On Autumn Lake – Collected Essays by Douglas Crase

autumn lake

In this wide ranging; cohesive collection of essays Douglas Crase presents four decades of critical writing and lectures in an intense poetic prose style that is also conversational. Crase brings his subjects to life on the page. Ashbery; O’Hara; Schuyler and Niedecker are but a few. He restores Emerson to the forefront of American writing as well as the commonwealth of creating prose and poetry.

Crase provides detailed accounts of the artistic/literary landscape that became the New York School as well as the Tibor de Nagy Gallery that was the hub and inspiration of the movement. He traces its history to Jean Connoly and its benefactor Dwight Ripley.

Honest writing is the key to an ongoing democracy and thanks go to writers of truth such as Douglas Crase and the documentation of the past. The future awaits us and Crase has set the bar high for all of us. May we live up to his example.

You can find the book here: https://nightboat.org/book/on-autumn-lake-collected-essays/

g emil reutter is a writer of poems and stories and on occasion literary criticism. He can be found at: https://gereutter.wordpress.com/about/

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Good Reads for Winter Days

diane signs

https://dianesahmsguarnieri.wordpress.com/books/

g beer

https://gereutter.wordpress.com/books/

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2021 Featured Poets Reading at Moonstone

featured

Sunday February 20, 2022 – 2pm

-VIRTUAL-
Readings from the 2021 Featured Poets Anthology
Registration Required – Registration Link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEsdOmpqDIqH9B0HU4JTUrRJwRTTLd4J5D6

2021 was Moonstone Art Center’s busiest year ever, with 130 program both live and virtual. Of the almost 300 poets featured in these program, 88 have poems in this anthology. Join us as some of the poets read.

moonstone

Two Poems by Kerry Trautman

road

Conveyance

     (after “The Road from Market” oil on canvas, by Thomas Gainsborough)
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She glows the dark woodpath,
sidesaddle ankles dangling,
and men bring her gifts of
wildflowers, mead,
embroidered cloths commissioned of their sisters.
Musculature below her body
heaves her taffeta ahead
down men’s worn mudpath.
.
Flattened here in grey winter Midwest,
it seems fable there ever would have been horses
to drape our bodies on
for conveyance—
those hides our only means toward
lovers afar, toward sisters carried
away on hideback to lovers’ stone walls.
.
She leaves her climbed tree limbs behind, and
sister night whispers,
and mother’s cakes and skirt folds.
Girlhood breadcrumbs fading in trails
with horse plop.
.
She would never believe there are
locomotives now, and cars,
that ladies’ legs can straddle wide horsebacks or
fly Delta to Tijuana.
.
Our new flatlands melt open wide—
horizon enough to hide ourselves in furred
animals, cotton knits, damp taxicabs with
cracked vinyl pricking backs of bared thighs.
.
In mossdark smut, tree bark and horse sweat smell
it is fable to her alabaster neck that
she need not be carried by anything broader than
her two legs.
.
A Mezcal Toast
.
Like a long-nosed bat
tongue ribboned into
cupped agave blossoms
.
I’ve wasted my faith thinking
your only means of pollination
was my wingless hover.
.
I sip this tequila now, its breath
of char lugging resistant
bitterness behind like a housefire
.
like a chimney caved-in
brick by grayblack brick in a puff
of creosote and bird bones.
.
To you, this lime and smoked
nectar like a sip of Iceland’s
cold upon volcanic cold
.
and to Leptonycteris shitting
upside-down in a cave craving
the only flower its ever known.
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Kerry bw 03 crop
A lifetime Ohioan, Kerry Trautman is a founder of ToledoPoet.com and the “Toledo Poetry Museum” page on Facebook, which promote Northwest Ohio poetry events. Her work has appeared in various anthologies and journals, including Slippery Elm, Free State Review, Thimble, The Fourth River, Alimentum, Midwestern Gothic, and Gasconade Review. Kerry’s poetry books are Things That Come in Boxes (King Craft Press 2012,) To Have Hoped (Finishing Line Press 2015,) Artifacts (NightBallet Press 2017,) and To be Nonchalantly Alive (Kelsay Books 2020.)

