Regular Features Pages
Free Verse with Vera Ignatowitsch
Extra Feature This Issue:
Goderich by Austin Gilmour
Three Featured Poems
The Interview with Simon Perchik
by Anthony Watkins
Essay by Simon Perchik
Editor's Choice - Formal Poetry
Nothing to Fear
There’s nothing to fear, nothing, his mother said.
She held him, and when he grew too big to hold
she sat beside him, smoothed his brow, and told
him, Nothing in the closet or under the bed;
nothing in the swaying trees that cast
their shadow limbs across his bedroom floor;
nothing in the empty house next door
that stares through glassless eyes as we walk past.
He didn’t hear the strange foreshadowing,
the turn her words would take, but now he sees
the nothing in the empty house, the trees,
the nothing in anything, in everything,
the nothing coming closer year by year,
the promised nothing that he has to fear.
Richard Wakefield’s first poetry collection, East of Early Winters (University of Evansville Press), won the Richard Wilbur Award. His second collection, A Vertical Mile (Able Muse Press), was short-listed for the Poets’ Prize.
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection, and his twentieth book, is The Gibson Poems, published by Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library, 2019. For more information including free e-books please visit his website at http://www.simonperchik.com.
AW: I have known you as a poet for a couple of years, primarily through some of the poems of yours we have published. I and the entire staff are quite fond of your work, so it seems reasonable our readers probably are too. Given that, I wanted a chance to better introduce you to our readers and find out more about you for myself along the way.
SP: Thank you, Anthony, I am truly honored by your interest in my work.
AW: One of the first things you and I corresponded about was your titles, or your lack of titles. I have run into poets who write mostly “Untitled” poems. I don’t publish them. To me, a title IS the poem, and what follows are various details and abstractions about that thing, so if a poet can’t tell what the thing is, I usually think they need to rewrite the poem. You on the other hand title almost all your poems with an asterisk. Why do you not title them in a conventional manner?
SP: Since year one I’ve never titled a poem. Not even with an asterisk. That came much later when I read an Italian poet who used the asterisk as a title. I thought that was cool. So I stole it. Truth is, I don’t think in terms of a title. My poetry makes its living in the subconscious and as such has many facets, each often conflicting with the others. A title might be an unwarranted risk, leading the reader to limit the poem to one aspect to the detriment of the others.
Publisher’s Choice — Free Verse
Larry’s Wife & The Cat
She’s looking for someone to dance with, someone who
won’t step on her toes,
someone who is in step with her every move,
someone who anticipates her next move
someone who doesn’t exist
so instead she settled for Larry
he’s asleep in his La-Z-Boy
and she’s dancing with the cat.
Scott C. Kaestner is a Los Angeles poet, dad, husband, and barefoot beach walker. Google ‘Scott Kaestner Poetry’ to peruse his musings and doings.
Editor’s Choice — Free Verse
The Belladonna Berry Syndrome
“I, too, dislike it . . .” — MM
Not sure if why she disliked it
was seeing that the loss
inflicted by compelled transition
from a state of nothingness void of pain
to one of acute awareness
is the cause of all grief.
She suggested after all it was possible
to be interested in it sometimes
for example when it featured
exotic made-up places
where real creatures dwell
and to be a true connoisseur of the art.
Her dramatic monologue Marriage though
where both actors and scene defy belief
does cite poison
the quintessence of the quotidien really
since a chain reaction of tortured deaths
continues as it keeps being swallowed.
Even so, not sure her contempt for it
meant never forgiving the theft of peace
any species of speech denotes
especially when it only seems pitiable
to be trapped in a racked sensorium
completely alone and deviled by dreads.
Poems by Tom Merrill have recently appeared in two novels as epigraphs. His latest book, Time in Eternity, can be purchased from Ancient Cypress Press.
The fourteenth of July celebration in Paris (1886) Vincent Van Gogh
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