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"I am wearing / a dead rich / man’s black / luxurious overcoat / gold buttons / it is snowing / in a vast / wooden hallway / I am not cold / someone laughing / says just watch / them learn the same / lessons he means / my children I don’t / have yet."

The PEN Poetry Relay returns with two poems from the one and only Matthew Zapruder, editor of Wave Books and author of American Linden, The Pajamist, and Come on All You Ghosts.


A big day for poetry here at PEN American:

1) Check out the latest edition of the PEN Poetry Series, edited by Ana Božičević and Amy King, which features a selection of Salvadoran poetry in translation from the latest issue of Aufgabe

2) Next, stop by the PEN Poetry Relay, where you can read Dante Micheaux’s “Good Kisser" and listen to audio of Micheaux reading the poem. And be sure to stop back through in a week for an interview with Micheaux on his poetry.

3) Last but never least, Ben Mirov is here with the poetry roundup to keep us all savvy on the latest and greatest in the poetry world. Of particular note, let’s all buy a book or seven from Mud Luscious Press, who is facing some financial straits.

See you on the mean streets of poetry, warriors.


November 19, 2012 | PEN American

With PEN’s Poetry Relay, a series of readings and conversations, we hope to trace the topography of influence that connects contemporary poets to their peers and predecessors. The relay features a reading by each poet and a conversation that covers the poet’s inspiration and influences, followed by a hand-off to a peer.

In this week’s relay, Adam Day passes the baton to Catherine Wagner, author of Nervous Device (2012), My New Job (2009), Macular Hole (2004), and Miss America (2001). Listen to Wagner read her poems “Do Fairly Pleasant Thing,” “The Ugly Neck, or Making Bank,” and “Arrived Detaching Toward the Union.” below. 

Do Fairly Pleasant Thing

Sometimes I am permitted to return to a meadow

That is a place where logs were cut

That tenders a view—a mountain

I would not see for the trees.

Unscratched by thistles

I stroll a wood-chip road

Down meadow.

A rush of air past branches

Wind on skin


The road is to my eye

Unsightly and yet

It shares cause with the meadow

That is a place of forced permission.

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