Thursday May 23

KaiteHillenbrand This month, before introducing our poets, I’d like to encourage everyone to go out and recharge. Sometimes I need to be reminded, so I figured maybe you do, too. This summer, I’ve spent a lot of time camping, going to festivals and farmers’ markets, fishing, playing tennis, and taking walks in the woods, and I can’t tell you what a huge difference it makes. Getting out of the routine, going somewhere beautiful or exciting – just taking a break from what’s normal: it’s not just worth the time, it’s a lot of what life’s about. Then, even when you’re mired with work, there’s another layer of life that’s just as real and powerful. You don’t have to take a big vacation (though I’m a fan of those, too); it can just be a short getaway. My summer’s been a lot of work, but I feel like it’s been a beautiful, lake-filled green summer of campouts and baby smallmouth bass. Sometimes you have to force time to make way for life. You just have to.

And now, on to our poets!

We have a journey of poems and an interview with Katherine DiBella Seluja to share with you. What strikes me most about this work is the way Katherine experiments with form, connecting it to voice and the brain’s workings. Imagery recurs and the senses get mixed together in this fascinating series of poems tracing a psychotic brother and his sister, a witness to the psychosis. In the interview, Ms Seluja, a nurse, gives us insight into her translation of her experiences into art, particularly poetry. I recommend moving slowly through these poems, paying attention to each word, each repetition, each meaning outside the expected.

Associate Editor Mia Avramut brings us two poems and a charming, multi-faceted, surprising interview with Marcus Speh. Mia writes:

Marcus Speh roams the world under various guises. He can be a centaur, a professor, an angel or a gryphon. Introductions make him caw and flutter his wings. He will consider donating some of his immortality to those who read these riotous poems, as well as his newly- released prose collection, “Thank You For Your Sperm”.

Associate Editor JP Reese brings us great work by two poets this month. Ms Reese writes:

Sarah Jordan Stout’s two poems this month inhabit a magical world just beyond the real. Her first, “Lost ‘N Found,” blurs the line between poetry and prose and tells a story of love and loss, of longing. The poem is a tiny, one act dysfunctional family dynamic I’d love to see on a stage or screen. The second poem, “Prairie Poem,” swirls through a wavery world floating between reality and dream, from time past to time future, sending “…imaginary smoke signals into the air.”

Chris Petruccelli's "The Last Night I Was the Person I Thought I Had Always Wanted to Be" is an interesting poem in its subject matter, its imagery, and its world-weary tone, considering it was written by a relatively young poet. Petruccelli claims in his bio that he's smoked a few cigarettes with older women. The subject matter of the poem confirms that claim for the speaker in the poem as well and also suggests the speaker, at least, is ready to give that bad habit a toss to the curb. After all, "no one … wants to fuck a man from Tennessee."

We also have two imagery-rich poems by Margaret Young. One of my favorite things is to people watch, especially at carnivals and festivals, and Ms Young gave me a beautiful opportunity to do that by reading her poem. What I love most about “Why the Heartbroken Should Work at Street Festivals” is that it makes me feel like I’m there at the festival – and when I finish reading the poem, I want to go back. The imagery here is stacked and strong. I love the assertive, charming voice in these poems, too.

Associate Editor Doug Van Gundy shares us the work of one poet this month. Mr. Van Gundy writes:

These three poems from Sundin Richards are slender, seemingly innocuous, charming little things, but like Dickenson’s “narrow fellow in the grass”, they leave us with a tighter breathing: startled and a little undone. And for all of their economy, these are poems rich with sound and movement and vocabulary (lapsarian! agora! dromenon!). I have been sitting with these poems for over a month, and rereading them now, they are still continuing to reveal themselves to me. Read ‘em a couple of times yourself!

I’ll see you next month with the retrospective issue, and we’ll be back in September with new work. In the meantime, go out and refresh your mind! Do what makes you feel alive and happy. Cheers!