Art & literatures emerging from everywhere in this planet

A poet who shows us how to redefine what we claim is topical and relevant

in Book Reviews/Poetry by
Dear All Book Cover Dear All
Maggie Anderson
Poetry
Four Way Books
September 5, 2017
Paperback
88
978-1-935536-97-0

 

Fatal overconfidence pervades the American sensibility when it comes to defining topicality and relevance. We assume we know because tastemakers and gatekeepers tell us what we know. Maggie Anderson’s fifth book of poetry, Dear All, challenges that, as the inclusive title promises.

Our overconfidence is rooted in the confounding of market with merit. We think what sells, what promises to sell, what talks overtly about what’s in the news, as our media define the news, is topical and relevant. But poetry and art and music—witness Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do,” as a popular example—redefine news under our noses. That’s the particular power of country music, its relevance.

Making Room

in Book Reviews by
Making Room Book Cover Making Room
Djelloul Marbrook Books
Djelloul Marbrook
Leaky Boot Press
November 1, 2017
Paperback
172
978-1909849297

An artist creates a magical room for a young psychiatrist’s adopted infant nephew—a room with the heavens projected above and hideaways in the walls. To help him, he recruits a metallurgist haunted by a disturbed upbringing. As the three build this fantastic space, a rewarding friendship unfolds.

“... for those who entertain the subversive notion that the gifts with which they entered the world were lost—but may yet be recovered.”—Onlineoriginals.com (UK)

“This enchanting novella is a delicately wrought homage to Jung’s famous principle of meaningful coincidence...”Breakfast All Day, UK

Six poetic “adaptations” from Kenneth Rexroth’s English translation of 100 Poems from the Chinese

in Poetry by

94

Thinking About Not Returning to Work I Read
Lu Yu’s “Leaving the Monastery early in the Morning”

At night I’m so dead
Even murderers stay away.
Zac the cat sleeps
In the forest on my legs.
By dawn usually
I find coffee and news.
Soon my sabbatical will end
Though I’m not quite ready
To greet young minds
Who may wince when
Seeing someone so old.
Tonight it’s beans and wild vegetables
That will help me find
My way back to trouble.

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To Rhyme With Love and other Poems

in Poetry by

TO RHYME WITH LOVE

Of senators and popes and such small fry

—Edna St. Vincent Millay

It’s not for nothing Plato banished poets
from his republic. The Attic sky hadn’t rained
in months. Catfish crawling in the sewers
with rats among dead dogs. Neither oracle
nor god had advice worth more than rust
on a sword’s hilt, on monuments crumbling
in dry air, as we paced the cobblestones and
preached austerity, but those rhyme mongers,
crowned with laurel, raised sails toward some
island in the sick-green, tiring sea in search
of a new word to rhyme with love, as if
abandonment was solution, so that we,
the elders, build the future from the past
and disregard those poets exiled and
wandering in labyrinths of words.

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The Unemployment Of My Soul & How Lola Became A Vegetarian

in Poetry by

THE UNEMPLOYMENT OF MY SOUL

I can march on a picket line
in front of God’s Home Office
or sing: brother can you spare a dime—
trudge up and down the avenue
looking for work— anything will do,
a shoeshine box, or dishwashing hands
ready and able to perform God’s work.

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Opening Cavafy’s wounds to probe onanism in literature

in Book Reviews by
Clearing the Ground: C.P. Cavafy, Poetry and Prose, 1902-1911 Book Cover Clearing the Ground: C.P. Cavafy, Poetry and Prose, 1902-1911
Martin McKinsey
Translations and Essay
Laertes Press, Chapel Hill, NC
2015
Softcover
163
978-1-942281-00-9

 

Clearing the Ground is an exhumation and exquisite, sometimes excruciating examination of autoeroticism in poetry, in this instance the spartan oeuvre of C.P. Cavafy.
Or it can be considered an opening of old wounds with an eye to removing the shards sealed in them and exposing their facets to new light.

There is still use for the biblical term for autoeroticism: onanism. Onan (meaning strong) is a minor biblical person in the Book of Genesis chapter 38, who was the second son of Judah. Like his older brother Er, Onan was slain by God. Onan's death was retribution for being "evil in the sight of the Lord" through being unwilling to father a
child by his widowed sister-in- law. Instead, he “spilled his seed” on the ground: coitus interruptus.

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