Poem Suite: Retold – The Feminist Wire

Poem Suite: Retold

In our Poem Suites, we bring together the voices of emerging and established poets exploring a common theme. In today’s Poem Suite, three poets consider familiar stories reconceived, reimagined, and retold.


Fable of the Flying Fox

By Amber West



He fancies himself.                         .paedophagus pirate

.       crack ornithologist.                                           .a seaman, really

navigating the tangled branches.         .the wind in his nose carrying him  along

     each unguarded nest.                           .a deserted isle aplenty

He tucks one egg between his cheek and gums like chew

careful not to break it.                                              .onwards in search of

.        .complementary flavors.       . interspecial mingling for his mouth



Full in the hollowed shell of a nest

          he falls asleep.                                          ;paws and chin dripping

dreams his tail a sail.                              .catches a lunar wind

our galaxy, his interplanetary buffet:

.                                   Pluto.            .the bluebird flittering down his throat

Saturn’s rings    . silver feathers.   .collaring the eagle’s succulent breast



When he wakes

.                   to her talon tickling his chin

.                                                               mama unzips his fur like a coat



kate-by-riverWalt Whitman’s Yearning

By  Rebecca Gould


Today I am

Walt Whitman’s yearning

I am not his beatific

apricot buried in the bottom

of a garbage dump,

not the overmastered all-souled

supermanned Emerson,

Nietzsche who doesn’t weep.


I am desperate and feminine.

Good at wanting, at walking

toward no solid end, at obeying

stripped arrows pointing to

the dead end café

where I eat all night

wait for him, my Walt,

my not another man

my self I never could stand

my I thought it was you

I thought it was Whitman

my his voice canonized to cry,

shaped to recognize you before

you had a chance to die,

before you pandered to existence.


I am not Walt who taught himself

that one in all is one,

that two is impossible,

Walt happy to live.

I am Walt, the killing force,

the lonely effervescence that repels

who bore down the earth on his

weighted dumb bells,

who made everyone kneel,

few willing to give.



Mary, Huntress, Captures A Mystery

By Rachael Watson


Sun silks a glint-gleam trim

Limning live bone lithe limb,

Bow-body curve-cradling

Spear of desire.


Now sharp dart-heart coursing,

Over land’space racing,

Pit-filling, point-razing,

Chasing her prey.


Blind eyes and twitchless feet,

Nose and mouth under sheet,

Blood-brim awaiting beat,

Praying her prey.


She, seeing him, spears him,

Slays, eats, makes meal of him,

Heart hurled straight-strait to Him-

Self in her all in him.



west_a[1]Amber West is a native Californian poet, playwright, feminist, and educator. Her writing has been published in journals such as Calyx and Puppetry International, and in edited collections such as Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013), Episodes from a History of Undoing: The Heritage of Female Subversiveness (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012), and The Routledge Companion to Puppetry & Material Performance (forthcoming, 2014). She earned her MFA in Poetry at NYU, and is currently a doctoral candidate at UConn where her research focuses on feminist poetry, puppetry, and hybrid performance. Her plays and “puppet poems” have been performed in theaters in NYC and SF. She has taught creative writing in underserved public schools for many years through nonprofits such as America SCORES and Community Word Project. She lives in Brooklyn, NY where she is co-founder of the artist collective, Alphabet Arts, and director of the annual Puppets & Poets festival at The Bushwick Starr (


1 Rebecca GouldRebecca Gould is a translator of Persian, Russian, and Georgian poetry, as well as a scholar, critic, and writer. Her work has appeared in The Hudson Review,The Gettysburg ReviewGuernica, and Literary Imagination, among many other venues. Her translated volume After Tomorrow the Days Disappear: Poems of Hasan Sijzi of Delhi is forthcoming from Northwestern University Press in 2014. Gould has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Association of Literary Translators, and is currently Assistant Professor in the Humanities at Yale-NUS College in Singapore.


rachel watson photoRachael Watson, missing her calling as a Dionysian maenad by several millenia, has turned more – or less? – prosaically to life as a mother of two. She has a BA in History from Magdalen College, Oxford. This, combined with experience of cultural and religious whiplash and an MA in Theology, has amounted to an enduring interest in the meaning and formation of personal identity. She is currently researching the role and impact of the Roman Carnival in the life of Philip Neri, and its implications for contemporary forms of spirituality and asceticism.wment for the Humanities and the American Association of Literary Translators, and is currently Assistant Professor in the Humanities at Yale-NUS College in Singapore.