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The Lake – July 2017

Living in Michigan, it’s hard not to be near water. Surrounded by the Great Lakes and oodles of smaller inland lakes and rivers, residents are never farther than a few miles from fresh water. Whether one enjoys swimming, fishing, kayaking, or tanning on the sidelines, they never need to travel far. The Lake, the online, UK-based, poetry magazine, fulfills a similar function: editor John Murphy provides readers with poetry and book reviews that refresh and entertain. With a new issue arriving every month, readers are never very far away from new poems.

Living in Michigan, it’s hard not to be near water. Surrounded by the Great Lakes and oodles of smaller inland lakes and rivers, residents are never farther than a few miles from fresh water. Whether one enjoys swimming, fishing, kayaking, or tanning on the sidelines, they never need to travel far. The Lake, the online, UK-based, poetry magazine, fulfills a similar function: editor John Murphy provides readers with poetry and book reviews that refresh and entertain. With a new issue arriving every month, readers are never very far away from new poems.

Two book reviews and thirteen poets await in the July 2017 issue. In poetry, the pieces that utilized the richness of colors are the ones that drew me in the deepest. Maren O. Mitchell speaks of blues and yellows, describing the dining room of Claude Monet’s dining room in Giverny. I had to look up photos of the dining room myself, my interest piqued after reading about the walls and cupboards “slathered” in yellow. The speaker’s own breakfast becomes a work of art mirroring Monet’s dining room and paintings:

my steadfast breakfast of bananas, hansa yellow

before peeling, full-fat cream when naked, mixed with
indigo blueberries against a background of ivory yogurt;

they also ricochet in our house with yolk linens,
walk-on-water carpet and see-through walls

Mitchell washes readers in the warm and cool colors and prepares us for the day, the world constantly operating in blues and yellows around us—sun, water, and sky.

Three poems by Beth McDonough are also found in this issue, and each uses color to enhance the images. In “A plum sapling,” tree limbs are “festooned in white tiny blossoms. / Van Gogh glorious on blue.” “Reclaiming,” brings readers into the water, a “red mizzen” zipping past, and in “Parrot fashion,” we get acquainted with the color green. There are some fun images in this poem: “sex-ed up leprechauns” and “autumn fat pigeons” among them. The speaker wonders if anyone will believe they’ve spotted a parrot in their yard where the pigeons once sat, and then mimics the bird, singing as if to hold onto the image that others will dismiss.

Alison Jones in “Cardboard and String” holds onto images of youth. The speaker addresses “you,” a child, who will soon wander out into the real world, “where you thought there would be dragons.” The train is “alchemy in action / [ . . . ] magical beasts in disguise.” Jones captures the wonder of growth and enlightenment and the magic that can be found in the act.

There are nine other poets to get acquainted with this issue, and plenty of back issues to quench even the strongest poetic thirst. Don’t wait around here, though—go hop into The Lake this summer.
[www.thelakepoetry.co.uk]

 

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