Off the Coast, based out of Robbinston, Maine, publishes poems, artwork, and reviews. It seems to me that this particular issue has a strong focus on nature and animals interacting within their natural surroundings. The title of each issue is chosen from a line or phrase from one of the issue’s selected poems. The Fall 2011 issue is entitled Everything Here. The editors make a very honest effort to live up to the promise of such a title.
Carolyn Gelland’s “Odin’s Eye” is separated into four parts. Each flows flawlessly into the next, despite a change in subject. From a dragon ship with its crew forging their way through a storm to a wolf running freely, Gelland crafts a narrative that contemplates a darker side of nature and how animals learn to adapt to that dark side.
The third section is titled “Dark Bird”:
A dark bird
drizzles a song.
surges with salt
and spins hissing
avenues that pull
storms from a dry eye.
“Drizzles,” “surges,” and “spins hissing” were verbs that intrigued me. Rather than being placeholders or vehicles that simply move the reader from here to there, Gelland uses words that belong together and fit seamlessly.
I have never had much interest in possums; however, J. Stephen Rhodes’s poem “Possums” really drew me in. Rhodes uses unique descriptions to introduce us to his take on these marsupials: “They hate automobiles and throw them over cliffs, / where possible. Otherwise, they bury them. We know a team / of possums who hauled a bank branch, along with its sign flashing time and temperature, to a nearby lake and tossed it / in.”
The images included in this edition were delightful and I wished that there had been more. Yaseen Anwer’s black and white photograph titled “Autumn Tree” is beautiful. The tree is centered within a vignette, suggesting an eye. It makes the viewer feel as though he or she is looking up through the lens of a camera and discovering the tree for themselves.
This publication of Off the Coast had its ups and downs but I managed to discover some insightful and promising writers.