Kin issue vi: The March and the madness

If you've been following us closely, you'll know that this issue has been going for a couple of weeks already, so pardon this late announcement.  All this snow slows everything down, not just the traffic.  Of course I shouldn't be loosing too much talk of snow in the presence of this month's feature, Icelandic poet Gerður Kristný.  We already offered a taste of her work with last issue's "Prayer," and now we're running the usual self-interview and poems.

(Image from
In my usual roundup of news from contributors I'll start with Marybeth Rua-Larsen, whose poem, "Heat," was published in the newly launched Cleaver Magazine, a Philadelphia-based e-zine.  She can also add to her bio that she's an original member of the Lake House Collective, which is a group of feminist women committed to reviewing books by women.  Jenna Le's poem "The Borgias," which first appeared in her 2011 book Six Rivers, was featured on the Poetry Brain Project this past week.  Her poem "Almost Abecedarian" also appears in the spring issue of Bellevue Literary Review.  Le's poem "Tanka" is currently up at thePortland Review.

Lisa J. Cihlar
's poem, "Rental Cabin Up North," is in The Blues Issue of MiPOesias.  Two of Loh Guan Liang's prose poems are featured in Crack the Spine.  Three of his poems are featured in black heart magazine.  Karen Kelsay announces The Aldrich Press Award, the first poetry book contest from Kelsay Books.  The final judge is Marly Youmans.

Terese Coe has been quite busy.  Threepenny Review published her "Mise en Abyme" in December (Issue 132).  The Warwick Review (UK) published her dimeter translation from the French of Pierre de Ronsard, "To Guy Pacate" in their Translation Issue in December 2012.  Mezzo Cammin published her "On Reading Fraser's Mary, Queen of Scots" and "Minetta Creek," a children's poem, in January.  And Terese's poem "Terminal Manhattanite" just came out in Angle #3, edited by one of this issue's contributors Philip Quinlan, and one of next issue's, Janet Kenny.

The Raintown Review published Coe's translation from the German of Bertolt Brecht, "The Frayed Rope," in their Winter issue, 2013.  This journal, one of our kith & kin, is the recent locus for a lot of Kin contributors, including David M. Katzwhose poem "An Elegy for Jobs," is in te latest issue.  Katz also published "Scott's Last Tape," in the UK journal PN Review.

Maryann Corbett
 has new poems in Issue 5 of Southern Women's Review and in the inaugural issue of The Rotary Dial. Her essay on Alan Sullivan—his role as the "Editor from Hell" and his translation of the Psalms—was published in Berfrois. And her sonnet published earlier in 32 Poems was the subject of a thoughtful close read by Matthew Buckley Smith on the 32 Poems blog.
Jesse Anger has a little ditty about a beggar at Shot Glass as well as poems in the new Raintown Review and Angle.  He is also part of a March 30th reading in Montreal entitled Don't Send Flowers- Seek Vengeance, also featuring Kin contributor Quincy Lehr, and others.

Jee Leong Koh's poem "Eve's Fault" was included in Ocean Vuong's portfolio of erotic poems for the Asian American Writers' Workshop. In its most recent issue the Quarterly Literary Review of Singapore published two of his poems "Haibun" and "Singapore Buses Are Very Reliable" as well as a long review of his latest book The Pillow Book.  John Foy has a poem, “Cost,” in the February issue of The New Criterion.  Foy introduced Quincy Lehr’s new book at the March 2 launch party.  The book is called Shadows and Gifts (Barefoot Muse Press, 2013).

Last issue's featured poet Alison Brackenbury has also has new-book news as her collection of poems, Then, is now available from Carcanet Press (on Amazon: U.S. & U.K.) The cover features praise from Gillian Clarke, the National Poet of Wales:

Alison Brackenbury loves, lives, hymns and rhymes the natural world and its people like no other poet.

Kin editor Eric Norris has also joined the party at The Raintown Review with an essay called "Tweets and Twitters and Quantum Jitters: Poetry in the Twenty-First Century."  I, Uche Ogbuji, have a couple of anti-Valentine poems, "Sampled" and "Emissus," in the Valentine 2013 issue of Featherlit, and a couple of poems at the latest IthacaLit,"Above Left Hand Canyon" and "How Close?".  I recently gave a performance of poetry at the CU Boulder African Night festival, and I have some audio from my in-pocket mobile phone here.  This weekend I head to Carbondale, Colorado, near Aspen, to give a performance and a workshop ("Poetry from the Heart's Far-Flung Places") at the Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival.  I'll be looking forward to spending time with former Kin features Wendy Videlockand David Mason.  There will be an exhibit of Videlock's art alongside that of Aspen artist Kim Nuzzo.

