Alex, a third-year English major, shares his piece recently published in Carroll’s Century Magazine.

100,000 Miles Strong

In a cold winter dawn
and an empty gut,
she won’t awaken this morning.

Her temper flares, smoke out the tail.
She’s a wheezing migraine.
Kick her.

We stop at the diner for a refuel.
It is six in the morning.
She’s hot and I’m hungry

Tattooed, and crude in a blueskin hue,
we’ll be together
until she gives out in the middle of nowhere.

But with a gentle shoulder rub
and a steer in either direction,
she’ll purr through the night.



Tanya, a second-year English major, shares her piece from Carroll’s Century Magazine.

Car Accident

You are whoozy.
Your world becomes a 3-D movie,
and you, with no glasses, see
blurred silhouettes in blue and red,
like the color of your bruised lips
that taste like liquid iron.

You hang,
suspended by your safety belt.
It bites into your shoulder
like apprehensive spectators
tear mercilessly into popcorn.

You crawl out in a daze
of residual adrenaline,
into the oblivious world
of 2 or 3 or 4 AM.

Steven, a third-year English major, shares one of two recently published poems in Carroll’s Century Magazine.


Remember how, once, you’d caress
yourself in the depths of evening and hormones –
insatiable impulse demanded touch, such sinful flesh

concealed beneath blankets while you were alone;
where your hand found no inspiration in breasts –
fat, milky things – yet it was somehow reverent

of that tower, exploring it generously as if to attest
structural integrity, as if to declare it perfect
in its form – it kept your own standing tall

to imagine the architecture of others’ towers,
to simulate, stimulate those pressures on your walls
where you assumed happiness hid like treasure.

This is who and what you are, for better or for worse:
so remember now to touch, feel, know yourself first.

One Art
by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Besides National Poetry Month, April is also Jazz Appreciation Month. Naturally, poetry has it roots in song. Poets continually admire jazz for its resemblance to verse set in contemporary musical motion. NPR honors the intersection between these two forms in “5 Points Where Poetry Meets Jazz.” Listen to the creative collaborations here.

Phong Nguyen visits Carroll

Phong Nguyen, a short story writer and author of Pages from the Textbook of Alternate History, visited Carroll University to share his book with students and the public. Following his reading, he held a Q&A session regarding his collection of short stories and the art of writing.

One audience member asked Nguyen about his take on originality and if he had ever ceased to write something because it had “already been done.”

As writers, there is often the issue that an idea has already been written and written well. But what if we didn’t always have to be original? What if writing something that has been done before could be done again, perhaps shedding some new light onto the topic or idea?

Nguyen answered the question by pointing to an essay written by Jonathan Lethem, an American novelist, who writes about this idea in “The Ecstasy of Influence: A plagiarism.” On the first page, Lethem poses the argument that “literature has always been a crucible in which familiar themes are continually recast.” He suggests the continual recasting “might be said of all art.” He asks us to “consider the remarkable series of ‘plagiarisms’ that links Ovid’s Pyramus and Thisbe with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story.” If these are examples of plagiarism, then we want more plagiarism.

What do you think about Lethem’s assertion? Check out his full work in Harper’s Magazine, and post your comments below.

by Karla Huston
favored by BJ Best

Now as the ice begins its slow
spring shrinking from the lakeshore,

fishermen will drop anchor and like spiders
cast their lines, and the boys will be found,

the two who disappeared one November
storm ago. When they are discovered,

their families might finally be released from grief,
finally free to let them go, but a different

ache will lure them, and they will know
there is no getting beyond the pull of the shore.

And the boys—they are tired of floating
under the water’s thick shell, tired

of sturgeon gnawing their skin, tired of their
thin and drifting hair, of hands grasping

at prayers. They’ll be glad to be found–
if the dead are glad of anything–

after all those months of freefall,
the rising that always comes in spring.


Read more from this Wisconsin poet here.