James Valvis

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How I Know I’m Doomed as a Poet

Reading tonight a poetry collection,Artwork by Gene McCormick
the author’s work hit and miss,
though mostly miss, I come upon

a poem that knocks me sideways.
It’s clear, funny, insightful, everything
I’m hoping to reel in when I read.

And so, still smiling, I flip over
to the credits page, hoping to find
in small print the literary journal

where the poem first appeared,
but though the book has within it
poems from American Poetry Review,

Black Warrior Review, Georgia Review,
Iowa Review, The New Yorker, Poetry,
and The Paris Review, the poem I loved

went as unpublished as any of mine.


James Valvis is the author of How To Say Goodbye (Aortic Books, 2011). His poems or stories have appeared in journals such as Anderbo, Arts & Letters, Barrow Street, Hanging Loose, Natural Bridge, Rattle, River Styx, The Sun, and many others. His poetry has been featured in Verse Daily and the Best American Poetry website. His fiction was chosen for the 2013 Sundress Best of the Net. A former US Army soldier, he lives near Seattle.