This issue of DMQ Review displays an excellent assortment of contemporary poetry, all arranged with artwork from Margeaux Walter. Many of the images are gif images of people who move and interact with the scene. The poetry is diverse from humorous pieces, to political ones, to lyrical ones.
“Portrait of a Woman in Kitchen” by Danielle James-Pruett has an excellent taste of language: “before morning unties its birds, before heat / pings its way from room to room, her breakfast music / shakes me. . . .” Brandel France de Bravo’s “The Night Kitchen” is playful as it personifies items in the kitchen:
the trivet eloped with the teapot,
the spatula proposed to the pan,
and somewhere, they say,
the sieve and whisk are shacking up.
“Sappho: Decoded” by Christine Clarke is gracefully assembled, like music to the ear: “I saw you, and I am [a scythe, a sickle, a moon]. I cannot stop / clinging to the curve of your fingertips.” Reminiscent of France in 1940, it ends, “Your [fallen blackbirds] burn my heart . . . carefully I fold and unfold / myself into an origami prayer.”
I can’t help but fall in love with the description of “Dina” in James Reidel’s poem: “Her breasts, with as much tent to them as rose petals, barely rose and fell. I have seen more life in a dress hung on the wash line. Whomever she saw in the wall behind us had exhausted her and she refused our questions like our spoonfuls of broth.”
T. Zachary Cotler gives a whimsical social critique in “Gynocracy” in which power is given to “scientific, optimistic, and artistic women,” creating a nation where “Only refined, emotive men may become citizens; only women make policy. Nobody bites anybody save cravingly on ear, breast, neck, or thigh.” Who would have thought all of that is possible from a tribe of baboons and a tub of pork and spaetzle?
And finally, the featured poet Molly Peacock contributes “Authors [a Poem in 9 Screens].” In between each “screen” are descriptions for the corresponding background collage illustrations. The thread throughout the poem is the Authors card game (similar to Go Fish), starting the poem with the question “Why match dowdy Louisa May Alcott / with the mirror of herself?”
And, of course, there is more poetry from Greg Hewett, Lisa Hiton, Martha Silano, Ryan Mattern, Christine Clarke, Alice George, Anhvu Buchanan, Joannie Stangeland, and W. Todd Kaneko. DMQ Review publishes and excellent array of poetry; I’m confident everyone can find a favorite here.