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Five Featured Poems​

The Interview with Sarah Ruden

by A. M. Juster

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Sarah Ruden, a Quaker with a PhD in classical philology from Harvard and an MA from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, is a distinguished poet, translator, essayist, and popularizer of Biblical linguistics. She is perhaps best known for being the first woman to translate Vergil’s Aeneid into English, She has also translated Augustine, Aristophanes, and other canonical authors. She is now translating the Gospels.

Editor’s Choice - Formal Poetry



The bus screamed, you could hear it breaking. But

Dan couldn’t find a single yellow piece,

and no one else was worried. So maybe


you have to figure out what people mean;


sometimes they just break inside. And Dan thinks

that school-busses are foolhardy like that,

because they don’t give up on people. They


are sturdier than human beings seem,


and careful with the children, even when

they know it’s going to hurt; that’s why they hiss,

anticipating. Then the long slow squeal


of sliding into base on scabby knees

and it’s as bad as you expected but

at least it’s over. So when busses break


you have to figure out what people mean;

they’re sturdier than human beings seem.



Kathryn Jacobs is a poet, professor, and editor of The Road Not Taken. Her fifth book, Wedged Elephant, was published by Kelsay Press.

AMJ: Last year Emily Wilson seemed to catch less flak for translating Homer’s Odyssey into blank verse than you did when you translated the Aeneid into blank verse a decade ago. In fact, I vividly recall two senior Ivy League classicists trying to shout you down when you were defending your use of iambic pentameter at Boston University.


What has changed and what hasn’t changed from 2008 to 2019?


Are younger classicists less doctrinaire about translation and prosody than those who came of age in the sixties?


SR: Let me start from the last of these questions. If we’re talking about actual classicists of that generation (or earlier) as translators, there’s practically no one to cite. A qualified contempt for translation and a certain obtuseness were the norm. I wouldn’t say that these people were real translators, as poets like Robert Fitzgerald were.

I was lucky enough to study for a while with D.R. Shackleton Bailey, then the greatest living Latin scholar. He was, unusually, a prolific and well-reputed translator too. But I remember buying a book of his when I was (I think) twenty — a big deal for me, as I was poor. The book was an annotated selection from Cicero’s letters in the original Latin. In one letter, Cicero reports the birth of a son, salva Terentia, a phrase Professor Bailey rendered in an endnote as “Terentia being (doing) well.” The doubt and disapproval I wasn’t supposed to feel and never expressed until this moment bothered me a great deal.

Publisher’s Choice, Free Verse

Featured Poem

Editor’s Choice - African Poetry



As I watch the sky

Darken, it becomes cloudy

With the windy wind blowing

Furiously, and what next??



Pitta, patta, pitta, pitta

On my roof as it rains

Beautiful tears of the sky

Washing away the dusts,

Washing away sorrows


The rain

Cooling off the day,

Putting smiles on the crops

Yes the rain is here.

It is for our joy.



Adaobi Chilekezi is the 14-year-old daughter of the Nigerian poet Obinna Chilekezi. An aspiring writer, she presently attends the high school in Lagos, Nigeria.

Publisher’s Choice - Experimental Poetry

jp pantyhose pics


or we could move to Kyoto and teach english

and climb Mt. Fuji like little snails

that is to say—slowly, slowly

or go farther north and soak in hot springs

w/the monkeys who know how to use coins

to buy bags of edamame chips

the point being being anywhere but here

where we have nothing but each other

and endless student loans to pay off

because college was so important

because they told us the average college graduate

makes an extra million dollars over her lifetime

than someone who just works at WalMart

but at least the person at WalMart doesn’t owe 50,000 dollars

because we studied humanities

and what being human means

which is to live poor and die if ethically

or live rich and die and screw everyone else

including your children on anti-depressants

the point being being dead eventually and soon

tho wouldn’t having a satisfying sexual life be interesting?

if we could afford all the sex toys we really wanted?

                                                or therapy?

                                                            or even a ticket to Japan?



Born in Puerto Rico, John Yohe grew up in Michigan and lives in Oregon. He has worked as a wildland firefighter, deckhand/oiler, bike messenger, wilderness ranger and fire lookout. He is fiction editor for Deep Wild Journal. His website is

Editor's Choice - Poetry Translations

The Beggar’s Song

Rainer Maria Rilke translated by Michael Burch


I live outside your gates,

exposed to the rain, exposed to the sun;

sometimes I’ll cradle my right ear

in my right palm;

then when I speak my voice sounds strange,

alien . . .


I’m unsure whose voice I’m hearing:

mine or yours.

I implore a trifle;

the poets cry for more.


Sometimes I cover both eyes

and my face disappears;

there it lies heavy in my hands

looking peaceful, unafraid,

so that no one would ever think

I have no place to lay my head.



Michael R. Burch’s poems and translations have appeared in hundreds of literary journals. He also edits and has served as guest editor of international poetry and translations for Better Than Starbucks.

original and more in Poetry Translations

. . . and now . . . 

 . . . from the mind of . . .

     The Mad Poet

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