LEMON HOUND

More Bite Than Bark Since 2005
How Poems Work
Adam Sol on David B. Goldstein: Laws of Rest

Adam Sol on David B. Goldstein: Laws of Rest

LAWS OF REST Examine your clothing before going out, for you may be carrying something without knowing it. Do not place a wick into a bowl of oil, for then the oil will be drawn up and you will promote burning. Do not light with cedar bast or uncombed flax. Are you Nahum the Mede? So...
Christine Miscione on John Berryman: The Dream Songs

Christine Miscione on John Berryman: The Dream Songs

DREAM SONG 4 Filling her compact & delicious body with chicken páprika, she glanced at me twice. Fainting with interest, I hungered back and only the fact of her husband & four other people kept me from springing on her or falling at her little feet and crying ‘You are the hottest one for years...
J'Lyn Chapman on Wallace Stevens

J’Lyn Chapman on Wallace Stevens

WAVING ADIEU, ADIEU, ADIEU That would be waving and that would be crying, Crying and shouting and meaning farewell, Farewell in the eyes and farewell at the centre, Just to stand still without moving a hand. In a world without heaven to follow, the stops Would be endings, more poignant than partings, profounder, And that...
Elisa Gabbert on Karen Green’s Bough Down

Elisa Gabbert on Karen Green’s Bough Down

Bough Down, Karen Green. Siglio, 2013. by Elisa Gabbert In comedy, a “callback” is a joke that makes reference to an earlier joke, to “build audience rapport.” In Bough Down, a hybrid collection you might call prose poetry, lyric essay, or memoir in verse, writer/artist Karen Green employs a constant calling back not for comic effect,...
Jaime Lee Kirtz on Juliana Spahr

Jaime Lee Kirtz on Juliana Spahr

Gentle Now, Don’t Add to Heartache I. We come into the world. We come into the world and there it is. The sun is there. The brown of the river leading to the blue and the brown of the ocean is there. Salmon and eels are there moving between the brown and the brown and...
M. K. Sukach on William Stafford

M. K. Sukach on William Stafford

Passing Remark In scenery I like flat country. In life I don’t like much to happen. In personalities I like mild colorless people. And in colors I prefer gray and brown. My wife, a vivid girl from the mountains, says, “Then why did you choose me?” Mildly I lower my brown eyes— there are so...
Yerra Sugarman on Paul Celan

Yerra Sugarman on Paul Celan

Death Fugue Black milk of daybreak we drink it at sundown we drink it at noon in the morning we drink it at night we drink and we drink it we dig a grave in the breezes there one lies unconfined A man lives in the house he plays with the serpents he writes he...
Sarah Burgoyne on Stacy Doris

Sarah Burgoyne on Stacy Doris

Doris: the muscular work Time’s a free illusion of right’s triumph, of reward, which cordons, Of justice, meaning boundaries; bound. Where law’s unruly or limitless Respect may be owed perhaps, but at length. Taxing or toxic, continuity’s Sealed in meager endurance. Finite since unbased, having no source. So that if we’s could forget entitlement, I...

Deborah Poe on Megan Burns

to mother as an aid to memory You become a different person than you thought, some intimate animal falling over itself. These bones build a holy sepulcher for blessed days. More doused in the litter of being human, what we think we need to survive as a species seems to supplant survival. Some other earth...
Elisa Gabbert, The Poneme: Farrah Field’s Dioramas

Elisa Gabbert, The Poneme: Farrah Field’s Dioramas

There are states of heightened awareness in which the smallest stimulus can set you off—when nervous or frightened, when being tickled, during laughing fits. Farrah Field’s poems create worlds this taut, trembling with tension; reading them, you enter such a state, you are inclined to hold your breath. Field’s second book, Wolf and Pilot (Four...
Michael Redhill on W.S. Merwin

Michael Redhill on W.S. Merwin

GATE BY W.S. MERWIN Once I came back to the leaves just as they were falling into the rattling of magpies and the waving flights through treetops beyond the long field tawny with stubble a scatter of sheep wandered there circling slowly as a galaxy ferrying the grey lights that were theirs wading into their...

