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PEN Poetry Series

Once a week, the PEN Poetry Series publishes work by emerging and established writers from coast to coast. The series is edited by Danniel Schoonebeek, along with guest editors TC Tolbert, Dawn Lundy Martin, and Brian Blanchfield. Subscribe to the PEN Poetry Series mailing list and have poems delivered to your email as soon as they're published. Submissions are currently closed, but please feel free to familiarize yourself with our submission guidelines. Our current response time is about 3-6 months. Please follow up with [email protected] if you haven't heard from us after six months. 

October 7, 15

You / in the ropes / in the black ropes / shining // Come, / king, / take up / your instrument. Read More  »

October 5, 15

Grandmother’s story before it’s forgotten: her parents die young, / father first. When the widow realizes the illness will take her too, / she walks from house to house, sails from island to island / with her daughter. “Who will take care of Maria...Read More  »

October 1, 15

I uncover here a responsibility I feel—to attempt disinhibition, to include affective knowledge, to be inside the body, to report from a place of personal discomfort or unease. Ursula LeGuin says in coming years we’re going to need writers who can...Read More  »

September 30, 15

Paul Valéry said something like: the purpose of poetry is to re-create the poetic spirit in the reader. That feels pretty right to me as a real reason I read poetry. Poets often fret that only poets read poetry; but in fact that seems to me...Read More  »

September 23, 15

Are there languages of hierarchy that can attend to the difference between the lack of privilege experienced by the black body in America and the overt censorship in some countries where speaking can be punishable by imprisonment or death?...Read More  »

September 23, 15

Wolves howl. Soot falls from sky. // The rescuers are never prepared. / And we, here, amid a failure of images. // Scrub a spot whiter than before. / Demarcate before there is nothing left. // Breath into white sand. / The dead ache so. Read More  »

September 16, 15

X’s body is covered with 8% psoriasis, 11% tattoos, 23% fat, and 62% hair. If X is a man, how much of his body is livable? If X is a woman, who covered her body with shame? Read More  »

September 16, 15

The word obliterated comes from the Latin, meaning “to strike out, or erase, what has been written.” I believe I (my-self) am both obliterator and obliterated. I was made by words. And then the words changed. Or, the self wrote new words. Or, the...Read More  »

September 9, 15

She who is not consoled / lasts longer than the fever of a horse / whose teeth flare out in prayer, Khyber blade / in the crosshatch hands of her rider, hands from a life / of whipping. Read More  »

September 2, 15

To Wall / Street, which saw / across the continent plot / by plot & which brought / west ledgers. // The discovery / of writing, Lévi-Strauss says, begets / wherever it arises oppression. // From such / ruin tulips blossomed. Read More  »