genre: Poetry

The Undoing

The Undoing

By Betsy Sholl   

Sidewalk bricks upended by winter’s freeze and thaw– no looking up here, we take mincing steps, and our talk turns to everything undone—frayed boot laces, laundry, taxes, bills, books—so many books piled up unread, sliding off the night stand. Even the universe, you say, is not done expanding into whatever lies beyond.  Once I thought… Read more »


Night Class In Wind

Night Class In Wind

By Betsy Sholl   

“Will God, or somebody else, give me the power to breathe into my canvases … the sigh of prayer and of sadness, …of rebirth?” –Marc Chagall   Outside, louder than street noise, the wind is making itself heard.  Trees, wires, loose casements— the whole world’s its instrument.   What does it want, banging at these windows… Read more »


Fencing in Reykjavik

Fencing in Reykjavik

By Marc Vincenz   

Behind the door the dogs are rhapsodizing, out in the garden the crocuses, not quite naked, are waving a little dainty lace. Last autumn, at Hfravatn I was moving mildly with water in my mouth. Remember when I waved my arms around gathering air? Then those days of mid-October snow that blanketed our little evils—and… Read more »


Every Last Syllable of Grass

Every Last Syllable of Grass

By Marc Vincenz   

(i) Wavers, hesitates in its urge to thicken as the watertable drops and we walk toward crisis in to the everything that is not me, in to the everything that is not you. What beautiful lies fuse the months together as we try and slip quietly past creation. Sorting pebble from pebble, we pick out… Read more »


Charlotte Bronte (Charlotte Brontë)

Charlotte Bronte (Charlotte Brontë)

By Gerður Kristný   

  The sofa where your sister died so short that she must have been curled up The table where you used to sit barely larger than a doormat .. Your handwriting delicate like the pattern in the misty-white lace cap displayed on a tiny doll head that gazes eyeless over my shoulder   Sófinn þar… Read more »


Darwin‘s Doves (Dúfurnar hans Darwins )

Darwin‘s Doves (Dúfurnar hans Darwins )

By Gerður Kristný   

  Two sisters with puffed out breasts Eyes closed The have landed in a museum and now bow to their fate Just as each feather was once counted by a gray-bearded old man their softness is now esteemed by his brother   Tvær systur með þanda bringu Augun aftur Þær hafa hafnað á safni og… Read more »


abroad (í útlöndum)

abroad (í útlöndum)

By Ingunn Snædal   

  I miss how you do not look at me do not come to me never call me barely talk to me oh to be home now to experience all this rejection first hand   ég sakna þess hvernig þú horfir ekki á mig kemur ekki til mín hringir aldrei í mig yrðir varla á… Read more »


Condition (ástand)

Condition (ástand)

By Ingunn Snædal   

  throat constricted head empty hands flailing absentminded talk shifty eyes acidic stomach and inside it a knot the size of a dark haired man   hálsinn herptur höfuðið tómt hendur fálma tal annars hugar augun hvarflandi maginn er súr og í honum hnútur á stærð við dökkhærðan mann   Translator by Sola Bjarnadóttir-O’Connell is a… Read more »


feeling I (tilfinning I)

feeling I (tilfinning I)

By Ingunn Snædal   

  I have stopped thinking about you I think   ég er hætt að hugsa um þig held ég   Translator: Sola Bjarnadóttir-O’Connell is a native Icelander who has lived in New York for the past 30 years.  She is pursuing a life-long interest in bringing contemporary poetry and literature to an English-speaking audience and… Read more »


California Penal Code 484 & 488

California Penal Code 484 & 488

By Iain Haley Pollock   

The Irvine cops picked up Sherod while he was riding Jimmy’s bike to school. He’d snuck up into the scrub, coyote hills above our complex to work on the fort we were building with wood from a deserted rancher’s shack. By the time he came down to the bus stop, we were the diesel exhaust… Read more »


Black Cock

Black Cock

By Iain Haley Pollock   

Fifteen years since Bobby Dougherty died. The night before our last day of school, in his closet, with a belt, he hanged himself. His girlfriend had left him, and he wouldn’t graduate this year—that’s what we chalked it up to. But grades and a girl couldn’t have been all. We should have seen the impulse… Read more »


Faceless

Faceless

By Lee Sharkey   

Maybe he never existed. Maybe this is all he is. Cobbled prop in a worker’s cap and  prisoner’s shirt. Face without features. Puppet arm lifting a cup to an absent mouth. Two crossed triangles on a chest where a heart might flutter. Before, and after. Silence speaks where a tongue may not. Strangle it out.… Read more »


