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Alehouse - 2010

  • Issue Number: Number 4
  • Published Date: 2010
  • Publication Cycle: Annual

“Poetry on tap,” is this journal’s tagline. But who needs booze when there are poets like Jane Mead? I was thrilled to find her here as I have loved her work since her first (watery, in fact) book, and she did not disappoint in “Dust and Rumble”:

No one could predict such dust and rumble.
Neither applying oneself well nor badly.
The line between us, three feet agape:
…Who thought we could create
such dust and rumble, who thought
all we needed was a clean slate,
level ground and a bag of marbles.
The only break in the break, forgotten.

Raise a toast, too, to new poems from Dan Bellm (“Rude des Mauvais Garçons”: “Only one block long / Like the street where I live my proper life”); Ellen Bass (“On the Other Side of Sorrow”: “is more sorrow, waves / rolling in, sets / with lulls in between.”); Paula Brancato (“From Madrid, For Baghdad”: “A city enters you like a lover, / Streets spill onto sand-licked / walkways, surrender winter gardens / of wisteria, tulip, // pansy, honeysuckle, pine.”); Haines Eason (“Flag in the Desert”: “New language is an end—what means are wounds? / Mere alphabet for the mind, in darkness breaking the world?”); and Caitelen Schneeberger (“Sympathy for the [ward]”: “and sometimes I wonder if sleep ever wants to wake up”).

Sharon Chmierlarz, who has done much wonderful writing about the lives of composers (and their families), intoxicates us with a taste of Bach in “On Good Wine Spilled”:

Because its cask cracked open, wagoned
as it was from Frankenland’s vineyards
to raw, Baltic regions, the wine arrived
two thirds gone, Bach immediately reported,
writing to his cousin, a loss to be mourned…

Belly up to the bar, you’re in famous company here seated alongside Billy Collins, JP Dancing Bear, Carol Muske-Dukes, Brian Turner, Charles Harper Webb, and Cecilia Woloch. And doesn’t every good bar have a wall of the stars who have imbibed there? Check out the great “portraits” (black and white drawings), the best of which is one of Philip Levine looking a little dazed (but not drunk) and heartbreakingly human. (Who created these portraits? I wish that information were more prominent. If it’s cover artist, Dan Guerra, his “California Beach Shack, 2008” is wonderful, too.)

Andrena Zawinki’s “Intoxicating Morning” concludes: but I stumble into the day, tipsy with poetry, turning a deaf ear / to casual greetings, the Sierra’s Cabernet still teasing my tongue."

“Poetry on tap,” is this journal’s tagline. But who needs booze when there are poets like Jane Mead? I was thrilled to find her here as I have loved her work since her first (watery, in fact) book, and she did not disappoint in “Dust and Rumble”:

No one could predict such dust and rumble.
Neither applying oneself well nor badly.
The line between us, three feet agape:
…Who thought we could create
such dust and rumble, who thought
all we needed was a clean slate,
level ground and a bag of marbles.
The only break in the break, forgotten.

Raise a toast, too, to new poems from Dan Bellm (“Rude des Mauvais Garçons”: “Only one block long / Like the street where I live my proper life”); Ellen Bass (“On the Other Side of Sorrow”: “is more sorrow, waves / rolling in, sets / with lulls in between.”); Paula Brancato (“From Madrid, For Baghdad”: “A city enters you like a lover, / Streets spill onto sand-licked / walkways, surrender winter gardens / of wisteria, tulip, // pansy, honeysuckle, pine.”); Haines Eason (“Flag in the Desert”: “New language is an end—what means are wounds? / Mere alphabet for the mind, in darkness breaking the world?”); and Caitelen Schneeberger (“Sympathy for the [ward]”: “and sometimes I wonder if sleep ever wants to wake up”).

Sharon Chmierlarz, who has done much wonderful writing about the lives of composers (and their families), intoxicates us with a taste of Bach in “On Good Wine Spilled”:

Because its cask cracked open, wagoned
as it was from Frankenland’s vineyards
to raw, Baltic regions, the wine arrived
two thirds gone, Bach immediately reported,
writing to his cousin, a loss to be mourned…

Belly up to the bar, you’re in famous company here seated alongside Billy Collins, JP Dancing Bear, Carol Muske-Dukes, Brian Turner, Charles Harper Webb, and Cecilia Woloch. And doesn’t every good bar have a wall of the stars who have imbibed there? Check out the great “portraits” (black and white drawings), the best of which is one of Philip Levine looking a little dazed (but not drunk) and heartbreakingly human. (Who created these portraits? I wish that information were more prominent. If it’s cover artist, Dan Guerra, his “California Beach Shack, 2008” is wonderful, too.)

Andrena Zawinki’s “Intoxicating Morning” concludes: but I stumble into the day, tipsy with poetry, turning a deaf ear / to casual greetings, the Sierra’s Cabernet still teasing my tongue."

Raise a glass to an issue you’ll drink in with pleasure.
[www.alehousepress.com]

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Review Posted on March 14, 2011
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