Winter Issue 2019

1. I have begun listening to music again, needing something sweet in a hard world. I have been pleasantly surprised going from one Tiny Desk Concert to another. It’s a kind of shock to feel certain things again, to remember how much you used to feel, to realize how long you’ve gone without feeling. ThereContinue reading “Winter Issue 2019”

Winter/Spring Issue 2018

A combined Winter/Spring issue is apt for the unseasonably cold weather we—and many of our readers—are experiencing. It’s been a year since our last issue, and more than a few people have been asking if we, like spring, would ever be seen again. First of all, we’re flattered that our absence registered at all inContinue reading “Winter/Spring Issue 2018”

Winter Issue 2017

Build yourself a time capsule. Fill it up with the excess portion of your disappointment and disgust. Stuff it with the nausea induced by their unending, towering lies. Pour in the words you need to remember. You will need these things later, and you will be glad to have them close at hand. They willContinue reading “Winter Issue 2017”

A Speech Imperfectly Her Own: Camille Rankine’s Incorrect Merciful Impulses

Let’s say the lyric poet, among many definitions, is also a kind of translator, at least that she faces a similar challenge: the task of rendering in one tongue some experience beforehand first articulated, first heard, in another. But where the translator pivots between at least two culturally recognized languages, the lyric poet moves noContinue reading “A Speech Imperfectly Her Own: Camille Rankine’s Incorrect Merciful Impulses”

Summer Issue 2016

  The Cupboard is not where we store our politics (though you could probably infer where we stand after a relatively superficial skim), so I’m not referring to the U.S. presidential race when I say that it’s been a difficult summer. Some people are safer than ever, golden parachutes and all; others are living through violence that would not be outContinue reading “Summer Issue 2016”

Winter Issue 2016

One remembers. One forgets. Snow drifts down and specks the tops of things. A man crosses the street to buy a sleeve of scratch cards from a kiosk. All the newspaper headlines are gloomy and ecstatic. A cheap pack of cigarettes now costs twelve bucks. Running into an old friend is like two roads convergingContinue reading “Winter Issue 2016”

Review: The Darkening Trapeze by Larry Levis

David St. John chose a fitting title for Larry Levis’ posthumous collection: The Darkening Trapeze. Most of these terrifying yet dazzling poems were written in the last two years before his unexpected death in 1996, at the age of forty-nine. The title phrase is pulled from “Elegy with a Darkening Trapeze inside it” which isContinue reading “Review: The Darkening Trapeze by Larry Levis”

Blunt memos and elliptical effacements: Collier Nogues’s “The Ground I Stand on Is Not My Ground”

In these erasure poems, Collier Nogues presents oblique, redolent lines that contain and complicate the ghostlike traces left behind from original historical documents. Nogues has created a beautiful, haunting piece of work with The Ground I Stand on Is Not My Ground, winner of the inaugural Drunken Boat Poetry Book Contest. You can read Nogues’sContinue reading “Blunt memos and elliptical effacements: Collier Nogues’s “The Ground I Stand on Is Not My Ground””

A Big Packet of Unprotected Protein

The cephalopod, specifically the octopus, is our mascot for this autumnal lament/salute to impermanence. (Thank Sy Montgomery’s marvelous The Soul of an Octopus for our current obsession.) I’m thinking not only of its amorphous shape and feats of disguise—It can escape from its tank and squeeze into cracks in the wall! It can camouflage itself to look like a cloud passing over sand!—but also of its vulnerability. It’s aContinue reading “A Big Packet of Unprotected Protein”

Your cellular respirations in any given square foot

You can’t even be somewhere without spending money anymore: to earn the right to perform your cellular respirations in any given square foot, you’d better have a receipt or be standing in line to get one. A cup of coffee buys you an unharassed half hour on a high stool; a jaunty shopping bag shieldsContinue reading “Your cellular respirations in any given square foot”