January 8-14, 2018: Poetry from Nancy Shiffrin and Jen Karetnick

Nancy Shiffrin and Jen Karetnick

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Nancy Shiffrin

Bio (auto)

Nancy Shiffrin is the author of The Vast Unknowing (poems) Infinity Publishing, 2012. Her other work are collected on lulu.com. She resides in Santa Monica, California.

The following work is Copyright © 2018, and owned by Nancy Shiffrin. and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


for AJF

I like my baad children best
the ones who throw spitballs interrupt contradict
when you began your elephant walk through my
fine crystal and china I ignored shattered glass
wondered what your fleshy muse would reveal
you wrote about
trunks from The Great War purchased at a Swap Meet
rats owls Iphigenia Lot’s Wife
asked to cut a line you raved about Ashberry
seduced a classmate
demanded absolution at The Iguana Cafe

Not Mother Sister Wife nor Lover
I don’t know how to grieve you
I need a ceremony for these images
         uncut boys snapping towels
         young man’s tongue washing your body
and these lines to the woman you love
         “the great blue heron stands in perfect solitude
         outside your window dawn illuminates the lake”

my friends say I never really forgive
I envy your knowledge of the life beyond my eyelid
have you met Elvis and Mileva?
do Sharron and Zeyde converse?
this week I watched old movies with my niece
rushed to the hospital to
hear my great-nephew’s birth-cry
I curl up with hot tea and Ashberry
"dreamed role-patterns divisions of grace
lost in the steam and chatter of typewriters

this poem is sad because
it wants to be yours and cannot"

Jen Karetnick

Bio (auto)

Jen Karetnick is the author of seven poetry collections, including American Sentencing (Winter Goose Publishing, May 2016), long-listed for both the 2017 Julie Suk Award and the 2017 Lascaux Prize, and The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press, September 2016), finalist for the 2017 Poetry Society of Virginia Book Prize. The winner of the 2017 Hart Crane Memorial Poetry Contest, the 2016 Romeo Lemay Poetry Prize and the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Prize, she has had work nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and two "Best of the Net" awards. Jen received an MFA in poetry from University of California, Irvine and an MFA in fiction from University of Miami. Her poetry, prose, playwriting and interviews have appeared recently or are forthcoming in TheAtlantic.com, Crab Orchard Review, Cutthroat, Guernica, Measure, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review, Negative Capability, New Millennium Writings, One, Painted Bride Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Prime Number Magazine, Spillway, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Verse Daily and Waxwing. She is co-founder/co-curator of the not-for-profit organization, SWWIM (Supporting Women Writers in Miami), and co-editor of the daily online literary journal, SWWIM Every Day. Jen works as the Creative Writing Director for grades 6-12 at Miami Arts Charter School; the dining critic for MIAMI Magazine; and a food-travel-lifestyle journalist. Her 16th book, The 500 Hidden Secrets of Miami (Luster), was published September, 2017. She lives in Miami Shores on the remaining acre of a historic mango plantation with her husband, two teenagers, three dogs, three cats and fourteen mango trees. Visit Jen on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2018, and owned by Jen Karetnick and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Building the Future

We told the city
it was a garden shed,
stocked up on can openers
and machetes, steel siding
with a guarantee to last
the lifespan of a marmoset.
We told the city
it was a tiki hut,
learned how to harvest
bamboo and cut rattan,
plait the finest tossa jute
and also eat it in soup.
We told the city
it was a tree house,
sunk pillars next to
each mango in its patient
position leftover
from the plantation days,
trunks set into formation
like clarinets in a marching band.
We said we would evacuate
along the prescribed path,
without our pets
but with our children
and important papers,
enough belongings
for a day or two
in the school gym.
We never told the city
kelong, pang uk, palfito,
heliotrope, stilt house,
not because the city
told us they didn’t have
permits for the end
of dry-footed days
but because when it came
time to hoist it like a flag
and follow suit,
we had already found
our hot, briny resolve
while the city was still
looking for a problem.



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