Issue 7 - Angle

Issue 7 - Angle

Angle – Spring/Summer 2015 _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Cover ...

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TO YOUR NEAREST BUNNINGS WAREHOUSE WITH. YOUR BUNNINGS REGISTER RECEIPT. PRIOR TO. RETURNING YOUR PRODUCT FOR WARRANTY.

ANGLE ADVISES AFFILIATES OF SUN CAPITAL ON - Angle Advisors
Mar 23, 2012 - Birmingham, Michigan – March 23, 2012 – Angle Advisors is pleased to announce that affiliates of Sun

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Cover photo: ‘Low Tide 1’. Endpapers: ‘Abalone Wave’ and ‘Floating on the Tide’. Incidental photos (in order of appearance): ‘Beach Spring’, ‘Spring Beach Stone’, ‘End of the Season’, ‘Deferred Maintenance 1’, ‘Low Tide 3’, ‘Deferred Maintenance 2’, ‘Seaside Abstraction’. All by Patricia Wallace Jones © 2015. Esteemed guest editor for this issue: Maryann Corbett. Angle is edited by Ann Drysdale (UK), Peter Bloxsom (AUS), and Philip Quinlan (UK), and published in the UK by Philip Quinlan. [email protected] www.anglepoetry.co.uk ISSN 2050-4020 Copyright © 2015 Ann Drysdale, Peter Bloxsom, Philip Quinlan, and authors as indicated. All rights reserved. This electronic journal may be freely circulated only in its entirety. No part of this journal may be copied, stored, retrieved or republished by any means.

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Beach Spring

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Contents Editorials

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Poetry - Part One Alfred Nicol Charles Hughes Peter Jones Jane Blanchard Lee Slonimsky Kevin Durkin Rob Miles Claudia Gary Jo Bell Jacob Little Anton Yakovlev Ilse Pedler Leonard Kress John Whitworth Len Krisak Jerome Betts Julie Kane Janet Kenny Matthew Buckley Smith David Landrum Rosemary Badcoe Martha Silano Ann Lauinger Jeffrey Holt Jared Pearce Alfred Nicol

Sacred Spring Late Summer Late Afternoon I Squeeze My Father’s Hand Bridge He’s Gone a Decade Song for the Sixth Decade An Opening at the Mill Unpacking Agony Conjugations In the Beer Garden One Hour Every Morning Travelling Ask Me about Love Nicetown X-Ray of Your Skull Orpheus Autopsied The Seventeen Secret Histories Late Medieval A Cooking Ego Typescript Jeepers! Names Dropping After Philomela Ars Poetica When the Ascetics Come to Town Revenant Time to Stay Whitby Gothic A Stalk of Winterberries At the Hoot ‘n’ Holler Guest House in Uncertain, Texas ‘How Beautiful Thy Feet in Shoes’ House Music The Room There Are Limits Fort Eel

14 15 16 17 18 19 20 20 21 22 23 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 31 32 33 33 34 35 36 36 37 38 39 39 40 41 41 42

Reviews Alan Wickes Philip Quinlan A. M. Juster

Rick Mullin, Sonnets from the Voyage of the Beagle Stephen Edgar, Exhibits of the Sun Terese Coe, Shot Silk

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Feng Zhi, Sonnet 15 Asadullah Khan Ghalib, Ghazal 5

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Translations Tony Barnstone

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Arsy-Versy: Ekphrastic Supplement (contents page within)

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Poetry - Part Two Andrew Frisardi David Stephenson Annette Volfing Sophie Reijman Paul Bussan Midge Goldberg Chris O’Carroll Richie McCaffery T. S. Kerrigan Angela France Kathrine Varnes Richard Epstein Michael R. Burch Sam Kemp Jane Røken Jason Barry Marybeth Rua-Larsen Gail White Elise Hempel Roy Mash Susan Spear Ken Craft Ned Balbo A. M. Juster Rachel Hadas

First Signs of Spring Biting the Hand The First Time I Went Birding Sleep and Bread Are One Thing Don’t Die The Silent Compartment If It Is a Projection Tell Me Why November Sailboat Iris Likeness Beat Gasmen The Half-Remembered Way City Break On a Stepmother’s Lexicon Critical Updates Alliteration in My Mother’s Milk The Shrinking Season Lean Harvests (I) My understanding is that it Mongolian Prospect Mongolian Air In Poland Drive-thru Benedick’s Beatrice A Change of Fashion Dresses Love of Slapstick Turning Season Tickets The Builder at Work Epistolary In Memory of Daniel Hoffman Stray Crow Who We Are Cassandra Hurry, Red Fruit, Descent After Long Sleep

Contributor Biographies and Previous Publications

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66 67 68 68 69 69 70 71 72 72 73 73 74 75 76 77 77 78 78 79 80 80 81 82 83 83 84 85 86 86 87 88 89 90 90 91 92 94 98

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Spring Beach Stone

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Editorial Neither Here Nor There It’s lucky for me that the Brooks and Warren textbook Understanding Poetry had such a long reign over the teaching of literature in the United States. If it had not, I would be giving my age away most embarrassingly by admitting that in my formal schooling, my teachers of poetry early and late were wedded to its methods. Those can be summed up as close reading of the poem, the whole poem, and nothing but the poem. Make a claim about the poem, said my teachers, and you must justify it by pointing to the content of the poem. This is what’s called the New Criticism, though it hasn’t been new for many decades. For a long time, I believed I was adhering to it strictly. I learned that I was not. I learned it in the rough-and-tumble of two different boxing rings: judicial opinions, which affect my day job, and online poetry boards, which for a long time took up the rest of the day. In those arenas I learned that what is ‘in the text’ by my lights might not be there at all for another reader, who may love or hate aspects of the poem invisible to me. I might scan a line in Anthony Hecht’s ‘Fifth Avenue Parade’ as rough pentameter, allowing for an anapestic substitution; you might have none of it and say it’s a flaw, a sore thumb of hexameter. Parsing clauses as tightly as Justice Scalia, I might insist that modifier X applies to noun Y, while you argue for noun Z. And those are the simple cases. My delightful double meaning is also your badly fitting cliché. My pleasure in alliteration is your much-too-much. My thrill of recognition when the poet evokes the flatness of the rural Midwest is your bored and weary memory of county-road driving. The beautiful order of New Criticism turns out to be the chaos of what’s officially called ‘reader response theory.’ And both theories claim to be innocent of that mystery, the poet’s intentions. Neither the student explicating the sadly departed Hecht nor the workshop critic, in the poet’s very presence, can be sure of those intentions. Deconstructionists will insist that they do not exist. But, pace theorists, when I write a poem, I am not (entirely) the unthinking mouthpiece of the muse; I intend pretty specific results, and I am certain other poets have similar aims. Furthermore, I think I might be able to say more about what you intend if I know who you are, where you live, what you’ve lived through, and at least some of what you’ve read, what images you’ve seen, and what music you’ve heard. I need to decide whether you’re embracing it, ricocheting off it, or taking a swing at it. For example, I am absolutely sure that Richard Wilbur’s ‘Galveston, 1961’ is about his late wife and a longago day at the beach, and I am absolutely sure that Gregory Orr is wrong to be sidetracked by the date in the title, and wrong to read the poem as addressed to a victim of the 1961 hurricane and to be baffled by it. How do I know such a thing? I’m bent in that direction by Wilbur’s other recent poems. Those hints are decidedly not ‘in the poem,’ but they seem to me to be as valid for interpretation as the things students know about Pope’s contemporaries and Keats’s tuberculosis. What I’m driving at is this: Even now, so late, I have no full answer to John Ciardi’s question ‘How does a poem mean?’ That does not keep me from admiring the loveliness, or the justice, in various theories. It’s just that my actual responses shoot them full of holes. I’m attracted, for example, to the Thomist notion of beauty, in which all loveliness approximates the Beatific Vision. But what does that say about God, when so many of my positive responses to poems are a kind of pang, an ache, a desirable pain, less like the Paradiso than the Purgatorio? I’m often in the dark as well about poems’ comparative value. What shall I say to the reviewer who maintains that Mary Jo Salter’s newest book, Nothing by Design, is a leap forward, an advance over the motherly anxieties of her early work? How do I defend my certainty that those very anxieties are what grab me, are the burrs that stick in the fiber of my thought? And what about the comparative value of 8

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poetic subjects? Conflict and injustice are real, and human problems are urgent. Can I support my conviction that they ought to be phrased in terms of lasting images rather than in terms of this week’s news? So here I am, standing in the role of editor, and admitting that I lack the bedrock of trust in a single unchanging poetics. I am grateful not to be in a position that might pressure me to hold to one theory—that might transform me into, in William Giraldi’s words, one of ‘those priests and priestesses of palaver for whom literature is never quite okay as it is, and to whom literature begs to be gussied up in silkier robes.’ In the thunderstorm of submissions from the round globe’s imagined corners, I’m without a handy umbrella. This would be terrifying if I had not watched someone take that stand before, fearlessly and with zest. I follow the example of Paul Stevens, who maintained, in his adopted seventeenth-century persona, that ‘his peculiar (and often unfashionable) Taste alone [would] come to bear in matters of editorial Decision. …’ In the end, no tool, no system, no gizmo is up to the task of discernment. In the end, it’s me, with Ann Drysdale’s support, grappling barehanded with the poems—wishing all the while not to grapple at all, but to be seized, lifted up, taken away. What I want is to make my way through the poem the way Seamus Heaney recommends driving the sea road in County Clare: Useless to think you’ll park and capture it More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there, A hurry through which known and strange things pass As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways And catch the heart off guard and blow it open. Maryann Corbett

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Editorial First my thanks. My co-editor for this issue has been a joy to work with and I owe her a profound debt of gratitude, for her professionalism and commitment of course, but even more for her friendship and quiet humour. I raise this cup of English Breakfast to Maryann Corbett, bless her. Editorials come round like Valentines and again I need to write you one as a way of celebrating our relationship. And here I sit, stumped, in front of a row of hats. I’ve worn several of them in the past few Angles. The pointy one that emphasises my ignorance, the flat one that indicates gravitas and keeps slipping over my eyes and the one with the bells (but no whistles) that covers my confusion when I fall over. I am looking for my Poet hat. Without it, I do not have the appearance of a poet. This can cause problems. I have just submitted a fistful of poems to a competition, the winning of which would involve a trip to Italy. I did so once before and spent a few glorious days in Orta San Giulio. It was a memorable experience. I had met up with another poet who suffers from a chest condition that requires her lungs to be drained daily, and she had arrived in Orta with nothing more than a nebuliser. She needed the services of a friend who would help to exercise her chest rhythmically, mimicking the machine that she had had to leave at home. ‘OK, Love,’ I told her, ‘I can do that.’ And I did, every day without fail until the day she was due to fly home. I wasn’t in a good place myself at the time and the morning event arranged for that day was a poets’ walk among the chapels on the Sacro Monte, reading poems for the Blessed Saint Francis (he who communes with animals and befriends those who die alone). I had convinced myself that this would be a Good Thing and would somehow mend my head. There would be plen ty of time to do the reading and still get back to the hotel, where my friend had arranged a late checkout, so we could ensure that her chest was in good shape for when the taxi came to take her to Malpensa. We trudged from chapel to chapel, with me suppo rting my friend and carrying a folding chair so she could sit down when she needed to. At each sacred station poet after poet over-read shamelessly and it soon became clear that, barring a miracle, there was no way I would be able to read before we had to go back to the hotel. I pretended not to mind and apologised inwardly to the Saint. As we set off down the hill, I asked another poet to explain to the organisers. Her husband had come with her and he it was who stepped forward and stopped us. ‘Look,’ he s aid, ‘I’m a doctor and it makes sense for me to take J back and see to her chest. Annie, you’re a poet and you must stay and read.’ My friend agreed, so thus it was. After my reading I scuttled back to the hotel to find that he was making a fine job of the bubbling bronchi and that she was well and happy. ‘Only one thing spoils it,’ she said, between thumps, ‘I wish I could’ve heard you read ’. ‘Soon sorted!’ I cried, kicking my shoes off and leaping onto a coffee table. I invoked the name of the hotel – ‘This one’s for San Rocco!’ I cried, and launched into performance. The door opened; San Rocco had forgotten about the late checkout. A member of the cleaning staff had arrived to prepare the room. The scene that greeted her was not at all what she had expected. A chair had been tipped up against the end of the bed and a small blonde woman was draped backwards over it. A wild -eyed 10

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man in his shirtsleeves was beating her repeatedly with two -fisted punches while a mad dominatrix, cross-dressed in a linen suit, was towering over the pair of them, bellowing encouragement. We were aware, just for a moment, of a face frozen into a mask of horrified misunderstanding and a strangled cry of Scusi, scusi signori! as the poor soul clattered backwards into a bucket. Oh, we did laugh. Ann Drysdale

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End of the Season

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Sacred Spring for Gina We don’t expect too much from visiting the rocks at Glanum: broken pillars, crumbling walls and such, a pile of tumbled blocks without a leaf of shade, unburied in the sun to bleach again; a scene too colorless to fade, a past that’s gone and done. But following the guide we stop to see what’s next: a place oddly familiar, as though we’ve stepped inside a high school history text. We’re not unwelcome here, the sun is overhead; the earth is dry, the air is still, the sky is clear; the neighborhood is dead. We wander aimlessly the porticoes and lanes. It’s like exploring someone else’s memory, respectful, taking pains to leave things as they are. I find you on a stair, leaning to look down into the reservoir. A shaded pool is there. You’re thoroughly immersed. Little fish, I think, or else what has you rooted there is ancient thirst— Your soul has stopped to drink. These are the healing waters, it says in the brochure. And does the mother-goddess whisper to her daughters? Again, I can’t be sure. Alfred Nicol

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Late Summer Late Afternoon I think this as I’m watering, Watching the way the water borrows A little light to which to cling: The deepest things aren’t always sorrows. Rote willful blindness, this not seeing? I saw a boy the other day (He’s maybe three?) dancing, just being A child who’s lost himself in play: Arms overhead like rigging; face Upturned; eyes blank; legs tacking hard; He zigzagged, blown by drunken grace. Then: ‘Quit it!’—loud—across the yard— To no effect that I could see While walking by—that is, until The boy’s father (presumably), With one mean stiff-arm, struck him still. The water, which is partly light, Glitters on the dark junipers— Festive, live, Christmas-like, despite Shadows the sun for now defers— Thus positing, as joy will do, Conditions contrary to fact. Camus’ plague-world turns plain untrue; That child’s receding, inexact. Water is something else—I can’t— Its sheen, its evergreen scent, the spell It’s whispering to each thirsty plant— I can’t not feel all will be well. This feeling comes, as real as pain, Lasts a few moments, disappears. The boy was looking up again, Eyes filling with forsaken tears. Charles Hughes

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I Squeeze My Father’s Hand I squeeze my father’s hand, and in a beat, as if some purpose stirs beneath his deep and curtain-shaded diamorphine sleep, he squeezes mine. A hazy, warm conceit wells up, to lift the heart and lull the head: that love might leave no spoken path or trace, yet make this quantum leap across the space of words we have together left unsaid. Do feelings that we leave unspoken show themselves in twitching hands and death-bed mime? In dreams they mimic quantum ghosts, and flow instead in some alternate world, to chime in words between our braver selves, who know that wishful thinking shadows wasted time. Peter Jones

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Bridge Once you decide to leave, Then go ahead and go; Do not delay to grieve The change in status quo. Step fast from road to wood Suspended in the air; Just trust the likelihood That here will lead to there. When you approach the place Where wood meets road again, Step on, then stop to face The span where you have been, And light it. Let it burn. Prohibit a return. Jane Blanchard

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He’s Gone a Decade ‘To multiply all leaves by clouds, then wind, is beautiful. And accurate. It gives a unity to chaos: math begins in small details, flight’s angle, length of waves that roil Aegean waters. Theorems prove not only ratios, but numbers’ love for breezeblown shimmer, water’s splash, bees’ buzz, the way fierce hawks climb light.’ the way fierce hawks climb light.’ Pythagoras had said all this ten years ago; Apollo knows these words by heart and now, alone, he says them to a tree, a rock, his abacus, then finds a newer audience: some crows are nodding ‘yes’ from one gnarled branch. They seem to love such thoughts: their night-black feathers gleam. Lee Slonimsky

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Song for the Sixth Decade To your best efforts, we’ve said, ‘No, your services aren’t needed here.’ It’s time for us to let you go. We wish you luck. It may not show. Our sympathy is most sincere. To your best efforts, we’ve said no. We’d hoped it wouldn’t turn out so. This place won’t be the same, it’s clear. And yet it’s time to let you go. A business cannot always grow. Ours must contract a lot this year, despite your efforts. We’ve said, ‘No, the budget’s never sunk so low.’ About objectives, we’ve been clear: it’s time for us to let you go. The wheels of fate are sometimes slow. One sheds, for what they crush, a tear. To your best efforts, we’ve said no. It’s time for us to let you go. Kevin Durkin

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An Opening at the Mill A cosy café, a chic shop, a vast exhibition space and now the glutted heavens are opening at the old mill. The hills get a piece of the sky’s mind where Rousseau’s tiger leaps as if lashed, imagined beyond Hockneys and pale lilies quivering in crazed Burmantofts. Apparently cavernous, but the whole place seems to contract to the shrinking lapse that separates strike from roar. Staff tug at giant blinds like riggers and with each eye-splitting flash, families with their transfixed children become silhouetted, Victorian miniatures. We were only just wondering about the sound that must have once shuddered these rooms. We’d asked a woman at the till who came from a line of mill workers, her greatgrandparents went completely deaf, both cloth-eared at the loom—a world shrouded where we sip our lattes and stare, not even lip reading as they had learned, but silenced except for the things only bones can share.

Unpacking Agony Forty-one, and still I’ll hang all I’ve brought from home further back. All these shirts she washed now favoured and saved, ahead of the pack at the end of the rack. With each push all of Devon in a garden gently bellowing. Rob Miles

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Conjugations We must, of course, thank the French for nailing the terms for times like these, for the universally uncertain. Take: the petite mort. The most vivid poems have always somehow caught a touch of it (or rather, we should say of them and their metaphors). Poetry’s two eternal subjects (and their cognate adjectives, nouns and verbs) gasp, curl and conjugate in us when one, the other, or even both occur (as above). So often tangled in lines of fire, or earth, or air, or water (then in flames and worms, and birds, and waves and more …) are love and death, said any way but straight, kinking on the tongue or page of anyone who’s yearning for (or cannot but express) that je ne sais … that certain breathlessness. Rob Miles

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In the Beer Garden I barely tasted that. Let’s pour another, whose foam ascends unevenly until it breaks the surface, falls, and settles here. Not everything depends upon my answer but you have asked. We’ll watch the froth climb over at its half-life, finding a place to spill or sink back. Even though we’re faithful friends you’re bound to make me watch the surface hover and I’m no longer certain where it ends its climbing, fizzles down, and tries to clear. You ask again if I would like to swill a stronger brew. I’d rather stay with beer whose bitter head rushes to climb and break into a ‘yes,’ terminally opaque. Claudia Gary

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One Hour Every Morning When light builds up until it overtops the village hall and brims over our windowsill, we stir like dreaming dogs. I get here first. Your back is still bent to the work of sleep. You come up next; six breaths from beep to wake and then we are together, delivered once again to tangle legs and tongues. The morning marvel of your shoulder’s span, my throat; your neck under my mouth, our come and plunge and swell. Your shave, my coffee on the hob, the shower running and the microwave’s asthmatic song of milk and ping; and pastries back in bed and you selecting trousers, me leaning from the window, wearing just my skin.

