BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE
In one of my recent columns I wrote about the importance to the overall effect of a poem of having a strong ending, and here's a fine example of that. It's by Terri Kirby Erickson, a North Carolinian, from her book, Becoming the Blue Heron, published by Press 53. Others of Erickson's poems are available in the column's archives at www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.
My Cousin, Milton
My cousin, Milton, worked for a cable company.
The boy I knew when we were children
had fists that were often clenched, his face set like
an old man whose life had been so hard,
it hardened him. But the man's hands opened to let
more of the world in. He sent the funniest
cards to family and friends at Christmas, laid down
cable so others could connect. Yet, he lived
alone, kept to himself much of the time, so when
his sister found his body, he'd been gone
a good while. He died young at fifty-seven, without
fuss or bother. No sitting by the bedside
or feeding him soup. He just laid himself down like
a trunk line and let the signal pass through.
We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2017 by Terri Kirby Erickson from Becoming the Blue Heron (Press 53, 2017). Poem reprinted by permission of Terri Kirby Erickson and the publisher. Introduction copyright ©2018 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.
by Ryan Thorpe
The family of three examines
the dining table for four,
calculating out their marriage
prospect. They are unsure
of the wood’s soft shine,
doubting it will survive past
two winters. . .
Frustrated with the current policital administration? You protest, rally, write letters, get yourself and others ready to vote...what more can you do? For poet and musician Ken Waldman (aka Alaska's Fiddling Poet), there's poetry. Sonnets to be exact, and a lot of them. With two volumes already completed and one more (at least) on the way, Waldman is taking this administration to task - and perhaps salvaging his own sanity as well as that of his readers - responding to the daily fodder by turning it to his muse for poetry.
Like many of us, in a stunned stupor the day after the election, Wednesday, November 9, 2016, Waldman writes that he was "processing Donald Trump's surprise victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and wrote, 'You make George W. seem a statesman--your opening trick,' which I turned into the first line and a half of a sonnet. A week later I wrote two more Donald Trump-inspired sonnets. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, another 68. That's 71 sonnets, a full-length collection. 41 were written in the voice of Donald Trump. The rest were addressed to him." The book's subtitle - The First 50 Days - speaks to the process many of us went through at the start.
Now in our second year of Trump's reign, Waldman continues to see us through with Trump Sonnets Volume 2: 33 Commentaries, 33 Dreams. "Half of this sequel's 66 poems is incisive commentary," writes Waldman,. "Half, dreams that I imagine Donald Trump might have, and those are in Trump's voice."
Both volumes, as well as Waldman's other books, are available through SPD Distribution or directly from Waldman. Visitors to his website can also view YouTube videos of Waldman reading the poems with a little bit of his iconic fiddling style thrown in.
In addition to celebrating its tenth anniversay of publication, the newest issue of Canada's Hamilton Arts & Letters (11.1) is also a celebration of Bertrand Russell and the 50th Anniversary of the Russell Archives.
Guest Editor Rick Stapleton [pictured] writes in his introduction, "In 1968 McMaster University purchased the first instalment of the archives of Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), a vast collection of letters, manuscripts, photographs, books and other personal material of one of the 20th century’s greatest philosophers, writers, and peace activists. At the time, the 96-year-old Russell was in need of funds to support his peace work, and McMaster’s university librarian, William Ready—renowned for his ‘buccaneering’ style of acquiring collections—was able to bid successfully for the archives. Now, 50 years later, we celebrate that event with this special issue of Hamilton Arts & Letters magazine, devoted to Bertrand Russell."
The issue is packed with poetry, artwork, and articles, including an Interview with Kenneth Blackwell, the original Bertrand Russell archivist by Wade Hemsworth; “'I Have Never Been a Complete Pacifist': Bertrand Russell on Peace and War in the Twentieth Century" by Andrew Bone; "Bertrand Russell and The Revolution in Twentieth Century Philosophy" by Nicholas Griffin; "A Rivalry? – Russell’s Lovers, Lady Ottoline Morrell and Lady Constance Malleson" by Sheila Turcon; "Hanging out with Bertrand Russell" by Terry Fallis; and "Bertrand Russell: Remembering a Public Intellectual for Our Time" by Henry A. Giroux.
Regular readers of The American Poetry Review will be exicted to see the new cover design starting with the July/August 2018 issue. We love it here at NewPages World Headquaters! Nicely done APR!
Diversity and the Arts is the theme of the Spring/Summer 2018 issue of Nimrod International Journal, featuring "Tree of Life," a gorgeous canvas, acrylic paint, composition leaf and embroidery piece by the Tulsa Girls Art School: "an afterschool, social service program that uses art as a vehicle to reach girls."
"We are looking for experimental works of film or video that are 15 minutes or less and utilize moving images as a means to poetic expression, formal exploration, or abstract and open-ended narratives. Compelling, personal works that push the boundaries of cinematic convention will also be considered for publication."
For more information, see the Aquifer announcement.
[The Florida Review 42.1 2018 cover art: Dengke Chen, "Tank Man," digital illustration]
Volume 17 of Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose features the winning entries of their 2018 Literary Awards. In addition to publication, Dogwood doubled their cash prizes to $1000 for each winning author. Each author's name is linked to a page with more information about them.
Judge Nicholas Montemarano
“There You Are” by Landon Houle
Judge Gillian Conoley
“Early Marriage, 1982, Endless Rain” by Kim Garcia
Judge Patrick Phillips
“To Learn About Smoke One Must First Light a Fire” by Misha Rai [pictured[
The 2019 Dogwood Literary Awards are open for submission until September 5, 2018.
Each issue of 3Elements publishes works that respond to three words for that issue. The Summer 2018 issue words were Jazz, Cradle, Recluse. Gregg Chadwick's artwork "Jazz Life (Central Avenue)" is the featured cover image.
The cover image of River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative is, appropriately, a sunset photo by David FitzSimmons, ushering out nineteen years of publishing as the journal heads into their twentieth anniversary!
Gyroscope Review: Fine Poetry to Turn Your World Around has announced a call for submissions for The Crone Issue to feature contemporary poetry from poets who identify as women and are over the age of 50.
"Women over 50 are often underrepresented in poetry publications, so we are choosing to offer a space and a voice to the wise women out there. We want work that celebrates the ideas of crone, wise woman, matriarch, post-menopause, grandmother, elder, strength, experience," the editors write in their CFS. They challenge: "Shake up our ideas of the female over-50 demographic. Show us something fierce, something powerful, something that cannot be ignored. Cast off the restrictions around what you have been told you can talk about. Break your silence."
Submissions are open until September 15 or until the editors have accepted enough content to fill the issue - whichever comes first. So - don't delay! Send your best work today!