Introducing James Stotts

James Stotts was born in 1982 in the southwestern United States. He now lives in Boston with his wife and son, where he is at work on translation of twentieth-century Russian poets. His sixteen poems in the inaugural issue of Little Star are his first published work.

for i. b.

notes of finn grease and wildflowers on the last breath
of a bactrian fag crushed in the grey snow
the tundra is teeming with porticos
and a lethe frozen half the year holds fishboats and freighters in thrall
hides beds of sunken logs
buries archangel spawn to nurse all winter long on paper pulp

this is where they sent you to stand sentry on a gypsum wall
to mete out convict songs with callused heels
how did you survive it all?
how did your grey eyes stay evergreen?
the broken teeth you spit out in your dreams
took root, brought forth lime saplings covered in seed

when anna died, doctors sewed her ghost into your thigh
and a faery doctored your visa so you didn’t have to stand in line


old parkway in the sky, blown
in and out like blinking shoppers through cloud and ozone
treacly distant nightlights, dying in dust and ruin
this is the hidden meaning of morning by your own admission

the products of our lunatic inventory
measured out in the powderblue halos that haunt the cop cars
and the skyblack bones of what’s been redacted:
reenacted bits of bread and clothes the rats stuffed in their holes
hair and glass arrested between the walls and furnace

the long invisible threads that led back home
these blueblooded shoeblot eyes, dry and starving after some
brush with lethe—a brittle rubberband oblivion
i piss, brush off the skin and earth into a little death nest
this is, in your own words, not such a bad place to begin again

Read more in Little Star #1!

Hear James Stotts read on Tuesday, May 18, at the Marliave in Boston

Read James Stotts’ translations of Sergei Esenin and Nikolai Gumilev in the current issue of Agni