purple_slice_2.png

3 poems
by
Trevor Ketner

Trevor Ketner is the author of [WHITE] (University of Georgia Press, 2021), which was selected as a winner of the National Poetry Series by Forrest Gander. They have been published in The Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day, Brooklyn Rail, New England Review, Ninth Letter, West Branch, Pleiades, Diagram, Foglifter, and elsewhere. A 2020 Lambda Literary Fellow, they have been a Poets House Emerging Poets Fellow, Emerge-Surface-Be Fellow for The Poetry Project, and a Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts Fellow. They hold an MFA from the University of Minnesota and live in Manhattan with their husband.

Author's note: These poems, what I call “divinations,” were created with the assistance of an online anagramming tool and the source text of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets. The first line of the corresponding Shakespearean sonnet is borrowed as the title for each divination. The rule I set was to anagram line-by-line, so each line of the divination has all of the same letters as the corresponding line in the Shakespearean sonnet. After entering a line from Shakespeare into the anagrammer, I’d be presented with a group of words, a lexical pool, and would then select words I was interested in or that held heat or resonance with my themes. After selecting a word, the anagramming tool would refresh and present a new list of available words. I’d continue this way editing and shaping the line until I’d used all the letters.

[O, that you were yourself! but, love, you are]

everywhere you auto to boy—a foul lust

 

a green notsolo—honey fur, hurry—you sell

a promiscuous gay pelt—hind and sight and one

moonseed—customary wet—beast / heron leg—

hunt—shout—holy boyish thaw / a lucid doe—

edenhoney / tin moon in tidewater—fur

(grayness)—fractured leaf / eye—i foul oases /

worry the forest—use swishy menu—use woe—

sea, cutoffs, wood hysteria: all a hole—

hold dry, human hour with phonic bushing

(drag gown testament)—satisfy us, history /

carnal algebra—herd of otters and need—

bounty found (homo vein) / true rye stalk—

yes, you, stone (oh, rust), a foal, a hydra.

[But wherefore do not you a mightier way]

a wood whim / fur ruby—eyetooth: a rooting—

you: wetter land marks it by moon at hip—

fairy, not furry—deify doe lunacy so

she embers—braid my horns—a remnant / welt—

sunday top hunt—oh we spay hot—no proof

needed—snug asymmetry—a tannin ad (

wine, obviously)—virtuous rut—whir—hid awl

in helmet (horror)—cute unpunk—i cite fat day

to eat fire—lush hole-fit—holiness fled

to limp, runic nipple, mystic hip—he hews

wood (water ruin, water rind)—thin, fair horn—

elkfoal fusion—use eye in memory cave—

get oily fur wet (silvers easy)—you speak of

bewilderment—you vary wounds—you swan.

[As an unperfect actor on the stage]

neon gutshatter—a forest can cape—

a host whips side / hip sweat—i brushfire—

homo titlop—sweet crone urge—i-me-he rift

(chews a stone)—house, hewn, stands breaking—

forages frost roots (ate fury of it)—

river / pelt ceremony sootheeffect—

removes stones (gentle moan)—twin hind,

hew branchwood, finger men—i veloured

hole—ebb too meek—chest queenly (not

drag / pass)—beer’s tang / musk—pride money

(cop parade)—moonfrond hevowel—folklore:

throat moth—to taunt organ am he / them / her

alternative netherworld—howl as oath /

hole—i trans so theysweet—bone, fog, veil.