Landfill

Landfill

By Jourdan Nichelle   

bones. Visible under bits of meat and dark skin—strewn, wanting    y’all-better-finish eating-‘fore-y’all-go-outside-bones left with animal still clinging by a child, too secure; whittled back-in-MY-day-bones used to pick teeth (also bones) with plaque; dried out bones of apples ex-red. The fibula of a last meal: two pizza rolls. Did-you-know-there-was-pork-in-this??-bones—of a pork chop; orange bones, pumpkin skull… Read more »


News of the World

News of the World

By Marcia F. Brown   

I dreamed all the boats in the world had run aground, the lakes vanished into hardpan, and the great migrations of birds had strayed so far off track, there were lost birds everywhere– one in my closet, nestled with socks in the laundry.  When I looked at him, he looked back with hunted human eyes.… Read more »


Dorothy McKibben: Gatekeeper

Dorothy McKibben: Gatekeeper

By John Canaday   

Each day a stream of new lost souls succeeds the last. I number the innumerable hosts in triplicate. My office door should read: “Through me the road unto a town of ghosts; through me the way to join an endless war; through me a path among the Lost Almosts: Abandon hope, all ye who enter… Read more »


Brigadier General Thomas Farrell Bears Witness

Brigadier General Thomas Farrell Bears Witness

By John Canaday   

Trinity Test Site, July 16, 1945   Great poets dream of clarity and beauty. Even hell has its finer points. But when the announcer shouts out, “Now!” and from the ethereal sky comes hideous ruin down hurled headlong flaming, winged with red lightning and livid flames’ fueled entrails rolling in black billows, words are beggared… Read more »


The Unveiling

The Unveiling

By Steven Ratiner   

Rain skinning granite. I lay the flat of my palm, let pools gather between fingers, streams skim the blue veins down. This is the real, I know it – stone, rain, blood, December cold – the irresistible claim of the material. And then there’s you, love – or rather the absence of you – how… Read more »


For Qays

For Qays

By Adeeba Shahid Talukder   

after Faiz, Sauda come walk with me by the lake’s empty benches tell me, dressed in roses that we need some air. the wound’s head has reached the heart– there’s no use in sewing it or rubbing it with balm. all the lovers have snuffed their lamps, headed back over the broken paths. said Sauda… Read more »


Counting Crows

Counting Crows

By D.G. Geis   

When Machine Gun Kelly rolled into Oklahoma my dad was a farm boy in Okeene. His world was a simple venue of unlocked doors, Wednesday evening prayer meetings, drugstore soda fountains, and Co-op elevators. Happiness was measured in bushels, then meted out on high school scoreboards. Even tonsillectomies happened on the kitchen table. My mother,… Read more »


Black and White

Black and White

By Molly Mattfield Bennett   

On Boston Common a white girl digs in the sand, swings with black kids, climbs the bars, and if she looks long at hair, color and eyes What does she think, what does she know? * Together a black man, a white woman and her mother enter a New York art gallery; they separate. The… Read more »


First Farmers

First Farmers

By Wendy Drexler   

            and everything / Was toil, relentless toil, urged on by need.                         —Virgil   It took centuries to domesticate the wild goat, grow almonds and olives from seed, harvest barley with stone sickles. So crops, livestock, and flint tools could ripple across the Fertile Crescent. The ox was groaning and bent to the plow. Cows… Read more »


Refugee’s Daily Prayer

Refugee’s Daily Prayer

By Ewa Chrusciel   

The house cracked from the inside. It plaited and meandered in waves. The tree and the house grew into one. The bark entered the house, inmates of shrines of cicadas. A medieval tower with a clock blasted vertically, with no slant on its knees, and the clock swooped like an owl, grabbed all the hours… Read more »


Migrants Dream Under Water

Migrants Dream Under Water

By Ewa Chrusciel   

We are an emergency room Will litanies arrive? We are the house and the tree, in somebody else’s story. We pass the field of poppies; we collect red graffiti, sacred nouns, red relics. Psalms spread their tents and light their cigarettes.  


