Poetry Only – Fall 2023

Fall 2022. Vol. 46 No.2

Welcome to volume 46.2 of CV2, our annual Poetry Only issue. As always, this special issue is full to the brim with exciting new poems, this year from nearly 40 contributors. We’re excited to get to share with you work by poets such as Sanna Wani, Hoa Nguyen, Gillian Sze, Amy LeBlanc, Julian Day, Samantha Martin-Bird, and many, many more.

It always feels extra special to share the work of poets appearing in CV2 for their first time, as is the case with so many of this issue’s contributors, including T.A. Jones, whose piece “God Loves Durags” tumbles with exhilarating speed towards its incredibly moving conclusion; and Cristalle Smith whose poem “Punky Buster” simply beggars all description. As we hope is the case with every issue of CV2, we trust you’ll find in these pages a wide range of topics and sentiments to move and excite you – from Grace’s achingly incisive “In Thunder Bay I Walk into a Dog Park,” to Korey Hurni’s delightfully titled “The Maddening Sexual Tension of Tim Curry.”

This issue is also home to the winning poems from our 2023 2-Day Poem Contest, which gave poets just 48 hours to write and submit a poem that must include our infamously tricky list of 10 words. This year’s participating poets wrote poems that included the words squirrels, quiz, concatenate, set, phosphenes, clasp, abyssalpelagic, brisk, syzygy, and gadding, and we know you’ll be amazed by what the winning poets managed to craft.

We’ll leave you with judge Dessa Bayrock’s stirring writeup about the contest’s first-place-winning poem, “origin story, with crow,” by Alexander Hollenberg, which you can enjoy on page 32 of this issue. Dessa’s words feel like an especially apt opening for this autumnal issue, and we hope they’ll carry you into the pages that follow with whimsy and warmth:

“This poem constructs a new mythos in the space of the flying bird, evoking the rich world around the crow as vividly as an oil painting, as an exactly focused photograph, as the sun itself. This poem makes the reader want to hold their breath, just as one might when watching a bird in a daredevil dive towards the water. The imagery feels effortless in its vividity – a new cosmos in the ink of her wing, connecting the drowned to what cannot be drowned. Here we see the promise of something else, of something more – of something like joy or possibility, or simply the feeling of fitting smoothly against every other piece that makes up this moment. The result feels like a full breath, like fresh air, like falling into the inky blackness of a crow’s feathers.”

Happy reading,

Chelsea Peters