Two Poems by Susana H. Case

bus
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Guatemalan Chicken Bus
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The woman next to me caresses her chicken;
it’s probably tomorrow’s dinner.
The bird shits in its basket, and she inspects
the product carefully on this rickety
.
former school bus. The driver’s going fast,
screeching around cliff curves, blasting his horn,
as a woman across the aisle yells out a prayer.
Next to her, a man starts to laugh and offers
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the gringa a tamale. Many hands pass it to me.
We’re over maximum capacity and there’s nothing
to hold onto except a fellow passenger
or an animal wedged in the aisle.
.
The ayudante leans down from the roof
to collect fares through the windows—speakers
blasting the beat of the rock band Santa Fe.
Che Guevara looks down from a photograph
.
mounted among the tassels and Christmas lights.
We are lucky so far—no road robbers
or wheels falling off.
As the bus stops for more people, then speeds
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off again, smoke billows from the back.
A man standing in the aisle crosses himself
when we reach Lake Atitlán after hours of potholes,
the woman and the chicken asleep in the heat.
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I’m pushed out quickly with other passengers
as new ones shove their way in. The ayudante
unstraps a goat from the roof rack, throws down
packages and backpacks, including mine.
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Vamos vacios—we go empty—he yells at anyone
who looks in his direction. I see Jesus on the cross
painted on the rear as the bus speeds away,
two more goats strapped to the top.
.
Ode to Something, but It’s Not High School
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To the boy whose father
bought him a red Corvette
his senior year, who drove
.
up to the high school, blond
and improbably tan, doing loops
instead of going to class,
.
then, after a day of too much jug wine,
totaled himself and the car,
and to the skinny, hyper boy
.
the girls all liked who walked
out of a tenth-story window,
the acid causing him to believe
.
he could soar over the city,
because that was the legend—
that you’d fly—and to the one
.
I crushed on who, at one of my Friday
night basement doo-wop/make-out
parties, stole my copy
.
of Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs’
“Stay,” but didn’t stay, coming back
from Vietnam in a body bag,
.
and the one who was a walking ad
for keeping away from heroin,
to all those who OD’d anyway, and
.
to the one who died from leukemia—
not everyone just being
stupid, some really trying hard
.
to live—and then, after all the funerals,
even then, to the one who swallowed
a bottle of aspirin and a can of Pepsi
.
when his girlfriend dumped him,
she, sitting on a curb outside school
sobbing we shouldn’t blame her,
.
every single kid staying away, he
returning to classes two weeks later,
with his same weird gait, lopsided smile.
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SUSANA H. CASE is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently Dead Shark on the N Train, from Broadstone Books, 2020, which won a Pinnacle Book Award for Best Poetry Book, a NYC Big Book Award Distinguished Favorite, and was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award. She is also the author of five chapbooks. The Damage Done is forthcoming in 2022 from Broadstone Books. She has co-edited, with Margo Taft Stever, the anthology I Wanna Be Loved by You: Poems on Marilyn Monroe, forthcoming in 2022 from Milk and Cake Press. www.susanahcase.com
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Fine Lines by Sean Howard

northern

Fine Lines 

Standing at the edge of the sea is exhilarating. This is the meeting place of terrestrial and marine life, where two ecosystems intertwine.

Jeffrey C. Domm, Canada’s Atlantic Seashore

i. Northern Rock Barnacle
.
Mouth at top
is closed during
low tides’
.
(Slow rush,
tongu-
ing…)
.
ii. Eyed Finger Sponge
.
‘Branches have small
holes, or “eyes”’
.
(Wave, hand
staring back
at you…)
iii. Northern Quahog
.
‘Interior of shell
milky-white
with purple
stain’
.
(Quahog Grail,
bloodstain
rim)
.
iv. Samphire
Salad days
(no takers?) –
.
‘Succulent stem and
branches, bright
green in spring’
.
v. Maritime Garter Snake
‘Rests very
still in the sun,
collecting warmth’
.
(What beggar
could choose
more?)
.
vi. Piping Plover
.
‘…nest in a
depression…’
.
(How many
of us dare?)
.
sean 2
Sean Howard is the author of five books of poetry in Canada, most recently Unrecovered: 9/11 Poems (Gaspereau Press, 2021). His poetry has been widely published in Canada, the US (including North of Oxford), UK, and elsewhere, and featured in The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry in English (Tightrope Books, 2017).
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High Stakes by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

hammer
.
High Stakes 
Seizing the high ground is important,
have you not read of the great campaigns?
 And here this stooped man with his back to me,
a pile of stakes which he hammers into the soil above.
 .
 An old slag heap now repurposed and green again,
stakes driven deep into this unnatural hill to form a line.
 .
 A drooping pair of overalls, I see each faded denim strap
disappear over a mountain of disjointed shoulders.
 The stacks from the nickel mines in the distance.
Billowing out their many black dahlia plumes.
.
ryan
Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Chiron Review, Setu, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

