Ghettoland: Exeunt

follow the morning star

 

Tell yourself it’s only a sliver of sun

burning into your chest, a cap of gold

or radiant halo justly worn by

the righteous at heart—

 

then take it off, stomp it, rip out

Rita Dove, born in 1952 in Akron, Ohio, earned degrees from Miami University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her record of achievement is unprecedented. When in February 2011 she received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama, she became the first person to have received all three of the country’s highest arts distinctions—the others being the Humanities Medal and a term of service as Poet Laureate (2003–5). She has been a frequent guest of Bill Moyers’ PBS series. In 1987, she received the Pulitzer Prize for her third collection of poems, Thomas and Beulah, which is loosely based on her maternal grandparents’ lives. She also has nine other volumes of poetry: Collected Poems 1974–2004 (2016), Sonata Mulattica (2009), American Smooth (2004), On the Bus with Rosa Parks (1999), Mother Love (1995), Selected Poems (1993), Grace Notes (1989), Museum (1983), and The Yellow House on the Corner (1980). She has published a collection of essays, The Poet’s World (1995); a drama, The Darker Face of the Earth: A Verse Play in Fourteen Scenes (1994); a novel, Through the Ivory Gate (1992); and a collection of short stories, Fifth Sunday (1985). She has edited two volumes, The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry (2011) and The Best American Poetry 2000 (2000). From 2004 to 2006, Dove served as the Poet Laureate of Virginia. She holds twenty-five honorary doctorates, is a classically trained musician (viola de gamba), and has done numerous musical collaborations, including Seven for Luck, seven poems by Rita Dove with music by John Williams, and Umoja: Each One of Us Counts, music by Alvin Singleton, commissioned by the Atlanta Olympic Summer Games. Since 1989, she has taught at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she holds the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English.

Three Aubades (Aubade: The Constitutional, Aubade: West, Aubade: East)

In 1516, the Most Serene Republic of Venice confined its Jews to the site of a former foundry. The Venetian word for foundry was geto. 

 


Aubade: The Constitutional

Leone da Modena. The Veneto.

A day like this I should count

Rita Dove, born in 1952 in Akron, Ohio, earned degrees from Miami University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her record of achievement is unprecedented. When in February 2011 she received the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama, she became the first person to have received all three of the country’s highest arts distinctions—the others being the Humanities Medal and a term of service as Poet Laureate (2003–5). She has been a frequent guest of Bill Moyers’ PBS series. In 1987, she received the Pulitzer Prize for her third collection of poems, Thomas and Beulah, which is loosely based on her maternal grandparents’ lives. She also has nine other volumes of poetry: Collected Poems 1974–2004 (2016), Sonata Mulattica (2009), American Smooth (2004), On the Bus with Rosa Parks (1999), Mother Love (1995), Selected Poems (1993), Grace Notes (1989), Museum (1983), and The Yellow House on the Corner (1980). She has published a collection of essays, The Poet’s World (1995); a drama, The Darker Face of the Earth: A Verse Play in Fourteen Scenes (1994); a novel, Through the Ivory Gate (1992); and a collection of short stories, Fifth Sunday (1985). She has edited two volumes, The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry (2011) and The Best American Poetry 2000 (2000). From 2004 to 2006, Dove served as the Poet Laureate of Virginia. She holds twenty-five honorary doctorates, is a classically trained musician (viola de gamba), and has done numerous musical collaborations, including Seven for Luck, seven poems by Rita Dove with music by John Williams, and Umoja: Each One of Us Counts, music by Alvin Singleton, commissioned by the Atlanta Olympic Summer Games. Since 1989, she has taught at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she holds the chair of Commonwealth Professor of English.

Osmium Schwartz on Her Back

Courtney Sender’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in the Kenyon Review, Tin House, American Short Fiction, Glimmer Train, Amazon Day One, Slice, and more. She holds an MFA from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars and a BA from Yale University, where she now teaches. A MacDowell Colony fellow, she is currently working on a novel.

The Longing of Men

Jerry McGahan (1943–2016), beekeeper and much else, was the author of the story collection The Deer Walking Upside Down (Schaffner Press, 2015) and the novel A Condor Brings the Sun (1996). His stories and essays were published by the Iowa Review, the Antioch Review, the Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, and other literary journals. McGahan passed away with his wife, Janet, by his side in Arlee, Montana, on the land he had loved for almost fifty years.

The Stones of Sorrow Lake

I pressed my face to the car window to see Jackson’s hometown, the place we’d spent all our money moving to after graduation, the place we would be stuck in. It was June, the month of green. Willows everywhere wept …

Brenda Peynado’s stories have been selected for the O. Henry Prize Stories 2015, as a Chicago Tribune Nelson Algren Award recipient, and for other honors. Peynado has received a Fulbright fellowship to the Dominican Republic, a Writers @ Work fellowship, and a Tennessee Williams Scholarship to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and her work appears in such journals as EPOCH, the Threepenny Review, Mid-American Review, and Black Warrior Review. She received her MFA from Florida State University and is currently a PhD student at the University of Cincinnati.

Float

Walk into my room and come to find one of my Jordan Air Max 360s floating about five foot off the ground. Soon as I see it, my heart kinda go pie-yow! and my neck get hot. Then I smile …

Reginald McKnight is the author of He Sleeps (Picador, 2002), The Kind of Light That Shines on Texas (1996), and I Get on the Bus (1990), among others. He is a professor of creative writing and literature at the University of Georgia.

A Quickening of Forgotten Fields

Pattiann Rogers has published fourteen books of poetry, most recently Holy Heathen Rhapsody (Penguin, 2013), and a selection of her uncollected poems is forthcoming from Penguin/Random House in 2018. A gathering of 329 journals and magazines containing her poems was recently acquired by Texas Tech University and is housed in the Sowell Family Collection in Literature, Community, and the Natural World.

Still Hunt

The American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art has an airy, skylit atrium, the recently remodeled Engelhard Sculpture Court, a place overflowing with marble and curious marvels. In one corner, the Vanderbilts’ humongous hearth. Over there, glowing Tiffany windows. …

Nick Neely’s nonfiction and poetry have been published or are forthcoming in the Kenyon Review, the Threepenny Review, the Southern Review, the Missouri Review, and elsewhere. His chapbook of lyrical essays, Chiton, and Other Creatures, was published in 2015 by New Michigan Press, and his first full-length essay collection, Coast Range, is forthcoming from Counterpoint Press. He is the recipient of a PEN/ Northwest Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency, a UC Berkeley– 11th Hour Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship, and the 2015 John Burroughs Nature Essay Award.

Blind Spot

Andrew Menard is the author of Learning from Thoreau (University of Georgia Press, 2018) and Sight Unseen: How Frémont’s First Expedition Changed the American Landscape (Bison Books, 2012). His most recent essays and articles have appeared in Antioch ReviewThe Georgia ReviewHinterlandJournal of American StudiesOxford Art Journal, and the New England Quarterly.