The Blog

Galway Kinnell's "Fisherman," from the archives

TIR staff

Solitary man, standing
on the Atlantic, high up on the floodtide
under the moon, hauling at nets
which shudder sideweays under the mutilated darkness:
the one you hugged and slept with so often,
who hugged you and slept with you so often,
who has gone away now
into that imaginary moonlight
of the greater world, perhaps looks back at where you stand abandoned
on the floodtide, hauling at nets
and dragging from the darkness
anything, and feels tempted to walk over
and touch you
and speak
from that world to which she acquiesced so suddenly dumbfounded
but instead she only sings
in the sea-birds and breeze that you imagine you remember but that you truly hear
as the dawn breaks in streaks across the fish-flashed water.

"You think" by Abdulla Pashew

TIR staff

Translated from the Kurdish by Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse and the author

You think
my poems
are simple as roadside stones
You think
my words
are not astronauts, but earthbound children
What can I do, my heart?
Images and thin ideas
shimmer for a moment
and die like fireflies
in the black nights of gardens and orchards
I can only catch those
which tire and fall
like autumn leaves  


Nathaniel Mackey reading 10/30!

TIR staff
National Book Award-winning poet (and recent TIR contributor!) Nathaniel Mackey will read from his work this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Coe College's Kesler Auditorium. He will also participate in a Q&A session moderated by Iowa Review senior poetry editor Nick Twemlow. There will be a dessert reception afterward, and books will be available for purchase and to be signed. 
Mackey's "Song of the Andoumboulou: 108" appears in The Iowa Review's fall 2014 issue.


Russell Scott Valentino

Under the influence of having just completed this book—and let me note at the outset that the influence is hard to resist—I feel like I could start just about anywhere in reviewing it, so why not a footnote. There is just one in the book, but what a footnote, extending over two pages, explicative, digressive, apt, entertaining, and, best of all, delivered in the voice of the translator, Alyson Waters. We can say more (since, too impatient to wait for the French book to arrive in the mail, I wrote to the translator to ask): what in the world could the author have written in French that would translate so well into such a translator’s note? Answer: nothing at all! Or next to nothing.

"Martyr" by Abdulla Pashew

TIR staff

Translated from the Kurdish by Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse and Haval Mustafa

Last night, my sleep was fitful
I crept outside
my mind throwing thunder
Lifting my head to the sky
I saw naked stars
clusters and clusters, thousands and thousands
Around the roosting swan
they were scattered like pomegranate seeds 

I went back inside and mourned
for them, for those stars
with wounded wings and broken necks
who at the height of their brilliance
plummet from the heavens head first 




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