Kay Cosgrove (Featured Poet)

One Experience Hair Modeling

The secret, I've gathered, to a really killer blow-dry
is a combination of good lift and precision.

The stylist wants all hair off the face.
The stylist wants to challenge gravity.

The stylist wants to say something
about beauty and living with intention, that

little acknowledged contrapposto of hair and heart.
She knows well that to get the hair straight

you have to start at the root:
pull it hard, harder, up and away

from the skull. "Stand behind the model,
pull everything back to the center of her head."

It's the center we're after. Even if it hurts.
In her makeup choice the stylist is baroque.

Her necklace weighs her down.
She eats a clementine with excessive slowness.

I'm reminded of something my friend said a few days ago:
"At a certain point beautiful women stop noticing being noticed

when they enter a room." As if she's a reincarnation
of the Council of Trent, the stylist wants her ideas

on beauty to be understood. Easy. And I'm eager to learn.
With good posture, I sit in the center of my chair, I lift my chin.

I do not wince when she pulls my hair
to test my fortitude.

Train Ride

Two more stops and I'm back in Brooklyn.
Back to the same idiosyncrasies
and inconsistencies in fashion, the conversation
of two kids I purposefully overhear because
I hate their haircuts.
Today is not a good day: everything
dirty and over-used in this place, and I
feel nearly disgust even at myself
in the reflection of the window as we
speed along underwater with our driver
Charon, taking us from the living
world and we can't stop him.
My last existing thought is the hope
they won't bury me in the striped dress.

In the Damascus Room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

For all I know,
this room once belonged
in a home, and that smoke
was not just an illusion.
For all I know,
two people, our height,
slept soundly here until dawn.
There are mirrors upon mirrors upon mirrors
but no one looks back. For all I know,
there was the bride with the beautiful feet.
The bride knew virgins. She knew
how to, in the morning light,
the gold filigree bedpost and a smoking
cigarette abandoned in its tray.
She knew your polished doors,
the heaviest corner of your robe,
your sandals and your weapons and your kaleidoscopes.

What do you keep inside your ornate box? Air?
Neither…honey nor the honeybee, for all she knows.

Why Not?

My two-year-old daughter collects change she finds around the house.

Clutching the coins in her sweaty, fat, little hand as she reaches with
     the other

for me to help her ascend the stair. We are moving, slowly, toward her

I know without her saying—she can't say—but the muscle memory of
     seeing quarters, slipping

them into the slit in the ceramic bank on her dresser is as rote for me
     as it is for her. I encourage

sameness. I encourage saving, encourage taking what might not be
     yours but is lying there

waiting to be claimed. Why not her? Why not live like you expect to be
     the one

thought of, pined for, prized, won? She should know she's worth a few
     coins, at least.


Difficult to move past the line
drawn in the sand. After our time
in Costa Rica, how marriage really does
blend two bodies, and afterwards
leaves us with decisions about which
to invite for dinner. To see both sides
is a betrayal but to walk by the other
by chance on Saturday night, to not
notice how the physical world
didn't die—that's a real ending.


Jawn, my students say, is anything—
any person, any place, any thing
you need it to be. It's a word
they love, a word I would never use.

There's this word in Italian that I can't pronounce,
a word for that mark left on the table
by a cold glass.
"Before I die" are some of the words

on a sign in Jersey City I read from the car
on my way to dinner to meet the new girlfriend
of a divorced friend. I was one day
pregnant. I guess I should have kept reading.

One Friday my students and I listened together.
A man in the recording said, "It's going to be a doom."
A student in the room said, "I don't want this to end."
I guess I lost all my innocence.

I guess I still want
to be cool, a word
that feels good
in my mouth, bad in my ears.


Kay Cosgrove's manuscript has been named a finalist for the Field Poetry Prize, the St. Lawrence Book Award, and the Larry Levis Prize at Four Way Books. Her work has appeared in the Southern Review, the Massachusetts Review, and Prairie Schooner, among other journals. She teaches at St. Joseph's University as a Visiting Professor of English. For more information, visit kaycosgrove.com.


