Cassandra Atherton

Cassandra Atherton was a Harvard Visiting Scholar in English in 2016. She has written seven books of prose poetry and is the current poetry editor of Westerly and is co-writing Prose Poetry: An Introduction for Princeton University Press.

Childhood Playmate | 童年玩伴

Translated by Gu Yiwei and Cassandra Atherton Death, is another child, with a thin face Occasionally he comes to play with me, knocks three times, moderate and regular, forming a habit Like the scar on his forehead that is uncovered …

Posted in HOMINGS & DEPARTURES | Tagged , ,


The snow turns our year into white noise. Like the echo chamber in your noise cancelling earphones, the bliss is whitewashed with flurries of snow. My body becomes powdered chalk; your touch is desiccated. On First Night, I watch the …

Posted in 86: NO THEME VII | Tagged

EKPHRASTIC Editorial: Poetry that Sees

In ancient Greece ekphrasis was understood more broadly than in the contemporary world, indicating a complex genealogy for this term that encompasses so much fine poetry as well as many other forms of writing.

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‘The atomic landscape … does not allow me to rest’: Kurihara Sadako and the Hibakusha Poet as Public Intellectual

The 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima was marked by a solemn ceremony in the Hiroshima Peace Park on 6 August, 2015.

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X-Codes, or Katrina Crosses

You survive the flooding of the Lower Ninth Ward by taking cover in the bottom quadrant of my heart. Body count zero, I scrawl, to let people know you are safe. I’m your search squad, your protection against natural hazards, …

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Submission to Cordite 56.1: EKPHRASTIC

Poetry for Cordite 56.1: EKPHRASTIC is guest-edited by Paul Hetherington and Cassandra Atherton. NOTE: due to the nature of what we’re seeking, we’re going to be accepting submissions to this special issue for a considerable amount of time; submissions close …

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Review Short: Clive James’s Sentenced to Life: Poems 2011-2014

Clive James’s Sentenced to Life is a poetic autopathography outlining his years living with emphysema and leukemia. While illness biographies ‘present information about diagnosis, treatment and outcome trajectories’, more importantly, they ‘share how the illness has affected the sufferer’s wider life course, social network and views of health care institutions.’, as Rachel Hall-Clifford puts it in her Autopathographies: How ‘Sick Lit’ Shapes Knowledge of the Illness Experience. However, James’s poetry is most often centred on his personal discomfort, regrets and ultimately his quest for reassurance that his writing and memory will survive his death.

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Cassandra Atherton Reviews Anne Elvey

The kinship Elvey forges between her poems and ecological criticism lends both rigour and reverence to her first full-length collection of poetry. There is a radiant stasis at the core of her poems that encourages the reader to listen to the susurration of multiple, overlapping conversations to which Elvey is contributing.

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Review Short: Cath Kenneally’s eaten cold

In The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism, T. S. Eliot famously wrote, ‘Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.’

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after ‘Midday’ by So˘ Cho˘ngju. When you leave me, part of your heart will still beat in the empty space between my sheets. When you go, the imprint of your body will throb in the darkness on the mattress next …

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