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.

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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

Hydra Endures


Here is a poem from the new book Where You Happen to Be by Leonore Hildebrandt.

In her new book Leonore Hildebrandt explores the power of place to inform, humble, and inspire our human experience. 

One author said this for the back cover: In Where You Happen to Be, Leonore Hildebrandt writes of “discern[ing] layers / of sound and scent,” of probing “the human dilemma / of purpose and failure.” The poems in this collection assume this task of recognition and discovery.  

Hydra Endures

Alcatraz for Today


Here is the opening poem from a fine book- Francis Blessington’s book Poems from Underground.

page 9

Praise for Poems from Underground

Poems from Underground is an outstanding collection, well deserving a place on any adequate shelf of contemporary poetry. T he whole book gives pleasure and stimulation. Francis Blessington brings fresh insight to every subject he touches, with a rare mastery of imagery and metaphor. Great art can inspire him (Goya’s Prints), but so can the sordid (Cockfight). His control of free verse forms is admirable, as well as his handling of traditional meter and rhyme, so well displayed in his memorable translations from Baudelaire and Mistral.

—X. J. Kennedy