From the Archives

All That’s Old Comes New Again 

Poems by many of America’s leading poets have appeared on the pages of Slant over the years. This month, we recall a member of the editorial board and revisit a debut poem from our third issue, published in the Summer of 1989.

Monroe K. Spears

Monroe K. Spears

The distinguished professor and literary critic Monroe K. Spears joined Gwendolyn Brooks, Marge Piercy, and others on the editorial board of Slant for that issue. Spears began his career as an English professor at the University of Wisconsin, followed by a stint at Vanderbilt University. He then joined the faculty at Sewanee: The University of the South, where he was the editor of the Sewanee Review from 1952 to 1961. He was the Libbie Shearn Moody Professor of English at Rice University from 1964 to 1986. Spears was the author of several books about American and British poetry and poets, including W. H. Auden and Matthew Prior. He was also a contributor to The New York Review of Books and was a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

Andrea Hollander

Andrea Hollander

Andrea Hollander, who also joined the editorial board for the Summer 1989 issue, contributed her first poem to Slant at the same time. Andrea was born in Berlin, Germany, to American parents and raised in the United States. She earned a BS in English and education from Boston University and an MA in comparative literature and oral interpretation from the University of Colorado. Her poetry collections include the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize–winning House Without a Dreamer (1993), The Other Life (2001), Woman in the Painting (2006), Landscape with Female Figure: New and Selected Poems, 1982-2012, and Blue Mistaken for Sky (2018). She is also the editor of the anthology When She Named Fire: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry by American Women (2009). Andrea has won two fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as two Arkansas Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowships in Poetry. For 22 years, she was a writer-in-residence at Lyon College in Arkansas. She now lives in Portland, Oregon.

So, You Write

So, you write a poem about “the deceased”

as if in doing so your grief will end

on that finished page, brief with its monosyllables

and its assonance and its tight end rhymes.

There’s a relief in thinking you will be released

so easily, but deep, deep at the core

of your sleep you know that poem goes on

without your pen. Like a dream or a prayer

set out hard against all that is weighing down

against it, it is a page without edge, without end,

that you must fill. At the core

nothing is finished. It hangs about you,

a loose rope, threatening. And it will keep you

there, aiming yourself away from that same hole,

deep and immeasurable, as you strain to see ahead.