This month we feature new work from four of the five finalists of Omnidawn’s 2017 Poetry Chapbook Contest:
S. Brook Corfman – The Adversaria: Four Closet Dramas
Emily Martin – Palisades
Alyx Raz – Roadwork
Jonathan William Stout – The Dream of Zukofsky
S. Brook Corfman
S. Brook Corfman is a poet who writes plays, living in a turret in Pittsburgh. This Lambda Literary Fellow’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Indiana Review, Muzzle, and Quarterly West (Best of the Net Nomination), among other places. @sbrookcorfman
Lapidary Society of Todayness
method there are many methods does your faltering prefer To say there is
a choice and does it excavate Or does it spread slowly in a thick pool of
glaze discrete In the moonlight and barking what materials do you Does
your faltering prefer
Images begin to well up like confessions A lake balanced atop a
mountain An earth drained of water Thousands of crumpled dinosaurs
piled across a plain They must have lain like that for centuries The
voiceover says Without anyone to clean them up
She measures the breath of an observation The breath of a scream The
breath of confession and all that it scrapes out and leaves splattered across
the floor A piece of shame Trimmed in crinoline and ribbons A little
bit Of specific technical information Not difficult to describe but
logistically necessary and thus made vague and subsequently meted out
keeps them dependent what materials do you Does your settling prefer
Emily Martin is a writer and educator from Brooklyn. Her work has been included in The Recluse, Prelude, DataBleed, Tarpaulin Sky, The Denver Quarterly, The Iowa Review, among others.
protecting my own
is it the LED
or the news; is the pain
II. THINKS [THEY ARE] GOING TO TRANSFORM
I spent all day with your body and came back unsure
I keep nodding along like a road with no passengers
I open my chest & find your chrysanthemums.
You recognize it as belonging. You sweeten my focus.
You knew me differently; then, I knew me more.
Light null & light now. The articulation of the passage
the passage. The memory of my love circuitous;
on umbrage, a void here:
you trail my substance with word
your substance cant word.
You pull through my refrain: a splash of my discovery,
yellow veering slate.
& you on your upheaval.
I remembered the most I could.
I divorced my love.
I gave up for a bit I know how you like
your danger. High in the alley with that hickey. The molly
doing you no good. Nor the coke.
Was it mesmerizing, the trade?
Were they turncoating, your arms?
You land on the earth, and keep saying grass!
Here comes the spell placating
Here come our lips
Our opening wager: our opening abeyant:
I wonder if your hands remember tending the small of my neck
like my neck their arrival.
Alyx Raz is a poet from Ohio. They earned their BA at Vassar College, and are an MFA candidate at UMass Amherst. To some degree, they have contributed their life to Slope Editions, the Massachusetts Review, and Jubilat, and are the Founding Editor of the Vassar Review. They were a recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and the Deanne Beach Stoneham Prize, and their poetry can be found in the exhibition catalogue Other People’s Pictures.
dragged across marble floors of government buildings / [vein-throbs of the deoxygenated] / try their shivering tremolos against a c c u m u l a t i o n s o f g a t h e r i n g r o b e s —
Robespierre’s ripe pies & robberies / within / to us beckon & thus: silence contaminates theories of continual motion. Words will do it / from the singing gut O Louis / the dreamscape pass-thru of hoops / strays / yet still / on manhole stoops, confessional algorithms sell poems on mobile phones. How Babylon has become (becoming largesse!) a horror to the world & here Z sits watching father’s brain short-circuit (“I’m all alone”) / [park in sin, son, permanently] the prairie’s dreaming sod—can anyone escape? Take the transit of goods by the horns. Official documents don’t arrive any different than bulldozer creeds / Joshua remarking on diesel refineries / “I love the smell of diesel.” / Herbert, what does conversion look like / how baptismal can we get? From whom did they come / & what do we make of any kind of return? These topological maps make an algebra of this body / indeed nonlinear / yet hungry I was, & had some meat & queer we / welcomed guests only to find / thousands were owed / only to find inventio / O / elocutio & grace / foregrounded by Roman citizens flanking the fallen & / how the mourners combatted what wasn’t yet known—how any gathering / bottomless perception of relations signaled f l a m e s
t h r o w n i n a s e q u e n c e / r i g h t a t C a e s a r ’ s
j u g u l a r .
Jonathan William Stout is an adjunct faculty in the Rhetoric Department at the University of Iowa. J.W. received a B.A. from Pacific Lutheran University and an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Poems can be found, or are forthcoming, in Prelude Magazine, Iowa Review Online, Poetry is Dead, Tulane Review, Canada Quarterly, and elsewhere.