Harp & Altar
Jason Michael Bacasa is a writer and musician currently living in New York. His screenplay Paperback was recently shortlisted for the Sundance Labs and selected as part of IFP’s Emerging Narrative. He performs music under the moniker Tan or Boil. His debut release is slated to appear later this year on Australia's Preservation Records.


Lynn Crawford is a fiction writer whose books include Simply Separate People (Black Square Editions, 2002) and Fortification Resort (Black Square Editions, 2005). She edits the cultural arts journal DETROIT:, published by the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.


David B. Goldstein is the author of the chapbook Been Raw Diction (Dusie, 2006), and his poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel—Second Floor, Jubilat, Typo, Pinstripe Fedora, Epoch, Alice Blue Review, and The Paris Review.  He teaches creative writing, Renaissance literature, and food studies at York University in Toronto.


Elise Harris is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn. Her writing has appeared in previous issues of Harp & Altar.


Jennifer Kronovet’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Brooklyn Rail, The Colorado Review, Crowd, Pleiades, Ploughshares, and other journals. She is the co-founder and co-editor of Circumference, a journal of poetry in translation, and works at the Academy of American Poets as the editor of the magazine American Poet.

Miranda Lichtenstein’s work has appeared in solo exhibitions at galleries in New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo, and has also been included in group shows at museums and galleries around the world.


A recipient of the Aga Kahn Prize from The Paris Review, Norman Lock is the author of Trio (Triple Press, 2007), The Long Rowing Unto Morning (Ravenna Press, 2007), Two Plays for Radio (Triple Press, 2006), Land of the Snow Men (writing as George Belden, Calamari Press, 2005), A History of the Imagination (FC2, 2004), Notes to the Book of Supplemental Diagrams for Marco Knauff's Universe (Ravenna Press, 2003), and The House of Correction (Broadway Play Publishing, 1988), among other works.


Eugene Marten’s novel In the Blind came out in 2003 from Turtle Point Press. He lives in Harlem.


Miranda Mellis is the author of The Revisionist (Calamari Press, 2007) and an editor at The Encyclopedia Project (www.encyclopediaproject.org). Her writing has recently appeared in The Believer, Post Road, Fence, Denver Quarterly, and Harper's. She teaches at California College of the Arts.


Ryan Murphy is the author of Down With the Ship from Otis Books/Seismicity Editions. He has received awards from Chelsea magazine and the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as a grant from the Fund for Poetry. He lives in New York.


Michael Newton is a current MFA candidate at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. His gallery reviews have appeared in previous issues of Harp & Altar.


Jason Stumpf teaches literature and creative writing at Providence College in Rhode Island. His translation of Mexican poet Pura López-Colomé’s Aurora was published this year by Shearsman Books. His work has recently appeared in Action Yes, LIT, The Modern Review, and elsewhere.


Mathias Svalina is the author of the chapbooks Why I Am White (Kitchen Press, 2007), Creation Myths (New Michigan Press, 2007), and When We Broke the Microscope, a collaboration with Julia Cohen forthcoming from Small Fires Press. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he is co-editor of Octopus Magazine and Octopus Books.


Bronwen Tate is the author of the chapbook Souvenirs, published as part of the Dusie Chapbook Kollektiv. Her poems have recently appeared in The Cultural Society and The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel—Second Floor. This year she began a PhD in comparative literature at Stanford University, where she also edits Mantis: A Journal of Poetry, Criticism and Translation, and gets teased for knitting in class. Visit her online at breadnjamforfrances.blogspot.com.


Jared White’s poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Meridian, The Modern Review, Sawbuck, and Verse, and are forthcoming with Another Chicago Magazine, Cannibal, Fugue, Fulcrum, and LVNG, among other publications. His MFA poetry studies were at Columbia University, where he received a prize from the Academy of American Poets in 2005. He lives in Brooklyn and can be found online at jaredswhite.blogspot.com.


Michael Zeiss spent five years at the American Red Cross working with people affected by the attacks of September 11. His writing has appeared in previous issues of Harp & Altar.
The Deer and the Hedgehog and the Gardener
Jared White

Herein we describe plants as a function   of desire. This

Demands   a story of intellectuals in the fields


Of good old Mister Roderick, Johnny   Come Lately and

Sir Manqué. Rounding the bend   we come to a Roman Aquaduct


And ducked   under the arch. This deserves a dozen replays

In the media   having graduated from the library


To the inner ear   just shy of the cerebellum. If the book said

Keep your thoughts   to yourself, do. The plants are deafening


And if you hear these uneasy   noises, we may blush.

All the definitions involve shaking   us awake from imagining


And no one likes to be awakened   to actual facts.

That is why you’re here and why we   are tending the tomatoes.


Otherwise all we’d eat would be rice and millet.   Indentured

Servitudes.   Have you come around and kicked the tires?


There’s a passage in which the plants   did it by themselves

And even still there was a tendency   to make arrangements.


The gardener worked hard to make sure   everything is very beautiful

And edible also. With elbow grease the former   starts including me


With my dreadful innovations. Who dreads the legumes   of a mere

Roderick? I can always become   more hifalutin in passing


These annuals and those   London planetrees. When you remember

Unfortunately you don’t actually   remember. The story


Buries the story with this particular shovel.   By the hazelnut grove

We were educating   each other to our likes and dislikes, refinements


While Evelyn loved Roderick on her days   off. We laugh at such

Staff setups. From this angle you can see   the newest cultivars.


Even no one tending   is almost someone. For a while at least

We can nibble through. Is this boulder ersatz or   just too heavy?


I’ll never tell good parks   from the woods and good gardens

From a salad. The forest   as we walk forms rows of trees.


Let us then derelict our duties. This must be the mulch   and this

Your meditation rock. See here the Roderick   last seen


Mistaking poetry for fiction.   In the greenhouse he would not

Have erred. We call this the school within   the schools


Like at the gates of the garden I wondered   what were for.

Breezes that shook us in our travels   shock us with their gentleness


As we stroll under the galleries to where it was   we were going anyway

In conversation. How do you always do everything   so slowly?