Harp & Altar
Amaranth Borsuk is the author, with programmer Brad Bouse, of Between Page and Screen (Siglio Press, 2012), an augmented reality book of poems, and Handiwork (Slope Editions, 2012), winner of the 2012 Slope Book Prize. Abra, a book of conjoined poems written with Kate Durbin, is forthcoming from ZG Press. Her poems have recently appeared in Gulf Coast, CutBank, Colorado Review, SPECS, and The Destroyer. She has a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from USC and is currently a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at MIT, where she works and teaches at the intersection of print and digital media.  

Tina Brown Celona is completing a Ph.D. in poetry at the University of Denver. She is the author of The Real Moon of Poetry and Other Poems (Fence Books, 2002) and Snip Snip! (Fence Books, 2006). Her poems have recently appeared in Action, Yes, Octopus and Colorado Review, and in the anthology Gurlesque: The New Grrly, Grotesque, Burlesque Poetics (Saturnalia, 2010).

Oisín Curran grew up in Maine and now lives in Montréal with his wife and son. His novel Mopus was published by Counterpath Press in 2008.

Kate Dougherty lives in Chicago, where she received an MFA from Columbia College and is currently studying library and information science at Dominican University. Recent poems appear in Fourteen Hills, Word For/Word, Handsome, and Bone Bouquet.

Farrah Field is the author of Rising (Four Way Books, 2009) and the chapbook Parents (Immaculate Disciples Press, 2011). Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Sink Review, Sixth Finch, and Fou, and two of her poems were included in The Best American Poetry 2011. She lives in Brooklyn, where she co-hosts the event series Yardmeter Editions and is co-owner of Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop. Her second book of poetry is forthcoming from Four Way in 2012.  

Kevin Holden is the author of two chapbooks, Alpine (White Queen) and Identity (Cannibal Books). His work has been published in many magazines and journals, and is forthcoming in the anthology The Arcadia Project from Ahsahta Press. He also translates poetry from Russian and French.  

Gregory Howard has published work in Birkensnake, Tarpaulin Sky, elimae, and Hotel St. George, among others. He is an assistant professor of English and creative writing at the University of Maine.  

Paul Killebrew was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the author of Flowers (Canarium 2010), and he currently resides in Louisiana, where he is a staff attorney at Innocence Project New Orleans.  

Noelle Kocot is the author of five collections of poetry, including Poem for the End of Time and Other Poems (Wave, 2006), Sunny Wednesday (Wave, 2009) and The Bigger World (Wave, 2011); the discography Damon’s Room (Wave, 2010); and a book of translations, Poet by Defaut (Wave, 2011), of the French poet Tristan Corbière. She has received awards from numerous organizations, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fund for Poetry, the American Poetry Review, and the Academy of American Poets. Born and raised in Brooklyn, she now lives in New Jersey and teaches writing in New York.

Dan Magers’s first book of poems, Partyknife, will be published in 2012 by Birds, LLC. He is co-founder and co-editor of Sink Review, an online poetry journal, as well as founder and editor of Immaculate Disciples Press, a handmade chapbook press focused on poetry and visual arts collaborations. He lives in Brooklyn.  

Aubrie Marrin’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Pequod, Western Humanities Review, Guernica, and Colorado Review. She is a graduate of New York University, where she received the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Poetry Prize, and earned her MFA in poetry from Columbia University in 2005. She was a finalist for the 2012 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize. Born and raised in upstate New York, she currently lives and works in Brooklyn.

Patrick Morrissey is the author of Transparency (Cannibal, 2009). He lives in Chicago.

Michael Newton’s gallery reviews appear regularly in Harp & Altar. He also conducts tours of New York’s contemporary art galleries; find him online at www.loculis.com.  

Jenny Nichols
lives in Providence, RI, where she is currently trying to figure out a couple of Kris Kristofferson songs on a church organ.

Sampson Starkweather is a founding editor of Birds, LLC, an independent poetry press. He is the author of Self Help Poems, The Heart is Green From So Much Waiting, City of Moths, and The Photograph. He works at the Center for the Humanities at the CUNY Graduate Center, where he helps organize the Annual Chapbook Festival and Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative.

Mamie Tinkler’s recent group exhibitions include “Day of the Locust” at White Flag Projects in St. Louis and “Drawings, Drawings, Photographs” at Rachel Uffner Gallery and “Painted Pictures” at Blackston Gallery, both in New York. Born in Tennessee, she received her BA from Columbia University and her MFA from Hunter College, and now lives and works in Queens.  

Jared White lives in Brooklyn, where he co-curates Yardmeter Editions and has recently founded a bookstore, Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Esque, Coconut, We Are So Happy to Know Something, Action,Yes, and elsewhere. His chapbook Yellowcake appeared in Narwhal from Cannibal Books in 2009. He blogs sometimes at jaredswhite.blogspot.com.  
Overcoming Your Lack of Personal Freedom
Jenny Nichols

Now, what I'd like you to do is untie your hands. If you can't get the knot undone then you may have to saw through it. Rubbing the rope back and forth across any sharp object should do. There. Isn't that better? You will immediately notice how much more effective you feel. In just one simple step, you've created a world of difference for yourself. Besides just feeling better, you'll find you're now able to do all of the things you never dreamed you could do while your hands were still tied behind your back. So go ahead, take the next step. Remove your gag and take off your blindfold. Once you've achieved these three simple goals, as if by magic, you'll be able to see, breathe freely, and speak, as well as use your hands for any number of important and useful tasks. Look how easy it is now to untie your legs from the chair beneath you.

Now that you've overcome the limitations of being bound, blindfolded, and gagged, your new feelings of empowerment and self assuredness may give way to a sense of frustration and futility. You may find that your hard earned, newly acquired range of movement has won you nothing more than an even keener sense of the four foot by three foot by three foot cage that you're in. Don't surrender to this defeatist attitude. A free man with the full rights of a citizen is someone who thinks like a free man with the full rights of a citizen. If you project a positive self image that says, I am someone who can both stand and lie down at full length, I am someone who is able to sleep at regular intervals, I am someone who has access to both food and hygienic facilities, then you will become that person. However, if you project a negative self image, if you are subtly telling the world around you, I am a person who has been locked in a cage made for animals, I am a person whose family does not know if I am alive or dead, I am a person who is kept awake by a randomly occurring, deafening noise and beaten by men I cannot see or hear, I am a person who, given the slightest chance, would beat my head against any solid object until I was dead because I cannot endure this for even one second longer, then that is how the world will treat you.

So let's try. Repeat after me: I am a person who still has the full use of his hands, despite loss of circulation for an indeterminate period of time. I am a person whose arms and ribs and will have not yet been broken. I am a person who has retained an accurate sense of space and time. I am a person in full control of both my motor skills and my reason.

Congratulations. You're well on your way.


This work originally appeared in the 2006 edition of Listen Up, a publication of the Cranbrook Academy of Art, guest edited by Brian Evenson.