Courtesy of Dog Star NYC

Courtesy of Dog Star NYC

In PHILADELPHIA POETRY, Leonard Gontarek selects and introduces some of our city’s most praiseworthy poets. For September, Gontarek discusses the work of Iain Haley Pollock.

If a poem really could give voice to our doubts, hopes, anxieties, joy, here in the city, in Philadelphia, what would it look like? A poem that authenticates  us, that articulates us. A poem that gives the exact weight to the story of our lives, with the perfect music in the background, at the right volume. I think it would sound like this:


Violets for Your Furs


Garbage men in this city
don’t see fit to put the garbage
in the garbage truck, and in the streets
the dented bottles and cans spin

and roll like the gait of a man
clutching a brown-sacked beer
in his hand. The discount grocer
on Girard sells week-old cuts of pork

and tins of black beans a day
from expiry. And the antique dealer
by the bus stop hawks one-eyed
dolls and green vases. I haven’t once,

in three years, seen the store open
for business. In Dancing Girl with Castanets,
the model for the figure’s head, Gabrielle
Renard, is posed with rouge on her cheeks,

a garland of indulgent red flowers
in her hair. She looks bored.
And I know this boredom
from Rhea Humphries’ eyes in school

when I told her I love you. I can’t figure now
why she never protested in the hall
when I’d stare so brazenly at her tits.
As for the girl’s body, for his gaze

Renoir never paid Georgette Pigeot,
arms bared by a diaphanous traje
de flamenca more Hellenic than Iberian.
Will I always want something

other than what I have? Which is to wonder:
who knows if I ever loved Rhea? Probably not,
as maybe the young can never love,
or not the young as unbroken as I was.

Let’s just agree Gabrielle, let’s just agree
Georgette, I went about it all wrong.

The garbage men are back, darlings:
Bottles and cans cries the heart,

bottles and cans. Bottles and cans
cries the heart, bottles and cans.



Whether you’re a teacher or a student, when September comes — so does English class! Need a pep talk, a fresh perspective, or a glimpse of beauty? Well, we’ve compiled several poems to keep you sharp on the bus, in the hall, or in front of the blackboard (or is it smart-board now?). If you have a favorite back-to-school poem, share it with us in the comments, on Facebook, or hit us up on Twitter!

by Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.



When Brave New Voices — one of the most stellar youth poetry events in the country — came to Philadelphia in July, APIARY’s Fyodor Badkhen was sure to attend. Looking to find out who you really are? Writing poetry can certainly help. Of course, we don’t have to tell you that! 

Imagine this: Hundreds of people from across the country coming together to learn how to expose their innermost spirit so that they can perform, perfect, and excel in one of the most courageous art forms: poetry.

This is the Brave New Voices conference, a country-wide event anticipated by many aspiring poets. On a Thursday last month, more than 400 young people swarmed the frigid halls of the Temple Student Center for a set of workshops designed to instruct the participants in the acutely vulnerable art of baring their souls to the outside world, releasing all of their rage, joy, and sorrow for all to see.


“People need to find their voice, one way or another,” said avery r. young, one of the workshop instructors. “Poetry is a way of getting that voice.”



Paris by Eugene Atget, courtesy Digital Field Guide.

Paris by Eugene Atget, courtesy Digital Field Guide.

In PHILADELPHIA POETRY, Leonard Gontarek selects and introduces some of our city’s most praiseworthy poets. For August, Gontarek discusses the work of Eleanor Wilner. 


Night Fishing in the Sound
The sound is dark; you can barely hear
the gauze-wrapped warning song
of bells, and cannot see
the buoys swinging on top
the oily waves, the water a black
so absolute it drinks light
back, unquenchable thirst
like that the shades in Hades had
for the hot blood of sacrifice –
how the dead swell, like ticks,
till they rise, bloated envoys
out of the envious dark.

