THE AMERICAN POETRY REVIEW 50: TESTIMONIALS
My relationship with APR began as an assignment, not with a submission. Sometime in the mid-nineties, as Poetry Curator of the Painted Bride Art Center, I had been invited to edit a special edition of Philadelphia poets along with then-associate editor and now board member Ethel Rackin. The office was next to the bookstore Barnes & Noble on Walnut Street. During those pre-Internet years, quite hungry for contemporary poetry, I stood for several hours in the periodicals section and, bimonthly, read each new issue of APR; my favorites, I purchased and took home with me as a kind of roadmap to a community of writers I longed to join. I looked forward to diving into its large-format, newspaper-style offering of poets. Nervousness and excitement, in equal measure, overcame me.
When I reached the top of its narrow stairs, I stood in awe at the boxes of books and literary journals that ran deep along a wall into someone’s office. A voice from another room brusquely ordered, “Take as many as you want.” Stephen Berg, eyeglasses perched on his head, clutching a sheaf of papers, came out of a room made small by towers of books. I extended my hand and introduced myself, while marveling at a letter signed Cal (Robert Lowell) that was pinned on a doorjamb outside his office. Down the hall, David Bonanno sat at his desk as though it were a throne. Business manager Mike Duffy peeked his head out of what I thought was a closet, waved, and made some joke about my being in the military. His jocular manner eased any anxieties. I believe Arthur Vogelsang flew in that day from Los Angeles to attend an editorial meeting. There were papers everywhere, thick dispatches of poems from across the globe. My eyes were wide open to American Poetry, as they have been ever since.
I admire APR’s consistent mission of prodigiously presenting poems that are full of human dimension and complexity. The tabloid style makes it imminently readable and inviting. While the editors were, early-on, committed to “open forms” that conveyed that distinct and evocative sense of life as it is lived in the 20th and 21st century, no style dominates its pages. Utterly immediate, too, is an unstated mission of publishing gifted new voices.
Where poets were once confined to anonymity in the table of contents of anthologies or on bookshelves, APR gave a face to American poetry and poets as everyday people, our neighbors who are retail sales associates, dairy farmers, ER nurses, high school teachers, corporate executives, and yes, English professors. I became a collector of early issues of APR: John Ashbery, Derek Walcott, Adrienne Rich, John Berryman, and my favorite, the poet Ai. Each cover presents a new countenance that adds to our understanding of our country and the diverse voices that make up our expanding literature.
APR’s impact on culture in America is indisputable, and the contributions of its editors as stewards, in all their modesty, could and should be celebrated more. The magazine unerringly appears on newsstands and in our mailboxes six times a year. In an age of podcasts and nightly news that occasionally feature poets, APR is reliable, consistent, and steadfast in its commitment to publishing in print the widest cross-section of poets here and abroad. And while skepticism greeted its founding in the 1970s, as the decades have passed, censure has all but faded and most agree that the poems, interview, and essays have enlarged and enhanced our grasp of an art that can be mercurial and elusive to the uninitiated reader. One critic quarreled about the prose columns written by poets, finding them ultimately distracting and boring, yet admitted like everyone else, that APR is “committed to POETRY in some large sense as a force, a power.”
In honor of its 50th year of publication, to measure and gauge that force, I reached out to thirteen poets to inquire about the rite of passage that is publication in American Poetry Review. I simply asked what is the significance, achievement, and value of American Poetry Review? Where were you when you first encountered APR? and What did it mean for you to be published for the first time in American Poetry Review? Do you have distinct memories of working with the editors?
Better than anything I have said thus far, their answers succinctly reveal APR’s reach, one that marks literary ambition and achievement, and that delineates the role of editors in both fostering community in its pages and presenting poems, phrases, and words that live indelibly in us.
I love APR -- fresh, various, and substantive. For a long time, when I was first sending poems out, and getting them back, out and back, I longed to marry up into APR's Table of Contents. I submitted a batch to them for the first time in September, 1975. Then again in November, 1976; December, 1977; January, 1979; and September, 1980. I liked the magazine's size, shape, and newspaper format, and the down-home lyrical quality of many of the poems, which were in touch with much of the "real world" as well as with the world of writing. But I was writing a lot of family poems, and a lot of unsubtle poems, until I fell into a series inspired by World War II photographs. And in April, 1982, APR accepted three of my poems! I felt lucky and happy, I felt as if these poems -- which had more of the world in them -- had broken some small sound barrier in my writing. It gave me hope of someday relating to the reading world, singing to my fellow(e) singing citizens.
