(Spring 2016)
FIELD 94  
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Catherine Pierce

Tunnel Vision
Poem for Makeout Point

Heather Sellers
Kenny Williams
Cadaver in a Landscape
Betsy Sholl
To a Bat Fallen in the Street
Richard Robbins
Documentary Film
Old Mission School
Allison Seay
Between the Americas
Marianne Boruch
When I Think About the First Pope to Quit
Never Body
Bill Rector

The Pressure Cooker Bomb
Under the Surface

Andrea Read
The Blue Hills
What the Wooden Duck Says to Me at Night When I Can't Sleep
Karen Rigby

Letter to Hieronymous Bosch

Brandon Krieg
Beyond the Useful Life
Emmanuel Moses
translated by Marilyn Hacker
Forgive Them
Your Shadow
Robin Kozak
Susan Hutton
Historical Markers
Dennis Schmitz
Monica Sok
The Radio Brings News
Cousin Bang-Sota's Inheritance
Cynthia Hogue
After the War There Was No Food
The Lost Private
Amit Majmudar
Ode to a Jellyfish
Erica Funkhauser
Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers
Lost Exit Interview
Arthur Sze
Winter Stars
In the Bronx
Karin Gottshall
Poem with Lines from My Mother's Dream Journal
Rick Bursky
I Could Have Been an Inventor
The Scaffolding
Sam Sax
Trans Orbital Lobotomy
Fever Therapy
Melissa Kwasny
Where Outside the Body Is the Soul Today
Christopher Howell
Winter Companion
William Stratton


Kathryn Nuernberger   It's Like She Loves Us and Like She Hates Us

Poetry 2015: Four Review-Essays

Martha Collins
The Documented I (Philip Metres, Sand Opera; Susan Tichy, Trafficke)
David Young
Rereading Transtromer (Bright Scythe: Selected Poems by Tomas Transtromer, translated by Patty Crane)
Pamela Alexander
Scrupulous Details and the Top of the World (Emily Wilson, The Great Medieval Yellows)
Kazim Ali
The World We Together (Chris Martin, The Falling Down Dance)

David Young

From the Archives: Verse-Bouquets (Spring 1996)




Here comes God, breaking elms like a cyclone
in his hands. And here sits Anne who will recall it
on the porch of her old age, a braid of white hair
looping down, turning into a toy for the cat. 
A cat is something that will claw you to death
when you’re trying to save its stupid life,
bundling it hissing from the boiling storm,
the hated love that smashes what it touches
and leaves untouched and trembling
the kids that burst from the toolshed,
a happy confusion of friends and hangers-on.
From a basement window: Leave it, Anne! 
Let it go! It don’t love you like you do!
We don’t know if we know the girl or not.
We don’t know half our own first names,
something or other with the braids and the cat.
The cat gets away. The houses blink
in shock, in sudden light, bright green. 
And the cat comes back, scowling and wet,
crazy Anne crying its many-hyphened name
like some thing she thinks she used to love.

—Kenny Williams

Copyright © 2016 by Oberlin College. May not be reproduced without permission.


You will never forget corpses wrapped in flames—
at dusk, you watched a congregation of crows

gather in the orchard and sway on branches;
in the dawn light, a rabbit moves and stops,
moves and stops along the grass; and as
you pull a newspaper out of a box, glance

at the headlines, you feel the dew on grass
as the gleam of fading stars: yesterday you met

a body shop owner whose father was arrested,
imprisoned, and tortured in Chile, heard

how men were scalded to death in boiling water;
and, as the angle of sunlight shifts, you feel

a seasonal tilt into winter with its expanse
of stars—candles flickering down the Ganges,

where you light a candle on a leaf and set it
flickering, downstream, into darkness—

dozens of tiny flames flickering into darkness—
then you gaze at fires erupting along the shore.

—Arthur Sze

Copyright © 2016 by Oberlin College. May not be reproduced without permission.



Our whole guise is like giving a sign to the world to think of us in a certain way but there’s a point between what you want people to know about you and what you can’t help people knowing about you.
—Diane Arbus

Sometimes I feel like that Diane Arbus portrait
of a cross-dressing woman with curlers in her hair
and a cigarette in her well-manicured hand staring
too long at the camera. Sometimes I feel like
every character I meet is an allegory of myself.
John fell from a ladder in his barn and broke 
his lawn mower with his body but wasn't hurt
himself at all. It was so astonishing he's already
posted about it on Facebook three times. Reading
between the lines, you can tell he's worried 
maybe he actually died in that fall after all. 
So I mess with him in the comments and say
something to that effect. He wonders if
there's a German word for this feeling. I tell him
there’s a German exchange student crashing
at my house right now playing Hot Lava
with my kid. And they call it lava in German too.
The German short "a" is so much like ours
it may as well be the same word. I'm worried
that John is really dead and the rest of us with him,
because there's no word for this feeling—
not even in German—and that's how you know.
I've been writing lecture notes this morning,
summarizing Plato's Cave for nineteen-year-olds
who will no doubt conclude getting a little high
is the way out. I assume this because that's what I did.
I have to remind myself I am not everybody.
Everybody in the cave is chained and suffering.
I have an animation to show them that retells the story
in clay, like a Gumby episode, except every still
frame echoes that government report on torture
released last month that is just one more example
of our denials as a society and complicity as a nation,
bolstered by the fact the photographic evidence
was censored and only later released through leaks.
I've read torturers come to like their work and any of us
could, because we don’t have a way to understand
another person's pain and we really want to understand
each other. My notes also include Susan Sontag,
who said fifty years ago in her essay on Plato
and photography, "Enough with the pictures already."
She was thinking of Dachau and thinking of Arbus.  
The pictures, she said, feel like they’re breaking 
something inside ourselves we might have liked to keep.
I'd like to remember what picture I was looking at
when I was sober enough to realize there is no light
but this light. Maybe I just looked out the window,
as I did this morning, and saw my neighbor on his
mower, smoothing his lawn into that grassy plane
he likes so well. I felt a little closer to him, like he’s
one of those portraits Sontag was talking about,
his face so hardened it's repelling at first, which is
why Sontag derides them so forcefully. I've found,
though, if you make yourself hold on, the faces
Diane Arbus made turn so vulnerably human
you start to fall in love a little with this relentlessness
of people. Even the ones that are pathetic. Even
the ones that are pitiable. Even the ones that repulse
and terrify for how much they look like you. John, 
I think being dead suits me.

—Kathryn Nuernberger

Copyright © 2016 by Oberlin College. May not be reproduced without permission.

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