Michelle Blake
Erica Charis-Molling
Kay Cosgrove (Featured Poet)
Anna M. Evans
Nicole Caruso Garcia
Kelsey Ann Kerr
Jeanne Larsen
Susan McLean
Claudia Monpere
Diane Moomey
Stephanie Noble
Suzanne Noguere
Linda Parsons
Samantha Pious
Barbara Quick
Leslie Schultz
Sofia Starnes
Myrna Stone
Katherine Barrett Swett
Marly Youmans


The most recent addition to The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline is Rosa Newmarch by Jean L. Kreiling.

Marie Ponsot was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Celebration of the Timeline reaching 75 essays, Lincoln Center, Fordham University (Sponsored by Fordham's Curran Center) Friday, October 20th, 2017.

Charlotte Innes is the recipient of the 2018 Mezzo Cammin Scholarship to the Poetry by the Sea conference.

Rachael Gorchov: Recently I completed a body of work that focused on the landscapes that define suburban office and industrial complexes, contemplating their subtle relationships with the history of landscape painting. When looking at these places I saw English landscape gardens – orchestrated nature that gave way to picturesque landscape painting. I documented my subjects onsite by drawing their reflections in a Claude Glass, a convex black mirror popularized as an observation device in the 18th century. This tool appealed to me for how its skews and bulges its reflection, making my work highly subjective from the start. I then constructed paintings in the studio based on these drawings. The three-dimensional nature of my paintings further emphasized the forced perspective in my initial drawings and required viewers to explore the paintings much like they might explore a physical space by moving around, crouching and craning their necks.

Irregular versions of geometric forms such as cubes, parabolic curves, cones and triangles comprised the dimensional shapes of these pieces and eventually gave way to my working nearly exclusively on concave surfaces and ‘rocks with cast shadows.’ I settled on these structures for a few reasons. When a viewer stands directly in front of the concave works, irregular half-spheres with the convex side attached to the wall, the paintings fill their peripheral vision for an immersive experience. The rocks and shadows, amorphous objects paired with adhesive-backed prints, are reminiscent of portals and geologic abrasions. They invite viewers to question if the dimensional form is emerging from or entering into another space. Like in other works, these pieces frame the physical space the artworks inhabit.

In 2016, I visited Europe where I recognized parallels between the interiors of Renaissance spaces and my own paintings, such as the power that foreshortening possesses in its ability to collapse and intensify space in cathedrals– similar to my Claude Glass works. This experience coincided with a visit to an exhibition in Vienna featuring renderings of synagogues that once stood in the city. This piqued an interest in contemplating architectural space in my work and prompted me to consider architectural language in my own Jewish cultural heritage. I then began a series of tondos, a Renaissance term for circular artworks, of European Jewish architecture.

Beginning with paintings and mixed-media, in these works I build a photographic image that engages the space wherever it is installed, becoming part of the architecture. I arrived at the tondo format through my own history of making non-rectangular paintings, and appreciate its relationship to reliefs and rose windows found in synagogues and cathedrals. In gathering source imagery, I rely heavily on documentation – photographs and engravings as most of these buildings have been destroyed. I contemplate the collective memory images of architectural space can reveal. In this spirit, this work depicts layered environments where scale, color and depth shift ambiguously, revealing experiential space.

I consistently begin works by looking at a particular subject because of an art historical or personal association, and then through a process of extracting details from their surroundings using an accumulation of marks, color and a tactility, I sacrifice specificity of form and place, ultimately revealing a specificity of experience as my subject.

32 Poems
The Academy of American Poets
The Atlantic
The Christian Science Monitor
The Cortland Review
Favorite Poem Project
The Frost Place
The Iowa Review
Light Quarterly
Modern American Poetry
The Poem Tree
Poetry Daily
Poetry Society of America
Poets House
Raintown Review
String Poet
Valparaiso Poetry Review
Verse Daily
Women's Poetry Listserv
The Yale Review

Bread Loaf
Poetry by the Sea


Barefoot Muse Press
David Robert Books
David R. Godine Press
Graywolf Press
Headmistress Press
The Johns Hopkins University Press
Louisiana State University Press
Northwestern Univ Press
Ohio Univ Press
Persea Books
Red Hen Press
Texas Tech Univ Press
Tupelo Press
Univ of Akron Press
Univ of Arkansas Press
Univ of Illinois Press
Univ of Iowa Press
Waywiser Press
White Violet Press

City Lights
Grolier Poetry Bookshop
Joseph Fox Bookshop
Prairie Lights
Tattered Cover Bookstore

92nd Street Y
Literary Mothers
Poets & Writers