Having just posted at length about long critical histories, ways to think about dead people, and completed oeuvres, almost as if poetry were not a living art form, I compensate now with links to a few neat brand-new poems, available in current litmags that just happen to publish their new work on the Web. What poems? What litmags? You guessed it: they're below the fold.


Sandra Beasley, in Pebble Lake Review, has an fine expostulation in unrhymed quatrains. (By the way-- when people say "I am Greg's liver," or "I am Joe's Thymus," to what, pray tell, are they alluding?)
Nathalie Stephens, a bilingual Canadian prose poet, from the collection of Canadians in the new Drunken Boat.
And from Sharra Lessley in AGNI, a neat poem about flirting, the words to which "flirt" relates, and the acts to which flirting can eventually lead; the technique reminds me of Angie Estes, whose neat recent book I was looking at just this morning, though the Lessley poem is brand-new to me now.

Originally Published: October 4th, 2007

Stephanie (also Steph; formerly Stephen) Burt is a poet, literary critic, and professor. In 2012, the New York Times called Burt “one of the most influential poetry critics of [her] generation.” Burt grew up around Washington, DC and earned a BA from Harvard and PhD from Yale. She has published four collections of poems: Advice...

  1. October 5, 2007
     Sandra Beasley

    How lovely to have a poem recognized on Harriet! Thank you, Dr. Burt (your new book, The Forms of Youth, is actually on the shelf to my left as I type this).
    As for the "I am Joe's Heart" reference: Reader's Digest was one of the first magazines to push the idea of "Popular Medicine," and they did so with a long-running series of articles written from the POV of an organ as it suffers from disease or medical crisis. No actual authors were credited--the pieces were presented as monologues, i.e. "I am Jane's Esophagus." Very surreal, and persuasive to self-diagnosis--I think I was the only 9-year old sure I had Retinitis Pigmentosa.

  2. August 19, 2009
     James Jones

    Ah yes... those wonderful Reader's Digest articles.\r

    In the particular case of "I am Joe's thymus", it perhaps merits mention that a short-lived avant-garde band from Norman, Oklahoma named "The Memluks" featured a song inspired by those articles, "Joe's Thymus," on their first (and possibly, alas, only) album, _Partida_. The first verse, as best I can remember:\r

    I am Joe's thymus,\r
    And I'm the leader of Joe's defensive team.\r
    Just because Joe is a typical forty-seven year old white American male\r
    Doesn't mean he doesn't need protection,\r
    And I protect Joe\r
    'Cause I am Joe's thymus...\r

    They were a great band, with inspired lyrics (the lead song on the album was written from the point of view of the first animals to walk on land, with an excellent image in the chorus: "Learning to walk, learning to walk on sharp knives..."

  3. August 20, 2009
     Don Share

    Three new poems by Sandra can be found in the summer '09 issue of Poetry, and read online here:\r

    http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poet.html?id=111248