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Thanks to a residency at EcoHealth, my verse these days finds inspiration in the specter of future pandemics; for my dissertation at LMU München, where I tutor composition and edit a poetry weekly, I'm anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson's sonnets—I also teach at MVHS and lead the Amerikahaus Literary Circle.


After Brunnenburg

At Culinaria by candlelight,
intoxicated by the headiness
of Cathay’s song and Mary’s anecdotes
of Frost and Yeats and all who drank the bright
and polysemous, vintage readiness
expounded in her father’s verse and notes,
we toasted what the sestet means—how break-
ing dawn will flood the idyll where we’d read
Li Po and what the Anglo-Saxons said
of faring from the fountain-fortress wake
and how his silent mask from life would ache
to shed the shackles of its desk-bound bed
to join us in the journeys now ahead
and pen the dazzling music they will make.

Mark Olival-Bartley

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