Travelling Another day, another lurcher, kinky terrier or spaniel; once a great Great Dane, polished as a Masai at the door. Another day, another set of teenagers gathered in a kindly kitchen like deer at drinking pools; a husband passing through. Another night, another host and under thatch or sticky stairwells there’s a quilt-and-linen featherbed a bunk-bed, air-bed, sofa-bed. Always welcome, always grateful for the stay, always glad to pack my bags and leave. Jo Bell

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Ask Me about Love Ask me about love and I’ll tell you about peeing myself under the stairs when my father came home. How my brother’s breath echoed in our house, in enclosed, dusty spaces. I’ll tell you how long the night lasted when dad reigned overhead, breaking brittle toys: plastic cop cars, things with hinges, glass jars with nails in them. I’ll tell you how hard we held each other, our breaths when he went silent, the quiet like a swarm buzzing through air, a furious static. * I’ll tell you to make someone cry. I’ll tell you about fourth grade, twisting Russell’s arm behind him, turning him until he saw a new side of himself. I’ll tell you how our teacher hated him, too, how we laughed at his mewling, a primal pack of children tearing into soft skin, unified against his high socks, his sharp elbows. I’ll tell you how he struggled at first, the desperate wiggling terror he could choke up. I’ll tell you how small we made him. * I’ll tell you how I let dad hit me in place of my smaller brother. How still I stood, letting his violence take root in the tension of my knees; how tight I curled when I fell, letting him kick me, snap the ribs around the pulp of my heart. I’ll tell you how I started leaning in to his wild swings, letting my purpled eye marinate until it leaked blue-black out the back of my head. I’ll tell you how potent a bone bruise is, how burning copper filled my mouth. Jacob Little

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Nicetown The serial killer stashed one of his victims’ skulls in his dining room chandelier. Unnoticed like lunar craters behind a massive cloud cover, eye sockets hid behind the crystal pendants. Every Sunday, he gathered his extended family for dinner and said grace in unhurried companionship. They never took each other for granted, always made eye contact when they toasted, never fought over stuffing. They often had other guests— colleagues, or new neighbors. Many a lifelong friendship started at a table like this. They looked out at the miniature waves on the narrow river across the meadow. Some nights, small horses ran along the bank. Once it grew dark, the host lit the chandelier. It cast a soft lunar light. They tangoed and played Monopoly. Sometimes they sang harmony. The host had perfect pitch. The vowels of his arias made the chandelier reverberate. Pleasant ringing echoed through the house. Anton Yakovlev

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X-Ray of Your Skull Exposed as a functional framework scorched into a silent scream, the astonishing teeth mock the absence of sight and thought. It should reveal its strength in solid lines, struts and girders. Instead a lacy fretwork of whorls and scrolls distracts the searching eye, diverts the peering for that small increase in disorder, the disruption of pattern, the tiniest whiter bit of white, that changes everything. Ilse Pedler

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Orpheus Autopsied When cops and doctors finally found the crime scene, and retrieved the soggy, mangled, headless corpse, they could now officially buttress what they’d previously only been able to presume with the singular fact that his heart had a hole. They could not determine, though, if he was born with it (which might explain his early turn to poetry and ascendency) or if it was his role as lover-losing-beloved that burned through or whittled out that hole. Or his descent to the underworld, where some monster meant to wound him on his way. Or losing her through foolishness again—that gaze that can pierce a heart. Or maybe, his final lonely life hunting down poetry, and the ultimate strife that life entails. They couldn’t even deduce how common it was among poets—this affliction. After all, they’d have to kill them first to find out, or disinter too many tombs with no funds. There were limits, of course, to their speculation. Leonard Kress

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The Seventeen Secret Histories Emily Bronte invented the saxophone. Emily Dickinson married a cannibal. Zadok the Priest kept a Mexican catamite. Agatha Christie garroted her grandmother. Reindeer and penguins beheld the Nativity. Satanists worship the Deity’s testicles. Christobel Pankhurst adored a rhinoceros. Jesus’s penis was pickled by acolytes. Julius Caesar plays cricket for Middlesex. Manfred von Richthofen lived as a lesbian. Robert the Bruce was abducted by aliens. Erik the Red was immured in a nunnery. Lord Peter Wimsey was trampled by centipedes. Paddington Bear was devoured by a manticore. Elvis ascended to Heaven in Camberley. President Bush is a fictional character. Higgledy-piggledy, nimini-piminy … John Whitworth

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Late Medieval Darling, tell me how it came to be That Manciple- and Merchant-like, we two, Near-Chaucer-chamber-potted, rise at three To zombie off, cold-footed, to the loo. How did it happen that a pair who slept The whole night through, all passion not half-spent, Keep now the habits fabliaux folk kept, Who lent themselves to humor when they went? God plumbed us, no? And having done, did He Abandon us to this, His comedy Of vessels filled to overflowing—filled To wake us from the sleep that we once knew? To ask is to be answered, and we’re stilled, To wait until the end that we are due. Len Krisak

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A Cooking Ego Rummage your skull, and rack those run-down brains Like a surveyor ferreting a house; Turn stones the woodlice cling to, sniff the drains, Tap on a rafter, startling bat and mouse, Grimace at fitments faintly out of date, Scan serried titles (decorators’ tricks?) Bend low to sift the ashes in the grate For straws of thought to make a few more bricks. And now stand up—the reason honed to goad, Yet subject still to adamant decretals From realms where archetypes do not corrode As golden houris dance with chromium beetles— In front of hands that misfield all you cast Then quickly cross the Is and dot the Ts Of earnest notes and comments, till, aghast, You know the forest is one maze of trees. Your words, graffiti on their mental walls, Some, faithful in their fashion, will transmit; The gallery tamed, you soon forget the stalls Where critics cluster, logging wart and wit, To fix you for the future as a sage, A pickled saint, an intellectual warlock, Or, dipped in bile distilled from pent-up rage, A bloody bumpkin clumping up from Porlock. Jerome Betts

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Typescript His type was short and stacked; Her type was Heathcliff-black. But she was tall (a rail), While he was sandy-pale. They thought they’d changed their types. Do tigers change their stripes?

Jeepers! That tooth-rattling ride over bump after bump Is taking its toll on your nerves. His four-wheel-drive Jeep isn’t kind to your rump, And he warns it could flip on fast curves. But he brags how he’ll save you, white knight on a steed, When civil disaster has struck. The canvas-top’s thin, so you have to lip-read When his words are drowned out by a truck. His mileage is lousy, so guess who must drive Whenever the trip will be far? Your passenger’s lucky to still be alive As he brags of his Jeep in your car. Julie Kane

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Names Dropping I used to know the names to know, the ones that opened doors. I did, I dropped them softly one by one to faint applause. They slipped and slid discreetly from my artless tongue, when I was young, so long ago. The haunting eyes in magazines exuded esoteric chic, initiated into some exclusive necromantic clique who moved to an enchanted drum for disembodied epicenes. An ectoplasm spewing from a god of all artistic things. Incontrovertible reports conveyed by messengers with wings. A critic’s vorpal blade that sorts the superficial and the om. The photogenic fortunate survived the falsity of fame and weathered into metaphors associated with their name. Now artists past the menopause no longer are importunate. A raincoat helps, so does a hat. Some floppy hair and squinting eyes. An air of one who doesn’t care for fame, who will not compromise, and shows surprise at being there. Old writers are quite good at that. Janet Kenny

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After Philomela It ended sooner than a song, The thing he did without a word. They hadn’t known each other long; It ended sooner than a song, And no one seemed to think it wrong: She was not changed into a bird. It ended sooner than a song, The thing he did without a word.

Ars Poetica We watched the plant somebody left with us Elbow its pair of buds into the room For days, in pursed, white-throated, partial bloom, Until the small one, mocking Icarus, Spread its sun-plaited blessings for an hour And dropped, burnt-feathered, lusterless, agape, Down to the floor we never swept, its shape Let tumble like a body from a tower. The larger bud, unopened, peers down still, Untrimmed by sun or shears or busy time, Keeping a height no second chance will climb, A promise only bided time can kill. Matthew Buckley Smith

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When the Ascetics Come to Town An unnamed housewife in Syria, 400 A.D., speaks. When they come to town, we are uneasy—not because they are wild-eyed and unkempt, fanatical (you cannot reason with them), nor because they smell and claim demons attack them in their caves; not those things (though those are bad enough). Most of all, we discern how they have left the wisdom of the body. They say bodies are things to beat down, kill and mortify so spiritual joy can blossom. Maybe it does, but they forget the rafters, pipes, conduits carrying blood and fluids of other colors; they scorn the hot forge of the heart, bellows of lungs, the bowels, the genitals—all built by God. They would destroy and whittle them away, draw them down to a wisp. Somehow it seems wrong as denying Christ three times, like Peter did, since God created man, made woman and then Christ came in the flesh. A trinity of blessing lies about the body. Our priest, a married man, gets annoyed at their denunciations of the flesh, their sermons preaching celibacy. He reminds them our Lord made wine to grace a wedding feast. They hang around a few days then tramp back to their stylite platforms, caves, hovels. We breathe sighs of relief—breathe them with lungs, up through our throats, over our teeth, and on out past our lips. David W. Landrum

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Revenant ‘One that returns after death or a long absence.’ —Webster’s Dictionary A ghost, but not just this: also someone returning after most of a life gone far off, to somewhere else, leaving behind the village for Paris, New York, Shanghai, Vienna—overseas to America, French Indochina, Russia, Australia— the army, perhaps, or an embassy, foreign business or to a better site for artists or for writers, then come back, sometimes abject, sometimes successful, yet a stranger to all those who know her name, her pedigree and lineage; who find her dressed in strangeness, foreign, accoutered with the unfamiliar, so the one returned wonders why her former friends and mates, her relatives, teachers, and old team stare guardedly though they know the name and face and recognize; a revenant, a show, a thing of wonderment, as if her friends were now conversing with a prophet, wraith, time-traveler, assassin, magus, whore— or with a walking tree dragging its roots, its limbs extended to embrace the past, which has become the present—before them throwing an umbra made by distant suns, its blossom bearing beautiful odd fruit. David W. Landrum

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Time to Stay The future pauses on his fingertips, the coming minute resting like a breath before flowing across his palm. For days he’s tried to catch it—snatched its early seconds, curled his grip so slowly he’s counted fifty-nine before his fingers meet. He’s tired of predicting where the future lands, chasing those who nourish brambles and know that, by September, berries will stain their lips. It’s midnight. He slips sideways past the border of the day, clock hands spiked sharp as fencing. Here’s an hour scuffed from the edge of light. He scrapes the centre, makes room to climb inside. For sixty minutes he’s alone, the world nailed and secure, all those he loves kept safe. A minute would have burned him like a spark—this hollow space is more than he can hold, dense as gold or physics. Beyond, a ream of mornings drifts like thistledown.

Whitby Gothic Victorian jet carved in silhouette, a chip of mourning trimmed with greying lace and ivory: they face each other, the lady and a long-toothed man—recalling Sundays perched straight-backed on horsehair, held tight by bodices and buttoned shoes. The stuffy parlour still retains the indrawn breath, the dying echo of the crystal set. And it sits gently on the hand, always lighter than you would imagine, a spectre listening at the edge of ghost tales. How right to find it here, a sculpted cameo fallen in the snow, framed by blood-red berries and iridescent jackdaw feathers. Rosemary Badcoe

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A Stalk of Winterberries They were giggling rouge. They wore cherubic lipstick. Fiery. Festively diminutive. Clustered and drunk. Rutilously guffawing. Scarlet corralled since college. One of them wears a vermilion slip. One of them hails from a burnished wood; one a sanguine celebrity sporting a ruby-red Triumph. Much mirth, much ruddy sighing. Degrees in feverish, in wiping the sweat from a mother’s blazing forehead. Much Bordeaux. Many combustible memories—variegated, stalked. Cheery with a touch of flaming. Many-faceted mini-cardinals. Twig as a ray of cancer. The daughter of one approaching the bloody edge of moon, the sister of another dabbling like a roseate spoonbill. Not one of them infallible. All of them seeing red. Martha Silano

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At the Hoot ‘n’ Holler Guest House in Uncertain, Texas, I yank off my tennies, take a load off, take a long, gawky gaze at Gamma Cygni, patchy pink and purple milky swirl the Arabs named Hen’s Breast, worthy nod to the tastiest part of the bird, especially when deep fried, lifted from a grease-dotted paper bag to suck the meat from the rubbery cartilage; and heck, forgot the napkins; I’m licking my fingers one by one, totally apropos here in these Piney Woods, with the ghoulish Spanish Moss, with the bobwhite belting out its name. I will sleep late, and then I will linger in my Freedom Kitchen not overlooking the lake. After I’ve lost four games of solitaire, I will charcoal grill and smoker; I will electric hookup because the boathouse and den truly are a hoot ‘n’ holler, as are the ceiling fan and patchwork bedspread; I am going to rock my cypress knees into a screen porch revelation, way past the swamp buggies and the trotlines, toward Sabachbia, Lucky Star of Hidden Things. Martha Silano

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‘How Beautiful Thy Feet in Shoes’ Feet were a problem. Shoes weren’t easy to find in your size. ‘Ten quint! ten quin-tuple A!’ you grimaced, waggling ten fingers, and resigned yourself to spending our whole Saturday Questing for Heels. The salesman—nay, zounds, prithee— the Knight of the Blooming Dales, astride his horse, assists the Afflicted Damsel. As for me— ‘a shoo-in,’ you winked, ‘for size 12.’ I heard a curse in commiseration, triumph foretelling my flaws. Or was stigma sexy? Big feet second best to lame? Dad screwed a string of girlfriends. God knows you had cause, but this paladin fondling your feet was as close as you came to having a little fling with something in pants. You were stepping out. I hope it was romance.

House Music In a too-small room in a too-small house you played Mozart and ragtime for relief. Man, woman, child, fish, gecko, mouse: everyone armored in scales and teeth. You played Mozart and ragtime; for relief, I sang lieder and ‘Songs from the Hearth.’ Everyone’s armor—scales and teeth, action figures—squeaked and barked as I sang lieder and ‘Songs from the Hearth’ out of time, lost my place and cursed my mistakes. Action figures that squeaked and barked concealed the slither of black-tongued snakes a long time. Lost in place, I cursed my mistakes, discords reverberating. You frowned. Concealed, the slither of black-tongued snakes pumped faster, racing round and round the chords, reverberating when you frowned. Our two bruised hearts, two thirsty beasts, pumped faster, racing round the brown and shrinking wellspring—too used, our too-bruised hearts, to thirst. The beasts were weeping, wild-eyed. Still you played, unshrinking, till the wellspring loosed bright music, and the creatures stayed their weeping, mild-eyed while you played: man, woman, child, fish, gecko, mouse, bright music of all creatures strayed in a too-small room in a too-small house. Ann Lauinger 39

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The Room The feeling that the doors will soon slam closed, hot lights flash on. I’ll be the fool, exposed. My ex-wives watch behind a two-way mirror smiling at rabbit eyes, trembling hands. This terror tosses me beneath damp sheets, a rag spinning in a dryer, or a bug the exes try to stomp on one by one, shrieking their disgust as I outrun them once again. How long can I defy this trinity that haunts me for the lies I told each one of them? Abashed, I see the need-for-anyone dressed up as me pledging the vows: to have, to hold, to cherish until one of a sacred pair should perish. I wasn’t there. I let a ghost stand in for me, recite the words, and flash a grin at nearly the right time. Three times, this trick. Three brides deceived so I would not feel sick with the anxiety of nights alone. I ran through lives so that I’d hear the phone and women’s chatter rather than silence. I’ve suffered and inflicted violence played down because emotional, then stuffed. Each divorce burned like a sudden frost, left me bereft. But here, I pay in fear. In this stark room, my wives drink my despair. I’m naked, bald, and sticky with my sweat, a trapped embodiment of my regret, and I can hear them giggle, then a hiss. This room is my confessor, my abyss. I meant no harm. And yet, each time I chose my loves, I heard, dimly, a jail door close. Jeffrey Holt

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There Are Limits I’m touching you to find a truth, A morning dove that calls again For her partner, over and over, Until the sun is hard, until the shape Coheres in drips from leaves and sky And is known firm: that other thing Reveals the edge of what I know, Of where I go and what I am. For we’ve been lost among the robin’s call, The pulsing heat the cardinal shouts, The grackle’s pinch, the owl’s low growl— And spread so thin from covering The bursting earth, I’ll find the grace That comforts me by feathering my end.

