To Mend Small Children by B.C. Edwards

“If you like to be spooked by poems, if you like poems to send you back into your quotidian existence with a more acute sense of its weirdness and charm, read “How to Mend Small Children” carefully. Edwards’ poems offer solutions to bizzaro problems and alchemic transmogrifications for exotic items, but their miraculous nature really lies in the way they transform the person who reads them. Prepare to visit a dimension that is weird, dark, funny and eerily similar to the one in which we live.” ~Ben Mirov

Augury Live! Tonight!

Enjoy the weather and come hear some poetry at the Rubin tonight!

TONIGHT at 7pm!

Kimiko Hahn, Saskia Hamilton, Noelle Kocot, David Lehman, Ben Lerner, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Stacy Szymaszek will read poems by themselves and others reflecting absence, emptiness, and nothing—themes inherent in Buddhist art and philosophy.

Poems about Nothing is one in a series of programs inspired by the museum’s current exhibition, Grain of Emptiness: Buddhism-Inspired Contemporary Art. Like Poems about Nothing, the five artists’ works featured in Grain of Emptiness have been influenced by the tenets of Buddhism, namely, its central principles of emptiness and the fleeting nature of all things.

Programming Producer Tim McHenry notes, “Ancient Zen Buddhist koans are famous for presenting the reader with mysterious questions that are cryptic and paradoxical. Emily Dickenson, Robert Frost and many Western poets have confronted what “nothing” could be. But what is the contemporary poet’s relationship to the subject of “nothing?” I’m so pleased we can bring these seven celebrated poets together to excavate the multitudes of meaning behind nothingness, and to celebrate the ephemeral nature of the spoken word.”

$12; $7 students with I.D. Tickets include admission to the galleries
Online:; Box office: 212-620-5000 x344; or in person

Rubin Museum of Art
150 West 17 Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues
By subway: 1 to 18th Street; 2, 3, F, M to 14th Street; N, R, Q, 4, 5, 6 to Union Square; 212-620.5000

The Poets

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.

Saskia Hamilton is the author of As for Dream (2001) and Divide These(2005), the editor of The Letters of Robert Lowell (2005), and the co-editor of Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell (2008). Her poetry has appeared in the Kenyon Review, the New York Times Book Review, the New Yorker, and elsewhere. She teaches at Barnard College and lives in New York.

Noelle Kocot is the author of four books of poetry, most recently, Poem for the End of Time and Other Poems (Wave Books, 2006) and Sunny Wednesday (Wave Books, 2009), as well as a discography forthcoming in 2010 from Wave, and a full-length poetry collection, The Bigger World(Wave, 2011). She has won awards from The American Poetry Review, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Fund for Poetry and The Academy of American Poets, among others. She lives in New Jersey.

David Lehman is the author of Sign of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man, several books of poetry, and is Series Editor of The Best American Poetry. His essays, poems, and reviews have appeared in all the major literary publications, from the Times Literary Supplement, to The New Yorker to The Paris Review. He is the recipient of numerous prizes and fellowships, including a Guggenheim and the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institution of Arts and Letters. Mr. Lehman’s book A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs recently won the 42nd Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor award for outstanding print, broadcast and new media coverage of music. He lives in New York City.

Ben Lerner earned a BA in political science and an MFA in creative writing from Brown University, and was a Fulbright scholar in Madrid. Lerner is the author of several full-length poetry collections, including Mean Free Path (2010) and Angle of Yaw (2006), which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Northern California Book Award. His sonnet sequence, The Lichtenberg Figures (2004), won the Hayden Carruth Award, was chosen by Library Journal as one of the year’s 12 best poetry books, and was a Lannan Literary Selection. His poetry has also been included in the anthologies Best American Poetry, New Voices (2008), and 12×12: Conversations in Poetry and Poetics (2009).

Brenda Shaughnessy received her B.A. in literature and women’s studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and she earned an M.F.A. at Columbia University. She is the author of Human Dark with Sugar (Copper Canyon Press, 2008), winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Interior with Sudden Joy (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999), which was nominated for the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, a Lambda Literary Award, and the Norma Farber First Book Award. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Bomb, Boston Review, Conjunctions, McSweeney’s, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. She is the poetry editor at Tin House magazine and currently teaches creative writing at Princeton University and Eugene Lang College at the New School.

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.

2 New Poems by Ben Mirov

Dear Veterans

you are proof of many things
worth remembering, among them
that war is a cloud of smoke

and guts hungry enough
to claim thousands of villages,
horses,  unborn geniuses, even entire

libraries, but not everything.
I have never understood
clutching a flag to my chest

or what an enemy is
but we can both agree
that your being a veteran

and not wedged beneath a block
of stone or worse, lost in a pile
of unknowns, is a wonderful thing.

You wander into a diner in Crabtown,
Pennsylvania, drink some coffee
and eat a lime-green wedge of pie.

Maude the waitress approaches
with her golden hair in a bun.
This poem has no end

For the Faint of Heart

When you return from the asylum
be sure to gaze at the trees
covered in snow. When the train

enters the forest, ask the waiter
for tea with milk. In the dark
take seriously the lesson

of fluttering hands. If it is offered
take the class they call Ornithography,
for it will surely teach you something

about love. On the subject of love
I have only a single observation—
if you love a grapefruit you cut it open

and eat its flesh. Take my advice.
Take it home to the ghost you love.
Slip into bed. Snuff out the lights.


Ben Mirov grew up in Northern California. He is the author of GhostMachine (Caketrian, 2010) and the chapbooks Vortexts (SUPERMACHINE, 2011), I is to Vorticism (New Michigan Press, 2010) and Collected Ghost (H_NGM_N, 2010).


On Divination by Birds by Kimberly Johnson

We have long esteemed the work of Kimberly Johnson and so we are thrilled that she agreed to let us post this incredibly appropriate (and lovely) poem.

On Divination by Birds

I don’t need that black

wind of crows kicking up from flax to tell
heavy weather coming, white days to drop
barricades across the interstate,

against two hundred miles of trackless white.
(The crows so obvious then against the miles
of trackless white!) More tricky the magpies

flicker and croak at the sunken carcass
of a roadkill deer, raveling with beaks
the rubbery guts, picking gravel

from scant meat: there must be in their turn-taking
some pattern, some elegant design
beyond need, something in the raw trouble

of jays, the ragged braying geese flown south.
I gaze at their weightless wingbeats daylong
working to discern whether V might stand

for valediction, or vigilance, or
the blank indifference of velocity.

This poem first appeared in the Harvard Review and later was in her book A Metaphorical God
(Persea Books, Inc. New York, NY 2008).

Kimberly Johnson is a poet, translator, and Renaissance scholar. She is the author of a previous collection, Leviathan with a Hook, and a translation of Virgil’s Georgics. Her poems appear widely in such publications as The New Yorker, Slate, and The Iowa Review. Johnson has received prizes from the Merton Foundation and the Utah Arts Council, and a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Salt Lake City.

Augury, Defined

The Sacred Wood (Arnold Bocklin, 1882)

An augur, in the classical world of Rome and Etruria, was a priest who interpreted the will of the gods by studying the patterns made by flights of birds and other animals. After observing the animals’ actions (whether silent or making sounds, solitary or in groups, in which direction and if they stopped to rest), the augur would then divine what message the gods intended to convey so that the proper sacrifices could be made.

In modern parlance, the term has shifted from meaning a person who uses the natural world to interpret the super-natural or supra-natural to mean an event that indicates important things to come, similar to an omen.

We at Augury Press like the word, as well as divination and birds.