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PEN American Center

PEN Poetry Series

Once a week, the PEN Poetry Series publishes work by emerging and established writers from coast to coast. Subscribe to the Poetry Series mailing list and have poems delivered to your e-mail as soon as they’re published. The series is edited by Danniel Schoonebeek, along with guest editors Robert Fernandez, Heather Christle, and Cathy Park Hong.

February 25, 15

Everything in and of war in war. / Every flight and branch and wing, / A body of war: a woman brushing a boy’s hair— / War—the wild turkey napping in the shade— / War—In what shall we trust? What will resist / Even this declaration of war?...Read More  »

February 18, 15

I have decided I am not // afraid and in this hopeful state I call out to the living / we have been cleansed word has come down / from the hilltop we are one // people so we put our differences aside and quiet our single mind we rest against the...Read More  »

February 11, 15

Even with slurred tongue and cracked teeth I discern a benign country beyond for me to / confer there my night custody and coat of arms. Read More  »

February 4, 15

to answer a husband, you’d // have to hear him; // something your dead mother wouldn’t say; she was terrible at humor; but you could start now, teaching her; Read More  »

January 28, 15

the woodpecker’s / long tongue, forked / at the base of its throat and / wrapped over the top of its head / and around the eye socket, / squirts through the drill hole / into a gallery of / insects within / the dead cactus. Read More  »

January 21, 15

was her face moving or talking, were the words her own; was it because she was missing or because of something else; if moving how grainy, was it from a surveillance camera or a phone or a video camera; would people paint her, would the paintings...Read More  »

January 14, 15

Is it to the power of flowering / between the red / and the far-red regions, / against the gloom, / the peony, the poppy, the rose, / the broken tulip, stung- / open cardinal, the lime-lit / primulas, each owes its astringent / each Read More  »

January 7, 15

On the day of my thirty-seventh birthday I ended up involved / in murdering the president. I was in charge of watching the windows of his palace / and sending back coded reports. Read More  »

December 30, 14

I do not know. I do not know. I do not know. I do not know. I do not know. I do not know. I do not know. I do not know. I do not know. I do not know. I do not know. I do not know. I do not know. I do not know. Read More  »

December 18, 14

dear son don’t flinch / when he comes for you // singing through my brain my face // lure you wait / shadows flat under the operating lights // scissor to flower to bone Read More  »