Elegy For A Broken Part

Elegy For A Broken Part

By Alison C. Rollins   

I. I have inherited these feet from the trust fund of fear a garage full of rusting knickknacks stored in a body shop of intent. Autoparts not in stock mean these limbs are bootlegged, jimmy rigged hands done put his tongue back together again until oil dribbled from the bottom. White ribs and bones slid… Read more »


The Weakest of Children

The Weakest of Children

By Dzvinia Orlowsky   

Holodomor, Ukraine, 1932-1933   What part of another’s flesh do you ask permission for your body to be freed from hunger the way blood frees itself from frozen earth, in spring, when rain comes to wash everything. Quietly a river refuses to disappear into ground, knowing it owes its mouth to no one— It runs… Read more »


Inventory

Inventory

By Dzvinia Orlowsky   

A felt hat or a cane, a pair of worn out shoes on a road thought left behind— or a hand-carved chess set passed down from my grandfather: the king’s crown a bent nail, the knight’s horse, a nub on a pedestal robbed of wings, its would-be nose blunt and chipped. The queen can still… Read more »


Waiting on the Corner for the Methadone Man

Waiting on the Corner for the Methadone Man

By Scott Ruescher   

It would have been nice, that day in Memphis, if the only one, Of all the people I hoped would break into a song By the early Elvis Presley on my way to the site Of the assassination of Martin Luther King At the Lorraine Motel, had turned out to be, Not the unreasonably cheerful… Read more »


Queen for a Day

Queen for a Day

By Scott Ruescher   

The first time I saw Tabloid Mary, I mean the first time I really recognized her enormous potential For iconic bronze statuary, an archetypal model Of rural American poverty, one afternoon in 1962 As I sat on the couch watching television in a trance And nibbling toward the center of a peanut butter sandwich After… Read more »


Ashland, Kentucky

Ashland, Kentucky

By Julie Gard   

No teeth. Soft face. One hundred years old and straight-sitting all day. Riding mower up and over and around (her son). Tenants, always tenants. Young mother on porch on phone, flaking trailer smooth skin. Hollers, curves, and turns. Where my grandmother lived, what she left at 23. Who stays? Virgie stays. In the Coalton cemetery… Read more »


Meg Kearney Interview

Meg Kearney Interview

By Lee Hope   

MEG KEARNEY author of When You Never Said Goodbye  Interviewed by Lee Hope Solstice Editor-in-Chief and Fiction Editor   (From Lee Hope): I am delighted to be interviewing the eminent poet, young adult and children’s writer Meg Kearney.  We hear the term shape shifter, yet Meg is a genre shifter. We will explore how Meg… Read more »


Marius Surleac & Marc Vincenz Interview

Marius Surleac & Marc Vincenz Interview

By Dzvinia Orlowsky   

MARIUS SURLEAC author of Zeppelin Jack  and MARC VINCENZ author of Sybilline Translators of the Poetry of Ion Monoran (Read three of Monoran’s poems here) Interviewed by Dzvinia Orlowsky Solstice Editor of Poetry in Translation Introduction to Ion Monoran (1953 – 1993) Born in Petroman Village, Timis, Romania, Ion Monoran was a poet and publisher. His… Read more »


Politics

By Lynne Thompson   

Ironing taught me: we are covered in white— we are covered in white the white of Dad’s handkerchiefs, boxers. Dad’s handkerchiefs, boxers, our pillowcases and bed-sheets, ironing is what taught me. * Our pillowcases and bed-sheets (when did I know of the Klan?) What could I know of the Klan— were lynchings considered the norm?… Read more »


Honorable Mention: Erasure

By Arne Weingart   

The branch, when I  pry it up out of the ice on the patio because  I mean to let it dry and set it on fire for its  negligible quantum of heat, leaves a foliate negative  that melts and fades, the only image of itself  it will have ever surrendered, like leaf prints  on a… Read more »


Honorable Mention: For the Most Part

By Don Colburn   

Except anchovies and now (doctor’s orders) cheese, Except 13, except when it’s the only window seat left, Except a glass of white wine with dinner, Except the Cubs, except Ernie Banks saying “Let’s play two,” Except Elvis and Jesus, except Oprah and Madonna, Except snowflakes, each, and Starbucks, all, Except Las Vegas or Buffalo or… Read more »


Four Poems

By Klaus Merz   

translated by Marc Vincenz     Miscellany   A lonely prediction followed on the heels of a great bene- diction.     Through the Valley of a Hundred Valleys   Birch trunks glow in a rambling green. Stretches of cable wobble. But first, at the rail station in Re holt, the even-footed conductor fetches his… Read more »


Three Poems

By Ion Monoran   

from Like a Vagrant in a Red Sweater Translated from the Romanian by Marius Surleac and Marc Vincenz   The Socialist Republic of Romania   Remnant of a sprawling ancestry clambering northward, once further north. I won’t go there, I refuse to go—billions, even hundreds of billions of virtually imperceptible juvenile eras, make her the… Read more »


The Dog in the Night

By Jeanne Wagner   

Coming home one night, I felt the steering wheel go loose in my grip, the car slewing as if skating on air. My old dog, the one I never loved enough, running alongside to greet me, moved in so close her body slipped under the wheel. When she emerged, barely scathed, I formed a new… Read more »


