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ModPo & Experimental Poetry   edited by Anthony Watkins

Better than Starbucks began wholly as a creation in my mind. Now the wonderful collaboration of seven dedicated editors is creating a monthly magazine that I could have only dreamed about when I was starting out as a one person organization.


Having said that, there are no direct connections between U Penn, Al Filreis, KWH (Kelly Writers House), ModPo (Modern & Contemporary American Poetry), or any of the actual affiliated programs to ModPo and this magazine, other than I have been a part of ModPo for several years now. There is, however, a strong spiritual and intellectual connection between BTS and ModPo.


If I had not gotten involved in the larger community of ModPo, I don't think I would have restarted a literary publication. I am certain I would not have added a Formal & Rhyming Page, and probably not a Translations page. I have a pretty narrow preference for poetry, but the course and the people at ModPo have expanded my view of poetry to the point that I decided if I could find good people to help me do it, we would make BTS as broad of a source of styles and genres as possible. We have been fortunate to establish a team of talented editors and are in the process of an ever expanding quest to find poetry wherever it may be.

Thus, it seems fitting that we dedicate a page to my fellow students at ModPo, and/or anyone who wants to share experimental poems. The thing about experiments is, they often fail, but as the point is to learn, not to create perfection, even failed experiments in the lab or on this page, will offer something for us, if we will find it. and when the experiment doesn't fail... well, you will see! - Anthony Watkins


Thank you does not say what wants

to be said. But where else to start? Thank

you. I mean the you that gave me you.

That said yes. That loves the me that

loves you that loves the us that

lives together these thirty

years. The me that said yes to you then

says yes (newly) to the you

who woke up next to me this

morning with the dog barking (to be fed)

and the alarm screeching and the wanting

to fold ourselves back into the covers. I

love you. Pronoun married to pronoun

by transitive verb, by words that I/you/we said/say

again (and for the first time and for the first time)

and again


The birds

All day they were nowhere to be seen, though we

devoutly scanned the sky for them. Now, as the light fades,

here they come, smudged in ochre, dirty yellow and Prussian

blue. Some rainbow. Their wings are tendrils of

mist and ice. We stand, loosely bunched, gazing

upward. A few raindrops go “plop” against our

faces and we turn to head inside. There is

no inside. We look at one another, puzzled, afraid.

The birds are indifferent; their wings are tendrils

of indifference. The rain gathers intensity. The

birds are increasingly dull – there is no visible colour

upon them. We think this may be the end of the

world, knowing also that we are given to melo-

drama. A train whistle is heard. The flapping 

of wings. The hissing of water on dryearth. Something cracking.

Sometimes California or the March Set
by Anthony Watkins
Silent Poems
by Anthony Watkins
 Games Poets Play
by ModPo Students

Scott’s back


Scott’s back

is at the back of Scott.


Scott’s back laid him flat

on his back.

Scott’s putting his back pain

behind him.


Scott went away

and now he’s back.


Scott’s back was a pain

in the arse.


Scott’s back

on his feet.


Scott is good.

But his back was bad.


Scott’s back is better.

Now Scott is better too.


The surgeon saw the back

of Scott.


The surgeon sawed the back

of Scott.

The surgeon didn’t saw

the back off Scott.

Ken Grace is a writer from Auckland, New Zealand.

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