Congratulations and thanks and love to The APR, especially to Dave Bonanno's family and to Elizabeth Scanlon. APR is a strong wild strand in the American poetry weave in these perilous times.
I can’t remember my first exact memory of The American Poetry Review, but I do remember seeing it and having a consciousness about the magazine starting in my early twenties. I was beginning to think about publishing and making a list of dream poetry journals. I remember seeing the iconic pictures of poets on the front covers of APR and thinking they looked like rock stars à la Rolling Stone magazine.
There was a small café in Nashville called JJ’s that sadly doesn’t exist anymore. It was iconic for high school and college students to study, hang out, and play chess with classical music playing softly in the background. I used to go there to do my homework and read their large selection of literary magazines. I would order a chai tea and find a cozy table. I liked how the size of APR and how flipping through pages felt like a newspaper. This is where I got my news.
I squealed with delight when I got the acceptance email from Elizabeth Scanlon wanting to publish three poems! APR was an absolute dream journal goal for me. It meant so much, because I was in the last semester of my MFA and starting to think about my poetic path after graduate school. I was trying to find my voice by experimenting and taking risks with my poetry. My first full-length book hadn’t come out yet, so receiving this type of validation from APR felt like I was being caught in a trust fall. It felt like a good omen for the poems that would eventually end up in I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood. It’s a gift to be read, to be seen in your work, to have someone give you a signal boost, especially when you are trying to trust and chase your own imagination.
I often return to and love to teach Gabrielle Calvocoressi’s poem, “PRAISE HOUSE: THE NEW ECONOMY” in volume 44, no. 6. This phenomenal poem continues to teach me what kind of goods and services I want exchanged in my own poetic world that I create off and on the page. I want to live in the beautiful community of this poem. The specificities listed are a testimony to generosity, joy, jazz, desire, carbs, Mary Oliver, and so much freedom.
When I came back to the realms of writing in 1980 after eight years away from the world most people share, APR was already the journal everyone was turning to for news of new, as well as known, voices. Openness, breadth, and inclusive range have been hallmarks of APR throughout the decades.
It’s the only journal I’ve subscribed to steadily throughout them, exactly because its big newsprint pages were bringing the news that stays news—poems that stood up across the aesthetic spectrum, interviews, reviews, essays. Among too many highlights to name, my first glimpse of Brenda Hillman’s poetry, Marianne Boruch’s prose pieces on poetry, and a lengthy haibun-style journal by Forrest Gander about traveling in western China with a small group of U.S. poets. And then the center-journal features holding big groups of poems by poets whose new work I was waiting to see, sometimes with an accompanying interview. Having never gone to graduate school or been part of a community giving me pointers, APR’s pages were in no small part my education as a poet, as a reader of poems.
In 1982, a note came inside a stamped, self-addressed envelope from Steve Berg, accepting six poems I’d sent—the entire group. It was the second journal submission I’d ever made. When the printed issue arrived, with the poems and a photo of me standing among wind-blown beach grasses, I felt still amazed... and somehow, fledged. Of the founding three editors, Steve was my contact for future poems and essays until he no longer could do that. I realized, as I came to know more of his own work, why that would be. We shared interests and the love of certain poets not then widely known—for instance Ikkyu, the 15th-century iconoclastic poet and practitioner of Zen who wrote of poetry, in Gary Snyder’s version of the famous line, “We must sigh for those taking this path to intimacy with demons.”
I never met Steve in person, nor David Bonanno, who became my corresponding editor next, nor Elizabeth Scanlon, now. The one time I read in Philadelphia and realized I was near the then-iconic and memorized address and – though shy of such things – dropped into the office unannounced, the only person there was office manager Mike Duffy. He looked bemused. I wasn’t at all sure he knew who I was, though I’d been on the cover by then, but he kindly took a few minutes to let me glimpse the ordinary rooms where non-ordinary language quietly rested on desktops, in folders, in computers, in cabinets. Once, an essay of my own, on the floor behind a desk. Long after I’d given up on it, an apologetic note arrived from Steve—might they still run it?
