Two Poems in Shenandoah: Two-Way Mirror, Admiral of the Ocean Sea

I am delighted to have two poems in the latest issue of Shenandoah, “Two-Way Mirror” and “Admiral of the Ocean Sea”:

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My poem “Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions”

My poem “Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions,” which appeared in the most recent Crab Creek Review, is featured on their blog:

I hope it pleases.

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Poem: A Game of Inches

Here is a little satire on the language of football

A Game of Inches

Roy White

They were rushing four, standing tall
in the pocket; they’d driven
into the red zone looking
for an open tight end,
but all they found was a zero blitz
on a shutdown corner. The whole thing
was just a series of downs.
The receivers they were targeting

must have called an audible, decided
a safety can be free or strong but not both
and sometimes you’ve got to move the chains,
give them a stiff-arm in the wishbone
and hit the gap. There were
no flags.

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My poem, “The Cup”

My poem “The Cup” is in the Secrets issue of Negative Capability. Since it’s a print publication with no online samples, I’m reproducing it here.


The Cup

Roy White

I dip it in the stream
and feel as I drink
smooth enamel, soft gold,
the bumps of deep-red gems.
I think of its ancient maker, maybe
a captive like me, taken
and bound to his arcane craft.

In each night’s pigsty
or wasted fen-fastness
I hug it for warmth, I
a wolf-head, fair game for any man,
but not without treasure.

I saw the worm last night,
no moon, just a dragon-
shaped hole in the stars,
and later the angry glow
of distant flames. My own fire
I built without fear.

When I took it from the old hoard,
I thought, “Here is a token
to soothe the Master’s rage, but knew
he’d only snatch it up
and shackle me for a thief.
No, it is my secret now,
as it was the dragon’s.

The Master will not understand
what has angered the worm; well,
fuck him! And fuck you all, noble
loaf-guards with your stupid
mead-halls and your stupid names,
Prosperity Friend and He Who Takes
Advice From Elves.

If I manage to live a while
taking a lamb or chicken now
and then, you’ll start calling me
the Aglaeca; some nights
a frightened child will see a dark
shape drawn to the edge of the clearing
by the red gold of the bonfire.


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My poems “Written in Breath” and “Spectral Lines”

I am very pleased to have two poems, “Written in Breath” and “Spectral Lines,” in the latest Ghost Town—I hope you like them.


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Poem, Guidelines for Submission

Anybody who sends out poems to journals will end up reading a lot of submission guidelines. Sometimes I have the impression that magazines take the idea of ‘submission’ a bit too literally; this poem consists largely of phrases I’ve run across in the guildelines of various publications, together with some images inspired by Jill LePore’s wonderful book about Wonder Woman and her secret history.


Guidelines for Submission

Roy White

[Italicized lines are taken from the submission guidelines of various literary journals.]


They strap the subject to the truth machine:
Constrict the body to force out the words.
compelled, compulsed, moved to write—
Great poetry makes everyone sick,


Constricts the body. To force out the words,
expose mental arteries, bathe in…the sanguinary
Great poetry makes everyone sick.
Crack open the word-hoard,


Expose mental arteries, bathe in…the sanguinary
theater of bondage and confession;
Crack open the word-hoard:
we value poetry that is stripped,


a theater of bondage and confession:
“By day she’s a kindergarten teacher and by night dances go-go–
We value poetry that is stripped,
we want you quick and dirty.


“By day she’s a kindergarten teacher and by night dances go-go–
The bracelet tells all, her movement and her rest.
We want you quick and dirty
when we strap you to the truth machine.


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My Poem “Domesticated”

My poem “Domesticated” is in the new American Journal of Poetry, along with lots of good stuff by good poets. Enjoy!

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