Fort In a matter of sticks We’ll have this house That won’t forestall the wind, Leaking under the roof, Clawing after our scent. But the walls will hold us, Away from the immobile sky And the weeping trees. And once we huddle, The chipmunk will visit, And we’ll catch a hare And name him, Dog, Tie him on a string. And you’ll come home And I’ll make tea, everything Just ours, With the wind rattling, Bringing us something And taking us in Tiny bits to the sea. Jared Pearce

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Eel The year the dam collapsed the lake slid back. Its wide, slow stream moved through a realm of mud that dried and cracked, a maze of intersecting faults I studied, peering under stones. Spiders the size of golf balls ran away, white ones and black ones. Wraiths of vapor rose; the earth was groaning in a fevered sleep. I brought a safety pin and ball of string. Driving a stake into the clay, I cast the makeshift hook into a pool, let out the string, and left it overnight—no bait— expecting that its glint would draw the flash of something weighty burrowed in the silt. I worried centipedes and larvae from their purgatories with a stick, and gladly plashed in scum to find the leopard frog. Meanwhile, the miracle was incubating. Reeling in the kitchen twine at last I felt a living shudder running through! As quickly as I spooled the string around an open hand, my expectation mounted, and maybe once I felt again a tug, a quickening, though uncertain, maybe just the dull resistance of a clump of weeds; a snag it may have been, that I’d imagined having teeth and eyes. A tangled line another fisherman had lost was caught and dragging on my futile safety pin, but when I’d hauled its looping ravels in I saw that yet another fishing line was knotted to the first—this could go on— a hidden random mesh connecting me with something suddenly, ferociously alive and thrumming through its many threads! The snaky glaucous monster of a fish broke through the surface thrashing and submerged again, recoiling in the bottom murk. The water took the shape of him and stirred. I had him on a leash! I stuffed the snarl beneath a rock and ran to get a pail. My lungs on fire in my chest, I knelt to hoist the eel out of its element. When I went out to check, ten times a day, it hadn’t died. It circled in the pail. Or else it died and circled anyway. The teeth were right up close behind the tail. Alfred Nicol 42

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Review Rick Mullin ‘Sonnets from the Voyage of the Beagle’ Dos Madres Press, 2014 Rick Mullin’s latest collection, Sonnets from The Voyage of the Beagle, was launched in New York in January to considerable acclaim. In the short time between the book’s appearance and the arrival of my copy from the other side of the Atlantic, Dennis Daly’s review had already declared Mullin’s sonnet sequence to be ‘a masterpiece of poetic reinterpretation’. More informal discussion on the web and social media was equally complimentary, ‘Gorgeous book … good paper, and 12 colour plates of birds and animals!!’ enthused a contributor to Eratosphere. The poet, Rhina Espaillat, writing on the Dos Madres Press website comments, ‘For me, the most notable aspect of this book is the way it is told, through a series of narrative sonnets whose language is as crisp and objective as the prose journal from which it draws data, but blessed by the speed, scope and passion of epic poetry.’ While I waited with growing anticipation for my copy to arrive I entertained myself by tracking down a second-hand copy of Darwin’s journal, then halfway through reading it, wondered if in fact it would have been more sensible to read Sonnets from The Voyage of the Beagle with a fresh eye, before turning to Darwin’s original. My concern proved to be unfounded. Two things became clear as soon as I started to read the sonnet sequence. Firstly, that the word ‘masterpiece’ which Daly had used in his review was in no sense hyperbolic, and secondly, that familiarity with the source material assists in appreciating just how clever Mullin had been in adapting Darwin’s ‘crisp and objective’ prose into poetry, which in its scope and ambition, Rhina Espaillat rightly deemed ‘epic in intent’. Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle gifts us a portrait of the naturalist as a young man, just 22 years of age when the ship set out on its five-year journey of discovery. In the author’s note, Mullin makes the point that the journal ‘frees’ the scientist from the ‘onerous weight of [being] a secular deity’. It reminds us that Darwin was a product of the late Romantic age, and though his theory was later to become a cornerstone of modernity, for the man who developed it, largely from observations made during the Beagle’s circumnavigation, his conclusions concerning ‘descent with modification’ prompted a lifelong crisis of faith. It is tempting to regard The Voyage of the Beagle as a scientific equivalent to Wordsworth’s The Prelude in the way it delineates the growth of an exceptional individual mind by providing a detailed record of the events which shaped it and, in particular, how ideas about Nature, central to Romanticism, influenced Darwin’s ‘botanising’. The journal, in the Everyman edition I procured, runs to around 500 closely packed pages. As one might expect the book contains extended passages detailing Darwin’s observations of geology, climate, flora and fauna, and reflections on the interrelationship between them. These are enlivened by accounts of the places, people, political events and adventurous incidents which occurred during the long voyage. As the book is based on Darwin’s diaries and notes, its structure is somewhat informal. Rick Mullin’s sonnet sequence transforms the anecdotal aspect of the source material yet retains the tone of the original. In particular the poems are arranged to give equal weight to observations of places and people. Darwin’s detailed notes concerning geology, flora and fauna do not predominate quite to the extent as in the original. For example, ‘Carnivorous Birds’, a poem concerning the habits of same,

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… Chimango closes fast on injured Cormorants and other birds, delivering the fatal blow before it gorges, tearing whip-like at the gore. is placed alongside an account of an Indian raid in ‘We Hear Of A Repelled Attack’: … As the horrifying sound intensified, a Frenchman on the wall commenced with grapeshot, sputtering a prayer, and putting 40 spearmen on the ground. Juxtaposed, the two sonnets invite us to draw a parallel between the appetite of the carnivorous birds and mankind’s murderous instinct. Throughout the sequence science, nature and human events are presented as co-existent even when they are not directly inter-connected. In ‘Trust’, Darwin’s scientific investigations are regarded with suspicion and bewilderment by the Chilean villagers with whom he was lodged: They questioned me, and I replied in kind. Were they not curious regarding such anomalies as earthquakes? (Not so much). Volcanoes? (No). The elders stared me blind. ‘Señor, such things are in the hands of God.’ Here scientific exploration is placed in the context of current events and the (largely disinterested) human society in which it takes place. I was reminded of Auden’s observation of how the marvellous happens while someone else is walking dully along. To condense Darwin’s extensive journal into 126 Petrarchan sonnets is a project beset by potential pitfalls; Rick Mullin negotiates these with panache. For example, reinventing the episodic and often anecdotal journal as a series of identically structured poems risks destroying the charm and spontaneity of Darwin’s original. However, the sonnets are richly varied in tone and approach; the sequence’s underlying formality remains, for the most part, inconspicuous. Some poems emulate the detailed scientific observation which characterises much of the journal, as in ‘Scissor Beak’: I saw a most peculiar bird, the rare, anomalous and twisted scissor beak. Its bill (bizarre!) right angles to a duck’s, its lower mandible outruns the upper, cutting deep into the glassy creek for supper as it flutters like a swallow, dips and sucks. Other sonnets, such as ‘General’s Republic’ explore the political complexities of nineteenth century South America: Of course, there’s little pretext for the war— the state’s seen 15 governments this year! Thus revolution is a natural thing. Unreasonable asking questions here, besieged by unpaid generals galore, beholden to their un-anointed king. What is captured throughout is the young Darwin’s irrepressible energy and endless curiosity. He is shown to be equally fascinated by politics, native peoples and the natural world. He is also presented as a man with a mischievous sense of humour as recounted in

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an absurd stand-off between the naturalist and a grumpy Jackass Penguin, or the incident in the Galapagos where he attempts to annoy giant lizards by pulling them tail first from their burrows. One senses that Mullin was acutely sensitive of the challenges inherent in adapting nineteenth century prose into poems which are easily read today. In the author’s note the poet advises that he will ‘take all the usual liberties in writing a poetic account of history, but in all cases to follow Darwin’s description of events and discoveries’. In fact, most of the time verisimilitude trumps poetic license. Here Darwin writes in his journal of his first experience of a tropical rain-forest: Delight itself, however, is a weak term to express the feelings of a naturalist who, for the first time, has wandered by himself in a Brazilian forest. The elegance of the grasses, the novelty of the parasitical plants, the beauty of the flowers, the glossy green of the foliage, but above all the general luxuriance of the vegetation, filled me with admiration. This passage is ‘translated’ into poetry, in ‘First Walk in the Forest’, as follows: How does one communicate delight? Describe the pleasures gleaned from elegance and novelty, the panoply of chance and order, shadows sliding in a light indifferent to time of day? The rocks and grass. The parasitic fronds resplendent on their fallen hosts. In some respects the sonnet is more direct, replacing Darwin’s languorous qualifying subclauses with a simpler syntax. Yet the poem retains the original’s elegance and formality by consciously utilising a diction which echoes nineteenth century usage – ‘gleaned’, ‘panoply’, ‘resplendent’. For this to work effortlessly within the constraints of a sonnet, without lapsing into pastiche or anachronism, is clever stuff indeed. However, Sonnets from The Voyage of the Beagle is not entirely an adaptation of source material; sometimes the book moves into the territory of fictional biography. Imagined incidents are interspersed among the adapted journal entries. The sonnet ‘False Cape Horn’ recounts accurately a moment of jeopardy in the Southern Ocean where HMS Beagle is almost overwhelmed by huge waves. The poem that follows it, ‘Reading to the Crew on Deck’, ‘invents’ a service of thanksgiving on deck afterwards: The tempest was upon them where they sailed. Yet when they cried out to the Lord, he stilled the waters, calmed the thunder. He delivered them from mayhem while the sea was hushed. He held the storm and they were glad. They shivered as they thanked Him. And the ocean spilled to quiet night and gleamed where it had gushed … What this incident reveals is that although Darwin’s scientific method appears modern, the belief system he inhabited remained staunchly Christian. The scientist is portrayed as a product of Romanticism. Moreover, his sense of the sublime in Nature seems closer to Blake’s ‘Ancient of Days’ than Coleridge’s Neoplatonism. Those of us more familiar with Mullin’s cool evocation of counter-culture in Hunke cannot fail to be astonished by the poet’s versatility. There can be few writers able to adopt a voice in one collection which emulates the Beats, yet in another thunders like a latter-day Charles Wesley.

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Some authorial intervention is more subtle than the foregoing. A number of journal entries are recast as dreams. These range from an evocation of peaceful co-existence between Europeans and native tribes in ‘Indian Wars III’, nostalgic longing for the ‘topiary yews of Cheltenham’ in ‘Bells’, and nightmarish anxieties concerning litigation and false judgement in ‘Recurrent Dream’. These adapted scenes introduce a psychological element to the sonnet sequence and explore Darwin’s inner life more overtly than in the journal itself. Through the development of Darwin’s character key themes emerge. Perhaps the most significant of these concerns the naturalist’s view of native peoples. Darwin was a product of Unitarian liberalism. His paternal grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, a pioneering doctor, scientist and occasional poet, was a significant figure in England’s late eighteenth century’s ‘provincial’ Enlightenment. The naturalist’s mother was the daughter of the industrialist, Josiah Wedgewood. Unsurprisingly, given such parentage, Darwin displays broad, but at times contradictory, sympathies. He was a committed abolitionist, abhorring both slavery in general and recent incidents of genocide in Argentina. This, from ‘Indian Wars II’: Summer thunder barrels through a vault where savages drop wildly to their death […] A naked girl chokes blood at her last breath, not simply killed, but killed and kept from breeding. However, Darwin does not share Rousseau’s romantic view concerning the noble savage. The primitive conditions of naked hunter gatherers in Patagonia disgusted him; he wrote in glowing terms of the improvement Christianity had brought to the people of Tahiti; the inhumane and murderous behaviour of the natives of New Zealand shocked him, and he was simply bewildered by the ritual dances of the Tasmanian ‘White Cockatoo Men’. In focussing on these incidents Mullin presents Darwin as an ‘adventurous’ scientist of flair and imagination, but also a man of his time who adhered to contemporary notions of Whig history, seeing advancement and progress as the key forces behind change, and confident of Britain’s role at the forefront of this civilising project. Sonnets from The Voyage of the Beagle celebrates Darwin’s achievements, but does not shrink from exploring his contradictions. Rick Mullin’s stylish sonnets achieve with poise and virtuoso craftsmanship his avowed aim to present ‘Darwin as a late figure in the Romantic Age of art and science at work in the field, moving towards a vision that would change the way we view the world’. I am in no doubt whatsoever that this impressive and beautifully illustrated book will be recognised over the coming months as one of this year’s ‘must have’ collections and will re-inforce Rick Mullin’s growing reputation as one of America’s most talented and versatile formalist poets. Alan Wickes

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Review Stephen Edgar ‘Exhibits of the Sun’ Black Pepper Publishing, 2014 I never attend poetry readings. These days, I don’t go to rock concerts either. The reason, I believe, is the same in each case. You know how it is … the version of the song you want to hear is the one on the album, the one you grew to love over many repeat playings, whereas the band almost always wants to mix things up, offer a new take, or generally ‘big it up’ performance-wise. Unless, that is, they go in the other direction and choose to pare it all down and give you the unplugged version. By what right, I ask, do they tamper with something that belongs to me? There is a school of thought which says poetry ought to be performed. After all, goes the usual argument, poetry was an oral medium long before it became a literary one. Well, yes. And music existed long before it was written down, too. I don’t disagree in principle, but in practice it is rarely done well. Put a poet in a room full of listeners and, as with live rock music, what usually happens is one of two things: 1) He or she turns the vocal (and often gestural) amplifier up to 11, as if that in itself will serve to energise what is inherently flaccid and lacklustre, or 2) He or she adopts a flat, offhand, monotone, understated (almost apologetic) style. In both cases, a painful distortion (though different in kind) kicks in. In the first case, it often seems as if a kind of music is being layered on as an afterthought. In the second case, I get the feeling that any sense of lilt or cadence, any musicality, is being deliberately dumbed down in the triply-mistaken belief that the language will thereby sound more like natural speech, because natural speech is not musical, and a poem should sound like natural speech. I dismiss all three claims out of hand. All speech is musical, the music arising naturally from the sound of the words (albeit with geographical and/or cultural variations). The music of poetry (that poetry which actually has any music) is different to the music of natural speech to the extent that the language of poetry is different to everyday language (as I think it is and should be). When I read a poem, I read it aloud in the head. I can’t get a poem unless I can hear its sound. And I can’t be doing with either a poem which sounds like it is trying hard not to be one, or a poem in which sound is discordant with sense. Most of all, I want that sound to be the sound of someone speaking to me, rather than a room full of people, even if not in quite the same way as the man next to me in the bus queue might speak to me. Which brings me, at last, to Stephen Edgar. Fortunately, I allowed for exceptions in what I said above about poetry in performance, because Stephen Edgar is a notable exception. Not that I have heard him read publicly, but I am very familiar with his recorded readings, and there is nothing like a well-made recording to capture that sense of being spoken to individually. There is certainly an engaging sense of intimacy about Edgar’s recordings. More than that, the sound he makes when reading his work is exactly the sound I hear when I read it aloud in my head, with only the slightest additional music arising naturally from his Australian accent (that accent, typically, being inherently more dynamic in stress and pitch cadence than say UK English). Other than that, the music is all in the words, which have clearly been chosen with the utmost care even if the result looks in no way forced. Before venturing further, at

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this point you might usefully pay a visit to Stephen Edgar’s excellent website http://stephenedgar.com.au/ whereat you will find several poems and readings, including four from this collection. The typical Edgar poem uses metre and rhyme, but subtly. A combination of long sentences, heterometric lines, skilful enjambment, and non-obvious rhyme schemes lends his poems on the one hand a certain naturalness, but on the other hand imbues them with a sophisticated music which requires only that the words be spoken, rather than performed. Consider this, the last stanza of the opening poem of the collection, ‘All Eyes’: Was it for this the aeons fashioned us? To look and make it so? The moth wing’s intricately subtle scales, The fleck of matter in the nucleus As light as light, your face which never fails To show me what I cannot know. This kind of precise (but not precious) diction is one hallmark of an Edgar poem. A key word in this stanza is ‘scales’, because another hallmark, demonstrated here, is the juxtaposition of observations of the incomprehensibly large with those of the almost equally incomprehensibly small. The overall effect is of looking at the whole universe through a microscope. But his subject is, more often than not, humanity (whose scale—as Michael Frayn observed, if not uniquely, in The Human Touch—lies about halfway between the two extremes), and no matter what excursions he may take us on, it is almost always the human scale that he leaves us with. Here is another example, from ‘Vantage Point’, a sonnet which I quote in full because it defies editing: As onto some still largely unexplored And fictional Pacific too immense To be exhausted by desire, or sense, Or all the histories history may record, They wake and look. In every day is stored More time than their most prodigal expense Can spend. All space is theirs, and its events Are their incentive, venture and reward: A living map—all folded up and rolled So tightly it might not be there, like those Impossible dimensions which, we’re told, In some past shudder of the cosmos To flecks the ghostly flecks of matter hold, And orders of dark magnitude enclose. Characteristically, the language is fluid and uninterrupted, which is what makes it uneditable. You don’t find many sharp edges or corners in an Edgar poem; the world he presents is a voluptuous and curvaceous one, intelligently and benignly observed. And there is a great difference between benign intelligence and knowing wit; there is urbanity here, but not taken to excess (as is sometimes the case with Edgar’s fellow countrymen Clive James and Peter Porter). Incidentally, it is well known that Clive James is a great admirer of Stephen Edgar’s work, and he has remarked in particular on Edgar’s ‘unmatched ability to make science a living subject for lyrical verse’ [The Chimaera, February 2009]; the above poem, for instance, references Superstring Theory (search for ‘Kaluza-Klein Compactification’ if you don’t believe me), and no doubt the vantage point of the title is that occupied by the sexiest (?!) scientists of all: particle physicists.

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Given the title of the collection, and possibly those legendarily vast Australian skies, it is no surprise that many of Edgar’s poems are also deliciously lit, often with the light and colour of dawn or dusk (one cannot forget ‘Giotto’s dream of indigo’ in his most famous poem, ‘Man on the Moon’, from the earlier collection Other Summers). Now, poets and painters have been entranced by light for so long you would think there was no new way of saying so left, but you would be wrong. If you care to turn to Angle issue 4 you will find a poem from this collection, ‘Order of Service’, which contains a couple of nice counterexamples, as well as ‘Scatter Pattern’, which is not included here but which exemplifies the juxtaposition of extremes of scale I mentioned above. But what about this for a delightful eye (and ear) on light?—culled from ‘Daylight Music’: … And here Sibelius’ Symphony Number Seven, Playing unheard while my displaced attention Was pausing to daydream, Superimposes on the light of heaven The trombone theme Of its first climax, soaring in suspension As though the music were that beam, A column of illuminated sound Advancing through the day. I close my eyes And hear its movement, scored From that torn fissure which the clouds surround, In time toward The sun’s conclusion, hear it synchronize The silvered river chord by chord. Not only delightful, but delighted, I would contend. Stephen Edgar clearly delights in the physical world—which he interprets as art (hence, I presume, the ‘exhibits’ of the collection’s title)—while simultaneously reminding us that it is only by the agency of light, and our life-giving sun, that we are able to appreciate the scale and grandeur of the universe we find ourselves in. I often imagine the oppressive sense of claustrophobia which the loss of sight would mean for me and conclude that, if the worst came to the worst, I could more easily contend with the loss of music and speech. I was once sent a series of stunning landscape photographs by a friend, along with the simple message: ‘When God paints …’ Many of these poems have that same reverence, if without the religious connotation. Scale, of course, can be temporal as well as spatial, and in ‘Steppe’ the vast emptiness of the landscape is magnified by the smallness of a lone woman who stands at the centre ‘which, simply by being there, she constitutes’ as the sun completes its diurnal journey, the temporal scale being magnified by her stillness. Her only action in the poem is to blow a single bubble at noon, which ‘Hangs faintly on the superscripted air’. The fact that nothing other than this happens intensifies the narrator’s gaze, and therefore the reader’s. The woman becomes for me, symbolically, what physicists call a (the primordial?) singularity, and the bubble could easily be the inflationary universe which emanated from it (although I’m thankful that, if so, that idea isn’t explicitly worked out in the poem, because that would kill it); but if I am right, then the adjective ‘superscripted’ nicely conflates the idea of meticulous (God-like? or deterministic?) planning with the equations of the laws of physics. As direct as Edgar’s observations are on the ‘art’ of the physical world, his observations on art per se can be somewhat more oblique. In ‘The Representation of Reality in Western Art’ the narrator is prompted by Proust to wander (as I read it) through the halls of memory and find a painting by Magritte, to the accompaniment of a soundtrack by Fauré. 52

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Much more than this I dare not say, but only for fear of exposing my own ignorance! Suffice it to say that the poet seems as much interested in the nature of art as in the art of nature. The sonnet, ‘Man in a Boat, after a sculpture by Ron Mueck’, is, however, more plainly ekphrastic, even if it achieves a pleasing level of abstraction: … And as you tour his stillness to disprove A fancy that you think you never meant, Head cocked, brow raised, he’ll nakedly persist In staring past your questionable intent, Until you wonder where the power to move May lie, or the conviction to exist. ‘Sculptures by the Sea’ is again a fairly straightforward observation on the al fresco art on show at the annual Sydney exhibition of (almost, barring the plural) the same name, whereas in ‘Moonlight Sculptures’ Edgar (or the narrator, at least) is celebrating the sculpture of, one must suppose, his sleeping partner: … We slide across a moon-slicked sheet. And all the intermittent anaglyphs Of you the moon is working to Complete, I see each time I wake and view Your light-shaped body as it stirs and shifts. … So here we are at the human scale from start to end, but to return to that juxtaposition of extremes of scale again, in ‘Off the Chart’ Edgar manages, in the course of four stanzas (with a one-line coda), to navigate unerringly between the motion of a clothes hoist and that of ‘The planets and the star-slung zodiac’ as if there were a causal relation in play. And one finds those two scales (spatial and temporal) yet again, in ‘Oswald Spengler Watches the Sunset’: … An animulcule in a drop of dew— And so diminutive That if the human eye should look clear through That globe there would be nothing there to see— Although it only has a blink to live, Yet in the face of this is free; The oak, in whose vast foliage this dot Hangs from a single leaf, is not. As unique as Edgar’s voice is, there is something distinctly Eliotian in the rhythms and cadences (not less the observations) of ‘Song Without Words’: Light of the nursery invades The morning ward and its uncoloured walls, And like a white sheet on his adult brain Settles opaquely where it falls, And will remain All day, as day assembles and degrades. … 53

