We are proud to present six fine poets for the July 2014 issue. The opening poem, “Medusa’s Garden: A Vampire’s Lament” (Gina Marie Bernard, Wilton, MN), presents a wonderfully speculative question. Gina Marie wrote, “staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep after catching up on last season’s Becoming Human, I was contemplating the sexual prowess of vampires in popular lore. This led to thinking of other characters who prey upon this oh-so-delicious human weakness. Medusa similarly attracted men’s yearnings–alas, until they stared into her eyes. Before I finally drifted off to sleep, I wondered what would happen if a vampire went in for the kill unaware [that] he was attacking Medusa. Who would win this end game?” The follow-up poems are equally as strong.
“Bravura” (Corey Klinzing, Chicago, IL) in its modern sonnet form, may speak to you on different levels. Does the title help us understand those levels? Bravura means great skill and energy in doing something (such as performing on a stage). One of the things I imagined was a sentient robot whose self-awareness of human compassion is presenting a real conundrum to it, especially as it is about to be decommissioned. However, the strength of this poem is that it harbors other meanings.
“Oblivion” (Yilin Wang, Vancouver, Canada) is a perfect poem to follow with. The excellent rhythm and cadences of plosives (b’s and p’s) serve this robot poem very well.
“Smoke and Mirrors” (Maura Lydon, Roanoke, VA) is not a cliché, but a clever use of image. And maybe another robot? You decide for yourself.
“Undone” (Alison McBain, Fairfield, CT). It’s amazing how well certain poems seem to work together. It’s a mechanical world and this poem puts a new spin on an old trope.
“Star/Formation” (Douglas Luman, Chicago, IL) This remarkably inventive piece truly has earned the appellation of “experimental.” Recapping what the author said, this work, with themes of impermanence, legacy, and creation mythology, is influenced by Susan Howe’s approach to marginalia and language, the intersection of history and the moment of composition. Excerpts from a book length interlacing of an erasure text “mashed-up” with another: (1) Calvino, Italo. Invisible Cities, a fictional account of what Marco Polo and Kublai Khan talked about when they met (the larger type) and (2) Polo, Marco. The Travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian (the smaller type).
– John Mannone, Poetry Editor
Abyss & Apex