PEN Poetry Series

Once a week, the PEN Poetry Series publishes work by emerging and established writers from coast to coast. The series is edited by Danniel Schoonebeek, along with guest editors TC Tolbert, Dawn Lundy Martin, and Brian Blanchfield. Subscribe to the PEN Poetry Series mailing list and have poems delivered to your email as soon as they're published. Submissions are currently closed, but please feel free to familiarize yourself with our submission guidelines. Our current response time is about 3-6 months. Please follow up with info@pen.org if you haven't heard from us after six months. 

July 29, 16

In the opposite of woods, in the red ever, I am hungry and you are. // I used to have this job, the bodies entered all at once in a line, towing their essentials. / Workers left, as I, it’s hard to say whether it was for love. Read More  »

July 21, 16

I haven’t yet begun to use metaphors. / It’s still raining. I don’t use metaphors. / My heart is black and quiet. / My heart has not yet begun to beat. // the horror / the horror Read More  »

July 13, 16

ninety thousand children crossing the border in the last three years what thirst what listening what refuge what desert harbor what desert keeps at bay what keens what dims what signals we cannot read what enforcement what filament what unmoved...Read More  »

July 6, 16

Uncomfortable in a hospital gown, fallow. The thing I’m praising is wretchedness. It gets easier, as easy as a slur. The tongue root and the doctor’s late, blinking the back of a machine. I know blinking means OK but even so. I’m surprised the...Read More  »

June 29, 16

A cop knelt and kissed the feet of a priest, / and I threw up at the sight of that. // My only security has been to garden civility / in city boots scuffed along the way / by impedimenta to my solace. Read More  »

June 22, 16

I was young, always returning to the municipal building, / where an iron lamp hung, a flickering vestige of history. / And when I moved my belongings in with a man and out of their hole, / Goodbye, my family. I’ll be seeing you. I’ll be writing you...Read More  »

June 16, 16

I am the youngest. I am 85 and yesterday, / I was 15 in a military station; / my friends each dying, one by one; / and now I am old and I will die, too. / Today, the military gave me money. / But I ripped it apart and ate it up. Read More  »

June 8, 16

light fell on a door, & in the door / a me i didn’t know & knew, the now me / whose blood blacks & curls back like paper / near an open flame. I walked towards the door / as I walked away from the door. when i met me / in the middle,...Read More  »

June 1, 16

Plunder culture, culture plunder / Going into debt so as to be employable so as to slowly pay off that debt, or never, or having been born into it, or to always already be considered unemployable, or / The march was a long wet walk criss-crossing...Read More  »

May 26, 16

the last safe days of my life / what I knew, what I bound with string / a word of hers, repeated / a kiss on the forehead — erases / I lived until I tried not to, then began again / if what I wanted was to calmly rot, I failed / I followed a weapon...Read More  »


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