Poetry | Harper's Magazine

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Poetry

The Book of Breezes

Then your curiosity returns to you Just a little wet with tears I welcome it home since I’ve been wondering— At evening—what is violet saying?— It speaks to the part…

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Reasons for Staying

The October leaves coming down, as if called. Morning fog through the wild rye beyond the train tracks. A cigarette. A good sweater. On the sagging porch. While the family…

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Three Poems

self-care Have you tried rose hydrosol? Smoky quartz in a steel bottle of glacial water? Tincture drawn from the stamens of daylilies grown on the western sides of two-story homes?…

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Four Sonnets

each letter Everyone crowded in that movie theater you found a seat to my left some thirty years later saying little, facing the screen while I use my hair to…

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Woolworth

for/after BPK Across the street from the men in bars of booze, Music, and confinement, a dog walked into a diner To find diners eating, a cat eating, a mouse…

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Two Poems

hearsay What did you say I said? What? And in that dream I was married to her, and she, I don’t know who she was, perhaps she was you, Perhaps…

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Detail of the Rice Chest

In the 2015 Korean film The Throne, the rice chest sits in the center of the vast, symmetrical courtyard of Changgyeonggung Palace. The film is called The Throne in English;…

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Little Music

What a lot of little music can do? The blind farmer Daylights in his cabbage row, going crouched down between leafy skulls, knows. He rises indifferent, far-gazing as a fine…

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Two Poems

think back Say an idea is math without numbers. For instance, you could say that an idea distorts consciousness as a massive object distorts space. Such distortion is sometimes known…

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Three Poems

“you certainly have the right to your thoughts in this minefield”   All that’s dammed-up in your head, hammered by the whitewater current of your knowing better— the daily small…

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I Imitate You

1960s newspaper clippings and teeth hang on a string—Like a book of life I’m in the kitchen with my killer Picking all the teeth out of a mouth harp Cigarette-ing…

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Basement Suite

Left to our use are the fixtures and appliances Repented of by the homeowners Who don’t realize this is a way to know them. In the basement one is closer…

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Resistances

The prepositions you’re most likely to encounter after the title of a poem are “for” or “to” and sometimes “after”—“for my daughter”; “to Bobby”; “after Pound”; etc. They signify dedication,…

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Battlefield and Wind Chime

Tongo Eisen-Martin’s poems are echo chambers of vernaculars and unofficial languages. He both registers the damage caused by systemic racism and evinces—and by his work extends—the rich modes of resistance…

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Six Poems

The formal accomplishment of Michael Palmer’s poetry is in tension with one of his recurrent themes: the limits and slippages of language. A poem dedicated to the trumpeter and composer…

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Four in Verse

Many of John Ashbery’s recent poems are full of sayings and parables and clichés — but from what culture, what country? The world of these poems resembles ours: there are…

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