More poetry from the fight for racial equality – Ed Madden’s “Confederates”

Ed Madden’s poem for the rally against the Confederate flag reminds us of his earlier poem “Confederates,” which appeared in Signals (2008).  The poem is set just months before the 2000 removal of the flag from the South Carolina statehouse dome.  “Confederates” offers a poet’s take on the historical and cultural context of the move of the flag then, and perhaps a comment on the issue now.   The poem takes place between a MLK Day... Read More

Coming of age, on stage and page

Jasper loves artistic collaboration and cross-pollination, artists working across genres and media to provoke, inspire, collaborate, and create. Last fall, Trustus Theatre hosted a poetry contest with Jasper and in conjunction with the Trustus production of the hit musical Spring Awakening. Because the play focuses on sexual awakening and coming of age, we invited writers to submit poems about the coming of age experience. The winners were Randy Spencer... Read More

Junk Car in Snow

By Ron Rash from Wakings No shade tree surgery could revive its engine, so rolled into the pasture, left stalled among cattle, soon rust-scabs breaking out on blue paint, tires sagging like leaky balloons, yet when snow came, magical, an Appalachian igloo I huddled inside, cracked glass my window as I watched snow smooth pasture as though a quilt for winter to rest upon, and how quiet it was – the creek muffled by ice, gray squirrels curled in leaf... Read More

Concerto no. 7: Condoleezza {working out} At the Watergate

Concerto no. 7: Condoleezza {working out} At the Watergate from Head Off & Split by Nikky Finney Condoleezza rises at four, stepping on the treadmill. Her long fingers brace the two slim handles of accommodating steel. She steadies her sleepy legs for the long day ahead. She doesn’t get very far. Her knees buckle wanting back Last night’s dream. [dream #9] She is fifteen and leaning forward from the bench, playing Mozart’s piano concerto... Read More

My Last Day at Holy Cross

By Celeste Doaks Outside the school they argued as the sun danced on black asphalt. Momma’s nostrils flared as she spoke to the nun in short staccato phrases. But she’s not stupid. Sometimes she gets flustered. At age six, flustered didn’t compute but I knew my troubled tongue was the problem. When reading those Nan and Ted sentences stuck in my mouth like grains of salt, clogged in a shaker that fell out in clumps, or sometimes not at all. But... Read More

Call of Duty

By Howard L. Craft My wife’s womb is a world My son lives inside At night I sing him his ABC’s I want him to talk early I place head phones on my Wife’s belly and play 90’s hip hop I think about holding him and rocking Him to sleep with Wu Tang instrumentals I think of the things I need to teach him The man lessons, the Blackman survival In America lessons I hope he will listen better than I did I wish my father were here to help me I said... Read More

Covered Dish

By Lindsay Green McManus She can do it all in her sleep: Sift, knead, separate, Roll up and drop The one inch balls. In the other room, the baby Is plopped in front of the television, Picking up and dropping a small Piece of paper, fascinated by The slow, uneven fall, Over and over. She watches while her hands move, put a fresh block to the grater, plow her knuckle and bone.   Lindsay Green McManus earned her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition... Read More


Annunciations                                 on attending a Marie Howe reading By Terri McCord The poet, hair massed like moist cradling hay, spoke first of Mary, said                   we could all be mothers of Jesus—quoting Meister Eckhart. The podium flowers shed as she read—small tufts as from baby fowl. My first bed was a drawer, and, later, when I had a crib, my mother left me belly-down, legs        wish-boned until... Read More

Excerpts from Worthy Evans’ Green Revolver

Green Revolver Four weeks ago Matthew moved some bones from the back yard to the front yard. Three weeks ago he helped his mom around the house, picking up laundry, throwing loose paper away. She gave him two dollars. Two weeks ago I took him to a dollar store. Matthew walked back to the wall of dime toys and found a green revolver, little gray blackjack and gold handcuffs, shrink-wrapped against an upbeat cardboard law-enforcement sign. One week... Read More

A Certain Stretch of Road

By Ivan Young I held the V of a slingshot the length of the band, forearm tensed, eye closed. It seemed like all day I stood wondering about death, whether I could trust instinct, or had I failed already; in the ecstasy of release, I knew the truth. I set the stone tumbling, became an awkward periphery–the feathered body half in shadow, my boyish arms still stretched as if beseeching for something I couldn’t tell you even now. The rock... Read More

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