I'd like to close with a mention of two literary deaths close to me.  Chinua Achebe, inspiration for so many African writers, including me, died on 21 March.  He is best known for his book Things Fall Apart, but he was also a poet, and for me his most important book might turn out to be There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra, which I read just a couple of months ago.

The second passing was that of Paul Stevens, teacher, poet editor, critic and more.  He founded and edited three online literary magazines: The Flea, Shit Creek Review, and The Chimaera.  He was a mentor to many, and I will speak of how he inspired me in my work diting online journals, and in my work as a poet.  When I first dipped my toe in the waters sending my poems to prospective editors, Paul Stevens was one of the first to respond kindly, and to publish a couple of my poems (in The Flea).  I am sad I never met him, but I'm grateful I knew him.  Here is a stanza from one of his poems, many of which are gathered at The HyperTexts.
A child—of his laboratory— 
Freed from the womb of earth, 
I gathered up my errant soul— 
And stepped—gravely—forth.

—From "A Birth."  R.I.P. Paul Stevens. 
Inline image 4

Open Letter to the Ambassador of the State of Qatar

Superior, Colorado, USA

20 January 2013

Mohamed Bin Abdulla Al-Rumaihi, Ambassador
Embassy of the State of Qatar
2555 M. Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20037-1305

Dear Ambassador,

I write with justice in my head,
I write with all impulse of peace,
In fervent hope of Mohamed
Ibn Al Ajami's release.

Please might we find your magistrate
Well understanding of the fact
That poetry surpasses state,
Liberty trumps Sedition Act.

It will be poets who ensure
The glory of your fine Emir
And even when they do incur
Displeasure, they're his vizier.

I pray you grant your poets space
To work the profit of their mind.
Reconsider this Ajami case,
In which all freedoms are enshrined.



Uche Ogbuji

Mohamed Ibn Al Ajami


Kin issue v: What the Mayans got to do with it?

Happy New Year to you from all of us at Kin.  Of course I'll say we're excited to have so much in store for you, dear readers, in 2013, and you should certainly think "yeah yeah," and wait for the proof in some currency of pudding.  Well, it's a particularly stunning offering this month, with pudding from one of its most famous sources: The Cotswolds (other pudding providers are also available).  Alison Brackenbury joins us from Gloucestershire, England with a self-interview exploring several topics of interest in British Poetry.  We've already published a poem and an essay by her, and now we'll have four more of her poems.  She has been very kind to our eager interests by sharing four poems each strongly rooted in a place, starting with "Chatcombe at night."

(Image from Magma Poetry)

I do believe it was Kin contributors who rolled up their sleeves to prevent the end of the universe in December.  And how do you achieve such a feat?  Through facta optime opera, of course! Rick Mullin's chapbook, "The Stones Jones Canzones" is out this month and can be ordered now at Finishing Line Press.  Jenna Le's poem "A Bruxist Manifesto" appears in the current issue of 32 Poems and "On Being Asian-American" in the current issue of Crab Creek Review.  Maryann Corbett has a sonnet in the Fall/Winter 2012 issue of 32 Poems, and Mike Finley has published her crown of sonnets about St. Paul's University Avenue as an insert in the latest issue of LIEF Magazine.  I do admire an editor who will publish a sonnet crown in this day, and of course also the poet who writes one worth publishing.

Last issue's featured poet David Mason will be having a big 2013; his opera with composer Lori Laitman, The Scarlet Letter, will premiere at Opera Colorado in May. Tickets are available now (I've purchased mine!)  Mason's libretto is a fine work of poetry in its own right, which you can also order right now.  He's also recently completed a new one-act opera libretto for composer Thomas Pasatieri, so we expect to have much ore news from him in this space.  Another good friend of Kin from Colorado, the formerly featured Wendy Videlock has five new poems appearing in the January issue of Poetry.  She also has as an illustrated book of poems, The Dark Gnu, forthcoming from Able Muse Press this month.  She has described this collection as 'an odd little book/for the drifters and dreamers/the tygers and sages/and the children of all/inconceivable ages'.  Wendy also has poems in the latest Able Muse.