Ken Babstock on John Degen

HOW POEMS WORK KEN BABSTOCK Reluctance BY JOHN DEGEN from the air, the city cloaks itself in nature, patchy, black-green forests and empty roads beyond the runway fence, the blood-brown metal capsules of abandoned turbo-props; curious long-limbed dogs watch us from a fuselage, bowing noses to their feet, eyes shifting to each other and back...
Nicholas Papaxanthos on Dean Young

Nicholas Papaxanthos on Dean Young

Dean Young’s Word Triplets We could say that there is a narrative to these three words: brick, blood-drop, red feather, which entails the passage from inert material to mortal flesh to a sort of avian/angelic possibility, or we could say that what holds those things together is their redness. I try to be alert to...
Michael Redhill on Margaret Avison

Michael Redhill on Margaret Avison

TWO POEMS BY MARGARET AVISON APRIL Dark like a handful of cool gray silk. Clocks strike the hour. Out in the clear-gleaming sky a robin’s song, silence unravelling. The trees with tremulous-aching fingers shaping the quiet airflow. Sick-faint dark limp in the arms of the infinite. CROWD CORALLING Hard rain. the bean-mash smell. leaky tin-brim...
Lisa Robertson on John Clare

Lisa Robertson on John Clare

Emmonsail’s Heath in Winter BY JOHN CLARE I love to see the old heath’s withered brake Mingle its crimpled leaves with furze and ling, While the old heron from the lonely lake Starts slow and flaps his melancholy wing, And oddling crow in idle motions swing On the half rotten ashtree’s topmost twig, Beside whose...
Lisa Robertson on Denise Riley

Lisa Robertson on Denise Riley

In 1970 BY DENISE RILEY the eyes of the girls are awash with violets pansies are flowering under their tongues they are grouped by the edge of the waves and are anxious to swim; each one is on fire with passion to achieve herself. –From Selected Poems (Reality Street Editions, 2000) Here is a clear fragment broken...
Susannah M. Smith on Walter Benjamin

Susannah M. Smith on Walter Benjamin

Peering into Walter Benjamin’s Archive I don’t know you, WB. I don’t know you at all. I’m thinking of the way people seem to hear about you serendipitously, repeatedly. I’m thinking of the leather suitcase that disappeared after you died, its contents alleged but never located: postcards, a manuscript, a pipe, morphine. You are gone...
Ken Babstock on Paul Muldoon

Ken Babstock on Paul Muldoon

HOW POEMS WORK KEN BABSTOCK   Hay By Paul Muldoon   This much I know. Just as I’m about to make that right turn off Province Line Road I meet another beat-up Volvo carrying a load   of hay. (More accurately, a bale of lucerne on the roof rack, a bale of lucerne or fescue...
Michael Redhill on Lisa Robertson

Michael Redhill on Lisa Robertson

Click on poem to advance. Monday — From The Weather, New Star Books (2001) And poetry can also be sculpture, or at least more like sculpture than it’s like conversation. Lisa Robertson’s Monday , from her collection The Weather, is a poem that defies immediate analysis, although even the most perplexed reader will still be able to state a...
Lisa Robertson on Peter Culley

Lisa Robertson on Peter Culley

The Provisions BY PETER CULLEY Between the storms of October And the storms of March the deep, wide trench Of this afternoon, one of a series making up This temporal lapse, this interregnum In which we are involved. Ignorant as I am I hardly dare to speak of it, But the fabric of its projection...
Ken Babstock on Glyn Maxwell

Ken Babstock on Glyn Maxwell

PORTOBELLO by Glyn Maxwell When you were the one reading My palm, in the second hour of our one life, And I, sitting back for good and noticing white stuff Suddenly falling on Portobello and staying, You couldn’t for all the books in the world have learned More than one watching us, Who buttered his...
Ken Babstock on Helen Humphreys

Ken Babstock on Helen Humphreys

Installation BY HELEN HUMPHREYS What we make doesn’t recover from us. Twisted scaffold, trellis of rust. This is how we will be gone. The steel hull grinning with rivets. Shiny notes of chrome swinging from the stave of the wrecker’s wall. Those we loved and nothing for that. The moon a chalk circle over dark...
Lisa Robertson on Dionne Brand

Lisa Robertson on Dionne Brand

In another place, not here, a woman might touch something between beauty and nowhere, back there and here, might pass hand over hand her own trembling life, but I have tried to imagine a sea not bleeding, a girl’s glance full as a verse, a woman growing old and never crying to a radio hissing...
How Poems Work: Ken Babstock on David O'Meara

