PEN Poetry Series

Once a week, the PEN Poetry Series publishes work by emerging and established writers from coast to coast. The series is edited by Danniel Schoonebeek, along with guest editors TC Tolbert, Dawn Lundy Martin, and Brian Blanchfield. Subscribe to the PEN Poetry Series mailing list and have poems delivered to your email as soon as they're published. Submissions are currently closed, but please feel free to familiarize yourself with our submission guidelines. Our current response time is about 3-6 months. Please follow up with info@pen.org if you haven't heard from us after six months. 

January 12, 17

Where I'm from / We have little use / For poetry / The old man on the train / Said after asking / What I do for a living and / I told him I worked stock / After a pause / He no longer wanted / To talk Read More  »

January 4, 17

It was an election year. The switchboards flickered with stars in their / universe of calls. Of all places, a public park. The workers had begun / to dig, to lay the electrical, to invigorate the place with energy. Light / it up. Read More  »

December 28, 16

Yesterday I lost two lights / when I ripped the yellow ones / out / Now it’s just me / and a borrowed mile // I think the sailors are okay / This is what I see: one sterile boat / one wooden boat and yellow / cars coming through both Read More  »

December 21, 16

It is not the fire itself you smell in your wool coat. / The fire itself is no body, / no site for war. // The gall, the dread, / I can’t see it in the street, / in the waiting lines, /in the stairwell /of my complex. // Only the rat’s head is left...Read More  »

December 14, 16

Turn your languid body / on the dark pond / for lack of wave or ripple, / as your whiteness fades / in the still water / and your undone hair / recedes into the lilies. Read More  »

December 7, 16

You are / to me / a big ‘how’ / (like no one / —they say— / asks a billionaire / why they made / 2 billion dollars / they just ask / how) // Oh how I / used to think / I needed / someone to / hold my hands / to the piano / at the bar / that...Read More  »

November 30, 16

An attempt was made. I told S that we are not / the sum total of our mistakes. I said it / as I believe I am the sum total of my mistakes. / I consulted Lisa Robertson for guidance: / “The truth is, everything that isn’t poetry bores me.” / I...Read More  »

November 16, 16

I was gone and when I came back / you’d voted for the wrong politicians! So many men! / Had I slept for five minutes and found you / on the subway saying all the wrong things or / in the meadow to the starlings? Read More  »

November 10, 16

Now, I have always loved the sea. I save whom I can. A baby be damned without a mother. A mother be damned without her child. A man be damned without a country. A country be damned without a people. A nation of no one trickle north and the long arm...Read More  »

November 2, 16

Today the PEN Poetry Series busts out the noisemakers and tissues and sends up a wail of booming thanks and gratitude to poets TC Tolbert, Dawn Lundy Martin, and Brian Blanchfield. Read More  »


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