The Les Cheneaux Sessions 2015, No. 9

Filmed in September 2015, Paul Pickering reads his poem “On the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River” just before Judson Claiborne performs his song “Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning” with help from horns, strings, and Rosie Tucker. Paul Pickering grew up in Selma, Alabama. He earned an M.A. in English from the University of Alabama at… More

The Les Cheneaux Sessions 2015, No. 4

Paul Pickering reads his poem “A Vision of Orpheus Descending” in front of an ancient block house on the shores of Lake Huron. It is the 4th of our 2015 Les Cheneaux Sessions. More

Martha Serpas’ “The Diener”

The Diener, Martha Serpas LSU Press, 2015, 978-0-0871-5922-4, $17.95 I was camping at Red Rock Canyon outside of Las Vegas when I read Martha Serpas’ new collection, The Diener. One day, while hiking beneath the sandstone walls at Willow Springs, I noticed through a thicket of desert willow and rabbitbrush a petroglyph staring back from… More

Denton Loving’s “Crimes Against Birds”

Crimes Against Birds, Denton Loving Main Street Rag, 2014, 978-1-59948-499-0, $14.00 The pastoral imagination that illuminates Denton Loving’s Crimes Against Birds combines close observations of the natural landscape, plainspoken meditations, and a tone of simple and reverent sincerity. A poem like “Blessing of the Bees,” in which the speaker addresses his beehive, is characteristic of… More

At a Café in the Sea of Grass

Paul Pickering Across the street from a café in the Texas panhandle Where I drink black coffee, The Llano Estacado spreads flat to the horizon. A rumpled man in a brown suit keeps dropping coins In the payphone. Long distance, I suppose. He holds a memo pad. The car he drives belongs to another decade.… More

TJ Jarrett’s “Zion”

Paul Pickering Zion, TJ Jarrett Southern Illinois University Press, 2014, 978-0-8093-3356-1 TJ Jarrett’s newest collection, Zion, does not forget. Her poems do not turn away from painful realities toward nostalgic dreams. Instead, these poems countenance the hard past (and present) through the lens of the personal and the familial in order to prepare for a… More