This issue of Lines + Stars is the perfect introduction to winter, as in some poems, the snow has already fallen and is already deep, and in others, it has only just begun. Many of the pieces are reminiscent of the holidays, with the sounds, smells, and tastes of the seasons. They all have vivid imagery that brings the poetry to life. See, for example, these lines from Dan Ferrara: “dancing red from ice and vodka, / juggling knives and strangling accordions.” And:
Heard the caps and bottles,
bone drums and cymbals of Sandwich Isles,
smelled the poppies and cloves that Marco wore
in Dadu, led a prayer in the runic smoke
on the mast of a Norse lord’s funeral.
In Dan Pinkerton’s “Electromagnet,” autumn is slowly slipping into a scarf store as winter comes with a soft snowfall. The narrator says, “I could only think of what had been abandoned and what lay up ahead, always moving, never static.” But in Marlena Chertok’s “Buffalo 3,” the snow has already heavily fallen, “snow high enough now for him to walk next to tops of cars.” But luckily, the “he” in the poem has already learned the ways: “knew he should get his boots out when the air turned dry / and put the shovel in his bedroom so it was easier to find.”
My favorite is “Nom de Plumes” by Marie Abate. It begins:
Tonight I dream of airplanes landing,
ironed scrolled doorways locked in icy fog,
me sipping vodka tonics at an airport bar,
you drinking a lovely spot of whiskey and flying
through the air. Maybe you’re en route somewhere.
Maybe we are both on a sinking ship
of bad metaphors . . .
It goes on with memories and dreams and stark imagery. The narrator longs for a place where the two of them can be together, imaginary or otherwise: “I still dream of you finding your way back to me, / of both of us falling through air, earth, heat, and sea / . . . where you will reach for me until my body breaks.”
The issue also features Jeff Encke, Quinn White, James Grinwis, Hanna Elson, and Joseph Harms.