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We welcome quite a few new contributors to Poetry this month. Sara Miller opens the issue with “Cairo”: “You and I would let loose a flood of tears. Not the river. / You and I would seep hotly into our darkest places. / Not the river.” Matthew Nienow appears in our pages for the first time with four poems that draw on his work as a boat builder. His “Ode to the Steam Box” praises the “excruciating wetness” that “makes the body / otherwise, what makes it // sing.” Julian Stannard’s poem finds plenty of songs in Times Square, where “you may find yourself at the gargantuan muffin beauty contest / and you may ask yourself, Well, how did I get here?” Barbara Perez’s “Strange Little Prophets” looks inward, examining the brain’s “synaptic misfires / looming like a song discordant, until the body / — an unplucked string — is finally strummed.” Robin Robertson returns to Poetry this month with a bleak character study, “The Fishermen’s Farewell”: “The drink storms through these men, uncompasses / them, till they’re all at sea again.”
Our January issue also features a series of what we call “Antagonisms,” in which past contributors write about an ostensibly great poet they’ve never really liked, or even hate. (To balance things out, their enthusiasms will appear in our February issue). Michael Robbins takes on Dylan Thomas (“Who does the guy think he is? I wouldn’t change anyone’s head for a higher thread-count, either”) and Ange Mlinko resists Elizabeth Bishop (“Only a mean person would declare Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry safer than Ambien”). Pick up the issue to read the rest of the antagonisms, as well as essays by Ilya Kaminsky and Peter Cole, and new poems from Fanny Howe, Barbara Hamby, Shann Ray, and others. Don’t forget to tune into our podcast to hear poems from this issue, and to listen the editors talk to Laura Kasischke about her aversion to Wallace Stevens. Be sure to let us know what you think of the issue by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.