To have had my words join the company of APR’s pages from 1982 through to a group that, as I type this, awaits printing, has been one of the great good fortunes of my life as a poet. To be able to read the full run of the journal throughout this time, has been another. It feels a bit like being in a choir performing Handel’s “Messiah” or in the Soweto Gospel Choir. Sometimes you’re among the ones singing, sometimes not, but the point is the fullness and reach of it all,, the music that changes the singers, the listeners, the space where it’s sung, the air itself.. Note by note, word by word, joining the world being recognized for what it is – a place of the ten thousand things’ beauty and grief; of minute particulars of color, light, shapes, longings, hungers; of fates private and fates shared – and also being, by those words and notes, reenvisioned, changed.
For decades, APR has been consistent in delivering the best that American poetry has to offer. Readers of the journal come for the poems, first and foremost. The essays and interviews are thoughtful, insightful, and often inspiring. But it’s the poems that matter most, and in this sense, APR has never disappointed. I believe it is this singular focus, prioritizing the work above such ephemeral concerns as popularity or social media presence, say, that has secured American Poetry Review’s place in the top tier of literary journals and that has won such a loyal readership.
I believe the first issue I picked up was in spring of 1999. I was in Olson’s bookstore in Washington, DC, and came across what looked like a newspaper for poets. The cover was a black and white photo of Gerald Stern, in profile, with his trademark fedora and overcoat, looking like a man who’d seen some things. I remember the roughness of the paper, the roughness of Stern, and, though I cannot recall now which poems were in that particular issue from so long ago, I remember being taken with Stern’s rough lyric. I’ve missed few issues since.
It was one of the highlights of my career so far. Here is a journal that I’ve loved since I started writing poems. All the poets from whom I have learned over the years, who I have studied, imitated, and stolen from, have been featured at some time or another. And all these years later, they not only said yes, not only published a whole heroic crown of sonnets I wrote, giving me all that space… they put me on the cover. In my own fedora. Rough, like Gerald Stern. As for the other poets in the issue, it was wonderful to see writers whose work I’d long admired but whom I’ve never met, writers with whom I’ve broken bread and poured shots, and young writers I’ve either taught or had the good fortune to watch from up close as they’ve come into their own. “Community” is the perfect word.
In 1999, in an issue of APR, Joe Wenderoth published a large selection of hilarious, transgressive prose poems, addressed to the eponymous red-headed avatar of the burger joint Wendy's. In the biographical note, Wenderoth said that the manuscript was looking for a publisher. Brian Henry and I, who had attended graduate school together at UMass Amherst, decided that this was our opportunity to start a press. Brian wrote Joe a convincing letter, and thus Verse Press, which eventually became Wave Books, began, with Letters to Wendy's as our first publication. So to some great extent, my own life as an editor, and the lives of many poets who have published with Verse and Wave, were directly affected by the bold and visionary editorial choices of the editors of APR, which, as I can attest as a result of my recent stint as guest editor of Best American Poetry 2022, continue to this day.
I think of the American Poetry Review as one of the strongest literary forces of our time. Each time I receive a copy, I eagerly read the poems that are featured and that's not to mention the essays that delve into the important issues of our age. APR is where I go to both discover new poets and rekindle my love with some of the foundational poets. There are times when reading an entire issue, cover to cover, has reminded me of why I love poetry. It is a cornerstone for those of us hungry for poetry that's both masterful and urgent.
There was a bookstore by NYU's Creative Writing Department and I used to spend hours there between classes or prior to the workshop. I couldn't afford to buy much, but I'd always tenderly go through the page of APR and look for who graced the cover. It felt like those pages were holding space for all of my favorite mentors, teachers, the foundational poets.
My APR cover was during the early days of the pandemic. My husband took some photos of me in the backyard and I remember wondering what picture they could possibly use. None of them felt important enough. I was thinking of those iconic covers I used to see in the bookstore by NYU and it felt surreal to be on the cover myself. But it's funny, now when I look at those covers there's something that's often friendly about them, approachable. It feels as if everyone who is in a certain issue is part of the same community, standing in the same room, all holding out our poems and hoping they'll find their readers.
My earliest memory of reading APR was around the age of 19. I was working as a prep cook at an Italian cafe in downtown Portland. There was a cigar and magazine shop around the corner called Rich's where one day after classes at Portland Community College where I was taking my first poetry workshop I walked in to buy some cigarettes before work. Near the literary magazines was a stack of what looked like newspapers. I picked one up and was stunned to find it was full of poems. I don't remember who was on the cover but I do remember I felt like I had stumbled through a cave and into the bright light of some pirate's buried treasure.
