An image of a ferocious bear wielding a handsaw at a precise 45-degree angle over a two-by-four greets the reader after opening the handsomely letterpressed cover of The Lumberyard: A magazine for poetry and design. Though slim at thirty-two pages, the magazine is otherwise stuffed with a visual array of black and white cropped text and found art in a copy-job, cut-and-paste style. The layout, with varying font sizes within pages and poems, has the jostled effect of ‘90s television dramas shot by hand-held cams, which may be distracting for some or a fresh sight for others looking for an irreverently-styled magazine.
The editors present on paper the made (not mass-produced) aesthetic driven by early memories of hanging out with a carpenter father (hence the magazine’s name). Like the lumberyard and memory, the poems here are largely poems about place, with narratives containing themselves in time and location. Matthew Lippman’s “Moses,” on the end of a multi-generational Sunday ritual, begins:
Mike Goldstein is a bitch.
Not because he’s the baker at Bagel Time on Fairview Avenue
and works for a guy named Shlomo Farbstein.
Not because he’s got a moustache
the size of Flatbush Avenue.
“Sermon for the Midway Point” by Ander Monson is humorously placed at the midway-point of the magazine:
My friend imagines that the world is always halfway-through
with him – that regardless of what wick he burns, his life
is half-ahead and half behind. We consider this
through the drift and burn of cigarettes
saturating the air above the shitty
chess set leftover from his youth.
“Without Sanctuary: The Letters of Zacariah Gamecock, IV Spirit Talker” by K. Curtis Lyle is a letter to Abraham Lincoln in the manner of a found historical document: “Clear down to the deepest part of the water, and even deeper than that, I see myself reflected back to me. It is a sight that means nothing. . . . I am marooned.”
The inaugural issue of The Lumberyard presents a solid group of poems with unique editorial twists.