I'd be remiss not to pass on this Ella-vating reminder, from Wendy and her daughter, that it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.

David Rothman has recently been asked to serve as the Humorist for Colorado Public Radio, contributing a poem a month. The first two are "A Post-Election Poem" and "Fiscal Cliff Poetry."  Rothman will be the Master of Ceremonies for the Colorado State Finals of this year's Poetry Out Loud competition in March.  He is the Board-endorsed nominee to become the western region representative to the Board of Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP), with elections to be held this spring. Finally David will be chairing a panel at the AWP conference in Boston with John Barr and David Yezzi: “’Money is a kind of poetry’: Strategy and Tactics for the Small, Independent Non-Profit.” 

Rose Kelleher is the featured poet in the Winter 2013 issue of Italian Americana, including an essay of hers and a couple of poems.  John Foy's review of a new book of poems by Gerry Cambridge, a Scottish poet, appears on the Contemporary Poetry Review website, and he will do a reading with several other NYC poets on February 14 at the Indian Café, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  Janice D. Soderling traveled from Sweden to California in the fall of 2012 as special guest reader at First Wednesday Formal in Oakland, and invited reader at the Rattle Series in La Cañada. Tilt-a-Whirl made a 2012 Best of the Net nomination of her villanelle “For Cherishing.”  Kelly McQuain  had his poem "Lent"  published in the Fall 2012 issue of Mead: The Magazine of Literature and Libation. He also writes essays about city life for The Philadelphia Inquirer, the latest of which is about the irony of officiating at a heterosexual couple's wedding when gay men like himself still cannot get married in Pennsylvania.

Derrick Austin has two poems in the latest Unsplendid, 4.3, "Blaxploitation" and "Anchorage".  Jesse Anger has a poem in the latest issue of The Void, and another piece, about a tarot card, in Measure.  Also, his band The Underground Divas released their second CD Freedom House Revisited.

Kin editor Walter Ancarrow contributed a poem to The Alhambra Poetry Calendar for Young Readers 2013.  Sure it's already 2013, but that merely compels you to buy the calendar and read the first fortnight of poems in one sitting.  Walter's poem "The Elephant" is for May 14th.  I, Uche Ogbuji, have several new poems published: "Rag Tags" in Red Fez, "Obscured Sunshine" in Lavender Review, "Ala Entertains" and "Mysteries of Harvest VI" in Eternal Haunted Summer, "Papa Peugeot" and a translation of Léopold Senghor's "Femme Noire" at The Ofi Press, and "Spirit Child" at Strong Verse.  Able Muse also features my interview with Catherine Tufariello, and I have a guest entry, "NaPoWriMo Six Months Later," on the Potomac Review blog.

In more Kin editor news Eric Norris published a little collection of dark poems and stories called "N is for Nothing". As the blurb says: "N is for Nothing is a picaresque mystery. Told in a series of letters, poems, stories and songs, it is a search for the true identity of the nefarious Mr. N in the pages of Time. Poet, philosopher, madman, prankster, or spy, who was Mr. N? When did he live? How did he die? How does a cow fit into his story? Nobody knows, least of all the Author. That is for the reader to decide."

We're seeing the back of 2012:
Penury, politics, black and blue year;
But hope's in the poetry, badged by the fact that
Despite Meta-Mayans, we're somehow still here.

Be well,

Uche Ogbuji


Kin issue iv

Welcome to the fourth issue of Kin Poetry Journal.  We hope you've been enjoying the poetry, prose and multimedia features we've had on offer these past months, and we've also been filling out the site's feature set.  If you've missed anything on Kin you should be able to find it through our beefed up archives.  Meanwhile we head back to Colorado again for the month's feature, and in fact to the state's poet laureate David Mason whom I interview.  Over the coming month you'll see four of his poems, selected for their linked themes of place, starting with Oregon Way.  David's interview and poems are illustrated by photographs by his wife Cally Conan-Davies.

In news from Kin contributors, Jenna Le has a poem, "Transmigration," in the current issue of Massachusetts Review, and another, "Riddle," in the current issue of Harpur Palate.

