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Debra Nystrom

Debra Nystrom is the author of Night Sky Frequencies and Selected Poems (Sheep Meadow, 2016), Bad River Road (Sarabande, 2009), and Torn Sky (Sarabande, 2003). Her work has appeared in AGNI, Kenyon Review, and the New Yorker. She teaches in the MFA program at the University of Virginia.


Impossible Bottle. By Claudia Emerson. LSU, 2015. 65p. PB, $17.95.

Ecstatic Sorrow

Winter 2016 | Criticism

Claudia Emerson, who died in December 2014, had come to be known as a poet capable of revealing startling discoveries inside quiet, quotidian circumstances. Her poems are set mostly in Southern rural and small-town scenes, moments in ordinary lives that would normally elude anyone else’s attention.

Carol Muske-Dukes and the Art of Empathy

Summer 2015 | Criticism

Muske-Dukes has written poetry, fiction, and essays addressing a broad range of subjects—from John Keats’s “This Living Hand” to Hollywood life on the inside—but what concerns her most is discovering how language used with precision and accountability can effect transformation. 

At Ocracoke

Winter 1991 | Poetry

This silver light could dissolve everything
into one substance. Already the borders
of sand and ocean and air are unclear,

The Faithless

Winter 1991 | Poetry

These evening hours of blank heat I feel
utterly alone, until the air ripples a bit
and I think of everyone luxuriating in its
at once, like a congregation. I live, after all,


Spring 1988 | Poetry

Typing paper and white-out bought, sacked,
and clutched to my breast as if with purpose,
I find myself still shopping: is it the wish to be,
or the feeling of being already no one at all
that lures me through the aisles and aisles of racks
of useless skirts, coats, scarves, and into the little
triple-mirrored, locked and hot-lit fitting stalls?


Spring 2002 | Poetry

My mother's given up on her dream
of a brand new house. What's wrong
with what we've got, my father doesn't
say, exactly. "Go ahead" is what he says,