Harp & Altar

Andrea Baker was the recipient of the 2004 Slope Editions Book Prize for her first book, like wind loves a window. She is also the author of the chapbooks gilda (Poetry Society of America, 2004) and gather (Moneyshot Editions, 2006). Raised in Florida, she now resides in Brooklyn, NY, where her apartment is small and entropy upsets her.  She maintains a Lyricism Blog at andreabaker.blogspot.com.


Jessica Baran has a BA in visual art from Columbia University and an MFA in poetry writing from Washington University in St. Louis, where she currently resides.


James Gallagher’s collaged images have been shown in galleries across the world and have been spotted in Arkitip, in J&L Books and Die Gestallen publications, and on fancy linen tea towels. He was born and raised in the Midwest, but has now lived most of his life in New York. His work can be seen at www.gallagherstudio.net.


Elise Harris has written for the New York Times Book Review and the Nation.


Stefania Heim is co-founder and co-editor of Circumference: Poetry in Translation. Her poems have appeared in various publications, including The Paris Review, The Literary Review, and La Petite Zine. Her review of Elizabeth Willis’s Meteoric Flowers was published recently in Boston Review.


Raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Kane is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Pittsburgh. His work is forthcoming in McSweeney's, and his translations of Tomaž Šalamun’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Harvard Review, Chicago Review, Crazyhorse, and Denver Quarterly.


Eugene Lim lives in Brooklyn and works as a librarian in a high school. “Product Placement” is an excerpt from a novel in progress called Loop. His writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Boog City, sonaweb, and elimae.  He  became fiction editor of Harp & Altar after the publication of the first issue.


Jill Magi is a 2006–07 writer-in-residence with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Program. She is the author of Threads, a hybrid work of prose, poetry, and collage forthcoming in fall 2006 from Futurepoem Books, and Cadastral Map, a chapbook published in 2005 by Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs. Prose, poetry, and visual works have appeared in HOW2, The Brooklyn Rail, Jacket, CutBank Poetry, The New Review of Literature, Aufgabe, Chain, and Pierogi Press, and are forthcoming in The Tiny and Second Avenue Poetry. She runs Sona Books and teaches literature and writing at The City College and The Eugene Lang College of the New School.


Michael Newton is currently at the Cranbrook Academy in Michigan, pursuing a master’s degree in visual art. He likes art a lot.


Cameron Paterson lives in rural North Carolina.  He is currently a graduate student in classical philology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


Lily Saint is a lapsed poet. While she awaits the return of her muse, she is working toward a dissertation at the CUNY Graduate Center.


Tomaž Šalamun lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and is the author of more than thirty collections of poetry. The most recent English translation of his work is Blackboards (Saturnalia Books, 2004).


Joanna Sondheim’s work has appeared in canwehaveourballback, sonaweb, LitVert, Boog City, Bird Dog, and Fishdrum, among others. Her chapbook, The Fit, was published by Sona Books in 2004.


Paul Winner has entered his final year of divinity school in New York.


Michael Zeiss lives in Woodside, Queens. This is his first published story.

The Search for Hidden Gold
Jessica Baran

Three weeks into the voyage, radio contact fails, a fishing trawler

finds the boat about 150 nautical miles west-south-west.

It’s two-thirds capsized with the bow pointing down

and judging by the degree of fouling, it looks as though the boat

has been drifting around in this position for about six months.


You’re the boy who fell for it. You always fall

wearing black shirt and pants, sipping water and arranging

a red, yellow and blue bouquet of flowers. The bouquet,

carefully rearranged, is composed discreetly of red flowers,

then yellow, then blue. Light, vulnerable objects

are flowers, vases, eggs, light bulbs, and birthday cakes. 

Throw stones at illuminated light bulbs, and night falls. 

Wander in it—freeways, back alleys, hills, and coastline—

with a flashlight, a guiding star. A suspicious summons

says to crawl through a wooded area. In a clearing,

a silver-service setting, a cake. You proceed to sip tea.

Then, a trap box falls over you. The summons read:

Greetings from Lucky Lode (flipside, scrawled) all is falling. 

Today, you fell on your floor after failing to levitate. 

All your dirty blue clothes in a heap. You leapt to sleep,

too fast, practicing being dead. But it's not just a feeling,

it's a philosophy. An Underground Chase. You talked

to a mountain: the mountain talked of things which are

necessary and always true, and you talked of things

which are sometimes, accidentally true. But this is no clue. 

Grander than the self-weary self is a heavy black whale

dead in the ocean. It wish-washed onto your shore. 

You thought: the practice of drowning is the separation

of grain from chaff, the separation of the good from the bad. 

A device for winnowing grain, an act of golden winnowing. 

After a snack, you did it: you hired a choir to sing

sea chanteys, like Danger in the Fog, to announce

the imminent voyage. Out of the box, miraculously! 

A chance for flight in the night. As the gold coins

fall deeper into the ocean, you bid them: fall well. 

I’m on to you, dear wave that wiles: farewell faraway friends.