Skip to main content

A Quick Poem For You and News of Some Upcoming Posts

Hi everybody. Long time no see. I had visitors for a week, I got behind on Night Train, the kids got sick all at once, and here I am, with no posts for a while except my self-puffery, which I'm trying to avoid (but no one else will do it; see my dilemma?).


I've been trying to restart my poetry engine by going back and forth between new-to-me poets and standbys. I'll have a short review or commentary on Drought Resistant Strain, poetry by Mather Schneider and possibly another, on an anthology called New European Poets, up on the blog soon. The latter will be a little slower in coming because I have to rethink my approach to 'criticizing' poetry, not just because of this book, but mostly. See, I'm ignorant of a lot of contemporary European poetry (among many other things), and it's so different in some ways from American poetry it's as if the two barely communicate--or have communicated--at all. And I want to communicate, in my own work, which is not the goal for some poets. I want the interplay of culture-clash and languages and class division, the red meat of the thing, whatever it happens to be. I want its skin off and guts on display so I can haruspicate. In short, I don't want to be ignorant of, well, anything, really, but poetry for sure. Dumb I can handle--not much choice in the matter-- redneck I was born with--but I sure as hell don't have to be ignorant. Anyway. Below is my favorite Frank Stanford poem. I've posted it before but I don't care. It does everything I want a poem to do.



Hidden Water/Frank Stanford

A girl was in a wheelchair on her porch
And wasps were swarming in the cornice

She had just washed her hair
When she took it down she combed it

She could see
Just like I could

The one star under the rafter
Quivering like a knife in the creek

She was thin
And she made me think

Of music singing to itself
Like someone putting a dulcimer in a case

And walking off with a stranger
To lie down and drink in the dark







P.S. after the fact: I'm not entirely ignorant of European literature. I have my own little obsessions, such as poets from the Russian-bloc countries of the Cold War, and some Soviet-era samizdat, thanks to a proselytizing teacher, Bernie Koloski, now retired from Mansfield University and the summer honors program I got kicked out of in the late 80s. But that's not much for a practicing writer and sometime academic.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Amy Holman

My mother made herself the deer with a broken leg  We saw a deer through the pane into someone else’s yard. The leg moved like a tube sock pinned to the hip  and half filled with sticks. I did not like to see it suffer, either. She was upset —my mother —that no one helped  the doe. Was it a mother, too? As if we were the first to observe the scene. We weren’t. All had been told to let her be. My mother had suffered a destruction  of the self, a divorce, and no one cared. That wasn’t true.  We were grown, on our own. I agree it was hard. Yet  in those moments of a cold November day, we watched  a doe, disabled and enduring, walk across a yard and eat  a hedge. I wish she could have seen it like that. Amy Holman is the author of the collection, Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window (Somondoco Press, 2010) and four chapbooks, including the prizewinning Wait for Me, I’m Gone (Dream Horse Press, 2005). Recent poems have been in or accepted by Blueline,

David Oliver Cranmer

Not Just Another Playlist Often, I sit in my swivel chair looking out the window, while jazz, country, or rock music plays. This pleasure goes on for many hours a mystic trance of sorts streaming—the glue maintaining my soul. I turn the best songs into playlists (once we called them mix tapes) puzzling over the perfect order. Does Satchmo’s “What a Wonderful World” kick off my latest list or make it the big soulful closer? And does “Mack the Knife” go higher in the set than “Summertime?” That’s an Ella Fitzgerald duet! “Foolishness? No, it’s not” whether you are climbing a tree to count all the leaves or tapping to beats. These are the joys that bring inner peace and balance (to a cold universe) lifting spirits skyward. David Oliver Cranmer ’s poems, short stories, articles, and essays have appeared in publications such as Punk Noir Magazine , The Five-Two: Crime Poetry Weekly , Needle: A Magazine of Noir , LitReactor , Macmillan’s Criminal Element , and

Maureen O'Leary

Grief (for J’uan) Maybe we turn into clouds of reefer Particulates coating the lungs of the people thinking about us First and secondhand smoke Clinging to the frizzing gray locs of the women mourning us Or maybe we are in the splashes of Hennessey Swirling in the bottoms of Styrofoam cups A bad burn in the throats of our brothers Something to remember us by On the way back up. Maybe we are still here. In the way the candles keep going out In the way they call out to God. If they only looked up they could see our eyes Shining through the branches and glittering through the haze Below the stars. Maureen O'Leary lives in Sacramento, California. Her work appears in Coffin Bell Journal, Bandit Fiction, The Horror Zine, Ariadne Magazine, and Sycamore Review. She is a graduate of Ashland MFA.