Sunday Jun 23

KaiteHillenbrand This month, I had the (oh-so-slightly painful) honor of helping to hand-bind a batch of the first book Connotation Press has published, Smoking Mirrors! How sweet is that? The books are so beautiful – colorful artwork beside ekphrastic writing by our contributors. I’m so proud of the team here at Connotation Press who made our first book a possibility and then a reality. And I’m so grateful that I got a copy! It is really neat to have that beautiful book to look through, read … and show off to all of my friends. I love watching history in the making, and our first book is a great moment in history as far as I’m concerned. Here’s to my history-making friends! Cheers!
 
I was thrilled recently to find poetry in my inbox from two amazing poets:
 
The first, Erin Elizabeth Smith, is just amazing. Take a gander through her bio and interview; you’ll be impressed. I also love Ms Smith’s candor and sense of humor. Her interview is charming and forthcoming – and also surprising and impressive. And her poetry is just stunning. Hers is my favorite kind of poetry: the kind that gets better each time you read it. The imagery, true to Alice in Wonderland, is vivid; the turns are unexpected and poignant and stacked; the journey is the journey. Don’t miss this one.
 
The second, Sandy Longhorn, is one of my long-term favorites in Connotation Press. (Sandy, I’m sorry I didn’t get to hug you at AWP!) As usual, Sandy’s control of tone is impressive, and her poems are compelling, drawing me into their world. The way Ms Longhorn uses form in these poems is also impressively apt, adding to the poems’ meaning and impact. I’m so happy to be able to share Sandy’s poetry with you once again.
 
Associate Editor JP Reese brings us work from two poets this month, with a wonderful interview from a nonagenarian. JP writes:

I was lucky this past month to vet poems from C.R. Schwab, a poet who did not begin writing poems until he was in his eighties. His two poems, "Reflections of a Nonagenarian," and "Requiem" are intelligent and make use of a surprising juxtaposition between the personal and the universal in their observations. I also knew I had to interview him. After all, it isn't every day one gets the opportunity to pick the brain of a ninety-year-old writer. Schwab's answers are wise and interesting, and I hope readers will find his work compelling and his answers thought provoking. Dig in, enjoy, and C.R.? Long may you write.
 
April Salzano's poem in the column this month, "First Bus Ride", is a poem for every parent who has ever experienced the terror and pain of letting go. Although the poem's speaker recounts a moment seemingly singular and personal, her experience brought out a memory of my own despair on the first day I sent my child to school, knowing in my head that something wonderful was beginning while at the same time realizing in my heart that something precious he and I shared was now and forever lost. This is a poem that brings out deep feelings of nostalgia without sinking into bathos. It is a love poem to innocence and loss.
 
Associate Editor Doug Van Gundy brings us work from two more wonderful poets this month. Doug writes:
 
These poems from Julie Brooks Barbour peel back the veneer of sentimentality that often obscures our memories of childhood to reveal the everyday danger that is so much a part of being alive, particularly as a child.  Reading them, I found myself smiling, nodding and wincing in equal measure. I am particularly glad to have these three poems together in the magazine, as together they form a sort of cautionary triptych.
 
Sophie Klahr’s poems strike an uncomfortable balance between desire and danger, suggesting that each contains, and is dependent upon, the other. Her work has a dark, uncomfortable, celebratory music to it, like Tom Waits playing the wedding march.
 
We have a wonderful column to share with you this month, and our poets celebrate all sorts of stages of life. It’s a wonderful journey.