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Rae Armantrout Four New Poems

Real Life

A dreamer never wonders
what she will do
after her dream.

A dream can be banal, repetitive
and still be totally engrossing.

This is not to say
it seems real.

A dreamer holds no such belief.

The dream’s POV
may or may not
be lodged in an image.

These avatars, when they do appear,
are discontinuous,
clearly unnecessary.

A dream needs only
your attention.

In a dream there is no sleep.

The Artemis

Brands are what
gods used to be—

with outsized personalities.

Artemis, goddess of virgins,
childbirth, and the hunt.

This makes sense
if you squint

along the shaft.

She might have stood
on the hood

of a sleek car,
but didn’t.

It’s true things fall apart.

Still, by thinking
we heat ourselves up.


Over eons, consciousness
developed as a ride-along.

Eyewitness testimony
has been thoroughly discredited


Black fir branches feathery
on dusk’s blanched
sky—a drawn

And the acrobatic bats



“How are you today?”
she says to the deer



“Hurry, this code
ends soon!”

Rae Armantrout’s most recent books, Versed, Money Shot, Just Saying, Itself, Partly: New and Selected Poems, Entanglements, (a chapbook selection of poems in conversation with physics), and Wobble were published by Wesleyan University Press. Wobble, a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award, was selected by Library Journal as one of the best poetry books of 2018. In 2010 her book Versed won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and The National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2007 Armantrout received a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. Her poems have appeared in many anthologies and journals including Poetry,Conjunctions, Lana Turner, The Nation, The New Yorker, Bomb, Harper’s,The Paris Review, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology, The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of Poetry Magazine, several volumes of The Best American Poetry, etc. Her Paris Review interview in “The Art of Poetry” series will appear in December, 2019. She is recently retired from UC San Diego where she was professor of poetry and poetics. She now lives in the Seattle area.
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