Publication Date:  March 1, 2019
Paperback, 96 pages
ISBN:  978-1-937968-53-3
Booksellers:  Available from
Small Press Distribution
A native of Fairfax, Virginia, Emily
is an alumna of the
University of Virginia, where she
earned a Bachelor of Arts degree
with high distinction in English and
anthropology and participated in
the Area Program in Poetry Writing.
An avid fan of punk music and all
things English, she aspires to live in
London’s West End...or somewhere
The Boston University MFA Poetry Class of 2018

Emily Yaremchuk
Kathleen Radigan
Lauren Peat
Rebecca Levi
Eric Hertz
Daniel Hardisty
Libby Goss
Madeline Gilmore
if you're not
happy now
An Anthology

Poems by the Boston University
MFA Poetry Class of 2018
With an Afterword by Robert Pinsky
Cover by Eleanor Birle, used by permission
From the Afterword, by Robert Pinsky:

This collection of poems demonstrates that a group [of poets] can be remarkably
creative, enormously imaginative—a quality that arises not from unanimity but from
its opposite. The pronounced, even idiosyncratic differences among these eight
young poets have manifested an unusual, engaging whole. All of us who know them
agree that they are remarkably gifted as well as consistently generous with one
another and with the world. The group is confident enough to produce this collection,
with that confidence based in a shared understanding that as artists they are gifted
in various, fluid ways.

In summary, this book offers a pleasing, authentic variety of poets who share
poetry’s happy, stringent disregard for conventions and clichés: form as a truth-
detector. I’m grateful to know these poets and their work.

In his afterword to this anthology from his MFA poetry students, Robert Pinsky
speaks of poetry disregarding clichés, but there is perhaps no greater cliché than the
image of the lone and lonely poet, writing verse in isolation. That makes this splendid
collection all the more
insightful, for it demonstrates that poetry not only can be a
communal undertaking, but that it can be made all the better for arising out of
community. (A timely and reassuring message we assuredly can use.) All of these
young poets display a mastery of form, of language and line, and though the voices
are each unique and distinct, the resulting chorus is harmonious.

This anthology takes its title from a line in Kathleen Radigan's poem “Happy”, in
which one speaker taunts another:

       You have no idea she says
       what heartbreak is and you

       have a new boyfriend, good grades –
       if you’re not happy now,
       when will you ever be?

In essense, ignorance, and at least momentary good fortune, should be bliss.

These young poets know better. As Pinsky observes, they “look out at the world.”
They understand the mission of poetry to document, and to challenge. True, they
often write from intensely personal perspectives, as in Emily Yaremchuk's opening
poem “Tabula Rasa” in which she realizes since learning from a drunken uncle that
her father

       really wanted a son, the braille of boyhood
       has been upon me.

Lauren Peat's “Postscript” recounts the chronology of a relationship in the language
of creation myth. Rebecca Levi takes a deep dive into the heritage of her ancestresses
in “Mikvah”, while Daniel Hardisty's granddad returns in a dream announcing his plan
to spend his retirement in the pub before turning into a fish (in “The Fish”).  Libby
Goss confesses “To Mark Strand” that “I have eaten too / much of poetry.” In her
closing poem “The Brothers Lionheart” Madeline Gilmore reflects upon
 “the things
we say to justify our lives”, finding

       I don’t ask

       for much. I ask for

       one red petal, that’s all.

But for all the passions and pains, revelations and mysteries, these poems and poets
never seen to cry “look at me”, but rather “look at us”, see who and what we are and
where we have to go. As Pinsky, one last time, puts it, “The personal, here too, is also

Eric Hertz draws a waggish life lesson from a New York City MetroCard machine:



       MORE TIME?

Aside from the subway, that's not choice we get in life. We have the time we have.
The point is to make it count. To make it better.

These poems, and these poets, make it better.  They offer evidence that the future of
poetry, and perhaps the world, is in good hands.

That's a good reason to be happy.
Kathleen Radigan is a native
Rhode Islander. She graduated from
Wesleyan University in 2017 with
an English major and a psychology
minor. She dabbled in theater and
singing in college, worked at a  
preschool and in an infant language
learning lab, and won the English
Department’s Sophie and Anne
Reed and Sarah Hannah prizes for
poetry. Wesleyan also awarded her
an Olin Fellowship to study banshees
Her poems have appeared in publications such as The Turnip Truck(s), the Virginia
Literary Review
, and The Merrimack Review, among others. She was recently
awarded second-place in the 2017 Mick Imlah Poetry Prize for her poem “Tabula
Born in Boston, Massachusetts,
Lauren Peat was raised in the
English Midlands and various
boroughs of Toronto. An inter-
mittent teacher, translator, and
editor, she swears by Joni
Mitchell’s principle of creative
“crop rotation”:  she has toured
internationally with a competitive
chamber choir, contributed libretti
to original vocal compositions, and
and other ghosts in Ireland. Her poems can be found on The Academy of American
Poets website and PANK blog and in
The Adroit Journal, The Merrimack Review,
The Harpoon Review, Maudlin House, Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, and a
few others.
Rebecca Levi is a musician,
poet, and translator. Originally

from New York City, she

graduated from Yale University
in 2007 and since then has lived
in Peru, Colombia, and the U.S.
Her work has appeared in
Columbia Journal, No Tokens
, Your Impossible Voice,
BorderSenses, and with
Princeton University Press. Her
translations of Chilean poet
Stella Díaz Varín won second
place in the Robert Fitzgerald
Translation Prize at Boston
University, and her poem about
pigs and break-ups, "December
31st," won third place in the 2018
Mick Imlah Poetry Prize at
performed spoken word in Bordeaux, Paris, and Provence, France. Her favourite Joni
Mitchell song is “A Case of You.”
Eric Hertz has a B.A.
in philosophy and
religious studies from
Stanford University and
grew up in New Jersey
before moving out to the
West Coast. He wrote
and published a collection
of poetry,
At the Park,
through the Stanford
Honors in the Arts
Program; the book
explores an imagined
Times Literary Supplement. Rebecca's band is called Debarro, meaning “of mud”
and ever-changing, which also describes what she likes about poetry.
Libby Goss grew up in Stow,
Massachusetts. She holds a B.A. from
New York University Gallatin in creative
writing, marketing, and publishing. She is
interested in narrative and blurring the
border between poetry and fiction and
spends most of her free time running
and listening to music from the 90s.
world of games. Eric likes to write at the intersections of eastern philosophy,
psychoanalysis, mythology, religious ritual, and ecology.
Daniel Hardisty was born in the U.K. He studied English and creative writing at
the University of East Anglia. His poems have appeared in
Poetry London, Poetry
Ireland Review
, The Rialto, Poetry Salzburg Review, The Spectator, The Dark Horse,
and elsewhere, as well as on the BBC. He has received an Arts Council award from
Arts Council England and a New Writing North Award and was highly commended in
the Faber New Poets competition in 2014. He became a joint U.S. and U.K. citizen in
Born and raised in North
Gilmore moved to
Brooklyn after receiving a
Hubbard Hutchinson
Memorial Fellowship
from Williams College in
2015. In New York, she
received a Brooklyn Poets
fellowship, which helped
inspire the long poem that
appears in this anthology.
Her poetry has appeared
Bluestem magazine and
The New Guard, as well as Massachusetts’s Best Emerging Poets anthology. Madeline
doesn’t know exactly what she’ll be up to in the coming years, but she hopes she gets
some good poetry out of them.