Kelly McQuain was recently nominated for a “Best of the Net” award for his poem “Pussy Chant”, published in the Certain Circuits 2012 print annual and originally in that journal’s Fall 2011 online issue. His new video poem “Clockwork Heart” appears as the a video poem at Apiary Mixtape along with an interview. Recent print poems include “Alien Boy” in Bloom and “Edinburgh, Afternoon Descant” in Chelsea Station. Recent online poems include: “Annabelle” in Stone Highway Review, Vol. 2.1, Sept. 2012; “Constellation”, “First Dog” and “Leather Bag, White Clock, Exit Door” in Press 1, Vol. 6.1, July 2012; “Magic Washing Machine” and “Old House” in Transient, Vol. 1.1, July 2012.

David Rothman will be reading to the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts in Denver on Wednesday, Oct. 31, and then recording a poem about election fatigue to be broadcast on Colorado Public Radio's show Colorado Matters for Wednesday Nov. 7. He shall teach a one-day seminar on ekphrasis for Colorado school teachers, in conjunction with the Van Gogh exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, on Saturday, Nov. 3.

Rothman has also raised $20,000 to fund scholarships for new students in the poetry track of the MFA at Western State Colorado University ("World of Versecraft" on Facebook).

Kin editor Wendy Chin-Tanner is also now Poetry Editor at Stealing Time Magazine and her poem "On the Thamespath" was nominated for the 2012 Best of the Net Award by Umbrella Journal.  Kin editor Walter Ancarrow has a review  in issue 2 of Angle Poetry Journal, which includes a couple of poems by me, Uche Ogbuji, as well as poems by many Kin contributors: Rose Kelleher, Cally Conan-Davies, Quincy R. Lehr, Marybeth Rua-Larsen, Rick Mullin, Wendy Chin-Tanner, Anna M. Evans, and Ann Drysdale.  My poem  "À la Recherche" is in the SIngaporean journal OF ZOOS and my incantatory poem, "At Wounded Knee," is in the latest Verse Wisconsin (#110), for which audio is available.

Keep in touch, spread the word, and do enjoy this latest installment of Kin.

Kin issue ii

The second issue of Kin Poetry Journal is complete, and we have rolled into issue iii.  This month's featured poet, Togara Muzanenhamo, hails from Zimbabwe.  You've already seen one of his poems, "The Wine of Apes," in issue i and we shall bring you four more in the coming weeks, starting with "The Wheel Brace."

(Picture of Togara Muzanenhamo from Poetry International Poetry Clips)

In the roundup of news from Kin contributors, Timothy Ogene will be reading at different venues during this year's Austin International Poetry Festival, hosted by Barbara Youngblood Carr at venues including a retirement home. 

Terese Coe has had a big summer of publications, including her poem "More," published in The Poetry Review, UK; "More" was also one of the poems copied many times and dropped by helicopter over London for the "Poetry Parnassus" event, part of the London Olympics.  “Dead Sea Scroll” and “Beyond the Possibility of Useful” were published in Orbis magazine, UK.  "Washington Square, Late Afternoon" was published in New Walk magazine.  "Deceptions" was published in The Warwick Review, UK. "Paradox" was published in The Stinging Fly, Ireland.  "Mid-Manhattan Library" was published in Crannog magazine, Ireland. "Coffee Break" was republished online at Per Contra.

Kin editor Wendy Chin-Tanner and contributor Jenna Le both have poems in the current issue of the Mascara Literary Review, a special issue with a focus on Asian American poetry.

Her fellow editors are especially proud to announce that Wendy's debut collection Turn is to be published by Sibling Rivalry Press in March, 2014.

We continue to add features to the site, and it now has a news feed, so you can follow along from your favorite news reader software, if you prefer.


Kin issue i

The first issue of Kin Poetry Journal is complete, and we have rolled into issue ii.  This month's featured poet is Wendy Videlock, author of Nevertheless.  We will be running four of her poems, and the first of these, "Reprieve," is already up. There is also an interview I conducted with Wendy.  Here are the two of us from last year's Western Colorado Writers’ Forum.

Meanwhile our contributors to issue i have been keeping busy.  Derrick Austin's poem "Lineage" received third place in The International Reginald Shepherd Memorial Prize Contest judged by C. Dale Young and sponsored by Knockout.

Anna Evans just completed a 2-week residency at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.  Also Anna has a villanelle, "Weltschmerz," in the Summer 2012 special issue of "Adanna, How Women Grieve."

