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Poetry Poster #2: Jeredith Merrin

July 6, 2012

This week's poem is by Jeredith Merrin: [Today I went]. This poem is from a sequence of 10-line poems in response to Merrin's daughter's cancer diagnosis. Three poems from Merrin's series appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of VQR: •  [Now, her [...]

Poetry Poster #1: David Lehman

June 29, 2012

Every Friday, we'll be offering up a poem in mini-poster form that's appeared in an issue of VQR. We hope you'll share, display, and enjoy. Our very first poem, from the Spring 2012 issue, is by David Lehman: "Poem in the Manner of the 1960s."  [...]

Photo by Marcus Bleasdale

The Dadaab Suite

Just as the World Food Program charter plane en route to Nairobi sped along the dirt airstrip to its lifting speed and began its ascent, I looked down at the sprawl of white tents and clusters of globular huts below where I had just spent a life-altering three days and vowed never to write about the experience of visiting the Dadaab Refugee Camp. Instead, I would content myself with making occasional trips to volunteer, and until then and meanwhile, help raise awareness about the oldest and largest UN administered refugee camp in the world. (Is it coincidental that this camp is also in Africa, the most historically neglected continent on earth?)

Story of My Life

There must be dozens of poems with the title “Story of My Life.”Maybe even hundreds. It’s a natural, a même—which is pronounced to rhyme with team, by the way, though I keep thinking it should be meme, as in the French word for “same.” I [...]


Like scribes, they lean closer, watching
the old men he blessed for long life stand and listen.


Alien Fire

Late Saturday afternoon, late winter,
they sway and clap, not wanting

to let the chorus go, and when their teacher asks,
What are you, dead?


Nittel Nacht

Crucifixes crowbarred from the apses
left their shadows, faint or imagined:
a false translation, like the Bibles

missionaries stacked along the driveway.



The need to be heard does not change,
the need to get close. Again we tear
our request, scatter it across the grave.