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A television drones. A phone Is ringing. Indistinctly voices drift From further off: two nurses at the end Of their interminable shift Laugh and descend, A walking inventory of what is known. The final poem of the collection, ‘Rembrandt with Seagulls’, is the contemplation of a present scene (unromantically including distant seagulls circling above a waste disposal site, or ‘the dump’) which gently segues into a contemplation of Rembrandt’s ‘The Stone Bridge’. The last passage brings us expertly in to a suitably soft landing: … How is it that those trees, Holding that shaft of sun, can still be there, As though the centuries Could not get over such an episode, As though that place and moment could appear So piercingly only from far away. Luminous and remote Under the strobe-lit passage of the day, The circling seagulls float Somewhere that you can only see from here. To summarise—as I suppose, in time-honoured fashion, I must—Stephen Edgar’s is the poetry of vision, both literally and metaphorically, and there is an unhurried, ruminative mood throughout this and much of his previous work which is well-served by his perfectly-paced and lightly-inflected reading style which, once heard, most readers will internalise, as I have. His poems in some cases had small beginnings, as the brief notes to the collection attest, but more often than not he allows space and time for them to develop into a larger statement (eschewing, in the process, the device of poetical compression) so that the resulting vision is, to use an expression I have used before, as a landscape seen through a keyhole. And poetry, surely, is as much a way of seeing as a way of saying. But, and it is only a very small but, the very uniformity of mood and method which unifies this collection also meant that I felt compelled to read it in installments rather than at a sitting. One can only appreciate so many landscapes in a gallery before wanting to rest the eye on a portrait, a still life, or even an abstract. What matters in the end, though, is that it is the kind of book that, having once put it down, one feels compelled to pick up time and again. Stephen Edgar has acknowledged himself that the greater part of the audience for poetry these days comprises other poets, in which case the majority of the audience for Exhibits of the Sun will find themselves paying him the highest compliment one poet can pay another: I wish I’d written that. Yes, and made it look so easy too. Philip Quinlan

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Review Terese Coe ‘Shot Silk’ White Violet Press, 2015 A quarter-century ago it looked like the postmodernists were right. Poets who clung to rhyme and meter were remnants of a dwindling endangered species—like the giant Galapagos Islands turtles or America’s liberal Republicans. The emergence of a few ‘New Formalists,’ such as Dana Gioia and Wendy Cope, as heirs to Richard Wilbur and Anthony Hecht did little to disrupt planning for formal poetry’s wake, and academia did seem to enjoy fine-tuning ill-tempered eulogies. Nevertheless, a funny thing happened on the way to the funeral. In 1990 William Baer founded a meticulously edited journal devoted to metrical poetry called The Formalist. Soon extraordinary newcomers, such as A.E. Stallings, Timothy Murphy and Catherine Tufariello, appeared on its pages next to Richard Wilbur, Anthony Hecht, Derek Walcott and Gwendolyn Brooks. In 1992, a literary Postal Service employee, John Mella, founded the influential Light to revive the almost lost art of light verse. In 1995 Dana Gioia and Michael Peich started a conference on form and narrative in poetry at West Chester University. Despite the modest expectations of even its founders, formal poetry’s Woodstock soon became the largest conference in the country devoted exclusively to poetry. The revival of formal poetry accelerated in 1999 when a visionary outsider, Alex Pepple, debuted Able Muse, the first online journal for formal poetry. As an adjunct to Able Muse, he created Eratosphere, an online workshop with the same modest expectations that Gioia and Peich originally had for the West Chester conference. To Pepple’s surprise, history repeated itself; like the West Chester conference, Eratosphere exceeded its founder’s original expectations and rapidly became the largest online poetry workshop in the country. Eratosphere lured and nurtured budding formalists around the world. One of these poets was Terese Coe, a native New Yorker with a background in prose and drama who began workshopping her poetry at Eratosphere in the wake of 9/11 and shortly thereafter published in major journals, including Poetry. Coe’s The Everyday Uncommon (Word Press 2005), was an impressive first book. Her work—while not always ‘formal’—regularly displayed a strong command of traditional forms. Moreover, she often wrote with the admirable concision and music of this 9/11 poem, ‘Archaic Halo’: This was all of pyre and halo, hell and hallowed ground. Here we stand above Ground Zero, living, still unfound. Other poems, such as the ‘Letter to Virginia Woolf,’ a channeling of the ghost of Auden writing to Byron, demonstrated Coe’s wit and range. Coe’s second book, Shot Silk (White Violet Press 2015), reflects many of the same themes and skills of The Everyday Uncommon, but it is more adventurous in its use of language, more ambitious in its themes, and more indebted to a wide range of literary traditions.

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Shot Silk includes a few poems in received forms, such as ‘Rondeau for Rhina,’ a tribute to the great formal poet Rhina Espaillat, but one is more likely to see ‘Coffee Break,’ a dimeter sonnet, or ‘Leophantos,’ an imitation of Posidippus with unpredictable line lengths and rhymes. Manhattan is the primary landscape of Coe’s imagination. After the first line of ‘Notes from a Tenement Downtown,’ the density and contradictions of that landscape resist endstopped metrical lines in favor of enjambment and a loose iambic rhythm: The more original it is, the more enigmatic. That could be said of this apartment, which is 133 years old. Alexander Cockburn was here to talk about a mutual friend’s suicide. Drag comedian Jackie Curtis in his 70’s heyday acting out his fantasy of ‘Three Girls at a Bus Stop’ on an audio tape. Up the block Eddie Condon and Phyllis before they gave over their Washington Square apartment to their daughter Maggie, Eddie in his chenille bathrobe, Phyllis finally understanding when I said their younger daughter was alienated. That put it into perspective for Phyllis, a 1940’s intellectual. Don Barthelme climbed three flights of stairs to pick up his daughter from a play date. While Manhattan’s cacophony seems to impinge upon Coe’s Buddhist inclinations and lyric moods, her time in the simpler and more expansive American West liberates her for her more spiritual poetry. Her trimeter lines, dense with alliteration and internal rhyme, seem to draw on the hypnotic music of Welsh or Celtic poetry in ‘Approaching Salt Lake City from the East’: All wild and always wary, we drove, when newly wed, a thousand miles of prairie, the Wasatch dead ahead. December was September, and March already May, the past a haunted ember abandoned by the way. Through chalk-dead no-man’s-lands we walked the rasping shale and touched the pale pink bands along a bone-strewn trail. Coe maintains a similar trimeter music in the Western lyric, ‘Prayer for the Prairie’: The road, the road, and going through fields of yellow crowned with haystacks, westward blowing, and we are outward-bound.

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In mysteries unmastered, the surface falls away from bluffs and broken pasture to badlands’ grizzled clay— a mineral salt and mordant, a phosphorescent hush where nothing is discordant. That streak of blue, that blush. In Shot Silk Coe mines some of the veins of her first book. A haunting 9/11 poem, ‘Habitation,’ begins plainly but powerfully with: The ghosts against the sky are thin and tall, and each a different height, the smoke a dream. She again channels Auden’s sound and tone in ‘Letter to Byron’ with her ‘Letter to Chekhov.’ She also amusingly channels the ‘For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry’ section of Christopher’s Smart’s Jubilate Agno as she makes loving fun of her son. Coe’s ability to channel other poetic voices makes her a natural candidate for translation, and one of the ways that she has progressed from her first to second book is that she has joined the ranks of formalist poets who are renovating the translation of classic European verse. I sense that she is happiest as a translator when her subject is Pierre de Ronsard because it gives her a chance to rollick and flash her wit, as in this section of her version of ‘Ode to Jacques de Rubampré’: Since soon I shall be dead asleep beyond the River Styx, what use is it to wade knee-deep in Homer’s little tricks? Sonnets cannot rescue me from shadow or from dust when Rhadamantus, Hell’s trustee, expects me, spitting rust. I suppose the odes I write may gain some recognition, but praise is closer to a slight than to a cold commission. She is similarly fluent and lively in her translation of Heine’s “Anywhere”: Anywhere you choose to walk, at any hour, you will see me, and the more you kick and balk, the more tenacious I will be. The same way malice shackles me, goodness riddles me with doubt; if you mean to drive me out you have to fall in love with me.

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Shot Silk also includes skillful translations of Rilke and impressive ‘imitations’ of Borges (sigh ... when will Borges’ estate loosen its grip and let the best translators wrestle with his brilliant verse?). Let’s hope that Coe follows in the steps of rising formalist translators, such as A.E. Stallings, Aaron Poochigian, Chris Childers and Bill Coyle, and finds the right author for a book-length translation. Coe stands out due to her coveted ability to jolt the reader with unexpected imagery. The aging diva is a familiar figure, but in ‘Diva, Retired’ the jarring parallel between the aging singer and her shrill cockatoo (petulantly named ‘Beverly Sills’) creates a memorable meditation not just on mortality, but on the choice to spend one’s limited time on Earth in the arts. In ‘Mise en Abyme,’ a brief and otherwise straightforward poem, the phrase ‘or the quietist code/that bound you’ sends you back to read the poem several more times to avoid missing its nuances. In other words, Shot Silk is proof of the growth of a top poet and of the vibrancy of contemporary formal poetry. A. M. Juster

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Low Tide 3

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Sonnet 15: Look at Those Teams of Pack Horses Look at those teams of horses bent with goods from far exotic places; water also carries traces of silt from some strange continent. Wind from a thousand miles astray sweeps in with sighs of foreign towns. Roving through streams and hilly downs, we possess then give them away. Like flying birds that float and dive, sometimes we’re emperors of space and sometimes we fall through nullity. What is the truth of how we live? We carry nothing from that far place; nothing comes with us when we leave. by Feng Zhi, translated by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping

Sonnet 15: 看这一队队的驮马 看这一队队的骡马 驮来了远方的货物, 水也会冲来一些泥沙 从些不知名的远处, 风从千万里外也会 掠来些他乡的叹息: 我们走过无数的山水, 随时占有,随时又放弃, 仿佛鸟飞行在空中, 它随时都管领太空, 随时都感到一无所有。 什么是我们的实在? 从远方什么也带不来 从面前什么也带不走

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Ghazal 5 The hidden flame is unkind; my heart’s burning. That is, like silent fire it starts burning. Not even my lover’s memory is left in the heart. There is a firestorm in my house; every part’s burning. I am beyond nonbeing, in such a trance I breathe fire on the wings of a Phoenix who darts off burning. How do I show the flaming gem of my thoughts? A wild thought kindled in me. Now the desert’s burning. I don’t have a heart or I’d display my flowering wounds. How can I put on lamp show when my shirt’s burning? Oh, Ghalib, I am the longing for sadness. My heart sees a welcome so warm that everyone starts burning. by Asadullah Khan Ghalib (1797-1869), translated by Tony Barnstone and Bilal Shaw

Ghazal 5 ‫مرا دل‬

‫ے ن ہاں‬

‫گ یا جل محاب ا ب ے‬

‫گ یا جل گ ی ا مان ند ک ے خام‬ ‫م یں دل‬

‫صل‬

‫ن ہ یں ب اق ی ک ی ار یاد‬

‫ی ل گی م یں گ ھر اس گ‬ ‫ے عدم م یں‬ ‫م یری‬

‫ھا ج ک ہ ای‬

‫گ یا جل‬

‫ہ ا ب ار غاف ل رن ہ ہ ں پ رے ب ھی‬

‫ش یں‬

‫ے‬

‫گ یا جل ع ن قا بال‬

‫ک ہاں گ رمی ک ی ان دی شہ ج ہر ک یجے عرض‬ ‫ھا ی ا خ یال ک چھ‬ ‫جھ ن ہ یں دل‬

‫گ یا جل صحرا ک ہ ک ا ح شت‬ ‫ب ہار ک ی داغ ں رن ہ دک ھا ا ک‬

‫گ یا جل ف رما ک ار ک یا ک ر ں ک ا چراغاں اس‬ ‫دل ک ہ غال ب ر ک ی اف ردگ ی ا ر ہ ں م یں‬ ‫گ یا جل دن یا اہل پاک ر ک ر دی کھ‬

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Deferred Maintenance 2 after arsy-versy

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Contents

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Amy Glynn Alan Wickes

Fall Summertime – Edward Hopper

Annabelle Moseley Barbara Crooker Charlotte Innes Rachel Hadas Christopher Childers

The Lily and the Lion: La Marzocco Dreaming on Paper After Three or Four Years … Rothko Chapel The Apple and the Book Propertius 2.31 Monumental Attic Grave Amphora Cross and Sphere Domenico Tiepolo, 1750, Flight into Egypt Picasso’s ‘Head of Bearded Man’ Mr and Mrs Andrews The Invalid Man Dining Photograph, Anne Sexton, 1973 Tick-Tock Instructions to the Pianist The Twelve Dancing Princesses (I) The Twelve Dancing Princesses (II) The Studio Chair The Meeting of the Light Planes In Place of a Name for What, Not Itself Seen, Structures the Seen Farnese Antinous Shekinah 1959 Mustard-Gas She Regards Michelangelo’s Pieta at St. Peter’s Cathedral Roman Amphitheatre, Chester Office at Night (1940)

John Foy Steven Walters David M. Katz Janet Kenny Robin Tranter Rob Wright Jean L. Kreiling Jenna Le Ruth Sharman Meredith Bergman H. L. Hix Gail White W. F. Lantry Luke Bauerlein Colin Honnor Joyce Wilson Judith Taylor Kevin Durkin

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2 3 4 5 6 7 8 11 12 14 16 17 18 19 19 20 21 22 24 25 26 27 28 30 31 32 34 35 36 37

Amy Glynn

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Fall Cue up the twist: things yellow and senesce And curl in on themselves and come undone. Botrytis-botched, yeast-bloomed, decadent mess Of must and pomace, arrows of geese nocked one After another and loosed southward. Freeze, Bud: keep those carpals in plain sight. No more: Call off the withdrawal of chloroplastic cells That spurs the stupid deciduous woodland’s war Of attrition. Detachment’s well and good but please, Stop the parade now and grant us all some peace From chatterbox blackbird flocks and dumb autumn smells. Too much. Take back your pomegranates, your Walnuts and chestnuts and late grapes; never mind The sycamores festooned with ravens, or The maples’ drama queenery all twinned In the reservoir’s glass surface. You’re a creep And you fool no one with your mist and mirrors. Look: Sunset by Frederic Church diffracts off towers Of cirrocumulus castellatus. Keep Your molten rays and fallstreaks and unhook That garish scrim and strike the set. Your hour’s Up; get out of River City. They Are on to you, you rip-off artist, you Fraud. Spring’s songs are at the bottom of the bay In cement shoes, like every year. A slew Of blinding generosities, huge horn Sections—diversionary. There’s no soft Landing, so let’s not pretend. We’re wise To your schtick. We’re ticking bombs here. So piss off, You and the clouds of birds you set aloft. We need no swifts or swans to know what flies.

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Alan Wickes

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Summertime - Edward Hopper I might have guessed you’d pick out Summertime. The Nighthawk’s low-life chic is not at all your style. At dawn, as pale ephemeral light sanctifies the seedy side-street’s grime, autumnal sunshine streams into the room to find a woman waking-up alone; angelic brightness never will atone for emptiness—your nagging sense of doom. The images that haunt your hidden dream can never grace your wall. Instead you choose a scene of inadvertent hope. Above a solitary girl, white buildings gleam; she waits, in cotton frock and high-heeled shoes: the summer breeze enfolds her like new love.

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Annabelle Moseley

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST The Lily and the Lion: La Marzocco Piazza della Signoria, Florence, New Years Eve, 2004, Viewing Donatello’s Heraldic Lion (La Marzocco)

Cold New Year’s Eve, the Arno River blazed with fireworks. Old furniture was thrown from open windows in the streets: a chaise— a table, crashing on the cobblestones. Among this merry peril, the champagne of new hope pooling in most every eye, I pressed through crowds to view the lion: mane and fearsome paws that sparked the battle cry in ancient days. Claws clutched the fleur-de-lys, the flower of old Florence, scarlet red. And as I stood there, freezing, it gripped me. ‘Hold tenderness with strength,’ was what it said. With star-shaped suddenness, cut from my roots— my soul’s red lily bloomed with new-sprung shoots. My soul’s red lily bloomed with new-sprung shoots even as last year’s leaves withered and dropped. Regret and anger shed their spoiled fruits. The loneliness churning within me stopped. I felt the yellow bristle of my hair was steadying my shoulders like a mane. For La Marzocco stalked my new year’s dare— while chairs fell from a window, splintered pain. ‘Flower and feline all at once’, it said. Then La Marzocco told of bloom and bite. Hold tenderness with strength: the scarlet red flower of Florence clutched with lion might. This strange new hybrid rang the new year in: a graceful strength was roaring to begin.

La Marzocco is the heraldic lion that symbolizes Florence. It is seated and with one paw supports the Florentine red lily or fleur-de-lys. Marzocco was repeatedly invoked in the Florentine battle cry.

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Barbara Crooker

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Dreaming on Paper Vincent Van Gogh: The Drawings Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005

Using a reed pen on large sheets of paper, he translated sky, rocks, fields into dots, jabs, scratches. They try to catch the wind in olive branches, the gnarled trunks, the way the light lay down. You can sense color, though it isn’t there: brown earth, yellow grain, blue sky. In thousands of letters, drawings, diaries, Van Gogh labored with paper and ink. He made peace with his own awkwardness, using reeds from the Midi fields sharpened into pens. Each could only hold a little bit of ink at a time, so he devised his own notation, a kind of Morse code, which he varied again and again. As he reinvented drawing, he found himself. By the time he was in the asylum at St. Rémy, he was drawing everything: nesting curls for the flickering flames of the cypresses, a splash of black in a sunny landscape; the farmyards of Auvers; clouds that billowed in staccato lines. Right before he shot himself, he told Theo, I still love art and life very much. Finally, he’d found how to make the hardest thing he had ever tried look easy. And then, the wheat field, with crows.

5

Charlotte Innes

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST After Three or Four Years without News from My Younger Sister, Meg, Who Is Living Alone on the East Coast, I Write Her a Letter I Cannot Send after a poem by Tu Fu (712-790 A.D.)*

I hear your home’s in New York City now, or is it Newark? This war’s all dust and wind— let’s not drag out our separation. Look, another autumn’s passing by. I’m rooted here, beneath these palm trees finches haunt, but old ghosts won’t be charmed away. Next spring, I’ll go back East, I swear, scour every city, every towering building, and beyond.

*‘After Three or Four Years without News from My Fifth Brother, Feng, Who Is Living Alone on the East Coast, I Look for Someone To Carry This to Him’ (as translated by David Hinton)

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Rachel Hadas

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Rothko Chapel To catch the brushstrokes on the tall canvases, stand closer to the wall. Peer sideways. Watch light fall. Maroon, mauve, fuchsia, charcoal, rusty black weave a texture all but invisible unless the eye travels across it just as sun and sky conspire to let you see: there the brush touched, and there. The artist’s hand revisited the panel, stroking in pigments layer on layer. Seeing you move near the silent gongs reverberating, dumb trumpetings of color leaning in, the uniformed guard rises from her chair.

