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What I’m Left With

Christopher Citro

Second thing I did this morning
was run naked into the backyard
to chase a squirrel from the feeder.
I know none of this matters. Trick is
work the knots out, use your elbows
when your hands get tired. Mom
would walk on dad’s back. I’d
walk on both of them, grasping
the rocking chair for support,

On Prayer

Luisa Muradyan

I can’t prove it, but my father invented the
That’s What She Said joke.

His first documented use was during
our naturalization ceremony, mixing up
the she and said in his broken English
but still making the judge laugh
when he asked my father
if he was ready for something so big
as citizenship.

THE IOWA REVIEW Celebrates National Poetry Month 2020

Abby Petersen

Of all poetry’s qualities, “voice” is perhaps the most celebrated and the most elusive. It’s a quality that is best measured by its effects: its directness or obscurity, its atmosphere and mood, and the sense of company it imparts through the creation of shared space. The Iowa Review is pleased to celebrate another National Poetry Month through our online feature. Each day in April, TIR will present a poet whose work not only speaks to personal concerns, but collectively to us and each other.

Here's the list of this year's poets:

Dora Malech's FLOURISH

Jane Huffman

Dora Malech has never been afraid of flourish: whip-smart, wind-whipping, hair-raising masterstrokes of language define so many of her poems. (Recall “The Kisser”: “Drew the short straw, scared herself apart / to spit-sweet shards and into time that counted / backwards from two lips ago.”) But in her new book Flourish, Malech produces a subtler vision of her wit and tenor—an orchestra rising from a deeper, darker pit. A line from her poem “Progress” says it best: “Geometry that gestures toward itself / or not at all as in the inward wave / that in one culture simply greets and in / another draws one closer.”

Jennifer Soong’s NEAR, AT

Amanda Auerbach

Jennifer Soong’s Near, At is a book that precisely tracks the consciousness as attention trails off, distracted by the blurring of perceptions, or caught up in stray wisps of emotion. Soong’s poems show that new possibilities open up lyrically, politically, and personally when the mind is allowed to become diffuse, loosening its grip on the here and the now. If we have to choose between keeping track of the thoughts that give rise to our emotions and keeping track of the mind as it resists that awareness, Soong’s collection shows there is much to be gained from making the latter choice.

 

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