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Music haunts the work of our featured poet, Kwame Dawes. His poems include dedications to musicians, invoke music, and indeed create music through his skillful handling of the instrument that is language. 

Make music your muse, too. Write a poem that is immersed in music from subject to structure to style. Turn up the volume, and sing your necessary song.


Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Essay | Poems

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Komunyakaa ends his book Warhorses with the striking poem Autobiography of My Alter Ego, which provides an account of the speaker’s experience in war and its aftermath. One gets the sense that through the intimate persona of the “alter ego” Komunyakaa is able to access truths unavailable to his own speaking voice. What is the nature of your alter ego? What would it write as its autobiography? Give it the pen and find out!


Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Essay | Poems

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Vol. 1, Iss. 1 | Gregory Pardlo | Summer 2017

During his reading at James Madison University, Gregory Pardlo talked a lot about forms, and his use of various and uncharacteristic formal containers, as a way to get into a poem. In his book Digest, for example, he utilizes the “course description” as a poetic form. (For an example, see “Shades of Green: Envy and Enmity in the American Cultural Imaginary.”)

  • Write your own “course description” poem.
  • What other non-poetic form could you co-opt for a poem?

Post your ideas, comments, or resulting poems below!


Read more in this issue: Interview | Critical Essay| Poems