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Four and Twenty – January 2013

I’ve always loved flash fiction for its brevity, its ability to, as they say, “pack a punch” in such a short space. Each sentence bears weight. Well the poems in this magazine close that circle a little tighter; here, each word, nay, each syllable bears tremendous weight. Each poem must be four lines or fewer and cannot contain more than twenty words. Similar to the idea of the six-word story, these poems must convey imagery, idea, insight within a small space. For the most part, all of these pieces accomplish that goal.

I’ve always loved flash fiction for its brevity, its ability to, as they say, “pack a punch” in such a short space. Each sentence bears weight. Well the poems in this magazine close that circle a little tighter; here, each word, nay, each syllable bears tremendous weight. Each poem must be four lines or fewer and cannot contain more than twenty words. Similar to the idea of the six-word story, these poems must convey imagery, idea, insight within a small space. For the most part, all of these pieces accomplish that goal.

The issue starts with Ivo Drury’s “Harvesting Pears,” comparing writing a poem to picking a pear, that it comes when it comes, “allowing one firm yet gentle tug.”

Judith Steele’s two-liner speaks truth, of something sometimes more disturbing to sleep than snoring: “Her husband’s breath.”

John Goodhue’s “Irony” is a quick image of “Jesus Lizard,” face down in the snow, “like he was hung from the moon.”

R. M. Rousseau’s “Gravity” creates a unique perspective on the elderly falling, “the sound of earth calling / come back, come back to me.”

“Holding On,” by Laurie Kolp, relies heavily on drawing connections with the imagery. The narrator finds a glove in the slush, “the one / you slipped your hand from / when I wouldn’t let go.”

Max Merckenschlager’s poem is playful, addressed to the “Inch Ant Sharing My Campsite”: “Respect doesn’t necessarily / make us cosy bed-fellows.”

“Cold Nostalgia,” by Sarah Provonche, is tasty, revealing “tart memories of . . . New England youth,” of the moonlight, bathing “the cranberries nestled in their boggy beds.”

And of course this issue offers several more. It encourages a quick read, but also makes me want to try to write my own. New issues are posted the third Tuesday of every month.
[4and20poetry.com]

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