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Hank Lazer

Hank Lazer has contributed poetry, critical prose, and reviews to the VQR since 1973. His eighteen books of poetry include N24 (Little Red Leaves, 2014), N18 (Singing Horse, 2012), and Portions (Lavender Ink, 2009). Pages from Lazer’s shape-writing handwritten notebooks have been performed with soprano saxophonist Andrew Raffo Dewar. In 2015, he received Alabama’s Harper Lee Award for lifetime achievement in literature. Lazer retired from the University of Alabama in 2014, where he was associate provost for academic affairs, executive director of Creative Campus, and a professor of English.  


Ode to Vowels (Primarily O and U)

            for Denise Levertov A FENCE is the occasion for vines cucumber and honeysuckle hang over even in the sound of their names, the rounded vowel sounds deep and quiet like the still air at the root of a flower's throat. these o a [...]

Letting the Fence Fall

I woke up this morning, another board of the fence separating our yard from our neighbor's had broken and fallen, The empty space hung there like a missing tooth or a bar of music where the right hand takes a rest. I tied my hammock to the two pos [...]


His small white face is a borrowed death mask made for someone smaller. He flies lower than the hawks and his eyes fasten on what stays still. He tilts and leans in the wind as if he were unsure which is his better eye. But best of all is when he sl [...]


any one  could be the one  the sudden stun  you'd waited for               arrest again a rest against the elements                 anyone's unpaginated press          persephone personifies  the dyin [...]

From Days

3 and then again back in it witness serendipitous atoms drip & cripple the im perceptible ache of it jack she took her life a parent's love called a darkening of the heart emily to susan avalanche or avenue 39 with each definition of ouch this is the [...]

The Heart of Light

This Journey. By James Wright Random House. $5.95. In James Wright's Collected Poems (1971), the reader comes across "Small Frogs Killed on the Highway," which begins: Still, I would leap too Into the light If I had the chance. We'll never know w [...]

The Rose Garden

1 Here in the Rose Garden the roses are arranged by kind, color, and name, the hardy hybrid tea with thick stems and large roses, the floribunda with thinner stems and smaller more plentiful roses, and though the beauty here is trimmed and labeled th [...]

Point Sur

AS the spindrift and ring of fog blow out from the coast my father and I sit in the sand of a small cove, he breaking driftwood, building a miniature tee pee, writing in the sand: L A 300 →, while I read Robinson Jeffers on the fog, stone, hawks, a [...]