Ansel Elkins

Ansel Elkins is the author of Blue Yodel, winner of the 2014 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. Her other honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Antiquarian Society, and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, as well as a “Discovery”/Boston Review Prize. Elkins’s writing appears regularly in the American Scholar, the Believer, Virginia Quarterly Review, and this magazine. 

August 25, 2020

A poem from the Place Issue

Two hundred thousand miles away / in this ashen desolate terrain / you could almost forget our gun-smoked globe, / the wars raging like wildfire back home. 

September 23, 2015

When I first opened Stanford’s slim book of posthumously published selected work, The Light the Dead See, every word rang true and glowed like burning coal. I was enraptured by his recklessness, his rebelliousness, his loneliness; I drank up his language like whiskey and was pulled into his dangerous, nocturnal world full of energy and eroticism and death.

September 24, 2014

A poem from the summer 2014 issue.

When the sky threw down hail, I knew
        our world was sudden, changing. In the violence of rains
                we ran, I held my daughter with her water-soaked braids.
She covered her ears and counted
        one Mississippi, two Mississippi
                the space between lightning and thunder.

September 29, 2014

Digging through this hard clay, I dig through history. I take the blood-red clay of my native land and shape it with my own hands. This raw red earth symbolizes violence and vitality.