Come See Augury at the 3rd Annual NYC Poetry Festival, July 27-28


Photo by Dave Bledsoe, FreeVerse Photography

Tomorrow is already Wednesday, so it’s time to prepare your answer for the popular post-hump-day question of: “Hey, what are you doing this weekend?”

We’ve got you covered. “Going to the Third Annual New York City Poetry Festival, hosted by the Poetry Society of New York, on Governor’s Island,” you can say. Why? Because, hopefully, you are just as excited as we are for the two-day celebration of New York’s dynamic poetry scene.

Yes, Augury will be there! Our own B. C. Edwards (To Mend Small Children), David Joel Friedman (Soldier Quick with Rain) and Paige Lipari (Family of Many Enzos) will be reading Sunday (July 28) at 1:30 p.m. on the White Horse stage.

Find out all you need to know at the Poetry Society of New York’s website, including the lineup of over 50 poetry organizations and 200 poets, the times and locations of each reading, and transportation info to and from Governors Island.

Also, check out Coldfront’s fabulous NYC Poetry Festival Preview, featuring interviews from many of the presses, journals, and organizations that will present at the festival — including one from Augury!

A Poem by Finalist Lily Ladewig

More Like a Compass

this hat gives me a direction.
There are occasions for hats
and a hat for every occasion.
But this is just the opposite.
I wake up naked and put this hat on
my head before deciding
what the day will wear.


Lily Ladewig’s poems have appeared in Conduit, Denver Quarterly, H_NGM_N, Salt Hill, and SUPERMACHINE. She is the author of the chapbooks You Are My Favorite Person of the Year (Mondo Bummer Press, 2010) and, with Anne Cecelia Holmes, I Am A Natural Wonder (Blue Hour Press, 2011). Her first full-length book, The Silhouettes, was a finalist for Augury Books inaugural Editors’ Prize and will be published by SpringGun Press in 2012.

Poem by Finalist Mark McKain



puffs its red throat-fan—
a warning stolen from the burning cane-fields.


My love and I pose
beside a wall of wrought iron and hibiscus.


I hold a ball of string. A wild dog sniffs the gutter.
Kite made of palm ribs hangs on thorns of a lime tree.


A hurricane of scents—sweaty skin,
spitted pig, bleeding fish—bathes the island.


We suck on oranges. Juice runs down chin
and stings the corners of mouth, sea-rain


and seared flesh streaming through hair.
A maroon centipede undulates.


Sugarcane ash falls on skin.


Mark McKain’s poetry has appeared in many literary journals including The New Republic, Agni, Subtropics, The Journal, Cimarron Review, and elsewhere. He is the author of the chapbook Ranging the Moon and teaches screenwriting at Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida.

654 & 923 by B.C. Edwards

654. To Clean Dark Furs

Of all the animals, chipmunks are the least trustworthy.
Squirrels are the most. You can tell
by the stripes.  Skunks too but skunks
have all their own problems.
Do not burn them. They will not burn well
they will burn like the rest of us. Not well at all.
Cracked lipped and melting overcooked sugar
bubbling like bran added to milk heated over a soft flame
licking the bottom like it’s in love or something.
Like it knows what that is, even. That’s how they burn.
People are the same. Those of us that have ribbons
down our backs are not to be trusted. But you have to
get us naked first to be able to tell. You have to
fuck us to be able to tell you have to
want to fuck us before you can tell
if we’re squirrels or not.
I know,
I know.
No one said it was fair.


923. How to make Hydraulic Cement

Our hands are stiff with paste
tired from kneading and
kneading. Rolling the balls
we have boiled the paste in oil and will
form it into something useful. We say we
will form it into something useful, but
our hands will stick together
if we hold for too long.
Parts of your fingers are wet,
parts have already dried over caked
white and solid like we are building a new skin for your
like if we cover every inch of you
you will be safe. If we coat you in paste and harden it over
nothing will get in.
Even me, I ask.
Even you, you say.


B.C. Edwards lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He is the author of the forthcoming novella ‘knucklebone’ and is the editor of Pax Americana. He received his MFA from The New School. He is a regular contributor to BOMBlog and the Brooklyn Review. His most recent work can be found in Red Line Blues, LyreLyre, The Sink Review, Food-i-corp as well as Hobart which nominated him for a 2011 Pushcart Prize. He is also a Literary Death Match champion and has the medal to prove it.

2 poems by Ivana Kilibarda

Franz Kline, New York, New York, 1953

Sunday afternoon

An insect gentle accepts
a verbal repellant, to which
I turn a cheek. No red.
Oh yes, confidence!
A stroll in December. A skip to July.
Rosehip tea for guests in wool socks.
A rest by fire, as the city mocks me
with voices and sirens.
I see-saw for hours
by myself
unable to unplug the sounds.


All it takes
is a little
smoke on
the Staten Island Ferry.

The seagull stops
circling. The wind
doesn’t know where
to add force but up, up, up!

Fifteen minutes from Manhattan
a noiseless stir of water:
a wake. The clouds
compose above

the bridges. Steam irons the night.
How I wish
we had a light
and that bottle we almost brought

with us. Instead we drink
his cozy lies–
A harbor of warm
baths and masts.


Born in the former Yugoslavia, Ivana Kilibarda currently lives and works in New York City.

