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Month: June 2011

New Poetry Review, by Robert Mueller

New Poetry Review, by Robert Mueller

Review of
Alan Gilbert, Late in the Antenna Fields

 

The writing in Alan Gilbert’s volume of poetry, Late in the Antenna Fields (Futurepoem Books, 2011), feasts on sarcasm and dispirited bitterness, not to mention a certain snagging anomie.  Putting it better or worse, the reader might think to assimilate it to some kind of art adhesion.  One is led, or profited, to hear, and to sense and to pick at, a general vaguely petulant and vaguely disinterested and yet persistent patter of ambient petrified displeasure.  There is thus less of a danger than a foregone captation in this approach, inherently.  So far so good if it sticks; so far so good so long as it educates even, guides, charts and winnows.  But when notes of whining and griping swirl in, as they sometimes do, the reader may well wish to give pause.

Because of these under-currencies, however, Gilbert’s book can provide another benefit, even as it provides pleasure often Click to continue . . .

Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris

New poetry from Joseph Milford graces our front page now, along with an essay by Robert Mueller on the poetry of Alan Gilbert. Both bring in a touch of the surreal, which is always welcome here. Because, poetry is like . . . a simile. Or, as Ernest Hemingway would say, “Do you want to box?”

Which reminds me of the film I saw last night, Woody Allen’s wonderful Midnight in Paris. An ode to the city of light, an ode to love, and a trip through time with Scott, Zelda, Stein, Picasso, Dali, Bunuel and a host of great artists, writers and composers. Why? Why do we go with them, through the streets of Paris, into the cafes and nightclubs? Ultimately, perhaps, to learn that there is no place like the present for love, and that without it time and place matter not at all. Without it, we have no Tree of Life, as Malick might say, stuck … Click to continue . . .

Wanderlust, by Joseph Milford

Wanderlust, by Joseph Milford

wanderlust

 

 

 

The sand would scrape itself

            I heard it whisper

as i breached the whitewashed torrent

            with my chest

emerging forth everclear and green

            drench-dripping in the first

positive moment

            hungry for the textures

of earth and flesh

            the mortal opacity.

I carved a monument, an easel.

            Then portrayed a pastoral.

I will try to find you there again

            around and behind every root and knoll

into the craters of every erosion and explosion

            straining

the furthest inherent peripherals.

 

The wind separates my limbs, it tousles

            the hair of the soldiering trees

I lie on my back and shape cloudshapes

            around your name

I lie here barren in your memory.

Spinning under the moon, hand in hand

            with the animals

into the torn lace outskirts of evenings

            the blue the pale the pagan

suckling an entirely different oxygen

            and I saw you there

your arms flung open

            the mouth of churches

                        spilling light.

 

I will press your flowers between the Click to continue . . .

Newspaper Hats, by Joseph Milford

Newspaper Hats, by Joseph Milford

newspaper hats before we could read them

 

pirate ships were easier to build when
digging our way to China salvaging
larvae for insane hatchlings in our heads
our hair cropped for summer like the thorn hedge

chest-naked Pan-like young demiurgers
craving malteds and double cheeseburgers
we were the ones to win the nymphs of creeks
with slingshots and water-guns we’d lay siege

Spiderman’s webs spun tall tales by midgets
treehouses, tall Coke machines, vacant lots
all the buddies I never had now here
my mind the unlikely photographer

on bikes, skateboards, barefoot on hot asphalt
the peachfuzz of Spring in our hubris caught
nudie Mags found in pinestraw pile, my first
full glimpse at a woman’s form a new thirst

and I standing between two pines arms spread
into kudzu vines where skein becomes aged
where peripherals are blurred, birds flurry
a boy’s mind can like a squirrel scurry

the forests of my youth don’t look the same
sentry-like, … Click to continue . . .

Happy Bloomsday 2011!!

Happy Bloomsday 2011!!

 It’s that time of the year again. Toast one or two or three for old Jimmy and Nora. Toast one or two or three for the streets of Dublin he saw with uncanny focus from Trieste. And toast one or two or three for Blind Homer, who inspired him and gave the world of fiction its great and everlasting journey.

“As we, or mother Dana, weave and unweave our bodies, Stephen said, from day to day, their molecules shuttled to and fro, so does the artist weave and unweave his image.”

— Ch. 9: Scylla and Charybdis

 

Molly’s soliloquy, as read by Marcella Riordan.

“I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask Click to continue . . .

More Adele

More Adele

This one had me rockin’ in the car, keeping time with her phrasing, the rise and fall of her emotions, just about bustin’ out of myself, which can be a little dangerous while driving.

Makes me think of Etta James. Few singers ever could match her for diving for her own depths. Few could match her for drilling down into the worst of the self and pulling up the greatest heartbreak, channeling it, bringing it back up to the surface to purge and shout out to the world:

 

“You need me!! No one can love you like I do!! Don’t forget me!! Don’t forget me!!”

 

Not just expressing the self, or even transforming it. Etta James and all the great soul singers destroy themselves again and again and recreate the body miraculously, impossibly. They rise from the dead, bring us fire, bring us the light.

 

For some, this heroic, Promethean struggle and recall simply overwhelms them. Instead … Click to continue . . .

Adelian Heartbreak

Adelian Heartbreak

This is a singer. She melts like Billie. She coos and riffs like Ella. She falls apart and gets right back up like Petula.

The music, the chords, the piano and her veracity break us down. She is not just part of the third British Wave — as if the wave sweeps over the notes and crushes their singularity. Adele, daughter of a teenage mother, has an old soul, an all-soul, and it breaks across the scat, the phrasing, and the nostalgia.

Adele is too young to be nostalgic, but she is, and she lets us be for her, with her, and for our own past. But she’s not too young to feel solidarity, to feel the heat of oppression in the city, and she brings us to that place, that time, where we have our backs up against the wall with her, where we can be as one with the working class and their plight, our plight, our … Click to continue . . .

Journey in Progress

Journey in Progress

The Sleeping Gypsy, by Henri Rousseau. 1897

 

Camouflage

 

I.

The objective of traveling can not
Be to lose oneself

Unless it be for a moment —
The sun shining like cartwheel fire
Between Grecian temples

The notes wrapping themselves around
The winged-legs of Flamenco
Dancers at night in Seville

The first taste after dawn
Of farm-cherished nourishment
In Grange, County Waterford

Or the view from that tower
In Paris
With soldiers at the base
Looking for dirty bombs

And Roma

II.

The objective can’t be escape

Isolation
Hermitage
Absolute severance

It can’t be to transform
One’s ghosts into lost shadows
Or shadows into dust
Swirls

Rimbaud could never leave himself
Behind in the Africa of the guns

Gauguin always met Gauguin
Even among his Tahitian brides

The goddess Circe could not make
Odysseus forget himself or his
Penelope

 

III.

To travel is to spread oneself
Across a kaleidoscopic canvas
Of being in time-place

It is the boomerang … Click to continue . . .