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Hot Preview of Muse /A 1.2

Hot Preview of Muse /A 1.2

We’re aflame at Muse /A Journal (pronounced ‘myoo-zay’) over the hearty relevance and lyrical power of the art in issue two, so we’re sharing this preview with y’all (pronounced ‘yawl’). After launching issue one by myself at last year’s AWP (‘hot’ ‘garbage’), I’ve been fortunate to add two genre editors in Marissa Hewatt (Poetry) and Anya Vostrova Chambers (Lyric Essay). Justin Fredericksen has also been instrumental in helping us establish a web presence. We can be found at

Once Anya sat the team down with the artwork of Richard Selesnick & Nicolas Kahn, issue two started to really make sense. We decided to #runnit. We’re also in the process of designing some vintage, soft, high-style t-shirts. Please email me at if you know you’ll want to shell out like fiddy for one. (They’ll be 15 U.S. dollars currency.)

We did solicit a few rockstars. Still, true to our mission of publishing primarily emerging artists, we’ve got some mud-earnest field hands and buckskin-habilled herdsfolk with the mange. (Obviously not true.) Our brilliant contributors are:

/Adam Vines & Allen Jih /Maggie Woodward /Joshua Aiken /Carey Scott Wilkerson /Patty Paine /Brandon Courtney /Richard Selesnick & Nicolas Kahn /Tammy Robacker /Chukwuma Ndulue /Frederic Levesque /Tatiana Ryckman /Noah Blaustein /Caleb Beissert /Julie Bloemeke /Kelly Nelson

The poems (not pronounced ‘pomes’ or ‘poe-ims’) below are the work of Patty Paine and Brandon Courtney, respectively. Art is by Richard Selesnick & Nicolas Kahn.

For poets and lyric essayists, we’re currently accepting lyric essays and will open in December for poetry.

richard selesnick - memory_palace_1500 copy

Memento Mori

Did I tell you about cigar boxes
stacked like old books?
The pressboard covers hinged
with bits of leather.
Did I mention the palimpsest
of tape scars and shellac? How could I not
imagine him preparing, itemizing, sorting, filing?
One box, stones from hills
outside Sacramento, summer, 1958.
Another, long-horned
beetles composed in a circle.
Others, small bones, tissue paper, thread….
Insects riddled some with holes, left
traces of brown powder
on cotton-sheeting. I need to tell
you about the pathos of decay, its poetics
of display. No matter
how careful the fabrication,
everything turns to dust.

-Patty Paine

richard selesnick - jellyfish_1500 copy


Wrapped in burial blues, a uniform
meant for winter, the few medals

he’s earned pinned to wool,
invisible, his corpse is crushed

like October leaves inside a body
bag that reeks of burning tires,

rustles like tracing paper. Soon,
his body will teach soil how to be silent.

I touch the long heaven
of his casket, touch its lid the way

wind leeches speech from spruce
trees. I clench my teeth:

a snow that will not melt. Twice I say
his name, twice I say I’m sorry,

speaking into the coffin’s wood grain
as if into the auricles of his ear.

-Brandon Courtney

Gregg Murray
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