The first time I was published in APR was a whirlwind of luck and joy as it happened days before winning the APR/Honickman first book prize. Elizabeth Scanlon had emailed to let me know APR wanted to publish a couple poems. I was elated and wrote right back that yes yes yes the poems were hers! Then a few days later I got another email saying to call her. I figured she had some edits, or that perhaps the poems were not going to be published after all. Instead she told me I had won the book prize. I think I yelled "Get the Fuck out!" I was so excited. Over the previous few years I had watched friends of mine be published in APR and have their books come out. I was beginning to wonder if it would ever happen for me. In the end what it meant was that my poems, the things I thought about, got to be shared with others, I got to be a small part of a big conversation in the world of poetry.
When my first book All-American Poem came out I was invited to Philadelphia to give a reading. I was so moved by Elizabeth's kindness, how down to earth she was, that she seemed to be a poetry nerd just like me and my friends. I guess I was expecting a kind of literary editor from the movies, someone yelling at their assistant and wearing all black or something. But instead, in Elisabeth, there was this deeply thoughtful, funny, humane poet running the review! I was equally wrong and equally surprised to visit the APR offices. In lieu of a glass highrise and sweeping offices there were tight hallways and tiny offices. On the outside, and perhaps especially to a young, barely published, poet APR can seem like a Monolith in the distance. But what is so heartening is that it is not. It is down to earth and created out of love, love for poetry, for literature, and love for those who read and write it.
Once, when I was in Philadelphia, I decided to find the office of APR and pay a visit to David Bonanno. I imagined the splendor of the place, antique desks, lush potted plants, book-lined walls, maybe a display of shiny awards. After walking up a few flights of narrow, rickety stairs, I walked into a cramped room, dimly lit by small unwashed windows, old APRs stacked to the ceiling, two scratched wooden desks, and a small withered Pothos balanced on a pile of books. Stephen Berg was on the phone, hand held over the receiver, “I’ll be with you in a minute”. I learned David wouldn’t be in until the next day, but I had a plane to catch.
I began reading APR in the 80’s, a few years after it began publishing in 1982. I soon got a subscription and read every issue, cover to cover, the poems, the essays, the interviews, the advertisements, the calls for poetry. They began to pile up in the corners of my studio and gather dust. And whenever I moved I boxed them up and took them with me.
By 1993 I had found the nerve to send a batch of poems and to my surprise they were taken! I was high for months. I framed the cover of that issue where my last name appears in small type.
Eventually I formed a relationship with David Bonanno who took those early poems. We would see one another yearly at AWP. Both of us were shy so it was nice to have a friend, someone you could count on. We had our traditional drink at the bar, our meetings with other poets, and then ended the final evening on the dance floor. David cut a mean rug! When he died in 2017 it was a big blow. He had taken some of my first fledgling poems, and I will be always in his debt for taking a chance on me.
I’ve since developed a relationship with Elizabeth Scanlon who has also been very supportive. I am one of the few people to have attended a staged reading of her brilliant one act play about Frank O’Hara and Billie Holiday called Everyone and I. The play was spell-bindingly good. The story I tell about it is that the venue was a small supper club in Pennsylvania where my husband Joe Millar had ordered a Diet Coke and a glass of ice. When the play began, he raised the can in one hand where it hovered over the glass. He never poured the coke. The play was that good, that arresting.
This is a brief personal history of my years with APR, but I tell it to let others know that the people behind it work hard, have created this magazine in a small room on an even smaller budget, amidst full lives while trying to do their own creative work, and in David’s case, through the murder of his daughter, Leidy, and he and his wife’s grief-stricken years. The work editor’s do is a labor of the heart and they put their souls into it. APR has the longevity and reputation it does for a reason, and a huge part of that is the editors who have held it up, against all odds, with generosity and grace, and have continued to give a host of poets a place to be seen and heard, a home. My gratitude is boundless.
Historically APR must be seen as one of the most important venues for publishing serious poetry in English. Its loud and proud emphasis on poems and poetry together with the broadsheet format made a unique space for poems and writing about poems to appear. Certainly when I began to publish poems in the mid- to late-1990s, APR was one of the rare magazines where one could think about sending poems of scope beyond 32 – 64 lines. This was key for me, a poet (?) who hadn’t come up via the academic route and whose need for what only poems could do sprawled well beyond a few pages. What other magazine in the country could have agreed to publish “1955,” a 500-line intimately abstracted biography of Charlie Parker in verse by an unknown and informally trained poet? APR did.