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Christopher Childers

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST The Apple and the Book after a photograph by Joshua Meier ‘Chi crederebbe che l’odor d’un pomo sì governasse, generando brama, e quell d’un’acqua, non sappiendo como?’ —Dante, Purgatorio XXIII.34-6

Can we read it? Yes and no. A book lies open on a table (the book’s the Purgatorio) with each page framing half an apple that fills it, like and unlike food. Of course the image is a fable. The tart white fruit, so frankly nude, might have aroused another age with its unblushing attitude to add some fig-leaf camouflage, since where hungers pique, sin grows. Of course the flesh obscures the page. Hungry for something new, Eve chose the snack that made all history happen and tried on, for the first time, clothes; did her desire close, or open the Book of Knowledge? Did she guess how it in time would sharpen, ripen? I guess she learned that ‘know’ means ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ depending where and who and whether there are witnesses. The femmes of Dante’s Florence knew what they could and couldn’t buy, and yet we read that they would do Continued 8

Christopher Childers

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST anything to catch the eye: necklines so low they might as well have waved their tits at passersby; men in the pulpits gave them hell, since palaces and rich brocades were not enough of veil and cell. Now oversized designer shades and cut-off denim shorts are trendy, bare silken shoulders, or rich suedes, Ferragamo bags, or Fendi, a line of thigh, a low-cut V (quante fiamme d’esti ’ncendi!) and perfumes sweet and savory, and costs that wheedle and oppress. Lo bello stilo’s still not free: a price tag whispers no, and yes, and so do smiles, and eyes, and so does sweetness yield to bitterness as blood runs hot and dark; a glow, a look, or a vague text attracts, suggesting all we need to know. All texts may show or hide the facts, and facts may yet obscure a story. Lo bello stilo’s still a tax. There grows a tree in Purgatory, descended from the Tree of Life, halfway along the road to Glory. It tapers downward like a knife; none scale the heights and hollows of its branches, where the fruit is rife; Continued

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Christopher Childers

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST and leaping down from the rock above, a limpid spring sifts through the leaves, and the whole garden smells like love. Whoever smells it, straight conceives longing for it, and everything, and starves to the bare bone, and grieves. Many walk round it ravening, their famine a dark cavern growing, and as they walk, they sing and sing. Who would believe, apart from knowing, the scent of apples and a spring could set such hunger echoing?

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Christopher Childers

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Propertius 2.31 Caesar just opened Apollo’s colonnade, brand new, all gold—that’s why I was delayed. African columns lined the striking scene, with Danaus’ fifty daughters in between. Marble, fairer than Phoebus, seemed to sing to the vibrato of a silent string. Around the altar, works of Myron stand, four breathing bulls, carved by a master’s hand. Then, in the midst, the dazzling temple soared, dearer than Delos is to Delos’ lord. On the roof stood the chariot of the Sun; the doors were ivory, superbly done: one showed the Gauls flung from Parnassus’ slopes; the other, Niobe, shorn of her hopes. Flanked by his mother and sister, there the god in flowing robes descants from the façade.

11

Christopher Childers

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Monumental Attic Grave Amphora 1. Hands clapped on heads (the ‘usual mourning gesture,’ according to the plaque), these stick-men, stuck forever in one feeling, form and posture— the spindly arms; the belly’s bottleneck strangling the triangle of the torso; the loins muscled for lifting, round and thick— surround the bier, astonished at its cargo, but dumb to wrangle from each scrawny waist more than a choked geometry of sorrow: indifferent chorus lines, precisely spaced, whose silence is their only antiphon, racked on the wheel by artisans who traced their forms into a formulaic groan. They hold their heads and freeze; the world goes on. 2. They hold their heads and freeze; the world goes on meandering, like the labyrinthine track winding its length around them, strictly drawn so that, where blank space would express a lack, abstract abundance figures its return and counterturn, redoubled, doubling back transfigured: paths they wander; the deep churn of rivers that they live by, feet that steer re-circling dances, rhythms they must learn; the seasons in repetitive career; time’s loop; blood’s tortuous course, the heart unstill; dead march, and ceremony, and drawn bier; mere adumbrations of a changeless will. They breathe the atmosphere and drink their fill.

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3. They breathed the atmosphere and drank their fill of grief, these painters whom their work would render near-sighted, stooped, and unoriginal as, slaving around the figures, over, under, they streamlined messy details to perfection and labored at meander on meander. Look how the tiny hatching shifts direction at each bend in the pattern; see them sit, bowed at their bench like friars at refection, in thrall of the design they scale and fit, indentured to a master without measure, recycled, ordinary, infinite. The stick-men stuck there suffer the enclosure, hands clapped on heads—the usual mourning gesture. 4. No, look again. Someone miscalculated. On this side seven, on that, six men cry, plus a child shoehorned in with them, waist-high, himself shocked to be unanticipated: asymmetry an oversight created, a wisp in stricken air, whose loose arms fly, contingency as thin as any ‘I,’ the accident is getting acclimated. I wonder, though, what world do those eyes see? One where each frozen face is a pained mirror, and time’s a noose, and fate the what not why? Or could he, in the ambit of its error, have room enough to live, confined yet free, from which he waves at us as we go by?

13

John Foy

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Cross and Sphere Of course they’ll never meet, but there they are, Jesus on the East Side crucified and Atlas on the West Side leaning in, each one reconciled by now, we hope, not only to his awful punishment, but to facing off across Fifth Avenue half way down the block from Fifty First. Both have graduated from the school of universal treachery and pain and find themselves in mid-Manhattan now. Deep inside St. Patrick’s, like a jewel, Jesus hangs professionally on the cross, and when the giant front doors open up you can see the Son of Man above the throng of Japanese and widowers from the Bronx and matrons in a flush of godliness. Right across the street in a perfect line is mighty Atlas, lost in his own world and looking like Mussolini just a tad but shouldering the heavens like a man with a second mortgage and child support to pay. He cannot fail. He’s almost falling off his pedestal, or is he climbing up? His eyes are hard and empty, like a bird’s, bereft of individuality, so what he thinks of Christ across the way is anybody’s guess. A reprobate? Another bleeder in the pantheon? And what goes through the mind of Jesus Christ sorrowing down that long cathedral aisle? He’s dwarfed a bit by all the opulence. Each of them is far too occupied with his own travails to care too much about the one who suffers in proximity. Continued

14

John Foy

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST The least that we can do now is to pause (we played them false a long time ago) and think about their brands, the cross and sphere. We cannot really say that they compete, though Christ the Carpenter upon his wood has surely taken market share away from Atlas of the Titanomachy. Laboring over there on the West Side, holding up the sky—for what, the birds? —Atlas cannot ever be redeemed, and if he prays at all, he prays to be beyond instead of under everything.

15

Steven Walters

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Domenico Tiepolo, 1750, Flight into Egypt Art, by knowing, knows it is not life, Knows it is not flying into Egypt; No palm tree, no donkey, no holy family; No boat out of balance where the angel has stepped; No basket of belongings on the donkey’s back wobbly; Art knows it, only, is safe Beneath the round arch, the city’s stone gate As they depart to meet the strange surroundings, The terrain that climbs, as one cloud takes soundings, And more than unknown distance lies in wait. Joseph turned, never hearing a sound. They had passed unnoticed a statue in the woods. Her stone head, like a blossom, was falling. Knowledge of seasons; knowledge of moods; Carven, shapely, knowledge was failing Before it touched the ground To say the abundance of life seen passing, The mother and child up ahead on the path, The loftiness of the trees, their air, their breath, The mother was humming, the child was listening. O, Statue, I, like Joseph, turned back away Not knowing what I’d seen, did not look twice Until today. I saw you climbing again. I watched you slowly take one step by choice Along a ridge of sand, a grassy dune, You, only turtle, of my eye; I watched your shoulder shell go toppling down. You landed with hardly a splash in Flower Creek. We knew what waves they were when we heard them break Through all our ancient life, travelling companion.

16

David M. Katz

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Picasso’s ‘Head of Bearded Man’ His maker’s dead. Write an obituary: Among zoomorphic pots of owl and bull, Exemplar of the painter’s masculinity … You can pick him up and use him as you will. No zoomorphic pot of owl or bull, The pitcher wedges forward into space. You can pick him up and use him as you will. But not for much: His mouth and nose are pierced. The pitcher wedges forward into space. The thrown-earth face, splashed with sienna glaze, Can’t hold water: His nose and mouth are pierced. Five feet divide him from a tapered vase. The thrown-earth face, splashed with sienna glaze, Has a beard that evokes a primitive Cervantes. Five feet divide him from a tapered vase And comely mate: the ‘Woman in a Blue Dress.’ You can pick him up and use him as you will, This exemplar of the painter’s masculinity Among zoomorphic pots of owl and bull. His maker’s dead. Write an obituary.

17

Janet Kenny

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Mr and Mrs Andrews Bored snobs pose against their stately park. Gainsborough can’t have liked them very much. There’s malice in each delicate brushmark— a playful caricaturist’s mocking touch. See how he flaunts his territorial gun; notice her nasty mouth then move away. Share in the laughter, join the painter’s fun. Genius lets the elements win the day. Gathering rainclouds dramatise the sky, chiaroscuro lights the rustic scene; coppices glower but pastures glow nearby as menace amplifies the whole demesne. Taffeta notwithstanding, soon the gods will empty the bucket on these blighted sods.

18

Robin Tranter

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST The Invalid He leans against the parapet, wrapped in the mist of the sun. So frail that he might melt into the stone, or leave this waiting silence and go down to join the distant clamour in the streets.

Man Dining His father’s head is bent beneath the lamp, the red wine in the bottle, black on white. He longs to go, and in the nearby square, a cab-horse droops beneath a flower of light.

19

Rob Wright

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Photograph, Anne Sexton, 1973 An incandescent pop, a brilliant cone pours into the shadows of the room and washes all the texture from her face. This magnitude of light can be a shock, can burn into the retina of the eye and leave behind a violet smear that hangs inside the bitter humor of the ball. She looks up from her paper straight at us— all those who want a picture with their words. And this is what she looks like: middle aged; her hands look even older, but she’s still attractive in her way. She looks surprised. This may be from the flash or just because she’s not used to this attention, which is odd, considering her poetry; it’s rich in references to her own troubled roles as artist, daughter, wife. Does she look mad, this former mental patient who now writes? Historically, she would be thought possessed and put through trials to prove her innocence. How things have changed; no one would do that now; they’d give her all the therapy she’d take, both as an individual and in group, and miracles encoded into pills.

20

Jean L. Kreiling

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Tick-Tock after Haydn’s ‘Clock’ Symphony, second movement

Steady eighth notes, B, then D, in bassoons and violins, mark the seconds perfectly. Led by nimble melody, tick-tock trouble soon begins: steady eighth notes, B, then D, stray into a minor-key brawl—which Haydn disciplines, marking seconds perfectly. Time’s predictability briefly falters: Haydn grins as the steady B, then D, stop. When eighth notes patiently start again, as neat as pins, marking seconds perfectly, they’ve wandered: now they start on G. In the end, the first clock wins: steady eighth notes, B, then D, mark the seconds perfectly.

21

Jean L. Kreiling

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Instructions to the Pianist 1.

Robert Schumann’s Carnaval, op. 9 ‘Deciphering my masked ball will be a real game for you.’ —Robert Schumann

As letters turn to notes, you play the town of Asch, where she was born— the one I love, whom I portray as letters turn to notes. You play a game of masks and learn to weigh the pitch of poses lightly worn as letters turn to notes. You play the town of Asch, where she was born. Decipher all these symbols; find a stranger, or a well-known face, or even me. With hand and mind, decipher all these symbols. Find connections carefully designed: where portraits coincide with place, decipher all these symbols. Find a stranger or a well-known face. If you decode the clues, you can make friends, carouse, and share a drink or two or three. You’ll learn my plan if you decode the clues: you can meet Clara, Pierrot, and Chopin. We’ll sip wine and make glasses clink if you decode the clues; you can make friends, carouse, and share a drink.

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2.

Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1 ‘Whatever you do, don’t listen!’ —Erik Satie

Mesmerize with repetition; mollify with timid tunes; muddle with limp harmonies; make it easy not to listen.

3.

Samuel Barber’s Nocturne, Op. 33 ‘There’s no reason music should be difficult for an audience to understand, is there?’ —Samuel Barber

Discover here a tale your fingers tell: a romance, but with dark and prickly edges. Make clear the ringing chord that warps the bell, the phrase that nearly satisfies, but hedges, the ragged middle that disputes the mild beginning, and the shadows that cajole a jaded ear. Find reason in both wild and well-bred notes, and make sense of the whole.

23

Jenna Le

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST The Twelve Dancing Princesses (I) The fairy tale now finished, the fusilier mulls: should he marry sixteen-year-old Lina, the spunky youngest sister, the minx whose ear was sharp enough to hear the harmed larch keen, or should he wed the eldest, Thérèse, aged twenty-nine, the stern-browed martinet who barked out orders at her ditzy sisters, keeping them in line as their rowboats nosed toward Fae-Land’s reedy borders? There are two versions of this old French legend: in the first version, the romantic one that charmed me as a child who got piled on for being the smallest, the soldier smiles and says, ’I choose cherubic Lina,’ while in the second, my favorite now, he smirks, ’Give me Thérèse.’

24

Jenna Le

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST The Twelve Dancing Princesses (II) Each morning, to our slack-eyed unsurprise, headlines like this one darken newsstands: ’WEST POINT SERGEANT, GIVEN THE TASK TO ADVISE FEMALE CADETS, ROLLED FILM AS THEY UNDRESSED.’ The article goes on to say, ’A dozen female cadets received word from the college that their privacy was breached when Sgt. McClendon videotaped them nude, without their knowledge.’ In a folk tale I read when in first grade, a soldier breaks a blossom from a branch of an ensorceled laurel tree and fades from sight, then spies on ladies as they cinch their corsets and discuss their covert schemes … Can such a folly end well? In your dreams.

25

Ruth Sharman

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST The Studio Chair after a painting by Sara Lee Roberts

Take away the chair and we’re left with abstraction, an empty universe stripped like Dawkins’ of the possibility of transcendence; the chair reassures us: in a downstairs room, it says, someone is playing the piano or laying a table, writing a note, and it’s only a matter of time before these uprights curve into the small of a human back; there are noises-off— voices from the street, perhaps, or footsteps on the stairs— and what we’re seeing is just a pause in the action, an abandoned prop from the world of Post-It notes and piano lessons, stranded in a pool of light from an unseen window, as if the stillness concealed some invisible presence and sunshine itself were the sitter.

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Meredith Bergman

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST The Meeting of the Light Planes ‘First we draw what we see; then we draw what we know; finally we see what we know …’ —Robert Beverly Hale (1901-1985)

For years I thought that Prufrock must be old— Hale closed his lectures by reciting verse and he was ancient, bony as his chart, though muffled to the chin against a cold we didn’t feel. He couldn’t teach the heart the way he taught the ribcage, clear and terse; so he gave us O’Shaughnessy and Keats and Eliot. With every class he’d start from bone, then make you see the skin enfold the skeleton, and on that skin rehearse the ‘mystery’ of planes, the way they meet in any human form on any street. And I was young. I couldn’t see the youth who loved the poems for how they made him see, and hear, the shapes of underlying truth. I did not think that they would sing to me. Today I’m at a bus stop where a guy is leaning: ear-buds, T-shirt gleaming white. The arris, where the shadow meets the sun, exquisitely describes his chest and thigh, confirming rhythms in the bones that run inside his arm: hard-lit, but downed with light brown hair. For Hale, the point was to surpass the light that’s given, make one’s own; that one could choose where light and dark’s divisions lie. But here I see a readymade delight: a kind of poetry, of edge and mass and lines remembered from a drawing class.

27

H. L. Hix

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST In Place of a Name for What, Not Itself Seen, Structures the Seen I work and I work. Still, the abyss. The world I knew proved not as I knew it. Which says what about the world I know now? We woke into this world from another. Each world I wake into makes me other. I gave myself early on to process. Gave myself then, am given to it now. Then, back when people wrote letters. Is it lovers I love, or love letters? Any made must first be seen, to be made. Any seen must first be made, to be seen. I summon the stubbornly ineffable. No summons, this, except it be stubborn. I offered myself first to circumstance, but surrendered at last to surrender. One side traces what happens on the other. This is what happens on some side other. Faithless, seduced by what will happen next. What happens next: all that happened before. But my responsibilities have changed. Nothing of responsibility here. So many interleaved realities. So, many interpenetrating worlds. Terra cotta warriors, snow children: Continued 28

H. L. Hix

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST but I live above ground, in summer sun. What sense this makes, it makes to one in love. I care little for sense, now I am in love. Each ritual invokes a different god. If it’s not the gods answering, then who? When I imagine, I imagine words. Words imagine what I myself cannot. Two lives, five lives, would not be enough. Neither of my previous lives was enough. Why think this one will be? My words folded, told me to follow their folds. I followed. Words warped sexual toward uncanny. Uncanny. Words. Sexual. Untoward. I want decisions, less the deciding. My words decided me not to decide. To describe a world parallel to ours, I describe worlds I can fold into it. Here, gaze across the abyss. Now, back to work.

29

Gail White

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Farnese Antinous This beauty might have taken off his clothes to change for soccer. Fully dressed, he might bring pizza to your door from Domino’s. The sculptor’s realism puts him right before your eyes—the camera couldn’t take a better portrait. Heavy swirls of hair set off the profile; level eyebrows make him serious—you’d know him anywhere. But he’s no god, no hero. Politics don’t interest him. He caught the Emperor’s eye. Hadrian’s love was all it took to fix these eyes and lips beyond the power to die— a face that still knocks criticism flat. Does anyone love you as much as that?

30

W. F. Lantry

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Shekinah The air is veiled when she sings, lamp light obscured, as if a cloud descending here surrounds both her and us, and reunites song and the wind in shadowed ecstasy. The simple beauty of her song delights our spirits, but beyond joy, in the clear halftones we find a dwelling place. Her song remakes the wind, persuades us we belong within its warmth a moment. In her prayer we hear a call to co-create the earth, in unison to reinvent beauty. And in our works we reaffirm the worth of everything around us: what the air transfigures in its rising warmth, the flow of candlesmoke, the backlit afterglow we hear within her pauses, as the still excited air prepares itself to bear the resonant complex simplicity which clouds and clarifies, leaves us aware that even patterns of her voice fulfill the invocation, and restore our sight.