How Poems Work: Ken Babstock on David O’Meara

Field-Crossing by DAVID O’MEARA The clover’s razed; the ground is autumn-hard. The land bristles in a ragged frame. I’m on the far end, watching weightless clouds hastened by wind, the day dark but huge with a muscled rustling. A hydro pole impales the midriff of the field — a world-tree ripe with announcements; a pivot staking...
Ken Babstock on Les Murray

Ken Babstock on Les Murray

PIGS by Les Murray Us all on sore cement was we. Not warmed then with glares. Not glutting mush under that pole the lightning’s tied to. No farrow-shit in milk to make us randy. Us back in cool god-shit. We ate crisp. We nosed up good rank in the tunnelled bush. Us all fuckers then....
The Poneme: The Godlike Thought

The Poneme: The Godlike Thought

When on occasion I teach poetry, one of the main things I try to instill in my students is, to quote Spicer, “Poet, be like God.” To go from trying to write poetry to really writing poetry, there’s a leap that has to happen, and that leap is a realization that you are the god...
Will Vallières on Rae Armantrout

Will Vallières on Rae Armantrout

Custom We maintain a critical distance from the sad spaniel gentlemen in cravats on the plaid duvet at the Custom Hotel, Los Angeles. We are so over it. We fly from terminal to terminal almost endlessly. We are almost money. We can wait at high speed. In the Rae Armantrout poem “Custom,” language is used...
Chris Hutchinson on Gabe Foreman

Chris Hutchinson on Gabe Foreman

Kleptomaniacs As long as you keep an open mind about the thing you seek, it’s always in the first place you look. Gabe Foreman, A Complete Encyclopedia of Different Types of People   “The rich have kleptomania, while the poor are taken down with larceny.” Superintendent of a second-hand department store, New York, 1878 (Segrave...

The Poneme: Elliptical Machines

Darcie Dennigan runs a reading series in Providence, and a couple of years ago I bumped into my old friend Leeore on the street outside the bar that hosts the readings. Leeore, a musician and novelist, had the elegant good fortune to attend acting camp with Darcie years before. He must have recently discovered her...
Wanda O'Connor on Robin Blaser

Wanda O’Connor on Robin Blaser

The City wept by a pool midway,     the lover’s conversation claimed itself     like the old head of the wandering Jew painted on leather,     the head follows the voice,     a fluid that is a body the mirror is to be read     the water moved faster than the eye the radio ambles in between the lines of it is a sound, a...
Catherine Owen on Muriel Ruykeyser

Catherine Owen on Muriel Ruykeyser

Boy with His Hair Cut Short Sunday shuts down on this twentieth-century evening. The L passes. Twilight and bulb define the brown room, the overstuffed plum sofa, the boy, and the girl’s thin hands above his head. A neighbour’s radio sings stocks, news, serenade. He sits at the table, head down, the young clear neck...
Laura Broadbent reads Erin Moure

Laura Broadbent reads Erin Moure

  Document 29 (French thinking)  from O Cidadan     To enable a language (returning) is also to allow intrusions, and to enable intrusions or their possibility as part of the cultural order. An overlap (micro) into a zone. Sometimes only the “overlap” makes borders of a zone visible. (A horse that is also red,...
Adam Sol: Unveiling Human Feeling in Karen Solie’s “Untitled”

Adam Sol: Unveiling Human Feeling in Karen Solie’s “Untitled”

Untitled You’re still young. Someone curled an arm around you as you slept, and upon awaking gently touched your face. The first sound you heard today was a bird, a note of origin, before traffic. It’s been years since you thought the morning kind. Someone curled an arm around you as you slept, and in...

Jacob McArthur Mooney Introduces Mathew Henderson, the Tank

The Tank Squats three days at a time in white brown mud that sticks and sucks like a mouth against everything it touches. The long battle, the bit by bit of urging steel to the centre of the earth. Dreams of sinking past the slow riot of oil, sand, and stone, to the bottom of...

Michael Nardone: On Colin Fulton

—- What are the phonemes within phenomena? What is their speak and how are they sounded? How does a phrase issue outward from event? What is the name of the pleasure that overcomes one when a string of words fastens itself to some unintended destination? How is it that a sentence takes hold? Colin Fulton’s...

