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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.

April 8, 15

The fishermen who scale and gut their catch / discover a river in the bellies of the fish. // In the river shines a sandbar where some boys play soccer. Read More  »

April 1, 15

I waver / and fade / if you close // The door / The night could last forever / Leave the sun // Shine out / and drink a toast / To never // death runs clear / like blood like of that ghost / who lives / it’s not an error Read More  »

March 26, 15

The pirate is the child of the man. The child of the man tells a tale. The tale entails counting. Counting relies on natural numbers. Natural numbers do not include pi nor can they represent its value. The pirate does not know the value of pi. Read More  »

March 18, 15

It's hard to tell / whether the crash survivable memory units / recovered from the black box chilling / at the bottom of the sea are the tonic / for human love, or its proof. Read More  »

March 11, 15

But I was about to say / When Chance came and cut me down with his Wehrmacht / That I was present on the assembly floor / And accountable for this little industrial / Severance of a couple digits / Leaving me ninety-nine and forty-four hundredths...Read More  »

March 4, 15

Someone would ask me how I was and I would promptly answer “prose.” You’d look down at the inscription I’d written and somehow it would only say “prose.” Prose existed before my thinking. It was a threshold. Read More  »

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  »