Brian Henry has published more than 150 poems in magazines around the world, including The Paris Review, The Yale Review, American Poetry Review, New American Writing, Volt, Stand, Poetry Ireland Review, and Meanjin. His poetry has been collected in several anthologies and translated into Russian, Croatian, and Slovenian. His first book of poetry, Astronaut, was recently published in the UK by Arc Publications and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize. Astronaut has been published in Slovenia in translation by Mondena Publishing and will appear in early 2002 from Carnegie Mellon University Press. Arc will publish his second book, Graft, in 2003.

He regularly reviews poetry for the Times Literary Supplement, The Kenyon Review, and Boston Review. He has edited the international magazine Verse since 1995, and founded Verse Press in 2000. He currently teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Georgia.

Two Poems by Brian Henry


In due course one admits the sex was magnificent

Borrowed from fandangos of chance

Markers soak through your sweatered chest

Frost heaves burst from the back yard's muddle

To meet and discuss the status of hands

You wept when you gleaned what he meant

My sentiments exactly heading west

Though not often enmeshed in such a meddle

The formal entourage retiring too early

Beyond the borders of suburban power outages

That cluster of hawks swoops toward the deer

For carcasses are all that we all that we

Bless the conceptual artist for his brazen images

Know there is no knowing here


A sense of latency followed him, unwieldy and unwilling to yield.
"Jackpot" his word, it turned up in his sentences, his pockets.

Unwieldy and unwilling to yield, he wrote to rid himself of the word.
In his sentences, his pockets, it returned. In his sleep.

He wrote to rid himself of the word, and on certain days he walked,
And returned in his sleep, then walked a bit further until he tired of walking.

And on certain days he talked to the breeze at the back of his ear,
And talked a bit further until he tired of talking. The sound of a piñata spilling.

The breeze at the back of his ear continued unnoticed, he thought he could hear
The sound of a piñata spilling, the lottery ticket scratching itself in the corner.

Continuing unnoticed, he thought he could hear "jackpot!" (his word) turn up,
The lottery ticket scratching itself in the corner, a sense of latency following him.