after Pascal

O the ringing temptation, leaving          chaired ones fang-bitten:
comparisons to The Teacher, saying, “It         is written.”


The longer lines of this poem are fourteeners, a nod to the Renaissance epigrams (and behind those, Greek and Roman ones) that inform the spirit of mine. The title, “Pious Scholars Rare,” is one of the more enigmatic entries in Pascal’s Pensees. This poem is about texts, authority, and the debates and arguments that drive academic life. The poem is meant as a wry, Pascalian observation, but on the other hand, for those who consider theology and biblical studies to be central pursuits, debates in these fields should be lively, serious, even fierce.


Brett Foster's first book of poetry, The Garbage Eater, was published last year (Triquarterly Books / Northwestern University Press). A second, smaller collection, Fall Run Road, was awarded Finishing Line Press's 2011 chapbook prize, and is forthcoming. His writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Kenyon Review, Pleiades, and Shenandoah.

'On Considering the Career of a Minor Poet', Randall Mann

'untitled', Jessica Goodfellow

'Videotape 72', Andrew Zawacki