Another really important thing for me in the 1990s, when one (certainly I) couldn’t go online to search out poets, was that APR featured photos of poets on the cover and also alongside many of the poems in each issue. Jaded people might see this as narcissism or marketing, but for me who really hadn’t encountered writers in person and who knew books existed but really never imagined they were written by people on the same planet that I lived on, it was important to see the faces of poets on the pages. Those sculpted words had sources in the lives of a person, and there they were. In the third decade of the 21st century, with social media and Google and TikTok and whatever else and as many images of writers as you’d ever care to see available at flick of an index finger, this seems like a distant past, but APR was really one of the only places where I’d ever seen what poets actually look like. Those photos helped me pierce what otherwise looked too often to me like a vague and anonymous ether when, for me, poems were mostly a way of searching for people.
I recall going to the old APR office (on Walnut St. as I remember) in Philadelphia to pick up copies of Paraph of Bone & Other Kinds of Blue. I remember kind congratulations from Steve and David and Elizabeth. Steve led me down a hallway and asked would I like to “see the submissions?” Thinking maybe that was an odd question but not knowing enough to know what was odd and what wasn’t, I said “sure.” I pictured him opening up a desk drawer with a stack of manuscripts, maybe bound with a clip like mine had been. Instead, he opened a door and revealed a large closet stacked with manuscripts. I looked in disbelief thinking: “damn how many people working on poems like I do can there be?” That was an education in scale by avalanche—pre-Submittable.com. So was I part of some vast, invisible group of people who spent most of their days trying to focus all of their being on something beyond what could be seen with no effort? Apparently, I was. I’d learn more about that in coming years, I’m still learning, and sometimes more than I want to know. But Steve Berg gave me my very first lesson about a kind of identity, maybe, that, from the height of those stacks, I felt might be almost like a spiritual nationality. Compared to the other kinds of “identity” I’d become used to being interrogated by police and teachers and lovers and mirrors about, this identity made active and intricate and precise queries possible.
Of course, my relationship with Adrienne Rich—which continually adjusted my soul and spine from 2001 to 2012 and in ways that continue today—began when the APR / Honickman First Book Prize introduced us. Along with Baldwin, whose work I found on my own, as if groping in the dark, and Yusef Komunyakaa, who I met on Grant Street in Bloomington, and then heard read at The Runsible Spoon—the very first poetry reading I’d ever been to, the vehicular-likes of which I hadn’t ever considered—before really closely acquainting myself with his poems, my relationship with Adrienne Rich touched everything about who I am as a writer and a person and made so much possible—and a few things not possible—that it’s hard to imagine where or what I’d be had we not met. Maybe we would have met, maybe such things are scripted in the big Book Nebula somewhere; and maybe not. Probably not. APR introduced us; and we took it from there. And my thanks for that will never end.
I love that it’s a newsprint publication. It brings both the tactile and the ephemeral together, and something about the newsprint feels daily and present while also, being nostalgic. In other words, the materiality of APR is timeless and also marks time by the changing faces of its front page. I also love that it prints a suite of poems by the published authors and that the conversation between those poems is always a bit eccentric. In other words, I can learn a lot about a poet by seeing what they can do across five poems or a really long poem rather than seeing a pristine one-off. APR allows the poems to talk to each other.
Honestly, this past reading at AWP in Philly for the anniversary of APR felt like one of the most important (and nerve-wracking) readings of my life. It was joyful, of course, but I also remember feeling like, oh my god, Major Jackson and Ada Limon are here, please don’t mess up! But then that anxiety just disappeared. There was so much laughter.
So many poets I love haunt these pages including Rita Dove, Alex Dimitrov, Jay Deshpande, Jack Gilbert, the list goes on. What I love is how inter-generational the curation is and how the living and the dead co-exist, again, back to the timelessness of APR.
APR is consistently a space of extraordinary content. I turn to American Poetry Review as much for the poems as for the interviews and essays. These contain some of the most salient and exciting thinking about poetry available today. I don't want to leave out the fact that the cover photos are an important record of the literal face(s) of American poetry through the years. A rich treasure.
