Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Why We Chose It: “A Slow Poem” by Daniel Liebert

By Matt Valades, Poetry Editor

Back in the pre-virus Fall of 2019, a seemingly distant past grown fond and yellow at the edges, when the coming year held only promise instead of plague, the poetry editors here at The Greensboro Review sat down less than six feet from editor-in-chief Terry Kennedy to discuss and select poems. I happened to bring up “A Slow Poem” by Daniel Liebert, one of a series of similar short prose poems in his submission. While many of these poems stayed with us, both Julia, my coeditor, and I admired this one most, the first in the set.

“A Slow Poem” struck us for its economy as well as its tension between the casual voice and intense, lucid images that, as Terry brought up in our meeting, raise the stakes over the course of the poem. This poem, unusually, does not have an “I” in it, no involved speaker for the reader to identify with. Instead, the separate images in the poem’s hypothetical poem become more specific as it proceeds from “a madman scrubbed and suited for visitor’s day,” then culminates in final lines that are simply unforgettable. The circular, repeating syntax and phrasing describes a poem in the act of its own making, which fits well with its quiet build. A lack of sentimentality but a powerful feeling comes from this poem, despite being only four short sentence fragments. We finished reading it together feeling curiously satisfied but not quite sure how, a good sign.

We chose it to close out the issue for its sense of closure with a lightness of touch. Hopefully, the poem’s care and power offers some much-needed (though temporary) satisfaction to readers of Issue 107. We think it will.


Matt Valades is a poet and recent MFA graduate from The University of North Carolina – Greensboro. His poems have been published in Subtropics and Carolina Quarterly, while a review of his has appeared in PN Review (UK).

Announcing the annual Robert Watson Literary Awards

We’re very pleased to announce this year’s Robert Watson Literary Prize Winners:

Brendan Egan, for his story, “War Rugs

Emily Nason, for her poem, “Sertraline


Read their work in full in the Spring 2020 issue , which also features new stories and poems from Helen Marie Casey, Janine Certo, Lee Anne Gallaway-Mitchell, Will Hearn, Daniel Liebert, Robert Garner McBrearty, Elisabeth Murawski, Maxine Patroni, David Roderick, Cathy Rose, Neil Serven, and Alice Turski.

Happy pub day to Jennie Malboeuf

Congrats to , whose debut collection, God had a body, is out today from Indiana University Press!

“Animals in Captivity,” appeared in the GR 106 this past fall.

“There is a fierce spirituality and mordant wit in God had a body, Jennie Malboeuf’s first book of poems. Here is a poet with a transformative vision of divine and earthly enterprise as well as a sharp eye for the repercussions of physical detail.  Malboeuf’s use of enactments and embodiments—actions and images—startle and awaken the reader to a powerful new voice in American poetry. What a glorious debut collection.”

Stuart Dischell, author of Children with Enemies

Event Spotlight: David Gewanter with Special Guest Emily Cinquemani

Emily Cinquemani, former GR poetry editor and MFA Writing Program alumna, will be reading with visiting poet David Gewanter this Thursday evening, October 10 at 7PM at Scuppernong Books. This evening of poetry is free and open to the public.

Emily Cinquemani’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Indiana Review, Southern Indiana Review, Nashville Review, 32 Poems, Cherry Tree, and Meridian. She teaches at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

David Gewanter is author of four books of poetry: Fort Necessity (2018), War Bird (2009), The Sleep of Reason (2003), and In the Belly (1997), all published by the University of Chicago Press; and co-editor, with Frank Bidart, of Robert Lowell: Collected Poems (Farrar Straus & Giroux, Faber & Faber, 2003). He earned a B.A. in Intellectual History from the University of Michigan, an M.A. and Ph.D. in English at U.C. Berkeley, and then ran writing programs at Harvard. His work appears in Threepenny Review, Poetry Magazine, Boston Review, TriQuarterly, New England Review, Kenyon Review,, and elsewhere. He is currently a professor of English at Georgetown University.

Why We Chose It: “my other mouth //” by Maya Salameh

By Michael Pittard, Poetry Editor

One of the most exciting poems I came across while reading for Issue 105 was a gorgeous and thundering piece by Maya Salameh. “my other mouth //” is a poem unafraid to deal with the complex realities of being of Arabic lineage, confronting its reader with both beautiful language, syntax, and images but also with dark, brutal scenes and diction, as in the following lines: “…my Arabic loves like mint / in stalks & leaves / a mouthful of holy water / the splintering of ships / the crucifix / on my grandfather’s wrist /.” Language and culture create our ideas of self-hood, and Maya’s poem breaks down both society’s desire to fully embrace differences but also its desire to ignore them completely.

There is so much that is human and vibrant in this poem that stands out at first blush, and on subsequent re-reads Maya’s skillful wordplay and more nuanced arguments emerge: “/ if you ask me if I am fluent in Arabic / I will tell you / I am a poet / & a poet owes a language her tongue / hands / toes / I will say / before its arrival / the world was prose /.” The poem’s form, with line break notation embedded in the lines, argues against Western poetic tradition but doesn’t completely reject it either. The poem’s speaker, and Maya, understands that people, places, and the world can be more than one thing at any given time. Yet they are not bashful about standing up for what they believe in. It is one thing to be young and full of passion, as Maya so clearly is, but it is another to be young, full of passion, and capable of seeing the world in all of its complications. The Greensboro Review loves to elevate lesser-known (and often lesser-heard) voices, and Maya Salameh, at the time of publication a college freshman, is a poet clearly on the rise.


Michael Pittard is a recent MFA graduate of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His poems and reviews have appeared in such publications as Tupelo Quarterly and Red Flag Poetry. He lives in Greensboro with his cat, Roosevelt.

Congratulations to the winners of our Robert Watson Literary Prizes

We’re very pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Robert Watson Literary Prizes, including a cash prize of $1,000 for the best short story and poem published in our spring issue. This year’s awards go to:

Sarah Heying, for the story, “The Chair Kickers’ Tale

All of us at The Greensboro Review are proud to showcase the work of these talented writers!

The reading period for the next Robert Watson Literary Prizes is open now through September 15. Please visit Submittable to send us your work.

Spring 2019 / Issue 105