January 2016 Poetry Introduction
I am delighted to present these poems to kick off the 2016 season. Out of hundreds of submissions, these poems offer something fresh.
The issue opens with Time Clock By Christiaan Sabatelli (Highland, NY) with the evocative line, “No one remembers Death’s employees.” Simon Perchik (East Hampton, NY) continues the theme of death with his imagery-rich surreal poem (always identified by his signature title, the asterisk, but whose first line here is “Hiding on this tiny rock.” Convent by Chloe N. Clark (Ames, IA) begins with the intriguing lines, “After the devil came,/dripping into rooms like rain” setting both tone and tension.
After a dark introduction, we shift to the “lighter” side with Conspiracy Theory by Tim Staley (Las Cruces, NM), but it’s more serious than meets the eye. The Wizard’s Race by Elaine Stirling (Toronto, ON/Canada) is a dramedy (comedy-drama) in the form of a 9-part glosa honoring John Donne. This poetic originated in medieval Spanish courts to honor masters of the craft. A glosa begins with a quatrain (texte or cabeza) from an admired poet and continues with four ten-stanza lines (glose or glosa proper) that riff from the original theme. The tenth line of each stanza reprises the quatrain, while lines six and nine rhyme with the borrowed tenth. In this suite, the nine quatrains of John Donne’s “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” are borrowed to create a contemporary, fantasy romp of nine glosas. For ease of recognition, Donne’s lines are italicized. The lines are mostly iambic in varying feet.
I, Frankenstein by Thadra Sheridan (Minneapolis, MN) echoes the Asimov novel, I, Robot. One might find additional connections. Here the Children of Dark Night Have Their Dwellings by Peter BG Shoemaker (Placitas, NM). Shoemaker says that the piece “resulted from a fever-induced conflation of Homer and War of the Worlds, and stands a testament to why that classics education wasn’t the total loss my mother thought it was.” The rhythms are clearly Homeric and lift the apparent prose into poetry.
And with the talk of heroes, there’s a link to Here by Bruce Boston (Ocala, FL): “We find our hero in the midst/of azure dreams of lust//and glory” and daisy-chains to Absence by F.J. Bergmann (Poynette, WI), a journalistic but no less gripping poem.
Gretel Asks by Jane Yolen (Hatfield, MA), “the Hans Christian Andersen of America,” revisits the Hansel and Gretel fairytale with some interesting questions.
Finally, Desire by Babo Kamel (Venice, FL) at least matches, if not surpasses, Shelly in his personification of the abstract.
I tried to complement the poems with images that will enhance the experience.
John C. Mannone