some poetry, politics & what have you

Sunday, July 24, 2005

About a week ago, when I posted about being published in Can We Have Our Ball Back? we were 25, now we are 36. I will comment on some of them, the ones that pulled me in on first or second reading. Sonya Arko starts out with a poem in eight parts which has it's moments, but it's the second (& last) poem that makes me wonder why no one has been saying great things about her. So, I guess it's up to me to say that anyone who can do (something like) this deserves at least as many constant readers as Stephen King. Jane Adam contributes three brief, delightful poems. Jennifer Firestone has some poems here from a sequence called Flashes. They are rather quirky political poems, with a few recurring words, that in a larger format (the whole sequence, anyone?) could be really effective. The small selection here is just beginning to give that effect. So, I want to see more. Jay Snodgrass' six prose poems concerning his ghost's art movie are consistently intriguing & if it didn't entail a notion of lifelessness, I would say ludicrously well-crafted. Instead I'll say exact, musical & with a forward motion I rarely experience in poetry (a reason I like some hard-boiled crime fiction), just read them aloud to yourself. This would make a great little chapbook,unless he has more of them. I would like to quote all six poems in their entirety & so resist altogether. Genevieve Kaplan had me despairing for a while, then her third poem came & put a silly smile on my face:

If the land had wandered

Clap! she said

as she raised the frame. Blam! he moaned

as the bird cowered down.

Eek! she yelled at the sight

of the crow. Pow! he tumbled

out the door past the mail box and the bent post it lived on.

We admitted it got us to this end. What's alive

was alive. What kept pace kept

pace. Blam! he shouted

as we walked through the plaza, our hands hard with stones.

This I like. & I know there's a story somewhere in there, apart from the she & he thing. Rachel M Simon offers us some fine phrasing, among her maybe a bit too long poems. That's a sin that's easily forgiven in the light of stanzas like the one closing Edibles

The gratification of home cookingends with a bulldozer.
Unbroken dishes and
indecipherable paprakash recipes
may be passed down to youngsters
disinterested in any nostalgia
lacking a self starring role.
Do not chop them into a sauce of the ungrateful.
Nobody likes the flavor.

or for that matter this (the third) one from First Aid

Second degree: leave the identifying information
of your internet date with someone you trust.
Screen name alone is inadequate. Set a panic time.

As for the three poems by Dustin Williamson I will only say read them, they're more than worth it. They have not stopped resounding, resonating & (un)reasoning in the back of my head for a week or so now. In fact they seem to be getting no(i)sier as time goes. & check out the titles of the first two: The Vincent Price is right & some sort of zebra. The third one takes place between two quotations from Carey Grant.


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