Category:Guest Artists

On the Formation of Clouds

Brian Turner

Late in 2017, with a breeze off the Bay of Bengal stirring through the tongue-shaped leaves, I sat under an ancient banyan and listened to the voices of birds I couldn’t name while that banyan moved imperceptibly closer to the waters of the Indian Ocean.
I recorded the birds in the branches as they called out to one another. I recorded the birds as they flew away and as they rowed their wings through the morning air and as they made their way into canopies of light and shade. I thought about where I was on this planet, and just how lost I was in my life. ...

Selected Poems: Ferida Duraković and Selma Asotić

A character in Ferida Duraković’s poem “Cosmos blossoms, Sarajevo” gestures to a building destroyed in war and says, “Still, this city is incredible.” In all, four Sarajevo-based or -born artists have contributed to this package of work, exploring themes such as home, isolation, loss, love, wartime, migration, and aftermath. Ferida Duraković co-founded Bosnia and Herzegovina’s PEN chapter in 1992 during the siege of Sarajevo and served as its executive director for more than twenty years. She is a major voice in the region’s literature and has mentored and encouraged a wave of younger writers, including Selma Asotić. Literary translator Mirza Purić provided new translations of several of Ferida’s poems written before, during, and after the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. Along with his translations, the feature includes the original Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BCS) texts. Selma Asotić, a bilingual poet from Sarajevo now based in the US, released her award-winning ...

Poems by Ferida Duraković

Translated from the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian by Mirza Purić

Wartime Haiku

A mortar breaks its fast
The bombs are mum now
In the sole tree-crown
A sparrow chirping

Pitch-black night how dark you are
No more chestnuts left
Behind the blind window panes
How long is the night ...

Poems by Selma Asotić


My father’s skin looks like the surface of the moon

They told you shrapnel made men
celestial, that’s why you joined
the army. In midsummer, when weathervanes
carousel, you pull your silence
taut over our house. Nothing bad
will happen to us now, not with you
standing sentinel at the edge
of our sleep, guarding
against the peacethieves. ...

Pachysandra & Two Other Poems

Kimiko Hahn

Baba, open your mouth so I can see your uvula,

the three-year-old granddaughter keeps saying.
And I don’t want to display my crowns to the one
calling me Baba which, strictly speaking,
means Old Hag but was easier than Obaachan
for a one-year-old and maybe I am, given the dental issues.
And maybe she’ll keep up her investigation so
I hand over my mobile: Take selfies of your own uvula!
And that works until she gets another great idea:
How about you find a picture of a whale's uvula? ...

Sharing the Darkness

Carolyn Forché

I wake with a start at midnight. A nightbird striking the window? A bat in the eaves? Maybe someone in the theater of my sleep gave me a nudge—someone I don’t know in waking life. It is cloudy and warm…

Escape Velocity

Joel Peckham

It’s already been two months, my mother says, can you believe it? I can and can’t. But we are always moving even when we think we’re not, the earth spinning at 1500 feet per second while orbiting the sun /
at 100,000 feet per second while the sun and the earth and all the planets in the solar system whirl around the center of the Milky Way at incredible speed Even this, our galaxy among its cluster of galaxies, moves through space, sliding toward a central point. It is a wonder...

Well, What Would Lincoln Do?

John Burt

Of course, nobody really knows, and there are many reasons why. In the first place, nobody knows how Lincoln would have understood the century and half of political and social change since his own day. In the second place, Lincoln’s…

Vajra (Water song)

Kevin O’Keefe


Some day, a day not on your calendar

And it shouldn’t be long from now

You’ll leave behind your shelter of

Practiced spontaneity and dull knives. ...