A few words from the Danes

Hamlet’s terrace, Kronborg, Denmark

Horatio: If your mind dislike any thing, obey it: I will forestall their repair hither, and say you are not fit.


Hamlet: Not a whit, we defy augury. There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come–the readiness is all.


William Shakespeare, Hamlet, V. ii. 217-222


We are readying ourselves for our March reading period. If you have a manuscript, we hope you’ll send it our way for our inaugural Editors’ Prize. More details available if you click on our Submissions tab.

The Human Factor by David Lehman

Indiana power plant after flood, 1913. Photograph by DJ Angus.

It is our great pleasure to present this poem by David Lehman, one of the readers at tomorrow night’s Poems about Nothing event at the Rubin Museum. “The Human Factor” appears in When a Woman Loves a Man (Scribner, 2005).


The Human Factor


The gambler knows nothing’s
more addictive than deception
with the chance that the betrayed one,
the spouse or the State, is pretending
or consenting to be deceived
for motives of vanity and greed
not different from his own,
leaving him with a choice to make
between his mistress and his self-respect —
which may be why the ideal reader
of Graham Greene’s novels went
to a parochial school, was married
and divorced, has lived abroad
in Europe or Asia, plays in a weekly
small-stakes poker game, works
for a newspaper, lies to make a living.



David Lehman is the editor of  “The Oxford Book of American Poetry.” He initiated “The Best American Poetry” and continues as the series editor of the annual anthology. His latest books of poems are “Yeshiva Boys” and “When a Woman Loves a Man.” The most recent of his six prose books is “A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs” which recently won the 42nd Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor award for outstanding print, broadcast, and new media coverage of music.

Heteralocha Acutirostris by Kimiko Hahn

Photograph by Hester Angus

This week we continue to post work by the readers at the upcoming Poems about Nothing reading at the Rubin Museum. The event will take place this coming Wednesday, January 26th–for more details, please click on the Upcoming Events tab above. Today, we are pleased to present a poem by Kimiko Hahn from her book Toxic Flora (W.W. Norton, 2010)


Heteralocha Acutirostris

When the stunning huia became scarce,
Maori priests would declare a ban
on killing these small black birds, so prized,
their tail feathers were presented as mementos
and worn in battle and funeral rites.
But the Europeans ignored the priests
and soon the Maori themselves did not listen.
So now, the males with their short sharp beaks
to drill through bark and the females
with their long bowed ones to pluck out the grubs
have perished but for museum specimens.
Is this how we admire success in pairing—
kill then stuff then display as exemplar?
Ah, my beloved, hold fast to me, in terror.


Kimiko Hahn is the author of eight books of poems, including: Earshot (awarded the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize); The Unbearable Heart (an American Book Award); The Narrow Road to the Interior, which utilizes Japanese forms; and her latest Toxic Flora, poems inspired by science. Hahn is a recipient of a number awards—the most recent area Guggenheim Fellowship, PEN/Voelcker Award and The Shelley Memorial Prize—and she is a distinguished professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation at Queens College, The City University of New York.

An excerpt from Shift at Oars by Stacy Szymaszek

Stacy Szymaszek will be reading at the upcoming Poems about Nothing event at the Rubin Museum on January 26th. For more information about the reading, please click on our Upcoming Events tab. This is an excerpt from “Shift at Oars” which can be found in her book Emptied of All Ships (Litmus Press, New York, NY, 2005).

From “Shift at Oars”





no one
the brains
I am now


an oar

joints ruptured
soak in
deep ink



brief case
hundred words



of resin


final position

restless sleep


width of





a home
of you




where a

not yet

of water


of oyster
in gloved
hand he



her aspect



for me

at oars




of dried


I am

a day


coral reef








Stacy Szymaszek was born in Milwaukee, WI. She is the author of the books Emptied of All Ships (Litmus Press, 2005) and Hyperglossia (Litmus Press, 2009), as well as numerous chapbooks, including Orizaba: A Voyage with Hart Crane (Faux Press, 2008), Stacy S.: Autoportraits (OMG, 2008), and from Hart Island (Albion Books, 2009). From 1999 to 2005, she worked at Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood.  In 2005 she moved to New York City where she is the current Artistic Director of the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church.

An excerpt from Angle of Yaw by Ben Lerner

Photograph by Hester Angus

This week we continue to bring you work by the poets reading at the upcoming Poems about Nothing series at the Rubin Museum on the 26th. For more details about the reading, please click on our Upcoming Events tab above. Today’s poet is Ben Lerner.




HE HAD ENOUGH RESPECT FOR PAINTING to quit. Enough respect for quitting to paint. Enough respect for the figure to abstract. For abstraction to hint at the breast. For the breast to ask the model to leave. But I live here, says the model. And I respect that, says the painter. But I have enough respect for respect to insist. For insistence to turn the other cheek. For the other cheek to turn the other cheek. Hence I appear to be shaking my head No.




Ben Lerner is the author of three books of poetry, The Lichtenberg Figures (2004), Angle of Yaw (2006), and Mean Free Path (2010), all published by Copper Canyon Press. He has been a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, a finalist for the National Book Award, and is currently a Howard Foundation Fellow. He teaches at Brooklyn College.