Jessi MacEachern on Lisa Robertson’s “She Has Smoothed Her Pants to No End”

She Has Smoothed Her Pants to No End (from Debbie: An Epic) This is the light Debbie steps into. Her toffeed flanks roll with greatness and sustenance in their sockets and her hearty hands bear the bruised sea. Mighty amazing beauty moves her and all the whirling majorettes are her marvellous squadron: their bare throats...

Damian Rogers on Suzanne Buffam’s “The Irrationalist”

A few months ago, a friend’s father challenged me to defend poetry as a product in the marketplace — the demand left me sputtering about art, the relative insignificance of commercial value, blah blah blah. It was weak. A snappier sound bite, which came to me later (oh the wit of the staircase), would have...

What’s in a reading: on hearing Gwendolyn Brooks

I’ve heard several recordings of Brooks reading “We Real Cool” over the years. Yesterday, in class, I played her again. This after having a student read the poem out loud. The student did a great job of reading, but when I played the Brooks there was silence, and then a visceral, pre-linguistic reaction. This is...

Jordan Davis reads Drew Gardner

Fixing a Real Phantom Limb with a special glove fits real life to a private message the abominable pixels that help people with snow. a lifetime watch battery for allowance encyclopedia soda, name and profession, I should be mimicking things context is vinyl I am, but that’s not me. refill packs drive home all night,...

Ryan Fitzpatrick reads Katie Degentesh

NO ONE CARES MUCH WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU when Serbs get mad, they talk about a small town like Grace Stop laughing; I’m serious Grace is all I can afford on my nursing home wages I pity her for the thankless job of building A nation of Americans conceived in petri dishes. Whores are disposable....

Patrick Rosal reads Robert Hayden

Frederick Douglass When it is finally ours, this freedom, this liberty, this beautiful and terrible thing, needful to man as air, usable as earth; when it belongs at last to all, when it is truly instinct, brain matter, diastole, systole, reflex action; when it is finally won; when it is more than the gaudy mumbo...

Carol Moldaw reads Gjertrud Schnackenberg

Some said they heard the pegs squeaking in the holes Of the lyre as if the god were setting a text To the music of wooden wheels On a stridulous cart passing out of Thebes Forever—and indeed, nothing here is hidden, And it never was, not even long before These Thebans were brought to birth,...

a.rawlings reads Donato Mancini

How Poems Work: “Subjecthood and the Light Verb” by Donato Manciniby a. rawlings It is Tuesday afternoon in August. Like the past few Tuesdays, I visit with Holden F. Levack, a recent high-school graduate keen on words. Holden flips through Donato Mancini’s second poetry collection, Æthel, selecting as our subject the fourth poem in the...

Christian Bök reads Darren Wershler Henry

from The Tapeworm Foundry by Darren Wershler-Henry House of Anansi, 2000 —————– andor gather all the equestrian statues from the parks and squares of the world and then place these statues together in a desert in order to depict a calvary charge dedicated to the greatest massacres in history andor write what you do not...

K. Silem Mohammad Reads Elizabeth Bachinsky

Dawn’s Athlete: Washed Talent? Satan Held Wet Death, Lent Saw, Hated Lawn Set, Stew, And Lathe (Lead the Wants/The Waste Land) Thanks to Elizabeth Bachinsky for her generous and thoughtful commentary on my Sonnagrams project. It’s my turn now to talk about her Lead the Wants, an anagrammatization of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. The...

Elizabeth Bachinsky reads K. Silem Mohammad

The Nose To, the Tens No, the Not Ens, the Sent On, the S o n n e t “…she is very capricious; one cannot summon or foresee her; she comes as happiness comes, hands filled with an achievement that is already in flower.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, on rhyme. K. Silem Mohammad is currently...

Marilyn Hacker on Gwendolyn Brooks, plus 5 Questions

The Rites for Cousin Vit Carried her unprotesting out the door Kicked back the casket-stand. But it can’t hold her, That stuff and satin aiming to enfold her, The lid’s contrition nor the bolts before. Oh oh. Too much. Too much. Even now, surmise, She rises in the sunshine. There she goes Back to the...