I remember reading American Poetry Review in college. I must have been browsing the periodical section of the library. I studied the writing I found there and began to form some of my ideas about the possibilities for American poetry by following the conversations and offerings available on those pages. The robust and often contrarian nature of the writing absolutely thrilled me. And as I have continued to read American Poetry Review over the years, I have been excited to see the variety and range of offerings continue to expand in relationship to the continued expansion of American letters.
The first time I published in APR was in Jan/Feb 2009. I'd already published my first book of poems, but I still felt very much like an "emerging writer" (Can we think about retiring that label? Maybe the question of what American poets should be and are calling themselves these days is a conversation that could be published on the pages of APR). I had two anthology projects and two new books on the way, but I often felt like I was writing in and into a kind of isolated silence. Then the issue with my poems arrived at my door and I opened it. There were poems by Wendell Berry and Catie Rosemurgy and Louise Aragon, Jane Hirshfield, Julianna Baggot, Natasha Saje, Stanley Kunitz, Ellen Bass, and Jack Gilbert. All writers whose work I had long loved. In fact, work with which, at my desk each night, I was in a kind of conversation. I remember looking at that table of contents and thinking, quite eloquently: "Wow!"
I have always enjoyed reading APR for the groupings of poems. It’s easier to get a sense of a poet’s work that way. I also really like reading the essays. I find them thoughtful. Both allow me to slow down in a fast world.
I actually don’t have the greatest memory, but I remember reading a great essay by Ed Hirsch about walking poems. The first line of that essay is: “Poetry is a vocation. It is not a career but a calling.” That line always resonated with me and it especially does these days when I feel like there’s a particular commercialization of poetry that wasn’t here as much when I first started writing poetry (for fear of sounding like an old person). For me, poetry, is a spiritual practice. It’s as important as air. But I don’t think of it as a career. Capitalism tends to pervade everything in this country, though.
I was first published in 2012 when a few poems from my third book, The Boss, were published in APR. I went back to look it up. This was before that book came out. I don’t remember the other poets published in that issue but I’m sure I was excited. For me at least, getting published in APR was a kind of unknown unreachable thing. And those poems were a little strange and different. For Elizabeth Scanlon to accept them told me something about her broader taste.
Working with Elizabeth has always been a deep pleasure. She has always been graceful and gracious. I always feel supported even through email. I know she must have a million things to do and a million people wanting things from her but I always feel her kindness.
The first AWP I ever went to, when I was still just a puddle of poet, I remember going by the APR table on the final day of the bookfair. They were practically giving the old issues away; a dollar for three issues, something like that. I remember spending my last ten dollars, unable to believe my luck, and leaving with as many APR’s as I could carry. Over the next weeks, months, I read them all cover to cover, luxuriating in early poems by some of my favorite titans, lost poems by new-to-me poets who had passed a decade before my birth. I especially found myself obsessing over the conversations and critical essays that provided—truly—the bedrock, the foundation, of a poetic education for me. Through those issues I felt myself osmotically absorbing the idiom, the grammar of smart people talking to each other about poetry, how to wrap language around the amorphous and inarticulable lyric excitements that governed me. Those issues were a kind of early makeshift MFA. APR represented a community where my great baffles and ebulliences might one day find themselves among.
As an emerging writer, I am delighted by every publication I have. It is an honor to see my poems appear alongside the work of so many incredible writers, and my publishing experience with the American Poetry Review increased my feeling of community within the poetry world further. Soon after my poems appeared in the magazine I received an email from Ed Skoog, complimenting my work and asking if I had any poems he could consider for Electric Literature. I was equally elated and awestruck by his email because I’d fallen in love with his poem, “Being in Plays,” years before in a previous issue of APR. Our correspondence instantly expanded my sense of possibility and connection, and I will always associate this sense of expansion with the American Poetry Review.
As I sat in the audience at AWP in Philadelphia this past spring, listening to Ada Limón, Jason Schneiderman, Megan Fernandes, and Major Jackson read their poems in celebration of APR, I was overwhelmed with gratitude to be a part of this ever-growing community of writers. The American Poetry Review was always a dream publication for me, in part because I wanted to contribute to a magazine that is so devoted to poetry. But it was also the physical reading experience APR creates that I found so engaging and hoped to be a part of: poems on newsprint, unfolded across the kitchen table like the morning news—turning our ears to a deeper hum and leaving our fingers ink-stained.