John Foy just returned from the Ashland MFA Summer Residency program, where he was a guest poet/editor. He gave a reading, served on a panel discussing First Books, and advised students on their manuscripts. In June, at the West Chester Poetry Conference, he gave a paper on Thomas Hardy’s poem “During Wind and Rain” (related to his essay on Kin) and served on a panel discussing the Carmine Street Metrics reading series in New York and its affiliation with the online poetry journal Umbrella.  This fall John will read again in a collaborative performance piece called “Family Feelings” based on A.R. Gurney’s play Cocktail Hour. The piece blends poems by John and other poets contrapuntally with text from Gurney’s play. Among the other readers will be the actor Mark Hofmaier. It will be performed on October 19 at the Society for Ethical Culture in New York

And there is news from the Kin crew as well. First of all Wendy Chin-Tanner and her husband Tyler got a chance to pal around with the POTUS.  Presumably he has now read all of Kin's first issue, considering he is a fan of poetry.

Walter Ancarrow, won the 2012 X.J. Kennedy Parody Award for his poem "Sea Dirge."

I have a poem "Yamato Nadeshiko" out on New Sun Rising.  I also contributed a Jazz selection to the Largehearted Boy playlist of songs to go with the essays in The Beautiful Anthology, and in particular my essay "21st Century Beauty in Poetry."

A discussion of poems on birth and infancy

[Crossposted with Copia]

Yesterday David Orr of NPR blogged, "It's A Genre! The Overdue Poetry Of Parenthood," in which he suggested that poetry celebrating childbirth and early infancy has been historically rare, but is emerging as a new genre.  Maryann Corbett, poet and author of Breath Control, mused on FaceBook that she thought there have long been a fair number of new-baby poems, leading to an interesting conversation on her wall.  I've gathered up some of the poems that were brought up in the thread and elsewhere.

I'll start with Corbett's own "Circadian Lament, Sung to a Wakeful Baby" (Umbrella Journal), which was linked by one of her friends, not the poet herself.


Go back to sleep. You’ve made a slight mistake

switching your days and nights around this way.

The time will come for nights you spend awake,


for cough and colic, ear- and stomach-ache.

Though now you babble charmingly and play

the infant hours away (a light mistake), …


I mentioned  Catherine Tufariello's "Aubade" (The Nervous Breakdown).


Your language has no consonants.

No babble but a siren’s cry,

Imperious as an ambulance,

Yanks me upright, drains me dry,

Returns me to the languid trance

Of timelessness in which we lie.

Your language has no consonants,

Imperious as an ambulance.


Kin's own Wendy Chin-Tanner ups the ante by touching on all the brute biology of birth, including post-partum marital sex, in "Veteran", also in The Nervous Breakdown.


When our bodies parted, it was without

violence. She slid from me like a sloop

on the crest of that final mighty wave,

the surge sucking her backwards before

spilling over, like breath, like confession,

her arms reaching forward towards the dry

open shore and mine reaching down between

my legs to receive, meeting her, round bright

bud of us combined, her astonishing

glaucous eyes staring steadily,

curiously, seeming to see.


A correspondent mentioned "The Victory" by Anne Stevenson, a taut, sharp lyric.


Tiny antagonist, gory,

blue as a bruise. The stains

of your cloud of glory

bled from my veins.


Some of the discussion was about whether such poems are a new phenomenon. I suspect some of the explicit imagery and language of recent poems is new, but the topic certainly is not, though the article seems tangled upon this point, mentioning, for example, Blake's "Infant" poems from "Songs of Innocence and of Experience." That brought me to mind of the twist represented by To an Unborn Pauper Child by Thomas Hardy. Every good poetic topic wants for a strong, countervailing current.


Breathe not, hid Heart: cease silently,

And though thy birth-hour beckons thee,

Sleep the long sleep:

The Doomsters heap

Travails and teens around us here,

And Time-Wraiths turn our songsingings to fear.


The list could go on and on. One of the correspondents mentioned A.E. Stalling's Olives, which includes poems on early motherhood, and the NPR article itself mentions an anthology, Morning Song: Poems for New Parents, which of course recalls "Morning Song," by Sylvia Plath, one of my favorite poems.


Love set you going like a fat gold watch.

The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry

Took its place among the elements.


Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival.  New statue.

In a drafty museum, your nakedness

Shadows our safety.  We stand round blankly as walls.


At Kin we would love to publish the best poems possible about childbirth and early parenthood. Certainly if you have any other, already published poems you'd like to bring to our readers' attention, do leave a comment.

—Uche Ogbuji,  Editor, Kin Poetry Journal