Jeanne M. Lesinski
“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry,” wrote Emily Dickinson.
“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry,” wrote Emily Dickinson. Instead of my head saying good-bye, I get goosebumps when I am moved by the power of words. In this issue of Lyric, both poetry and prose were able to elicit this felicitous effect: Eugene Gloria’s “Laundry List” with its knees deep in the gritty history of the 60s, Alicia Ostriker’s triptych “Ars Poetica” (“When there is a tail wind, fly.”), and Landon Godfrey’s “Interview: Antique Iron Bed,” which successfully anthropomorphizes the inanimate. Multiple poems by Paul Otremba, Ricardo Pau-Llosa, Laura Cronk, Delmira Agustini, Yerra Sugarman, and María Meléndez fill out the volume. It’s often illuminating to study a poet’s work and thought together. To that end, a lengthy interview with Maurice Manning follows a quartet of his poems evoking rural life that form part of his soon-to-be-published collection Bucolics. Poet Tony Hoagland is known for his sense of playfulness, having won the Mark Twain Award in 2005. In his truly wonderful essay “Barbarians Inside the Gate: Poetry, Truth and Entertainment,” he discusses the romantic triangle that becomes a system of checks and balances. Readers will likely, as I did, enjoy Hoagland’s examples, which he often draws from the works of Eastern European poets.