National Poetry Month Spotlight: Travis Cebula & Sarah Suzor

Welcome to National Poetry Month, 2015! We’re celebrating all month long. Each day we will bring you a poem we love–a selection from one of our published or forthcoming collections. In turn, the featured poets will introduce poems they love. Happy April!
Today’s featured poets are Travis Cebula and Sarah Suzor, authors of After the Fox.
After the Fox Cover 2You don’t agree.
Nocturnal, there is always a dance.
In this city
the second thing you can be certain of
is regret.
Go on,
talk about all the hands you’ve held.
All the lessons you’ve learned.
All the streets. All the slick, slick streets.
But don’t tell me you’ve buried
My biggest regret,
ever or again,
is believing you.
I don’t drink cognac. Remember?
And ladies never hail cabs.
Neon and streetlamps mean nothing
in the light of the sunrise.
Build me a fire, will you?
There is always water.
Don’t you see the bridges?
Don’t you know why they’re there?
Don’t you see,
this city is just like you.
And you are just like me,
At least I admit my tender opposite.
At least I admit the dance.
In other words, Nocturnal,
I know the difference between
what is alive and what is buried.
I hear the cries. I hear the heart beat.
Barefoot for the first or last time,
let’s talk about the things that haunt us.
In other words,
let’s talk about the consequences.
In any case,
even in another language,
what’s done is done, so
“why” doesn’t matter.
It’s always afterthought,
it’s a streetlamp at sunrise.
The third certainty is I will follow you.
I will admit you when you knock.
Don’t you see?
After thought, there sits only darkness.
We will finally arrive in one city
where we will be alike:
opposites, and tender.
There is no sun there, no cab,
no red neon fading to smoke.
No one will call sewer steam
beautiful there, even if it is honest,
even if its neck is fragile and so unlike
whatever else we’ve stolen. I admit now
when we stop to pick up coins
we hear all the hearts beat.
Even our own.
We both see holes
through people. You can’t deny
I remember a bare shoulder or being so tired
I had to finish the cognac,
watching your back as you danced.
And you can’t deny I rarely dance.
But that was my cognac. I held it in my cold hand.
I shouldn’t have to tell you.
In other words, that wasn’t the first.
I don’t regret the last chance tango, the come and go.
The full rooms, the sublime trance, or
the city inversed so the rain
fell on the inside. Just like you
rehearsed. Morning, I believe
there is always an ocean
around us, even now.
I can hear its shell. I believe
in the consequences of regret,
I believe in you. I believe in your wet feet
and the next step.
Guess exactly what I want from you, and in return
I’ll make it so you can only die once.
Sarah has chosen to introduce: 3 Tanka by Joshua Marie Wilkinson

She says: I have enjoyed Joshua Marie Wilkinson’s work for about a decade now. To me, his work deals with the notion of nostalgia in a compelling contemporary, but not too contemporary, tone. He reflects reflection, deflects it, all of which causes his readers to question their own responsibility by choosing to interact such a text, story, or world. 

Travis has chosen to introduce: “Excerpts from Sir” by HR Hegnauer
He says: What strikes me first about HR Hegnauer’s poetry is its earnestness, followed almost immediately by the realization that the voice is completely open to the realities of human experience and interaction, be they joyful or harrowing. What seals the deal is the skill which she employs to link these realities to beautifully crafted language. Sound and life come together. If you ever have a chance to hear her read in person, don’t miss out.

tpic2014Travis Cebula lives with his wife and trusty dogs in Colorado, where he writes, edits and teaches creative writing. He graduated from the MFA program at Naropa University in 2009—the same year he founded Shadow Mountain Press, a small press that focuses on hand-made editions of poetry chapbooks. His poetry, stories, essays, reviews, and photography have appeared internationally. He is the author of four full-length collections of poetry, including Ithaca, One Year in a Paper Cinema, and After the Fox with Sarah Suzor. You can find him in Paris every summer teaching with the Left Bank Writers Retreat.

Sarah Suzor’snewauthorphoto full-length collection of poetry, The Principle Agent, won the 2010 Hudson Prize, and was published by Black Lawrence Press in 2011. She is also the author of multiple chapbooks including It was the season, then. (EtherDome Chapbooks) and Isle of Dogs (Toadlily Press). Her poetry can be found in various online and print journals as well as anthologized and translated. After the Fox (Black Lawrence Press) is her most current release, and a collaborative effort with Travis Cebula. Suzor was born in Sheridan, WY, but resides in Venice, CA. She also teaches creative writing workshops throughout the states, and at the Left Bank Writers Retreat in Paris, France.