Anyone searching for a traditional approach and literary collection will be comfortable and entertained by the Summer 2018 edition of Able Muse. This edition of artwork, poetry, essays, fiction, and interviews provides both entertainment and insight in what can best be complimented by its traditional approach and content. The literary works and the featured art theme encourage the reader to look further into the associated online poetry workshop Eratosphere.
The theme for this edition’s artwork is “flight.” Twenty photographers provide an exhibit that tries “to capture the many forms, facets, and emotions of flight.” The human and non-human images offer an opportunity to contemplate the many forms and dreams involved with these images of flight. I only regret that I have no easy way to share them with you here.
The poetry selections include works by the featured poet, Aaron Poochigian, and his interview.
Poochigian demonstrates his skill, proving why he was chosen as the issue’s feature, in The Ax:
Where are you, babe, and what are you doing?
Are you assessing Chablis in Niort
or stateside drunkenly barbecuing
with football fans from the house next door?
Are you kneeling before the Lord Almighty
or butt up perfecting a downward dog?
Are you lounging about in a black lace nightie
with fudge and a Prada catalog?
You, dear, you, for those seven weeks
after we met on forever.com
were my one and only snuggle cheeks,
my cinnamon bun, the absolute bomb,
and then the ax came out of the blue. . . .
I know, I know,
I should have gotten over you,
Like, years and years ago.
And, of course, there’s more. Poochigian’s work is backed by Ryan Wilson’s translations of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and Catullus. Their work is reinforced by that of ten additional poets. All of these pieces provide the reader with thoughtful enjoyment, much of it in traditional style and approach. Charles Martin adds to our appreciation of poetry with an insightful essay looking at the allusions of the New York School of Poetry and the work of Frank O’Hara in “Frank O’Hara Pauses before a Newsstand: Teaching Allusions in the ‘New York School’ of Poetry.”
Another essay in this issue, “History’s Paperweight” by Barbara Haas, encourages a thoughtful reflection on both personal and world history, on revolution, and on change, or the lack of it. The author’s style reinforces the message, creating one of the most commendable nonfiction works in this issue.
The fiction includes two pieces: Michael Woodson’s “The Golf” and Vincent Yu’s “From a Distance, Spooky Action.” Space and time require me to choose; the restrictions lead me to Yu’s work because:
We die a thousand separate times before the end of every day—each decision peels another version of reality from our bones.
And those are the real ghosts—the different versions of us haunting the crawl spaces of our memory.
Literary collections such Able Muse allow us to explore the variety of ideas and creative styles that we could not get to on our own. This particular issue provides the material for looking back and exploring the possibilities ahead of us.