Mikhail Kalinin’s song of songs immerses the reader in a rustic Moscow autumn. Masterfully translated by Konstantin Kulakov and Anton Relin, one can almost bite the apples and taste the wines.
Frederick Pollack brings an aging Cléo de Mérode to life in this masterful rending of the fallen belle. The death of a beautiful woman is perhaps literature’s most predictable platitude, but a renowned beauty reduced to an affluent, neurotic raisin? That is virgin soil, ladies and gentleman, and Pollack does not disappoint.
Time’s Arrow is a Beautiful, learned, pedagogical resource at its finest, and using the best of printing press as available today to sift chronologically through centuries of verse. This should be a resource known everywhere.
Ed Steck pursuance of the God Within in MycoMountaineer from At The Mountains of the Mycoverse is Entheogenic Heroic Poem traversing McKennaverse, “a moment in patterns” enfolding the molecule with the ethereal. Let new pathways unfold.
Asphalte Magazine | Ed Steck
Christina Buckton’s syntax twisting folk tale is an addictive read, a horrifying act of hilarity with imagery to make her contemporaries blush. Buckton is in a league of her own, and poems like this one deserve to be exhumed from the unmarked graves of obscurity.
Superlatives to Roger Bloor, Vanessa Lampert, and Mary Mullholland, editors of The Alchemy Spoon, Issue 5: Unthemed, with excellent contributions from Sarah E Mnatzgen (“Gaugin Girls”), Victoria Woolf Bailey (“Last Gasp”), and Christina Buckton (“Belinda”). And all around consensus favorite of Cruellest Month.
Roger Bloor, Vanessa Lampert, and Mary Mullholland | The Alchemy Spoon
Natalie Wang recounts her childhood with a visceral uncanniness, and manages to be vulnerable while avoiding histrionics, navigating the confessional with a notable restraint. Her descriptions of insects leave the reviewer reaching for his can of Raid while simultaneously reveling in this poem’s merits.
Writing a villanelle is hard enough, but writing a good villanelle is a rare feat, especially when anything written in the scheme must stand alongside some of the most iconic poems in the English canon. Cheyenne Taylor’s The Importance of Small Suffering is a fresh and poignant take on the classic form, and her images conjure a horrid past, one glowing with wisdom and twisted at the whims of her eloquence.
Ann Power’s magical cascade into the psychology of desire is undoubtedly worth a read. This poem punches home with the razzle-dazzle, and keeps the reader guessing the whole way through. Power is Glück after a line of pixie dust, and that is a steep compliment, though one I administer whole heartedly.
Frederick Pollack’s subdued verse ambles through the corridors of his memory, questioning and recounting with a voice that stiffens against its cracks and confesses with a soldierly poise. His work rejects all melodrama, and is a fantastically refreshing read.
Laura Paul Watson’s Six Weeks into Chemotherapy peers into the cruel reality the poet wishes to recover. Tired of the false pity, she laments the loss of her lesser human struggles, and the faux compassion so often paired with sickness. This poem subverts expectations, and speaks for itself far better than any praise.
Samantha Padgett’s portrait of paternal neglect is as heart-rending as it is inventive. The suburban pastoral contrasted with domestic distress has always made for great verse, but Padgett builds upon the tradition with her horrific eloquence. A poem’s greatest compliment shall always be another poet’s envy, and one cannot help coveting Padgett’s talents.
Frankie bb’s surrealist scene recalls the prose poetry of Charles Simic, except the former does not neglect the “poetry” in “prose poetry”. With his intoxicating rhythm, and his whimsical and sometimes frightening imagery, he is definitely a poet to keep your eye on.
Lana Hechtman Ayers writes with an edge that is as sharp as her imagery. Abyss After Tea contains what is perhaps my favorite metaphor of the year, though this poem is no one line wonder. It enthralls throughout its entirety, and leaves the reader reeling in the destructive wake of history.
Ginny Lowe Conners captures pandemic era chaos in the most unusual of settings; the woods. Yet this tranquil place is perfect for displaying the personal struggles that plagued our nation in a year of plague, divisive politics, and civil unrest. No, this is not a “pandemic poem”, this is a whisper of the human experience, a heart grappling with a world of mayhem.