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Luke Bauerlein

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST 1959 ‘Their women cluck like starved pullets, Dying for love.’ —James Wright

Because it’s Marilyn in black and white, Some Like It Hot. She’s the girl on the bed, nearly a woman, with Lemmon, who’s all made up and perfect timing—he leans in— Did you have a nice time? Then it just slides past her lips, deadly enough to conjure a shade of pink on the tongue— It was suicidally beautiful— And I can’t help it, all I can see then, is that field in Martins Ferry and those boys stretching out before me, Wright in the stands, fighting off October with a coat pulled up to his chin, taking it all in when it hits him. I could explain how he’d seen the film a few months back, and I could talk about that summer when those words first struck his brain—suicidally beautiful— how they stayed there for weeks and would not shake, though he thought them dangerous and trite at the time—but that would be missing the point. Continued

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Luke Bauerlein

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Because it’s the girl that gets to me, and those boys—gone for nearly fifty years now—it’s what they must have known about each other without ever having met—the girl on the bed sighing, exhausted from another night spent in the arms of a liar—and the boys, those beautiful boys, growing in the dying light of Ohio—

33

Colin Honnor

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Mustard-Gas after John Singer Sargent He watches them become life in chalk and charcoal extend at length to the lengths of his and their lines hand on shoulder, heads, bowed, they stumble as the mud swirls in rain outside his window forming trenches as his hand moves over the paper as the hidden skeletal hand pulls the lanyard of a gun to send their deaths to part them from the sun. Like a waterbird leaving its marks on the tideless stone his mind follows their pity within its helmet of bone is the helmet filling with water in that grey November that paint becomes meaning while the moment passes their comrades lying about their feet mortal yet mortally clinging, await the surgeon‘s knife wounds still stitched into your memories as I remember you with your half rolled roll-up thinned to WWI frugality, that may be the last strike of a match your steel helmet foundered in the nightmare’s attic to cry half-out, half-in your memories’ dugout, as if the choking second was founded steel that instant before the yellow mustard gas rubbed itself against your eyes. the enemy helmets like coal scuttles he forms them back to life with brush and oils across the panorama of his thoughts’ great canvas in the catalogue raissonne of his reparations to those men he watched fifty years before stumbling from the yellow-green cloud too life-like in his, their toxic hallucinations.

34

Joyce Wilson

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST She Regards Michelangelo’s Pieta at St. Peter’s Cathedral Our daughter studied modern art in class With someone who, or so the rumor said, Had shared Picasso’s studio and bed And might defend the placement of the glass Before the pair, so chaste and isolate. We waited till the noisy crowds dispersed To view the son as if at peace in sleep, His mother’s face in peace inviolate. The bodies, yes, the bodies worked their spell: The man’s, whose beauty taught us what it meant To be a man and to be loved, as if We might forget and, misadvised, rebel. If he stood up, our daughter slowly spoke, His sculpted head would reach a height so great That he’d exceed the limits of this cell, The comfort of his mother’s arms and cloak. We marveled, I at truth in lowly facts, She at muscled limbs, athletes, and myth. Did she see God, or godlike man adrift? Divinity, or man’s destructive acts? I stammered with advice on monuments, The qualities of stone, God’s love and wrath, On loving men who love you back, who leave, Who take, who topple trees and battlements, The man you see when death reveals his length, The man of your own size, who is not tall. She did not tell me further what she saw. We stood there, fixed upon the figure’s strength.

35

Judith Taylor

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Roman Amphitheatre, Chester There’s a small room opening off the entrance-tunnel. Bare now but in use it would have been lamplit its air thick its floor sticky with offerings. We have pretty well forgotten her the hard goddess of getting what you asked for cold-handedly (if she liked your prayer) doling out the least bad of your options. Her sister is Fortuna, goddess of those who read their own glossy prospectus and believe, as if believing is the work. Who think the casualties are self-made and can always sell their stories: there’s no altar to her down here. It was Nemesis—the one who laughs at intervals, but never smiles— the working fighters prayed to when they came to put their training and their dumb luck to the test. Hers was the last door they would pass by when the word was given —Showtime— and they walked out into the hard light the all-consuming roar.

36

Kevin Durkin

NR~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~z~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ST Office at Night (1940) On a painting of Edward Hopper The pale man, elbows on his desk, tilts up a document as blank as his expression. His breath will never steam the lamp’s green glass. His secretary rests one short-sleeved arm inside his filing cabinet and spies another blank page lying on the carpet. A blue dress clinging to her brimming curves, she twists her body like an odalisque so one can see both derrière and bosom. Will she bend down and pick the paper up? The breeze puffs in the window shade’s long cord. Her crimson lipstick might invite a kiss, but he’s exhausted or uninterested. He keeps his eyes on business close at hand, the bills, perhaps, or what he’s failed to sell. Her muscles tauten underneath her dress, but she won’t leave until he turns his head. It’s been like this for decades: neither’s budged. They share one destiny but not one word. The prim umbrella and the iron typewriter are waiting to be touched. The door’s wide open.

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First Signs of Spring The lilies, as forecast, are baring their throats. The sun in its unclouded moment lights up raindrops on shoots which shimmer: milky, viscous. Walking into a barnyard, suddenly you realize you’re strutting like a rooster. A gust of water, crowd mentality of the elements, swipes your arms and face. And now your elbows are pumping at your sides, a sound escapes your tensile mouth that resembles nothing you’ve ever thought: The king hath lain with the queen! you blurt. And the hens scatter like tiny tyrannosaurs. Andrew Frisardi

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Biting the Hand Master is the one who gives me food From little cans or out of the big bag, And all he seems to want is gratitude, To hear me whimper and watch my tail wag. Master has a tempting, meaty hand With plump fingers and greasy fingertips That point and wiggle with each barked command And smell like pizza and potato chips. I want to bite it, badly, but I can’t. No. Bad dog. I could lose everything, My free meals, my whole living arrangement, Just for one quick nip, to hear him sing. Somewhere an old wolf howls on a wild hill. I know the day is coming when I will. David Stephenson

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The First Time I Went Birding the sun was a double-yolker we walked so slowly into the washed-out sky and I knew nothing of what was in store, nothing of rollers or gonoleks or the pied kingfisher that shatters the bolong diving for light

Sleep and Bread Are One Thing butter-deep rye through the night sweetness flour salt too many socks resting and rising soup it with beer boil till it gulps its own name øllebrød øllebrød spits on your hand as it stirs Annette Volfing

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Don’t die dramatically. A loss en masse in a terrorist attack or plane crash may seem glamorous, but shocks and flames leave anonymous ash, the absorbing news goes in the litter box. Yet don’t die awkwardly; a fate without weight exposes purpose as whim’s courtesy. So don’t swallow a bee and suffocate. Clumsiness deserves no trapdoor to infinity. And don’t die of a disease. A life so contorted before it ends that family and friends should say ‘it’s best’, referring to your inexistence, got cursed somewhere along the way. Last, forgo that so-called privilege and don’t die of old age.

The Silent Compartment There’s a mud-green papery bug riding this train. It mounts the window, falls back, tries again. Does it not learn from all the times it climbs and fails? But then, how could it? Limbs thick as cracks in the porcelain, a head as a pinhead, and such a thing as glass to lead it on. Attentively upright, you seem aware that something’s off. Buzzing, your wings are a blur. Unbending transparency removes you by a slice of sky from casual buffets and a serpentine itinerary—which is how some imagine being dead to be. I might read a magazine. Sophie Reijman

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If It Is a Projection Tell Me Why If it is a projection tell me why I only see it when I look at her and not at someone else? Why I am not seeing in another that certain something giving her that presence you’re claiming’s only what I want to see and nothing else; explain the absence of what you’re saying is illusory in them if it isn’t really there? If it is not then wouldn’t I be seeing it in women everywhere? I must conclude I’m not deceiving myself when I am seeing she is not without what I can see they haven’t got. Paul Bussan

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November Sailboat The empty rigging frames a house, two trees, a wedge of air; separates the water from itself. What stretches on forever, the tautened lines—quivering—hold within. Midge Goldberg

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Iris Three upward petals (standards) form a chaste Enclosure of pale lavender. Below, Three violet tongues (falls) loll as if to taste The whole world, and to let the whole world know This flower is as wanton as demure. A naked goddess graciously attired, She veils and flaunts one reticent allure, One brazen, shy desire to be desired.

Likeness for A & G The grandfather who jogs you on his knee Is a grandson. That wedding photo there Shows a young man more than a century Ago. (I knew him later, with white hair.) The day that you were born, the search began To find you in his face, in every face We rediscover, reclaim as we scan New likenesses in old ones, as we trace Lines not yet drawn when those portraits were made. Some who lived long lives never seeing you Assume your features now, a masquerade In which they know you well by being you. Look, Grandma aims her camera to get A shot of you and—well, we don’t know yet. Chris O’Carroll

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Beat The oncologist walked the corridor to my father’s room, loose change in his pocket keeping steady beat like closed cymbals opening an anthem. The change could have been the fare for some shady boatman, but it hailed a new song for my father, a tune he is still extemporising to this day.

Gasmen The staircase is always one too few going up or down, despite the fact I memorised the number as a child. Many people work apart from the thing that gives them their name—gasmen tend to work for safety in its absence. There is always your death, but must I return to that, having never gone as far? The grieving are like gasmen or that only time I jumped a hedge on a horse, standing up in its stirrups in the air like I was on firm ground. Richie McCaffery

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The Half-Remembered Way I cursed the hag at Athenry —I swear she misdirected me— The gypsy with the clouded eye; The scarperer with dirty hair Who held me in his hawk-like gaze And lied about the road to Clare; I cursed a priest at Castlebar, Obsessed with signs and miracles, Who warned me that I’d come too far. ‘You bear the stench of mortal sin. Retrace the steps that brought you here, Go back where all your roads begin.’ I saw an island in despair Along the half-remembered way, Beneath the tower, the winding stair. I traveled down this road alone, For what, to find a boarded house Atlantic gales had overthrown? T. S. Kerrigan

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City Break In this city, every face looks like someone I’ve seen before. I startle at the arch of a brow, the plane of a cheek, double-take at the shape a mouth makes in speaking. My do-I-know-you half smile has no currency here. I taste rust, feel the grind and creak of locks seizing. I am the knave in the king’s court, the stiff-jointed puppet on a dancer’s stage. Iron spreads through the roads, grumbles in the drains, tricks my feet into trips and skids as I brace against the earth’s spin; faster here but with a stutter of hesitation, a limp and hobble of a long distance runner nearing exhaustion. Angela France

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On a Stepmother’s Lexicon Disinherited is such a word that—though you may be meek as Cinderella, sing through your chores, Snow White, and pick your fella with discretion, leave (when you’re not heard) your sentences unfinished, eat like a bird, never blast your Elton John or Ella, and do your best to (cheaply) show up bella— it undoes history, undoes love inferred. Once spoken, it rips out the proverbial rug, the rug that, come to think, was always slipping before the falls and those resplendent bruises of childhood. Sorrow at this parental news is redundant as the dream of finally flipping him off (his language) only to watch him shrug. Kathrine Varnes

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Critical Updates I’ve changed the voice commands. The poem starts When anyone says Artemis or swears By Zeus’s thigh. It finishes when rain Intervenes, the puddles ex machina Providing an escape. Between the prompts Poetry sleeps. Hollering Blood-dimmed tide As your Camaro races by won’t work, Nor liquid-sifting nightingales atop A satellite dish. I have allowed for that. Nor saying Venus when you really mean The foam-born goddess who made Helen fall For that blond curly-headed twit, then watched A local Hector dragged around in dust. You can’t say whale-road, can’t pretend that Danes Are good for more than video games. You must Burn your own child to smithereens to save Earth from the sun when what it needs is rain.

Alliteration in My Mother’s Milk In fall the flowers fail. The faeries fly To Boca Raton and the Winter Wings Buffet, The Bottomless Shrimp Bowl, Boundless Salad Bar, The Seminal Seminole Margarita, And flash floods in your dreams. The flowers pray To be dismembered by your orisons, A Home of Unsaved Sepals in the Hills, A past of pollen all their future now. No cherry pie. No Anna Baptist Bread, Dunked in The Living Chocolate Wonderfall. No Date Night Date Nut Pudding in the spring. The faeries book their seats for further south. Richard Epstein

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The Shrinking Season With every wearying year the weight of the winter grows and while the schoolgirl outgrows her clothes, the widow disappears in hers.

Lean Harvests (I) for T.M. the trees are shedding their leaves again: another summer is over. the Christians are praising their Maker again, but not the disconsolate plover: i hear her berate the fate of her mate; she claims God is no body’s lover. Michael R. Burch

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My understanding is that it descends like a twin propeller chopper in a war film gobbles and regurgitates as a hurricane does a barn rushes to embrace and snuggle up to villages as lava does to its path screams and thrashes like a dying star with the usual regrets tells the same lie to mountain tops as to teeth left unanswered under pillows shatters like reefs that ride in on tsunamis capsizing peninsulas comes curled in the claw that breaks into the calendar expands and cuts the lines. But, after the sheets are straightened, the forms submitted the calls made the shoes tidied, sounds like crying in an adjacent bedroom, feels like it too. Sam Kemp

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Mongolian Prospect The scourge of God grows like a hardened crust upon the wall of the town, its ringwall of garbage, offal, rubble, empty rusty oil drums resounding with hollow prayers to long-dead ghosts of Manchu, Soviet Union, Great Khan, in vain, all in vain Under a sooty shed roof a child soaks scraps of dried meat in a leaky tin can to feed ancient three-legged perplexed-eyed cat, brings stolen hay for cat’s bed, says goodnight calls cat Grandma And this may be the sole reason that some day in spite of all, in spite of all an Angel will descend and alight right here

Mongolian Air The distant hills are drugged with light and colours, bronze and gold; the blazing sky, the eagle’s flight, maroon horizons out of sight, our desert sands with ease unfold. The misty cliffs will float in space with crazy grace, enchanted place; each speck of dust, each grain of sand, each tiny glittering out-of-hand will prove its power without a trace. When centuries have drifted by the caravans that came and went, there’s nothing left but sand and sky. When summer’s madness all is spent, come, take me to your shining tent. Jane Røken

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In Poland That season was a mild one, she says, letting her pale lips crack. But even so, Europe’s old lament would not permit the view of an evergreen. Days and nights— the ones she remembers anyway—are void along their edges, though evening’s wine and song have brought her gaze centerfold. She recalls a distant wheat field, says she can picture the gift her father gave before the light scattered. The smell of the evergreens. She lifts her collar higher now, asks for brandy on the house. The piano man puts down another tune. Jason Barry

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Drive-thru for J and E They’re inching toward the window, cash in hand, when chartreuse-painted tips flame through a band of gray exhaust, then high-pitched squeals prevail: the Dunkin’ Donut girls love your nails her daughter says, and since she’s nine and not fifteen, she’s proud her mother’s trending hot, avoiding current no-nos like pajama jeans. They roll away, and this hip mama realizes that only twenty-somethings say That’s sick! and like her finger bling. The compliments are few in grown-up circles, but deep cerise is next (it’s cherry-purple). Marybeth Rua-Larsen

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Benedick’s Beatrice Just when love’s temperature is hitting zero, Here come the gentlemen back from the war. Young Claudio is making eyes at Hero, Remembering he fancied her before. And Benedick? His heart is so elastic No doubt its contents have been rearranged A little bit. He found me too sarcastic Last year, and he won’t find me very changed. If I could learn to act like other women— Hiding all evidence of having brains, Making my heart a pool for him to swim in— I’d have a chance, but I won’t take the pains. In every dumb and placid beauty lurks A wit. It’s not our fault that men are jerks.

A Change of Fashion There’ll be no more rejoicing as each new rose appears. The spring no longer fits me— grown looser with the years. The sun is much too yellow— it doesn’t suit my skin. It’s seen too many seasons, like cats, go out and in. The dolphin-studded oceans are worn beyond repair. I need another wardrobe. I’ve grown too old to wear Arcturus as a breast pin, Orion as a crown. The stars have grown so heavy I need to lay them down. Gail White

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Dresses All day at my desk, I’d wriggle, shift and shrug in a ruffled white bib, a pretty appliqué of a ladybug that clawed and bit my chest. All day, my eyes to the teacher, the blackboard, I’d tug at the lovely puffs of my sleeves to stretch and gently rip their elastic tourniquets from my wrists. Hunched to a test, as my pencil dug each right answer, I’d sneak a quick yank at the lacy jail of my pearl-buttoned collar, longing to twist free from its pinches and whispers, still the smug poke of the bow at my back. All day I’d try to scratch away my red wool skirt that insisted its place at my knees, keep reaching around to kill that zipper or hook at work with its tiny chisel. Elise Hempel

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Love of Slapstick Come, spritz of seltzer in the face, implacable banana peel. Come, brickbats, pratfalls, amazing gracelessness, the yowl of the schlemiel. Away with wit, you clever flights of phrase it takes a Ph.D. to explicate. One good food fight’s worth fifty Oscar Wildes to me. A can of paint on Keaton’s head, another on his foot: What bliss, God bless the doofuses who spread the net he manages to miss. Come, whoopee cushions, slamming doors. Come, bops and jabs and spit-takes sprayed on brides by grooms with falling drawers, O heaven of the seventh grade! No sadism this, no black desire, just Larry, Moe, and Curly’s woes, the thousand gouges that conspire to make the milk come out my nose. Come, O pie-faced end: my feet glued to the floor, my tie caught in the gears, the audience in stitches who can’t help but laugh themselves to tears. Roy Mash

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Turning This is the season of turning and tears, Emerald aspens have grieved themselves gold. The sepia moon dips down closely and hears The sighs of this season of turning and tears. This blue planet spins and tallies her years, Young bones have gone cold and will never grow old. This is the season of turning and tears, Emerald aspens have grieved themselves gold.

Season Tickets She did not cry at his memorial, not when the bagpipe’s dirge prickled her skin, not even when she watched her daughters’ tears forge trails down their cheeks and off their chins. She’d wept as he had passed, a bit each day. But today she gathered up his coins and cash, his Starbucks cards, and then purchased our lunch and coffee from his cluttered night-stand cache. She did not cry, she told me, when she dried her hands on the bath towel he left askew. But when their scheduled concert date arrived, an untapped sadness fell and tears broke through. She said that it was driving, alone, at night, the cello’s solo, and his seat on her right. Susan Spear

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The Builder at Work It’s the first moments after she leaves that the house feels emptiest, a gutted gourd still damp with human voice, laughter, touch. In her wake, a lingering scent of Chanel, a thinning of familiar. I inhale. My ribs rise. I try holding air until my chest aches with her, but she fades to the rafters, presses through pinepaneled knots and seams, seeks cloud and star, leaving me hostage to myself. I have to busy this hand and build: grip the warm hammer handle, drive despair from noisy nail heads, ignore the blueprints of pity. I am anomaly—the builder who marks four walls that would measure him. Ken Craft

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Epistolary It’s Sunday and my head aches and I wrap cup after cup of coffee around it, swaddling these morning temples, compressing that small pulsing vein on the left—the one your finger traced as a tributary of the Lethe whose silt, you said, empties into the Hades of my head. But you asked about the weather outside, not inside. Yesterday’s rain—raw as the cold trout you held at the lake, the heft of his belly like a silver ‘u’ between your hands (you called it ‘gratifyingly bourgeois’)— has been broomed out to sea: the Gulf of Maine, the Bay of Fundy, straight up the Vikings’ hairy nostrils, for all I care. Inside after outside is always cozier than inside without the contrast. It’s a metaphor like everything else. An unwilling metaphor, maybe. Like us. Or the shifting clouds that swap names outside our windows each day. Cumulus. Cirrus. Stratus. Alto-this. Nimbus-that. Go on. Get out of bed. Check your sky and think of me waiting down here. Then write what you see and send it sooner. So your questions match the season, at least. Please? Ken Craft

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In Memory of Daniel Hoffman How even a single image wrests From oblivion its maker’s name. —Daniel Hoffman, ‘Literature’ Daniel, I didn’t know you very well, but you were kind to me because of Poe, our shared allegiance. Close to ninety, frail, diminutive and dashing, on the go and fearless on your own, you drove a car yacht-sized and ancient. As your passenger, confined as in some coffin out of Poe, my wife along, charmed by your erudition, I watched you drive Ceredo Avenue the wrong way to the Bearden exhibition, chatting pleasantly. There, we admired his Odyssey collages—bright, inspired— the conference crowd surrounding us, your frail frame in khaki suit against the bench, your wild gray hair askew … Though you were ill, six years a widower, time did not quench your dedication to the memory of early days you spent in New York City, ex-Air Corps at Columbia, on the go beside Elizabeth, dear editor and poet you met by chance, with whom you’d know shared happiness for decades … In the year after you’d chauffeured us, I’d hear from you sometimes, an e-mail: playful—kindly, too— you spoke your mind as you did in that car, willing to praise the poems in my new book— ‘Far better than the efforts of some scholar, tenure-bound, who takes one final look at how to rescue from his dissertation authors of rightly minor reputation.’ I had to smile … Now you’re the passenger who’s passed from one realm, with the poems he made, into another, gracious, ready for what fame or fate awaits a kindly shade. Your business card read ‘Poet Laureate’ —Daniel, your kindness made you more than that. Ned Balbo

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Stray Crow Twice in my life have I played rescuer to your lost kin, stray crow. Once, not yet ten, I found a soaked near-drowned bird in the filter of our pool. Is water memory, the flood that bears us, stunned, into what’s next? If so, then I’m surprised that we’re so calm, one of us having flown, somehow, through time— some cosmic rip intangible, yet near. It must be you, because I’m all grown up and you’re still black, bright black, like polished stone layered, engraved. You’re grounded, but alive, and if you had the power of speech, would you bring news of that boy or, perhaps, his father who removed you, saved, till you took flight? * Today, I find you, tail askew, successor or original, where you took shelter after storms, now hobbled. Stairwell dweller towel-caught, eyeing movement through the weave and basket lid, you glimpse my wife (she drives us to the Rescue in her stalwart Saturn, having traveled time to be with me and save you, too).What joins us is some pattern no one knows, that prints its secret text upon our lives … And when the sign appears, a flaming phoenix, nailed to a post, I know I’m in the present, not the past from which you flew, stray crow, the ride uphill, sun-crossed, leaf-shaded, heading into light.

