Starting off this issue of poetry magazine Chantarelle’s Notebook is a poem that easily reveals its insight, a trait found throughout the issue. LaMar Giles’s “Uninspired” pokes fun at current popular music, noting that “a sudden breeze / moves me more / than music nowadays.” It’s short, fun, and makes its point clear.
Joan Maro’s “Hunger,” too, is a commentary, on ballerinas. As an almost narrative poem, “Hunger” shows the narrator as she finds a “broken” ballerina huddled in the corner of a dark theatre. The speaker wonders, “is this what happens when ballerinas are hungry? / Do they break like the shell of a walnut, / when the wooden soldier closes his mouth?” Its tone is dreamlike, as if we, as readers, are transported into the fantasy world the ballerina seems to live in. And while the insight is straightforward, it is revealed in a way that is delightful to read.
Raina Masters’s “Twice a Victim” is unsettling as a being kicks from inside the speaker, but she recognizes it not as a gift but as an “infiltrator.” She is, instead, shamed:
I will peel my skin to be rid of you,
keep your existence a secret,
lock your shell in a metal box
bury you deep in the ground.
Neil Silberblatt successfully weaves in a line of Spanish (sí, por favor exhumen mis huesos: yes, please exhume my bones) to the end of each stanza as he puts himself in the shoes of poet Pablo Neruda, whose remains have been exhumed to help determine whether Pablo was killed by cancer or the orders of Chile’s military ruler, General Augusto Pinochet:
Sí, por favor exhumen mis huesos.
I cannot say what tale they will tell
dispatched like Hamlet’s father
or a more prosaic finale.
A writer never reveals his ending.
It is a voyage of discovery
upon which we will embark together.
take me outside.
I long to feel the sun on my tired bones.
The poetry of Chantarelle’s Notebook is not overly flowery or lyrical and does not contain hard to reveal meanings; it is straightforward and accessible to the reader.