Another review of Descent & Other Poems


A review of Timothy Ogene’s book of poems appears in Glasgow Review of Books that speaks of the possibilities in the title, the questions, and difficulty in the condition of being as the other, from away, as some would say. There is a certain retrospect found in the state of looking forward, perhaps while looking backward we find our truth by disambiguation.

Alison Graham’s review is welcome as a sensitive look at the language and dynamics in these poems.

FROM MECHANISMS, TOWARDS THE HUMAN BODY: ALISON GRAHAM REVIEWS TIMOTHY OGENE’S ‘DESCENT & OTHER POEMS’

Published in 2016, Descent & Other Poems was included on Australian Book Review’s 2016 Books of the Year list, as well as gaining an honorable mention in the 2017 Glenn Luschei Prize for African Poetry.

descent-poems-cover

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One poem from the latest book, On The Badlands Of New Times


Source: One poem from the latest book, On The Badlands Of New Times

Endorsers have said Paul Bamberger’s book is “filled with powerful poetry . . . ” and, “Some of the most intelligent and challenging poems I have ever read . . . ”

Here is one poem from the beginning of the book:

Preludes To The Past

caught in the last improbable light of the pretty hour
nerve endings of paradox hum destiny’s long shot
tomorrow’s brilliant rational truth’s sharp tongue
swing of axe shadowing its own to and fro as desert
traveler crosses the slow red decay of dying sun and
small lie howls there is always something in it for
you but we who harvest wildflowers on the dark side
of the moon have our own brothers to keep
what studies we are slow steppers looking for caution
sign dreamers of lilies in shock time blind to
evening’s tomorrow no more than what meets the
eye no walk arm-in-arm dream lowered into the
dark what could have been
what are we thinking this no rags to riches story
no home sweet home let’s go home baby no sweet
dreams we got it made baby nonsense and the long
haul’s what brought us to this street multitudes
scavenging among the well-fed dogs old men pacing
cluttered rooms running out of time losing their
timing making no sense of it joyless hearts riding
their shadows down to where the rattled bones are
laughing door left ajar
and from the unlucky we steal long shots to pay off
the junkyard dog bone has its use

Philemon and Baucis


Here is one beautiful poem by David Sloan from his book, The Irresistible In-Between, (Deerbrook Editions, 2013).

David Sloan was at the MWPA Literary Awards ceremony and it is always a pleasure to see him. He has received a number of awards for poems in the Poetry Short Works category.

It being the solstice, I thought I’d pick this poem as, picking up his book yesterday, it opened to it. I was reminded how many good poems are in this book. Another deserving author with a good book.

 

Philemon and Baucis

The wonder isn’t the gods’ appearance,
nor their beggarly disguises. Zeus

and Hermes love the earth—olive oil,
gullible women, the substantiality of marble,

that peculiar human failing of caring
too much. It’s the old couple themselves,

the way they welcome the strangers,
give up their stools, offer them wine

and apricots, stoke the fire, how they touch
each other’s shoulders. They gasp

when the wineskins refill themselves.
In the sudden light they kneel

before their guests, gold peeking
from beneath the rags, feel the dizzying

closeness of divinity. When the gods
grant one wish to repay their hospitality,

the wonder is what the couple
passes up— a wooden floor, new cook

pot, lifetime supply of firewood,
fleece-lined cloaks, the child

they never conceived. Instead
they ask only not to outlive

one another. It’s the gods’ turn
to gape. When the time comes,

the couple feels the forest taking them.
Sap rises, fingers send out leaf shoots,

bark creeps up, closes over their mouths,
but not before Farewell love,

overheard by hushed birds and caught
in the cleaved air, linden and oak

now a single trunk, entwined.

Review of I, Emily Dickinson & Other Found poems


Review of I Emily Dickinson & Other Found Poems

I, Emily Dickinson & Other Found Poems, by J.R. Solonche, is an absolute delight. I have read it more than three times. To do it justice, I’d want to quote liberally from the many priceless jewels—entries found in books, newspapers, field guides, menus, things read in bathrooms, overheard in museums—but I’m certainly not going to do that.

Often the pleasure in the found poem lies in the ridicule it carries, the smug joy of the reader in the crazy obtuseness of the anonymous source. Here this is hardly the case. Even Donald Rumsfeld’s “Known knowns . . .” rises a bit above ridicule, it being probably the smartest thing he ever said.

The opening find is from the index of Dickinson’s collected poems (Johnson). It lists alphabetically the first lines of poems that begin with “I,” the first one being “I am afraid to own a body.” These entries are arranged in quatrains, ending with a couplet. One hundred and forty-two lines later we read, “I years had been from home.” This is more than a trick; it is something on the order of a portrait of Emily Dickinson.

The last entry in this wonderful collection lists vocabulary books on sale at Barnes & Noble, so the last line is “Word power made easy.” Perfect.

—Sally Fisher

                    Sally Fisher’s latest publication is Good Question, a book of poems from Bright Hill Press

The Differences


A poem from Won’t Be Long; poems short; poems shorter; poems shortest, by J.R. Solonche.

Michael Meyerhofer said about Won’t Be Long:  “Sweet Jesus, this is great stuff!”

The Differences