This issue of Slipstream includes the work of four-dozen poets, many of whose bios (though admittedly not all) are among the quirkiest you’ll find. Jane Adam of Buffalo, NY, “is more liquid than solid and leaves behind the hyaline purity to melt under streetlamps.” Jon Boiservert of Corvallis, OR, “throws up a lot.” J. Blake Gordon of Evanston, IL, “sleeps soundly, thinks about music, prepares simple meals, and watches a little television.” Toni Thomas of Milwaukie, OR, lives with “two energetic children.”
Much of the poetry (though admittedly not all) is quirky, too. Here are the opening lines of “Mathematics 101” by Neil Carpathios: “I had a one-legged lover / in college who used to remove / her prosthetic leg and massage / my crotch with her stump / like a third hand” and the beginning of Glen Armstrong’s “Curious Goths Tour the Cheese Factory”: “I compare myself / to the cheese factory;” and the opening of “My Name” by Jane Adams: “The difference between a picture / and tons and tons and tons of words / is enough words / enough turnover of words / enough friction.”
The editors have a clear predilection for unadorned language, casual voices, and narrative impulses, though there are a few exceptions and a few bursts of what I might call lyric emotion or energy. Poems that captivated my attention include Anne Marie Rooney’s “Queens,” in which the particular rhythms and energy of a youthful infatuation unfold perfectly against an urban backdrop; Francesca Bell’s brief and devastating “Why I Don’t Drink” about domestic violence (“Because drink is a man with eyes more ocean / than sky); and Naoko Fujimoto’s “On the Beach,” a poem with a rich sense of poetic expression and arguably the most inventive piece in the issue.