Deborah Ager and her Newborn
Deborah Ager is an author, anthology editor, and founder of a magazine. She wrote Midnight Voices (2009) and co-edited The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry (2013) and Old Flame: Ten Years of 32 Poems Magazine (2012). She founded 32 Poems in 2003 and ran it, alongside John Poch, until 2012 or so.
Her poems have appeared in The Rumpus, The Birmingham Poetry Review, The Georgia Review, Quarterly West, New Letters, New South and in the anthologies No Tell Motel, Fire on Her Tongue, and Best New Poets. She received the Tennessee Williams Scholarship and, later, the Walter E. Dakin Fellowship to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She’s received additional fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts.
She’s founding editor and publisher of 32 Poems Magazine. Many poems first appearing the magazine have been honored in the Best American Poetry and Best New Poets anthologies and on Verse Daily and Poetry Daily.
Ager is a founding board member of 32 Poems Magazine, on the editorial board of Redux and a director of the Miller Cabin Poetry Reading Series in Washington, DC.
Deborah Ager’s Poem: Newborn
There is a mouth in me
asking to be given its voice.
My hands beg to be freed
from this rock. God, little daughter,
arriving in waves at home.
We work together. You crown, stop.
As though I want no one
to answer, I tap the damp scalp.
How do you rest so close to the edge?
You: purple, open-mouthed.
I have nothing to coo. Cetus
Closes his teeth. I conjured him.
Your tongue stabs at the air.
O, blood at my feet, night.
Little mouth, drugged, looking to nurse
And unable to take hold.