Paul Hostovsky


Some pronounce it poim.
Like it has an oy inside it.
The way an oyster
has an oy inside it. The way
all poems ought to have
a little oy veh
and a little oyez! oyez!
inside them.

Others pronounce it po-um.
Like it has an um inside it.
A thoughtful pause.
A caesura. A possum
that got run over,
its esses elided.

Me, I always say pome.
Like an apple or pomme
I want to bite into
because it has an om inside it,
a mystic and sacred
syllable I can’t wait to reach
and I have no patience
for all the diphthongs.

Paul Hostovsky’s latest book of poems, THE BAD GUYS, won the FutureCycle Poetry Book Prize for 2015. He has won a Pushcart Prize, two Best of the Net awards, and has been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac. Website:

Poetry matters because it goes without saying–the whole world goes without saying. Saying doesn’t make it go. Never did and never will. But when we make poems, we say to the world that we don’t go without saying. No! Because we say the poem. The poem is what we say when we go without saying or go without knowing what to say or don’t go at all but send the poem stammering in our stead.