Poetry: James Belflower, Nik De Dominic, dot devota, and Zach Savich


Omnidawn is pleased to present new poems written by four of the finalists for the 2009 Omnidawn Poetry Book Prize: James Belflower, Nik De Dominic, dot devota, Zach Savich.

The 2010 Poetry Book Prize is Now Open! Click here for more information.


by James Belflower

hear the preface voice


there could be a photographer outside

he could be mumbling, “international”

one might hear him

a city could be sagging

might be white

re-imaging a White City

with precise shadows of what could be reflexion

which could be different from intention, or a crowded theory

there might be someone else watching

this could be a man or woman, they could be companions

here is where might be situated a glass pavilion whose

femurs could consist of steel so

here is where topology could sleep



you prefer to imagine if:

a nude, legs spread, pivots on

cool empurpled waxed

brick below a plas-

ter ceiling

pelvis faces

east, floor-to-star-

glass                   arms stretched hard above

                          belly, whose

                          cock rigid shivers as it


                          panels we could

                          name horizon

                          the glass closed

                          eye to urethra

                          w(h)e’re somewhere within


James Belflower is the author of Commuter (Instance Press) and And Also a Fountain, (NeOpepper Press) a collaborative echap with Anne Heide and J. Michael Martinez. Commuter was recently voted one of the 2009 “Best Book Length Long Poems/Sequences” by ColdFront magazine. He won the 2007 Juked Magazine poetry prize and his work appears, or is forthcoming in: EOAGH, Denver Quarterly, Apostrophe Cast, First Intensity, Reconfigurations, Konundrum Engine, O&S, and Packingtown Review among others. He curates PotLatchpoetry.org, a website dedicated to the gifting and exchange of poetry resources.


On Translation

by Nik De Dominic


the rock made

light water travels and takes

of and music only not paint.

Deep it is dangerous:

I will not sleep in Kentucky.


after garnet

already overgrown grass so

that you had to turn off the hose,

that came to him

all the colored balls.

Diedre I’m sorry I missed you

this morning. It was the drink –

I couldn’t move only sleep.

Manuscript of water wheels

but returning water hundred —

to and from subterranean streams.

Opposed to the nature of grass

churlish in this heat, sun, time

of year in the rose dawn.

The terror of the city has brought

the face of ladies to the heart spasm oh


We will work the soil until

our hands ruddy

with clay of soil

broken from hands

broken of children,

bodies strewn

make good soil—

eat the tomatoes.


Nik De Dominic lives in New Orleans, where he teaches creative writing to high school students through programs with Bard College and Tulane University. His work has appeared in Diagram, Los Angeles Review, Harpur Palate, Exquisite Corpse and elsewhere. WIth his partner, Carrie, he takes pictures of signs — www.nolasignageandindustry.wordpress.com — and he is an editor of theoffendingadam.com.

This is a picture of me, trying to ride good bike A while carrying broken bike B. I ended up breaking good bike A when I put broken bike B through the spokes of good bike A. And thus I had to carry home both broken bikes A & B. Much of my writing comes from this same place.



by dot devota

D e f e n e s t r a t i o n s  When our distance falls shorter than the hem. In my jaundiced dress we will invite the parasites. To believe in our hope, too. What breaks a fever. Finds repetition. Twins a diviner’s stick and pulls the longer flaw forward to a hidden source. Incubates two lives. Lives repetition. Without rhythm, half-heartedly, superstitious. Trees on the back of a super-organism. Honey mushroom single spore. Bodies fruiting—shiro—killing the forest about it. Several times over.

( C o n t . ) Hero of a thousand slaughters sunken sleeps, from what is reclaimed. In weakness. Delivery beds, mast and flag too small to see. But extensive, the salted sea opens. My letter to you unfolding gathers courage. To sink. From its most middle point, dragging in the edges.

( C o n t . )  Active transport up the gradient, thin copper and conical. Insisting we waste into shapes. Shaving brevity like potassium skins from the farthest. Fruit, exposing what the hung hangs to—beneath skin more skin, beneath more the no-longer—There. On an eye-length cord no one will pull. To betray us, they don’t have to. They return to their civilization, minutes before. The tablet drops. Wishing to perform all the day’s intricacies in preparation to be seen, even for a moment, by the head desk. From which all documents swarm. Undulate. The air holds. Buoyancy we evolved-refused. Cleave your ears to its snapping shrimp.

( C o n t . )  There is what is called. The deep scattering layer in the depth sounder, not creating the noise but themselves.  Schools of fish reflecting sound wear taffeta, move rapidly like glances. Decide by motioning, remorse is saved. For tomorrow’s later date. Morsels from deeply divided cake brick. Our scattering them into orders will suffice. As walls. Though ‘wall’ is just a feeling, only ever upwards. And out of our reaching over.


DOT DEVOTA is from a family of ranchers and rodeo stars. Her poems can be found near Boonville, Missouri.



Real Time

by Zach Savich

In another life, they watch one dance in the square

tide up through cobbles, watching not themselves moving then

a turned bed, apple fog from a cart, man offloading

his satchel of styrofoam shavings to water.  He returns

waves his hand before him for the string that is the light,

and quieting at her socks on the sill canal stiff on the glass,

one on crutches toppled from a taller bridge she wakes

and will not love you less


The shared

Imagining of distance

A kind of closeness

Evening settles


Reading together is mostly looking up

The world a more literal place this morning

Standing not with a loaf but the flour


Zach Savich’s first book, Full Catastrophe Living, won the 2008 Iowa Poetry Prize. He has had recent poems in Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, and Kenyon Review. He has lived and taught in Italy, New Zealand, and around the US. He currently lives in Massachusetts.

Savich on “Real Time”:

“Will you ever love me less?” “I couldn’t love you less.” Such arduous ambiguity, serene desolation-I felt it in Venice at 19, as many have (von Aschenbach in Death in Venice, Donald Sutherland in Don’t Look Now), turning a map scaled to each step over the chopped salad canals. I saw the things this poem names: apples and fog beside each other on a fruit cart; man dumping Styrofoam shards from a bridge. No more surreal than you and I. Famously, the square outside St. Mark’s fills with seep while someone plays the violin and I watch with a person I have never met. “By alleyways, umbrellas, and bridges, Venice gives everything a frame,” I said in a poem I actually gave her the next day (gross). But when you look back through a mess of frames, the effect is prismatic. Flour separates from the bread (I see it as the dry plaster that, wettened, becomes fresco). Consequence of dusk on skin (a blueing) separates from the skin (there’s only a blue wash where you were). Having left separates from what if I never did. Then six years later, there’s a good result of being marked, a little, by time: glorious fondness, abrupt closeness, with new friends, as though we loved each other years ago. I wrote a series of poems imagining we had: a Romantic idea of getting things right, in words. This now is autobiography, but I mean something about the self meaning less, becoming less literal than the parts that compose it; than the others, now elsewhere, who compose it. I never saw you holding flour instead of bread but believe that is how we were standing. I am not nostalgic but believe every dusk is sometimes any other one, somewhat. I always prefer the literal meaning.

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