Let’s say the lyric poet, among many definitions, is also a kind of translator, at least that she faces a similar challenge: the task of rendering in one tongue some experience beforehand first articulated, first heard, in another. But where the translator pivots between at least two culturally recognized languages, the lyric poet moves no less complexly between, say, interior and exterior idioms, between the image and the imagination, or between the just-at-first private articulations of her intellectual and emotional self, for which no perfect language exists, and into this thing called “English,” called “grammar,” or a “poem.” Who knows? Though we do know that any such crossings as I’ve described must probably reveal, unless we labor not to see it, the gaps between, the imprecisions, the failures and silences, and thus also makes apparent the very real difficulty involved in such a project. The trick, though, is to make that difficulty sing. I’d say Camille Rankine, in Incorrect Merciful Impulses, her debut collection, sings the point succinctly and, for that, most profoundly when she writes: “I am trying to tell you / something but my mouth / won’t move” (from “On the Motion of Animals”). (more…)
Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category
Posted in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, tagged anatomy, Bram Shay, death, Fiction, Fluffernutter, magic, mental illness, mortality, poems, poetry, Pokémon, Pokemon Go, Prose, running down the clock, Selective Service, sex workers, suburban, suicide, T.M. De Vos, urban on August 28, 2016| 1 Comment »
The Cupboard is not where we store our politics (though you could probably infer where we stand after a relatively superficial skim), so I’m not referring to the U.S. presidential race when I say that it’s been a difficult summer. Some people are safer than ever, golden parachutes and all; others are living through violence that would not be out of place in the medieval era. If there’s a bright spot, it’s the collective human urge to catch the colorful, preposterous creatures planted in your immediate virtual environment. I’m talking, of course, about Pokémon Go and the way it’s injected the prosaic backdrop of our cities and suburbs (there’s room for improvement in rural areas, I hear) with life and whimsy. Yes, it’s artificial, but we’d never hoof five-kilometer laps around our neighborhoods to look at the same tired scenery, would we?
I won’t make the obvious analogy between a goofy monster hovering over your cracked sidewalk and the effect literature has of remaking the trusty old human experience. I’m taking a different angle with the fact that the monsters in your proximity have a shelf life of about 15 minutes before they’re rotated out for a new crop. It’s mortality (our pet obsession) at its finest: a quest—largely meaningless—to acquire all of the spoils we see. We will never succeed. But we might just spend enough time at it to run down the clock.
~T.M De Vos, Editor
Evidence by Catherine Arra
Threshold by Gary Beck
Unfinished Business at the Halfway House by Jean Berrett
How long before I… by SuzAnne C. Cole
Without by Alexis Fedorjaczenko
Suicide by Gayle Newby
Elegy by Sharon Scholl
Far from Heaven by Scarlett Gray
Resurrection by Howard Brown
One remembers. One forgets. Snow drifts down and specks the tops of things. A man crosses the street to buy a sleeve of scratch cards from a kiosk. All the newspaper headlines are gloomy and ecstatic. A cheap pack of cigarettes now costs twelve bucks. Running into an old friend is like two roads converging in a wood. Turns out, one was just the long way around.
Today, we leave winter behind with an issue full of cacophony and bad sense. We leap into tales of ill-fated scuffles and ill-conceived plans, and we explore cave spaces and gorges and spare rooms and hospitals. We ask how one is supposed to know the right way to act at a party, and we wonder, and the end of the day, if politics comes down to a button and a smile.
~Bram Shay, Editor
There Ought to Be a Manual by C. Wade Bentley
Burning Wishes by Guiseppe Getto
One Poem by Couri Johnson
Spare Room by Suzanne Richter
Evil Wise Girl by Dvorah Telushkin
Bad Creatures by Ana Prundaru
Muslim Apologies by Alia Hussain Vancrown
Cambridge Close by Raquel Moran
Of Masters and Marionettes by Faith Thomas
The Magician by Dylan Henderson
David St. John chose a fitting title for Larry Levis’ posthumous collection: The Darkening Trapeze. Most of these terrifying yet dazzling poems were written in the last two years before his unexpected death in 1996, at the age of forty-nine. The title phrase is pulled from “Elegy with a Darkening Trapeze inside it” which is one of two Elegy poems that were not included in Levis’ 1997 posthumous collection, Elegy. In the afterward, the editor of The Darkening Trapeze, David St. John, explains that Levis was inspired by the film auteur Federico Fellini, whose movies such as La Strada, often feature the circus. (more…)
Posted in Poetry, Reviews, tagged "Japanese situation", 1940s, Collier Nogues, colonization, effaced text, erasure poetrics, internment, Japanese history, Maggie Trapp, militarization, Okinawa on November 18, 2015| 1 Comment »
In these erasure poems, Collier Nogues presents oblique, redolent lines that contain and complicate the ghostlike traces left behind from original historical documents. Nogues has created a beautiful, haunting piece of work with The Ground I Stand on Is Not My Ground, winner of the inaugural Drunken Boat Poetry Book Contest.
You can read Nogues’s poems as simply the appearance of inviting, enigmatic words on a page. But you can also read them while moving your finger or your cursor over the offered lines, in this way interacting with the text as you reveal as well as conceal the primary texts on which the poems are based. (more…)
Posted in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Uncategorized, tagged art museum, cellular respiration, friendlessness, have-nots, oracle, potato chips, poverty, reincarnation, Slavic Village, T.M. De Vos, underdogs on April 10, 2015| 3 Comments »
You can’t even be somewhere without spending money anymore: to earn the right to perform your cellular respirations in any given square foot, you’d better have a receipt or be standing in line to get one. A cup of coffee buys you an unharassed half hour on a high stool; a jaunty shopping bag shields you from suspicion while you linger for a moment on a bench. I once spent time in a city where the mall for the affluent was protected by security guards with machine guns. The people they let in were taller, robust, pressed. The ones whose path they stepped into were slighter, hungrier, looser in their clothes. In another city a hemisphere away, sidewalk guards stepped in front of men from the provinces and told them that the parks and stores were closed.
To be treated humanely, you must seem to be doing well.
We’re still more interested in the friendless, the bereft, the people who are left out of the sanitized exchange of the marketplace, the bleaching streetlamps of public life, the invisible fences around gated communities. There are those who are completely outside, and those on the edges, who eke out their positions every day. The story of the have-not is the only interesting narrative; stories of success are all alike: find your market, trade up.
~T.M. De Vos, Editor
Cathedral by Samir Atassi
Like Brothers and People Who Have Nothing by Roy Bentley
Friendless by Colin Dodds
Two Poems by Simon Perchik
Potato Chips by Jessica Wiseman Lawrence
Art Untied by Katy Masuga
Cassandra by Lindsay Merbaum
The Greyhound by Wendy Vaizey