Who We Are A variation on Trakl’s ‘Menschheit’ The human race arose from fiery craters— not some garden grown to tangled woods— from mud to murder, all that history scatters, dying, at our feet. We know our blood’s strange fire and ice withdraws from those who grieve— We fear them, and we fear them in ourselves, Eve’s sons, Christ’s torture, every narrative that proves our true face, not one doubt resolves, and leads us, like Saint Thomas, to the end— Instead of proof, a single blood-stained hand. Ned Balbo 90

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Cassandra We kissed; he spat. Apollo’s spite results in visions that dissolve the future’s veils so stonework runs like water, time reveals that chance is fraud, and prophecies turn false. He knows I see Troy’s butchered men convulse beside dry corpses as his brilliance pales on western waves. He suffers no appeals no matter how I suffer for his faults. Lush memories decay before my eyes. I sense which virgin will be raped today, which nation crumbles. My beheading is still years ahead. I cannot pray to die nor alter blood revenge that I foresee; a blade is always being honed for me. A. M. Juster

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Hurry, Red Fruit, Descent November noon. I’m hurrying down Broadway. Sharp sunlight. Only two blocks from the subway, and what’s this? An enormous wooden crate big enough to hold a small piano, so wide pedestrians have to dodge around it, as most do, deftly, barely slowing down as they skirt this massive obstacle— not a raised eyebrow, not a smile or frown, as if ignoring made invisible this great square box brimful of perfect bright pomegranates—such a teetering pile you’d think some would spill out onto the street and roll away toward the realm of fable, back where they came from. Rooted to the spot, far from hurrying, I’m in a bubble. Forgetting I’m supposed to catch a train, I ponder fruit and this fruit’s freight of trouble. The pomegranates gleam in the thin sun, and every one denotes a dark exchange: a virgin picking flowers is carried down out of sight, beyond her mother’s range, to the subway—the true underground realm where things look shadowy and strange, and where she, hungry, fails to understand she must eat nothing, swallow not one seed if she would return to her own land. I think about the living and the dead (‘I had not thought death had undone so many,’ Dante and then T.S. Eliot said) numbly streaming down the street, like any holiday shoppers—so many gifts to buy, so little time, and time, we know, is money. I think about the girl Persephone for whom somewhere a perfect red globe waits, and about a larger symmetry. For one abstracted moment it all fits— the reciprocity, the master plan. An unseen hand wielding a cleaver cuts Continued

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through tough skin and leathery membrane, exposing seeds packed tidily inside. For every single seed a destination! Is each seed steered toward some allotted bride, meted out neatly to the perfect daughter, or does each girl select her seed instead? Either way, they’re made for one another. Confronted by this dowry chest of red, I feel the pressure of a fruitful future. But now, emerging from my interlude of reverie, I’m jostled by the flow of traffic now collecting heft and speed as people hurry where they want to go. I join the crowd stampeding down the stairs at Ninety-Sixth Street to the trains below the season and the fruit, the sun and stars. Rachel Hadas

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After Long Sleep Have you ever slept so long that when you woke you were all groggy, time and space in need of disentangling? And then, having gotten up and washed your face, were no less baffled, still at a loss? Though now this was a scene you recognized— you could name the city, street, and house— something salient remained disguised or missing: yes, some treasure that you prized. A mirror beckoned and you acquiesced. No nightmare: you took stock and realized this was yourself, beauty and youth effaced. Break the mirror. Turn and face the sky; walk towards water. So it was with me. And pronouns having slipped off like a skin, found a beach and stood there, feet in cold salt water, and allowed it to sink in: that years had passed. I (‘I’) had gotten old. That there was still a future to unfold somewhere up ahead, unknown duration, another story waiting to be told. Into the sea I tossed my lamentation and fished out something different: exultation, survival—unfamiliar, dripping wet, and eager with a wholly new narration innocent of fear and of regret. Let gory vampires gnash their fangs with thirst. The scars were scarred. Bad dreams had done their worst. Hair and skin now glimmering and white, was there some secret sill that I had crossed? In-between sky: a crescent moon still bright, a pink horizon to the west or east. Does what awaits us balance what we’ve lost? Interior queries call for no response. Not every question needed to be voiced. The moon had set. I didn’t speak for once. This late-earned patience shading into trance silently spread against the changing sky, balanced between before and after, dance performed by everyone until we die. And after? It was early. It was late. There was no one to interrogate. Continued

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A vague emergency from long ago: rumblings and clashes as of war. My dreams are rarely interrupted now by rumors from the City of Before, where I camped out a dozen years or more. How the chaos faded, when or why I left the region, I no longer care. I am outdoors. I’m gazing at the sky, a sloping meadow; cattle graze nearby. Could this placid pastoral be mine? Something tells me that I cannot stay here in the paradise of in-between. Beyond the hill’s curve, a blue glint. A sea? An interlude. A possibility. Rachel Hadas

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Seaside Abstraction

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Contributor Biographies and Previous Publications Rosemary Badcoe is co-editor of the online poetry magazine Antiphon, www.antiphon.org.uk. She has just completed an MA in Writing at Sheffield Hallam University. Ned Balbo’s The Trials of Edgar Poe and Other Poems (Story Line Press) received the 2012 Poets’ Prize and the 2010 Donald Justice Prize. His previous books are Lives of the Sleepers (University of Notre Dame Press; Ernest Sandeen Prize and ForeWord Book of the Year Gold Medal) and Galileo’s Banquet (Washington Writers’ Publishing House; Towson University Prize co-winner). He has received three Maryland Arts Council grants, the Robert Frost Foundation Poetry Award, and the John Guyon Literary Nonfiction Prize. His poems, translations, reviews, and flash fictions are out or forthcoming in Able Muse, Cimarron Review, Iowa Review, Measure, Pleiades, River Styx, Sou’Wester, and elsewhere. He was co-winner of the 2013 Willis Barnstone Translation Prize. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, poet-essayist Jane Satterfield. Tony Barnstone is the Albert Upton Professor of English at Whittier College and author of 17 books, a chapbook of poems, and a music CD, Tokyo’s Burning: WWII Songs, based on interviews with WWII veterans and their families by Barnstone and others. In 2015, he will publish two new books, Pulp Sonnets (Tupelo Press) and an anthology, Human and Inhuman Monster Poems (Everyman Press). His poetry books include Beast in the Apartment (Sheep Meadow Press); Tongue of War: From Pearl Harbor to Nagasaki (BKMK Press); The Golem of Los Angeles (Red Hen Press); Sad Jazz: Sonnets (Sheep Meadow Press); Impure (Univ Press of Florida); and selected poems in Spanish, Buda en Llamas: Antología poética (1999-2012). Barnstone’s books of translation include Chinese Erotic Poems (Everyman Press, 2007), The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry (Anchor Books, 2005), The Art of Writing: Teachings of the Chinese Masters (Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1996), Out of the Howling Storm: The New Chinese Poetry (Wesleyan University Press, 1993), Laughing Lost in the Mountains: Selected Poems of Wang Wei (University Press of New England, 1991), and River Merchant’s Wife by Ming Di (translated from the Chinese by Tony Barnstone, Neil Aitken, Afaa Weaver, Katie Farris & Sylvia Burn with the author, Marick Press, 2013). He is also the editor of several world literature textbooks. Fellowships include: the NEA and the California Arts Council. Selected awards include: the Poets Prize, the Pushcart Prize, the Grand Prize of the Strokestown International Poetry Festival, the John Ciardi Prize in Poetry, and the Benjamin Saltman Prize in Poetry. Barnstone was raised in Indiana and lived for years in Greece, Spain, Kenya, and China. He took his BA in English and Spanish Literature U.C Santa Cruz and he earned an MA in Creative Writing and a PhD in English Literature at U.C. Berkeley. Jason Barry is a writer and poet based in Boulder, Colorado. He is the co-founder and poetry editor of The Bacon Review. His recent poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, Fat City Review, Citron Review, and Bareback Lit, among other journals. In addition to writing poetry, he is a regular contributor of criticism for Coal Hill Review, an imprint of Autumn House Press.

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Luke Bauerlein’s poems and essays have previously appeared in or are forthcoming from The NY Times, Rattle, Unsplendid, B O D Y, Apiary Magazine, Philadelphia Stories, and elsewhere. He currently resides in southeastern Pennsylvania and writes songs and performs with the band, The Late Greats. Jo Bell was formerly director of National Poetry Day, and is now the UK’s Canal Laureate, appointed by the Poetry Society and the Canal and River Trust. She runs the highly successful online writing community 52. Jo lives on a narrowboat in the English Midlands. Her next collection, Kith, comes out in spring 2015 with Nine Arches Press. Meredith Bergmann is a sculptor. Her public monuments can be seen in Boston and New York, and she is currently creating the FDR Hope Memorial for Roosevelt Island, NYC. Her poetry and criticism have appeared or are forthcoming in Barrow Street, Contemporary Poetry Review, Hudson Review, The New Criterion, The Raintown Review, The Same, The Tri Quarterly Review and the anthology Hot Sonnets; and online at Lavender Review, Light, Mezzo Cammin, Per Contra, and Umbrella. Her sonnet ‘The Bird in the Bathroom’ won an honorable mention from the Frost Farm Poetry Prize in 2013. Her chapbook, A Special Education, has just been published by EXOT Books. She is poetry editor of American Arts Quarterly and its website at www.nccsc.net. Meredith lives in New York City with her husband, a writer and director, and their son. Jerome Betts lives in Devon. His verse has appeared in The Guardian, Pennine Platform, Poetry Nottingham and Staple, as well as web venues such as Amsterdam Quarterly, Light, Lighten Up Online (which he now edits), The New Verse News, Per Contra, Snakeskin and Tilt-A-Whirl. Jane Blanchard lives and writes in Georgia. Her work has recently appeared in The Healing Muse, The Rotary Dial, and The Seventh Quarry. ‘Bridge’ was previously published in Artemis. Matthew Buckley Smith is the author of Dirge for an Imaginary World, winner of the 2011 Able Muse Book Award. His poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Harvard Review Online, Southern Poetry Review, Threepenny Review, and Best American Poetry. He lives in Carrboro, NC, with his wife and daughter. Michael R. Burch’s poems, essays, articles and letters have appeared more than 1,700 times in publications around the globe, including TIME, USA Today, Writer’s Digest, and hundreds of literary journals. His poetry has been translated into Czech, Farsi, Gjuha Shqipe, Italian, Macedonian, Russian, Turkish and Vietnamese. He also edits www.thehypertexts.com. Paul Bussan is the author of three books of poetry: A Rage Of Intelligence, On Freeing Myself From A Full Nelson Hold and other sonnets, and Sonnets Inspired By Irene Jacob. His poems have appeared in The Road Not Taken: a Journal of Formal Poetry, Quadrant Magazine, The Yale Journal of Humanities in Medicine, Snakeskin, Trinacria, Lucid Rhythms, and Danse Macabre, and have been read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac. For more information go to www.amazon.com/author/paulbussan. Christopher Childers has poems, essays, and translations published or forthcoming from Agni, [PANK], PN Review, Parnassus, Literary Imagination, and elsewhere, and was a finalist for the Ruth Lilly Fellowship. He is currently pursuing an MFA at Johns Hopkins University, and working on a translation for Penguin Classics of Greek and Latin Lyric Poetry from Archilochus to Martial.

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Maryann Corbett’s poems, essays, and translations have appeared in Southwest Review, Barrow Street, Rattle, River Styx, Atlanta Review, The Evansville Review, Measure, Literary Imagination, The Dark Horse, Mezzo Cammin, Linebreak, Subtropics, Verse Daily, American Life in Poetry, The Poetry Foundation, The Writer’s Almanac, and many other venues in print and online, as well an assortment of anthologies, most recently Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters. She has been a several-time Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, a finalist for the 2009 Morton Marr Prize, the 2010 Best of the Net anthology, and the 2011 Able Muse Book Prize, and a winner of the Lyric Memorial Award, the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize, and the Richard Wilbur Poetry Award. Her third book, Mid Evil (University of Evansville Press, 2015), was the 2014 Wilbur Award winner. Ken Craft is a writer living west of Boston. His poetry has appeared in numerous publications, most recently Gray’s Sporting Journal. Barbara Crooker is the author of five previous books of poetry: Radiance, winner of the 2005 Word Press First Book Award and finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize; Line Dance (Word Press, 2008), winner of the 2009 Paterson Award for Excellence in Literature; More (C&R Press, 2010); Gold (Cascade Books, 2013); Small Rain (Virtual Artists Collective, 2014) and Selected Poems (FutureCycle Press, 2015). Her writing has received a number of awards, including the 2004 WB Yeats Society of New York Award (Grace Schulman, judge), the 2003 Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award (Stanley Kunitz, judge), and three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships in Literature. Her work appears in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, including Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania and The Bedford Introduction to Literature. She has been a recipient of fellowships and residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; the Moulin à Nef, Auvillar, France; and The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, Ireland. Her work has been read many times on The Writer’s Almanac, and she has read her poetry all over the country, from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine, including The Calvin Conference of Faith and Writing, The Austin International Poetry Festival, Glory Days: A Bruce Springsteen Symposium, the Library of Congress, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. Kevin Durkin has published poems in American Arts Quarterly, The New Criterion, Poetry, and The Yale Review, as well as in the anthologies Poetry Daily, Able Muse Anthology, and Irresistible Sonnets. In 2013, Finishing Line Press published his first collection of poetry, Los Angeles in Fog. Currently the managing editor to Light, he lives with his wife and their two daughters in Santa Monica. Richard Epstein’s poetry appeared in Angle 1, and here he is, still trying to make things right. [A selection of his witty and whimsical verse is online at http://rhepoems.blogspot.co.uk - Ed.] John Foy is the author of Techne’s Clearinghouse (Zoo Press/University of Nebraska Press). His poems are featured in the Swallow Anthology of New American Poets, and he has appeared widely in journals, including Poetry, The New Yorker, The New Criterion, The Raintown Review, Parnassus, American Arts Quarterly, The Village Voice, and many others, with poems forthcoming in The Hudson Review, The Yale Review, and The Dark Horse (in Scotland). He has also published extensively online and has been a guest blogger for The Best American Poetry website. His essays and reviews have appeared in The Raintown Review, Parnassus, The New Criterion, Contemporary Poetry Review, The Dark Horse and other publications, both print and online. He lives in New York and helps to curate an uptown reading series in Manhattan. You can visit him at www.johnffoy.net.

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Angela France has had poems published in many of the leading journals, in the UK and abroad and has been anthologised a number of times. She has an MA from the University of Gloucestershire and is studying for a PhD. Her publications include Occupation (Ragged Raven Press, 2009), Lessons in Mallemaroking (Nine Arches Press, 2011) and her latest collection, Hide (Nine Arches Press) came out in March 2013. Angela is features editor of Iota and runs a monthly poetry cafe, Buzzwords. Andrew Frisardi is originally from Boston but has lived in the area of Orvieto, Italy, since 1999. His recent publications include Death of a Dissembler (poems; White Violet Press, 2014); The Young Dante and the One Love (essays; Temenos Academy, 2013); and an edition of Dante’s Vita Nova, which he translated, introduced, and annotated (Northwestern University Press, 2012). He has also edited and introduced a volume of essays by the English poet-critic Brian Keeble, Daily Bread: Art and Work in the Reign of Quantity, just published by Angelico Press in Ohio; is working on a new annotated translation of Dante’s Convivio, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press; and has another publication forthcoming from Temenos Academy in 2015, The Quest for Knowledge in Dante’s Convivio. Claudia Gary is author of Humor Me (David Robert Books, 2006) and several chapbooks. A 2014 finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award and a 2013 semifinalist for the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, she writes, edits, sings, and composes (tonally) in the Washington D.C. area. Her poems appear in anthologies such as Forgetting Home (Barefoot Muse, 2013) and Villanelles (Everyman Press, 2012), and in journals internationally. Her articles on health appear in The VVA Veteran, VFW, and other magazines. For more information, see http://www.pw.org/content/claudia_gary. Midge Goldberg’s poems have appeared in Measure, American Arts Quarterly, Light, Cadenza, and other journals. Her work has been included in anthologies such as Rhyming Poems, Hot Sonnets, and Poetry Speaks: Who I Am. Her first book, Flume Ride, was published in 2006 by David Robert Books. She lives in Chester, New Hampshire, with her family. Amy Glynn’s collection A Modern Herbal was published by Measure Press. Her poems and prose appear widely in journals and anthologies including The Best American Poetry. She has won a James Merrill House fellowship, Poetry Northwest's Carolyn Kizer award, and the 2014 Literal Latte essay award. She lives near San Francisco. Rachel Hadas studied classics at Harvard, poetry at Johns Hopkins, and comparative literature at Princeton. Between college and graduate school she spent four years in Greece, an experience that surfaces variously in much of her work. Since 1981 she has taught in the English Department of the Newark (NJ) campus of Rutgers University, and has also taught courses in literature and writing at Columbia and Princeton, as well as serving on the poetry faculty of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the West Chester Poetry Conference. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, an Ingram Merrill Foundation grant in poetry, and an award in literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Rachel Hadas is the author of many books of poetry, prose, and translations. A memoir about her husband’s illness, Strange Relation, was published by Paul Dry Books in 2011. A new book of poems, The Golden Road, was published by Northwestern University Press in the fall of 2012. Elise Hempel has poems forthcoming in The Midwest Quarterly, Potomac Review, and The Evansville Review. One of her poems recently appeared in Ted Kooser’s column, American Life in Poetry. She lives in central Illinois.