Elephant Graveyard

By Sergio Ortiz   

When I walk the streets, lonely and absent, I’m thinking of your body. You are in the porticoes that howl your hugs, the melancholia of aimless women, the stones on the road to nowhere, and I know you’re mine regardless of rituals and ceremonies.  I know I love you because my arms hurt every time… Read more »


Visiting the African Burial Ground

By George Elliot Clarke   

90% of the 419 skeletons and scattered— battered bone bits— interred in seven burial mounds— were wound in cloth shrouds, their heads—skulls—facing west, and laid out in correct coffins. The original Manhattanite Africans buried their beloved “with Dignity and Respect,” demonstrating behaviour “consistent with practices of enlightened Humanity.” The dead went into the earth with… Read more »


Loose Dogs

By Mary Quade   

Loja, Ecuador The dogs are loose as tongues, slinking along the edge of houses, down the sidewalks, into the park’s hedges where they piss their rumors, tail-high. The dogs wail at the tuneful song the propane trucks play, selling gas like ice cream along the streets. The dogs bark, sometimes, wagging, message mutt-mixed. They lie,… Read more »


Eshu’s Net

By Geoffrey Philp   

Armed with a cutlass, gift from my uncle, a displaced cane cutter in Belle Glade, before La Migra swooped down one Friday evening, like Shangó’s vengeance on adulterers and deported him to Jamaica before we could hire a lawyer, I opened the gate to my garden and began the yearly ritual at the end of… Read more »


We Eat What The World Delivers

By Rodney Wittwer   

You think he’s half-baked, & I say no, fried, & both of us so boiled we don’t remember why we brought him up in the first place. Was it the savor of gin, bleared romance drifting in the bleached air & the tonic’s fizzing as it fetched the brim of the glass? A schemer, a… Read more »


To Make Record Conform To Fact

By Rodney Wittwer   

The year we get divorced I repaint the house a color you dub Anniversary Stain. Gummy begs to differ, of course, cracks a six-pack & wonders if I knew we had nut trees. He’s been asking the same question for eighteen years but seems to need an answer. Says he’s got a job rehabbing a… Read more »


Contract: Lines Written to Present to a Living Audience

By Greg Kosmicki   

Are we all doing what we are supposed to be doing? I am standing here before you reading this poem off a sheet of 50-pound recycled paper that is printed with words I wrote several months ago on a night in September, 2009. It was a Saturday night, and I had worked on proofing some… Read more »


Admit One: An American Scrapbook by Martha Collins

Admit One: An American Scrapbook

By Rebecca Hart Olander   

Admit One: An American Scrapbook by Martha Collins, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016, 104 pp/, $15.95 Last spring’s release of Martha Collins’s Admit One: An American Scrapbook, is the third in a series that includes the volumes Blue Front and White Papers. The trilogy as a whole wrestles with race and racism in America from

7 Shakkyō-ka (poems with Buddhist themes) from the Shinkokinshū

7 Shakkyō-ka (poems with Buddhist themes) from the Shinkokinshū

By Patrick Donnelly and Stephen D. Miller   

Between the early 10th century and the 15th century, the Japanese emperors ordered the compilation of twenty-one anthologies of poetry, which each contained anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand poems. These translations are of poems from the Shinkokinwakashū (Shinkokinshū for short, “New Collection of Ancient and Modern Poems”), which, with 1,978 poems, was… Read more »


The Migrants

By Fred Marchant   

He hid the fire in a tall hollow stalk of fennel, out of the sight of the great one who delights in thunder. —Hesiod, Works and Days   In those mountains he met others walking in the same direction. Backpacks, black plastic garbage bags, food sacks, a girl with two hard-boiled eggs, the shells flaking… Read more »


Checkpoint

By Fred Marchant   

you are cooperative you are educated sing arias at home you nod meaning yes and lift up your shirt to show the center of your torso is as hairless and innocent as the day you were born which of course you do not remember but at this point the air and warm light that touches… Read more »


offering

By Luther Hughes   

the day you touched me, i was a child. i was body on body on concrete. everything was limber: the way my bones loosened beneath flesh, the sifting bone attached to your hips inside me. & your tongue, that restless thing proved to be a black gospel, swung off the lip like this was something… Read more »


hunting season: boys

By Luther Hughes   

i. everyone wants                        a virgin to hunt a field              to watch           for wings or hind legs something exotic                     something everyone aches for velvet meat see the savage beast                 a haunting twitch of his brown eye sullen               his teased sway                        he’s asking for it jeans gathered at his pelvic chin & white t-shirt  a… Read more »