September 9-15, 2019: Poetry from Doug Holder and Lowell Jaeger

Doug Holder and Lowell Jaeger

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Doug Holder

Bio (auto)

Doug Holder is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press. His poetry and prose have appeared in Gemini, Turtle Island Review, North of Oxford, Rattle, the new renaissance and elsewhere. He is the author of Last Night at the Wurthaus(Grey Sparrow Press) Holder teaches writing at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston ( "Good Will Hunting" was filmed there), and Endicott College in Beverly, Mass. Recently a short story of Holder’s, " The Quiet Room" was adapted into a play by Lawrence Kessenich titled " The Patient." There was a staged reading at the Playwright’s Platform in Boston, and the play was published by the PRESA PRESS.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Doug Holder and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Hitting the Right Note

a pregnant plunge
before the fat lady’s
swan song
before the scatter and spray
of scat
before the moaning, sex of
the sax
before the be-bop
bleat of the horn,
the bloodshot eyes
leap in their sockets.

  It makes their shot glasses wave
and tremble
clears their sinuses
their red- hot pepper
it’s the stake that pierces
the pimento-eyed olive
the sucker punch
when you turned


Lowell Jaeger

Bio (auto)

Lowell Jaeger (Montana Poet Laureate 2017-2019) is author of eight collection of poems, most recently Earth-blood & Star-shine (Shabda Press in 2016).  He is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Montana Arts Council and winner of the Grolier Poetry Peace Prize. Most recently Jaeger was awarded the Montana Governor’s Humanities Award for his work in promoting thoughtful civic discourse.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Lowell Jaeger and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The News

She’d asked to bring him home in a specimen jar,
our baby-almost-brother. Born blue,
Mom said. Or . . . no, a miscarriage. That’s
what it’s called when the baby comes too soon.

My brothers and I crowded around Mom’s bed
to puzzle out the meaning of this news, each of us
uneasy to watch her smile and tell it, her lips
collapsing into sobs, her trembling wine glass

sploshing her pink nightgown blood red. Ten little
fingers, she said. Perfect little fingers and toes.
She smiled and cried, smiled and cried, and drank
wine, glass upon glass until the bottle beside her

went dry, and Dad came home and shooed us
into the hallway. Never much we knew for sure
after that. Mom smashed the vanity mirror,
though we couldn’t figure how. And Dad slapped her,

we think, like we’d seen him at summer union picnics
sober-up a buddy who’d boozed himself to tears.
Where are your pills? Dad shouted, like Mom was far away.
Did you take them? How many? How many?

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