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Angle – Spring/Summer 2015

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H. L. Hix’s recent books include a poetry collection, I’m Here to Learn to Dream in Your Language (Etruscan Press, 2015), and an art/poetry anthology, Ley Lines (Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 2014). His website is www.hlhix.com. Jeffrey Holt is a Licensed Professional Counselor. He has poetry forthcoming in Black Heart Magazine. Furthermore, he has recently published poetry in Antiphon Poetry Magazine and Measure. Finally, in 2012, White Violet Press published Jeff’s chapbook, The Harvest. Colin Honnor is a widely published poet in numerous magazines in print and online, including: Poetry and Audience, 21 Years of Poetry and Audience Anthology, Agenda, Outposts, The Rialto, Fire, Smoke, Orbis, Ore, Iron, Lines Review, Envoi, Staple, Sepia, Hybrid, Poetry Nottingham, Tops, Pennine Platform, Ammonite, Terrible Work, Tandem, Odyssey, Headlock, The Swansea Review, Iota, The People’s Poetry, Outposts, 4x3, Arabesques International Review, Reflections, The Dublin Quarterly, Braquemard, Poetry Manchester, Poetry Quarterly, Masques, Great Works, Aireings, The Wolf, Various Artists, Euonia Review, Poetry Bay, Crack the Spine, The Missing Slate, Sentinel, A New Ulster, The Hour of Lead, Messageinabottle, Inksweatandtears, nthposition, Miracle, Ataraxia, Monkey Kettle, The Literary Bohemian. Charles Hughes is the author of the poetry collection, Cave Art (Wiseblood Books, 2014). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in America, Angle, The Anglican Theological Review, The Christian Century, Dappled Things, First Things, The Iron Horse Literary Review, Measure, The Rotary Dial, The Sewanee Theological Review, Think Journal, and elsewhere. He worked as a lawyer for thirty-three years before his retirement and lives with his wife in the Chicago area. Charlotte Innes has published two chapbooks of poems, Licking the Serpent (2011) and Reading Ruskin in Los Angeles (2009), both with Finishing Line Press. Her poetry has also appeared in several anthologies, including The Best American Spiritual Writing 2006 (Houghton Mifflin) and, most recently, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Beyond Baroque Books 2015). She has also published in many journals, including The Hudson Review, The Sewanee Review, The Raintown Review, Spillway, and Rattle, with a poem forthcoming in The Anglican Theological Review. She has written about books and the arts for many publications, including The Los Angeles Times and The Nation. And she has taught creative writing, English, and journalism in schools and colleges in and around the Los Angeles area. Patricia Wallace Jones is a mother whose sons raised her—a life-long artist and retired disability advocate who began writing poetry after retiring from the Midwest to the northern California coast. Her art is in private collections and her poems and/or art have appeared in The Avatar Review, Lily, Tilt, Lucid Rhythms, The Guardian, 14 by 14, The Chimaera, The Flea, Wordgathering, The Shit Creek Review, The Centrifugal Eye, Victorian Violet Press and can be found among many poets she admires in Noted on the old Gazebo/Alsop Review. Peter Jones is sixty, and is a retired civil servant. He lives in North Wales. A. M. Juster was the first moderator for Eratosphere. His most recent books are The Satires of Horace (University of Pennsylvania Press 2008) and Tibullus’ Elegies (Oxford University Press 2012). Later this year the University of Toronto Press will release his Saint Aldhelm’s Riddles and Measure Press will release his Sleaze & Slander: New and Selected Comic Verse 1995-2015.

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Angle – Spring/Summer 2015

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Julie Kane was the 2011-2013 Louisiana Poet Laureate. Her poetry books include Rhythm & Booze (2003), a National Poetry Series winner and Poets’ Prize finalist; Jazz Funeral (2009), which won the Donald Justice Poetry Prize; and Paper Bullets (2014), a collection of light verse. She is a Professor of English at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. David M. Katz’s third book of poems, Stanzas on Oz, Poems 2011-2014, was published by Dos Madres Press in March 2015. Dos Madres published Claims of Home, Poems 1984-2010 in 2011. Poems of his have appeared in PN Review, Poetry, The New Criterion, Paris Review, The New Republic, American Arts Quarterly, Alabama Literary Review, The Raintown Review, and elsewhere. He lives in New York City. Sam Kemp graduated from the University of Gloucestershire’s Creative Writing course, and has been published in the University’s anthologies, Smoke and Fire, and is currently poetry editor of the upcoming issue. He finds most of his ideas by travelling and reading poetry. Janet Kenny is an old poet who started in New Zealand, zigzagged back and forth and came to rest in Queensland, Australia. Before she settled there she sang professionally in the UK and played ‘let’s pretend’ to the strains of Humperdinck, Offenbach, Verdi, Mozart, Rossini and many others, and played it straight for Bach. She tilted at a few windmills. Her poems have been widely published. Her last book’s title, This Way to the Exit, doesn’t look as funny as it used to. T. S. (Thomas Sherman) Kerrigan has lived in Los Angeles since he was born there in 1939, the son of a postman. His paternal grandparents were from County Sligo, Ireland, and a consciousness of Irish culture has prevailed in his poetry. Kerrigan was educated in public schools and at the University of California and the School of Law at Loyola University. Admitted to the California Bar in 1963, he was a trial and appellate lawyer until 2008. In the United States Supreme Court in 2001 he successfully defended a law enacted during the Great Depression to protect employees on public works projects. The great bulk of his poetry, first published in important journals on both sides of the Atlantic—including Agenda, Acumen, Epos and The London Review in England, and The Southern Review, The International Poetry Review, First Things, The Formalist, The Raintown Review and The New Formalist in America—is collected in My Dark People (Central Avenue Press, 2008) and A Homecoming in the Next Parish Over (Central Avenue Press, 2012). There were also two smaller collections, The Shadow Sonnets (2004) and Another Bloomsday at Molloy Malone’s Pub (1999). During the 1970s Kerrigan was editor of Hierophant, a journal of poetry. In 2008 he served as editor of The Raintown Review. Jean L. Kreiling is the author of the recently published collection, The Truth in Dissonance (Kelsay Books, 2014). Her work has appeared widely in print and online journals, including American Arts Quarterly, The Evansville Review, Measure, and Mezzo Cammin, and in several anthologies. Kreiling is a past winner of the String Poet Prize and the Able Muse Write Prize, and she has been a finalist for the Frost Farm Prize, the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award, and the Richard Wilbur Poetry Award. Leonard Kress has published poetry and fiction in Beloit Poetry Review, Massachusetts Review, Iowa Review, Crab Orchard Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, etc. His recent collections are The Orpheus Complex, Living in the Candy Store, and Braids & Other Sestinas. He teaches philosophy, religion, and creative writing at Owens College in Ohio and serves as fiction editor for Artful Dodge.

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Angle – Spring/Summer 2015

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Len Krisak has published the following books: The Carmina of Catullus (Carcanet Press, 2014), Afterimage (Measure Press, 2014), Rilke: New Poems (Boydell & Brewer, 2015), Ovid’s Erotic Poems (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), Virgil’s Eclogues (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), The Odes of Horace (Carcanet Press, 2006), If Anything (WordTech Editions, 2004), Even as We Speak (University of Evansville Press, 2000 - the Richard Wilbur Prize winner for that year), Midland (Somers Rocks Press, 2000), Fugitive Child (Aralia Press, 1999). His poems have been published (or are forthcoming in): Agni, The Antioch Review, The Sewanee Review, The Hudson Review, PN Review, Raritan, The Southwest Review, The London Magazine, Agenda, Plume, The Hopkins Review, Stand Magazine, Commonweal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Oxonian Review, Literary Imagination, The Oxford Book of Poems on Classical Mythology among others. He has been recipient of the following prizes: Richard Wilbur Prize, 2000; Robert Frost Prize, 2000; Robert Penn Warren Prize, 1998; The Pinch Prize, 2007; The New England Poetry Club Motton Book Award; GoldPocket.com National Computer Trivia Champion, 2000; four-time champion on Jeopardy! David Landrum’s poetry has appeared widely, most recently in Mojave River Review, The Literary Bohemian, Skylight, Windhover, and Disorder: A Mental Illness Anthology. He teaches English at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, USA. W.F. Lantry’s poetry collections are The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012), winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, The Language of Birds (Finishing Line 2011), and a forthcoming collection The Book of Maps. A native of San Diego, he received his Maîtrise from L’Université de Nice, M.A. from Boston University, and PhD in Creative Writing from University of Houston. Honors include the National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize, Crucible Editors' Poetry Prize, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (Israel), and the Potomac Review and Old Red Kimono Prizes. His work has appeared in Asian Cha, Valparaiso Poetry Review and Aesthetica. He currently works in Washington, DC and is an associate fiction editor at JMWW. More at: wflantry.com. Ann Lauinger has written two books of poetry: Persuasions of Fall (University of Utah Press, 2004), winner of the Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry, and Against Butterflies (Little Red Tree Publishing, 2013). Poems have appeared in journals such as The Georgia Review, Hunger Mountain, Parnassus: Poetry in Review, The Same, The Southern Poetry Review, on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, and in a number of anthologies. She is a member of the Literature faculty at Sarah Lawrence College. Jenna Le is the author of Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011), which was a Small Press Poetry Bestseller. Her poetry, fiction, essays, book criticism, and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI Online, Barrow Street, Bellevue Literary Review, Massachusetts Review, Measure, Pleiades, and 32 Poems. She was born and raised in Minnesota. Jacob Little is the Managing Editor of the literary journal, Profane, and is a PhD candidate in Creative Nonfiction at Ohio University in Athens. His recent poetry and creative nonfiction can be seen in Pithead Chapel, Treehouse, Angle, and Word Riot. His personal essay, ‘Pleasure,’ won Yemassee’s 2015 Creative Nonfiction Award. Roy Mash lives and writes in Marin County, California. He holds a BA in English from University of Michigan, an MA in Philosophy and an MS in Computer Science from San Francisco State University. His poems have appeared widely in journals such as: AGNI Online, Atlanta Review, Barrow Street, The Evansville Review, Nimrod, Passages North, Poetry East, RHINO, and River Styx. His first full-length book, Buyer’s Remorse, is available from Cherry Grove Collections. ‘Love of Slapstick’ previously appeared in The Road Not Taken.

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Angle – Spring/Summer 2015

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Richie McCaffery lives in Stirling and has just finished a PhD in Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of two pamphlets and the 2014 collection Cairn from Nine Arches Press. Rob Miles is from Devon and is now based in Yorkshire. He holds a PhD in Hispanic Studies from the University of Leeds. His poetry has appeared widely in publications such as Ambit, Orbis, Obsessed with Pipework, Borderlines, South Bank Poetry, Nutshells and Nuggets, Morphrog and Lunar Poetry. He’s won international competitions including the Segora, the Hope Bourne-Exmoor Society and recently the Philip Larkin Society Prize, judged by Don Paterson. Other poems have been commended or shortlisted in competitions including the Bridport, Wenlock, York and Ilkley literature festivals, Live Canon—performed at Greenwich Theatre—and the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition. Annabelle Moseley is an award-winning American poet and writer, born and raised on the North Shore of Long Island. Author of nine books, and first Walt Whitman Birthplace Writer-in-Residence, 2009-2010, she was named 2014 Long Island Poet of The Year, an award honoring excellence in both writing and teaching. Her newest book is a double volume of poetry: A Ship to Hold The World and The Marionette’s Ascent, published by Wiseblood Books. She is a Lecturer at St. Joseph's College in New York. Alfred Nicol’s collection of poetry, Elegy for Everyone, published in 2009, was chosen for the Anita Dorn Memorial Prize. His first collection, Winter Light, received the 2004 Richard Wilbur Award. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Dark Horse, The Formalist, The Hopkins Review, and other literary journals. Chris O’Carroll is a writer and an actor. In addition to his previous appearances in Angle, he has published poems in First Things, Folly, The New Verse News, The Rotary Dial, Snakeskin, and other print and online journals. Jared Pearce teaches writing and literature at William Penn University. His poems are forthcoming from Paper Nautilus and Interdisciplinary Humanities, and have recently been shared in Dead Flowers, Writing the Whirlwind, The Lake, Write Place at the Write Time, Lines + Stars, and BYU Studies, where he won the 2014 poetry competition. Ilse Pedler has had poems published previously in Poetry News, Prole, 14 Magazine, Poetry Salzburg Review and The North. She has also had poems in 2 anthologies. She works as a Veterinary Surgeon in Saffron Walden, Essex. Sophie Reijman is a graduate student at Leiden University, the Netherlands, conducting research on risk factors for child maltreatment. She mainly works long distance from her home in the Swedish countryside. Her favorite poets are Philip Larkin and Wisława Szymborska. Jane Røken is Norwegian, lives in Denmark, and writes poetry mostly in English. She likes to think of herself as an internationalist. Her writings have appeared in many different places, most recently Antiphon, Mobius, Snakeskin, Star*Line and International Times, and in the anthology Making Contact (Ravenshead Press 2012, eds. Badcoe, Badcoe & Nash). Marybeth Rua-Larsen lives on the south coast of Massachusetts and teaches part-time at Bristol Community College. Her poems, essays, flash fiction and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in The Raintown Review, Angle, Cleaver, The Poetry Bus and Free Inquiry. She won in the Poetry category for the 2011 Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Competition in Galway, Ireland and her chapbook Nothing In Between was published by Barefoot Muse Press in 2014.

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Angle – Spring/Summer 2015

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Ruth Sharman lives in Bath with her son and works as a freelance French translator. Her poems have appeared in a number of anthologies including The Faber Book of Murder, Everyman’s Killer Verse, Making Worlds: One Hundred Contemporary Women Poets, A Twist of Malice: Uncomfortable Poems by Older Women and the Staple First Editions series. Her first collection, Birth of the Owl Butterflies, was published by Picador, and the title poem won 2nd prize in the Arvon International Poetry Competition. Martha Silano’s books include The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception & Reckless Lovely, both from Saturnalia Books, and, with Kelli Russell Agodon, The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice (TwoSylvias Press 2013). Her work has appeared in Paris Review, American Poetry Review, North American Review, and elsewhere. Martha serves as poetry editor at Crab Creek Review and teaches at Bellevue College, in Bellevue, Washington. Lee Slonimsky’s work has appeared in Agenda, Angle and Nth Position in the UK, The Carolina Quarterly, The New York Times, New Ohio Review, and Poetry Daily in the US, and Otoliths and Redoubt in Australia; and has received seven Pushcart Prize nominations and one for Best of the Web in the US. His fourth collection of poems, Logician of the Wind, with cover comments by Rachel Hadas and A. E. Stallings, was published by Orchises Press. Lee is also the co-author, along with his wife, Hammett Prize winning mystery writer Carol Goodman, of the Lee Carroll Black Swan Rising trilogy from Transworld/Bantam in the UK and Tor in the US. And he conducts a monthly New York City poetry writing workshop, Walking with the Sonnet. Susan Spear holds an MFA in poetry from Western Colorado State University in Gunnison. She now teaches creative writing and poetry at Colorado Christian University and is the managing editor of Think, a journal of poetry, reviews, and criticism housed at Western. Her poems have appeared in a handful of print and on-line journals. David Stephenson lives in Detroit. His poems have most recently appeared in Measure, The Lyric, and Slant. His book, Rhythm and Blues, was published by the University of Evansville Press in 2008. Judith Taylor comes from Perthshire and now lives and works in Aberdeen. She is the author of two pamphlet collections—Earthlight (Koo Press, 2006), and Local Colour (Calder Wood Press, 2010)—and in 2013 she was a runner-up in both the Cardiff International Poetry Competition and the Herald McCash Poetry Competition. Robin Tranter was born in Sydney. She was educated at Sydney Girls’ High School and Sydney University, graduating with honours in French. After working in publishing she lived in London for a year before returning to Sydney. In the late 1970s she returned to the workforce as a librarian and in 1981 began the study of Fine Arts at Sydney University, being awarded an MA in 1990. She has written for History (magazine of the Royal Australian Historical Society), Art and Australia and the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Arts. Kathrine Varnes is co-editor with Annie Finch of An Exaltation of Forms and author of The Paragon. In addition to poetry, she also writes novels, plays, screenplays, and nonfiction while managing her young son’s acting career from Larchmont, New York. Annette Volfing is an academic teaching medieval German literature. Her poems have appeared in various magazines, including Other Poetry, The Interpreter’s House, Magma, Smiths Knoll, Snakeskin and The Oxford Magazine.

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Angle – Spring/Summer 2015

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Steven Walters has published poetry in a variety of journals among which are The Cumberland Review, Anglican Theological Review, Perspectives, Freefall, Blue Unicorn, The Lyric, Kestral, The Cresset, and The Blue Collar Review. Gail White has been writing formal poetry ever since she could print letters. She is a contributing editor to Light poetry magazine and a two-time winner of the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. She lives in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. John Whitworth is an English poet who has had ten books published, all out of print, though he has some for sale. Buy now! But despair not. There is a more recent book, Girlie Gangs (Enitharmon, 2012). His poems are published in the UK, in the USA and in Australia. Les Murray is a fan. Good on him! Alan Wickes grew up in Northumberland. He studied History of Art and English Literature at Manchester and Open University. His work has been published in the USA and Australia as well as in UK, including appearances in: Aesthetica, Znine, Worm, Loch Raven Review, The Chimera, Envoi, Raintown Review, Shit Creek Review, Soundzine and The Hypertexts. His sonnets have won Ware Poets national competition twice, in 2004 and 2009. Cannon Poets awarded first prize to his poem, ‘Parting Shots’, in November 2006. His chapbook, Prospero at Breakfast, was published by Modern Metrics in November 2007. ‘Summertime’ previously appeared at The HyperTexts. Joyce Wilson has taught English at Suffolk University and Boston University. Her first poetry collection, The Etymology of Spruce, and a chapbook, The Springhouse, both appeared in 2010. She is creator and editor of The Poetry Porch (www.poetryporch. com), which has been on-line since 1997. Her poems have appeared in many literary journals, among them Salamander, Cyphers, Ibbetson Street Magazine, and Mezzo Cammin. She writes book reviews regularly for The Poetry Porch, and occasionally for Harvard Review where she was managing editor during the 1990s, and The Drunken Boat (www.thedrunkenboat.com). Rob Wright is an assistant fiction editor to the magazine Able Muse. He was awarded Fellowships in Literature from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in 2005 and 2007, and was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His writing has been published by Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts, and in the magazines Big City Lit and Able Muse. Recently he was awarded the Frost Farm Prize for Metrical Poetry. Anton Yakovlev is originally from Moscow, Russia, and now lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, working as a college textbook editor. He studied filmmaking and poetry at Harvard University. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and is published or forthcoming in The New Yorker, The Raintown Review, Cardinal Points Literary Journal, 823 on High, The New Verse News, The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow, CityLitRag, The Poet in New York and Instigatorzine. His chapbook Neptune Court was published in 2015 by The Operating System. He has also directed several short films.

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Acute, possibly oblique, but never obtuse