The waves of the sound sway
endlessly, a restless channel caught
between two seas – one fresh, the other salt –
as if suspended between hope and
certain sorrow. And you, in a small craft,
having left behind the little inland
sea, are tossed in all this roiling dark;
the trick is to play the wind
for time, sinking the line
deep into the heaving black, trying
not to stare at the dizzying lantern swinging
over the deck, a drunken sun on a pendulum;
trying to keep your equilibrium
with no horizon to steady the eye, riding
the dark sound blind, hoping for fish,
wanting to reel in, to reach the end
of the passage, but afraid
of the waiting ocean, the enormous dawn
when light, rising from below, seems to come
from everywhere at once, tsunami of
overwhelming sun.

Welcome to the Giving Circle

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAFriends and Lovers and faithful Honeybees,

Thank you for clicking this link and supporting our work through our Giving Circle. With your help, APIARY’s website and print magazine will connect Philadelphians of many walks of life, and amplify Philadelphia voices and stories, for years to come. We are fiscally sponsored, so your donation is tax-deductible, too!

To submit your donation online, click “donate” below, which will take you to our PayPal page.


To donate by check, write a check to APIARY Magazine of CultureTrust. You can send checks to:

APIARY Magazine of CultureTrust Greater Philadelphia
1315 Walnut St. Suite 320
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Thank you for building with us.




Credit: Dominik Martin

Credit: Dominik Martin

The Hive: APIARY Digital Edition

By Hannah White

You’ve dwindled again to skin
and bone and sharp corners.
Darling, I hardly know you
anymore. But I know you too
well, the desperate measures and the
back-room deals you call living, the
contortions of your broken body
cringing, dodging
bullets locked and loaded in your head.

I know the power in hunger.
I know the pain that distorts into
sick pleasure as it bores another
hole into your hollow gut. I know
it won’t stop until you’re all skin and
bone again. And I know it too well,
I know the comfort of the human
skeleton. I see you in bed, narrow hands on
fragile ribcage, carressing the sharp corners of
your concavities.


Where It’s At: APIARY’s Very Big Year

Lillian here with your APIARY news (that's me, top left, grinning like a goof.)

Lillian here with your APIARY news (that’s me, top left, grinning like a goof.)

Dearest honeybees,

Lillian here, co-founder and co-editor of APIARY. You may have noticed that this summer feels a little … different. For the last 5 years, the arrival of summer has meant a rowdy dance party and the delivery of a new issue of APIARY. A reason to wear your new dancing shoes! A sheaf of Philly-grown poems to recite at the swimming hole!

This summer, though, we’re taking our very first print hiatus since we founded APIARY in 2009. Yes, I miss seeing all of your faces at the launch party, and holding a brand new issue in my hands. But I’m also incredibly excited, because we’re taking this pause to ensure APIARY can bring together Philly writers for many years to come.

We founded APIARY in an adrenaline rush of joy and little expectation, but now it looks like we’re going to be here for a while. As an all-volunteer staff, we need to step out of the print publishing cycle for one year to focus all our energy on planning for the long term.

Two big things are happening during our year’s break. First, we’re investing in revamping with the help of hometown heroes P’unk Ave. Our new site will serve as an archive of contemporary Philly literature, easy to search and easy to read on any device. We now publish over half of APIARY’s content online. It’s time that the website looks as excellent as the writing that we are publishing.

Second, we’re going to do fundraising for the very first time.  We’re hoping to raise the money for at least 2 issues in advance, and build a community of folks who love APIARY and want to invest in amplifying new literary voices in Philadelphia. Building a community of supporters allows us to do other business development at a more regular and sustainable pace.

We’ll still publish great new work online, hold readings (like the July 26th APIARY showcase at Love, US), and cover the literary scene. We’ll plot our glorious print return in Summer 2015. And we’ll also be throwing parties and working really hard to meet our goals.

So, as we begin the hard and beautiful work of building for the years to come, I want to thank you for your continued support and inspiration. You readers and writers of all ages are why we continue to undertake this harebrained scheme. You’re the reason we meet every other Sunday to talk over great readings we saw, go over to-do lists, and stare at laptops on beautiful sunny days. You’re the reason we love Philadelphia. You renew our faith in the power of literary creation to connect and heal us, every single issue, every launch party, every day. And we’re looking forward to many, many more days with you.