantics
by Paul Edward Costa


You’ll never hear sentences
                             so elaborately
                             and carefully constructed
as the wishes now made to genies,
so airtight
                 (filled with dashes and semi-colons)
that they’re immune to any cruel,
                                             ironic,
                                            “Twilight Zone” interpretations,
leaving the occupants of magic lamps
                   brooding behind folded arms,
nostalgic for an era
                          when well-wishers spoke carelessly,
                          so genies could openly engage
                          in the malevolent manipulations
                                    reserved for the gods.

Light / of Newgrange at Winter Solstice
by Mary Ellen Talley

I.
my good works determine entrance 
to the passage tomb / I traipse upon green sedge /
so much wild tuft growing above kerbstones / my heart
shimmies past carved crosshatches / my mother
lets me trace and follow semi-circles / triple spirals 
on smooth rock until I sleep / until shadows startle me / 
I am not as awake as if I were a modern clock face / 
human face / what is it about face that draws attention /
I follow seasons / where gleanings / from my pagan history 
know no sound reason for a virgin birth / for any 
spinning dreidel / floating lantern / my future / but today

I make toy rainbows / I make shadow play / 
I make prisms on a dewy leaf / come out / come out /
whatever is cast / recast / this is my megalith
I work the sheer joy shaft of shine /
no matter how doubtful / they will count my days /
add me to a calendar / I watched stout folk pull 
heavy stones / along the River Boyne / 
my mother said my red hair was born of sun
and moon / I was born on the longest night / 
I make the year into a circle / light to light / 
dust to dust / crust of the earth turns pale 
under my toes / my mother’s trust / entrusted to me / 
I go barefoot upon cairns / without dislodging any stones / 
I know / I am / unknown / I follow the procession 
into the sanctuary / and wait for my birth

II.
no matter  
that some settling 
has occurred
these five thousand years
I shine / I shine /
and here I am /
I pierce the light box /
I am the certainty of a cupped circle /
whatever it holds inside hands /
I make the earth’s round lips 
say / Oh

About the Poets:

Paul Edward Costa

Paul Edward Costa is a Canadian writer, teacher, and spoken word artist who has published over fifty stories, articles, and poems in publications such as Brick Books, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, Inside the Bell Jar, Alt-Minds Literary Magazine, Entropy Magazine, and REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters; his novella Dark Magic on the Edge of Town was put out by Paperback-Press. As a spoken word poet, he performs regularly at many poetry reading series in the Greater Toronto Area. 

Mary Ellen Talley’s poems have recently been published in Raven Chronicles, U City Review and Ekphrastic Review as well as in anthologies, All We Can Hold and Ice Cream Poems. Her poetry has received two Pushcart Nominations.

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