Dear Anonymouse by Mike Maggio

mouse
Dear Anonymouse
.
Dear Anonymouse:
I’ve noticed how lately
you’ve taken up residence
and claimed free reign of my humble home —
as if you were meant to be here.
.
How you scurry about my kitchen, Earl of Morning,
Prince of Demurity, Sovereign of Shyness
scorning contact, refusing to concede even my presence
while I’m perking coffee or scrambling eggs
or simply puttering about.
.
The pantry, too, has succumbed to your shenanigans.
You’ve raided the rice, finagled the figs
rummaged the rind of a yet-to-ripen melon.
And all you’ve given for my unwilling generosity
is the back of your timorous tail
and a profligate amount of your prodigious pellets.
.
Now I’ve tried to be lenient with you —
even, one might say, tolerant of your presence.
I’ve left you offerings for your midnight snack —
tempting morsels meant to appease your avid appetite —
a crumble of cheese beneath the sink
.
a pat of peanut butter near the fridge
even, once, a bowl of fruit left, unwrapped,
beside a special cocktail I concocted
meant to con you, meant to attract you
to my little contraption in which I wished to whisk you away.
.
And yet, to no avail. You avoid my good will
and continue to sashay through my kitchen
ogling me as if I’m the one who should take his leave.
Dear Anonymouse:  please understand:
I do not wish to harm you.
I merely bid you and your progeny godspeed.
.
So please: pack your things.
Make haste with your belongings.
Seek shelter in some other domicile.
Because come tomorrow
a certain calico companion is about to join my campaign.
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Mike Maggio is a poet and fiction writer with nine full-length works to his name and numerous publications in journals including The Northern Virginia Review, The L.A. Weekly and others. His newest poetry collection, Let’s Call It Paradise,  , will be released in 2021 by San Francisco Bay Press.. He is an adjunct assistant-professor at Northern Virginia Community College and an associate editor of The Potomac Review His web site if www.mikemaggio.net

Harvest Time by Martin Willits Jr.

harvest time
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By g emil reutter
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Willitts brings us onto the farm in this collection offering insight into the Amish/Mennonite life style in rural Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  He uses poetic imaging to reveal the harshness of field work, chopping wood, milking nameless cows. He writes of his quiet Grandfather and Grandmother. The title poem opens the collection that meanders through the seasons and as he accomplishes this he also meshes the farm with the lives of his grandparents who work the farm hard and in the end pass to the other side as the bank seize their assets. Willits worked the farm every spring into summer from the ages of 5-17. He tells us in this poem, I carry baskets of tomorrow/heavy as death. Willitts reveals the violence of nature in survival and the violence of man interacting with nature using domesticated animals until they have no use and then disposing of them. Not all is dark here as Willitts reveals the beauty of life in barns, fields, even Amish lovers.  In the poem, It’s All a Matter of Perspective, he himself watches as his girlfriend, ..ran away with the broom salesman.  He further tells us:
.
At seven, I never understood why Grandmother giggled
when Grandfather looked at her a certain way.
I believed it was because he puckered his lips
like he tasted lemon. Later, I found out what it meant.
My girlfriend made the same giggle when she ran off.
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The poet tells the reader of Quiet:
.
When the world goes silent
after the crackle of birds landing on trees,
air seems to glow—
.
that moment of sadness
when nothing else happens,
time crawls into a small whimper,
.
a bantam rooster’s spurs
barely tic, tic, tic
on a grey, crushed-stone path.
.
Some people just need to disturb that silence.
Others want to escape the disturbance
like those birds swarming onto trees.
.
I just want that moment of solitude
emitting from apple blossom odors
in noiseless breeze.
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Quiet is a beautiful poem with a freshness of images, time crawls into a small whimper…that moment of solitude/emitting from apple blossom odors/in noiseless breeze.
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In the poem, Milking the Moment, the poet tells us:
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Love takes the same slowness—
a body responds to evenness of hands,
anticipating the next light touch
until it feels fingers before they land,
gentle as dust. And if you lay your head
against a belly, cooing a soothing melody
the other person eases
into what will happen next.
.
This from an experience of milking a cow, a life lesson in handling other humans.
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Willitts writes extensively of learning from his Grandfather in silence, no words, just nods and smiles as he learns the farm. He captures the beauty of this lesson in the poem, Silence Has Its Own Language:
.
There are days when I am still ten, following Grandfather
out the back door into the prayer of stars.
.
There are several ways to know silence—fishing forever
without a bite, your heart moving with a spring steam defrosting;
.
or mucking the barn, rake scratching wooden floors and straw;
or cat swishing its tail before striking: or goldenrod opening.
.
Grandfather barley spoke all summer. No need to talk. Words
Were wasted, when silent commands and nods worked well.
.
You can hear more if you listen intently— deer moving at dawn,
Inventing silence; or the stillness of heart and hush of breath.
.
More important, all of earth and stars and silence speak.
You can hear, like a dog ear’s perking, everything unsaid.
.
Harvest Time is an excellent read. Be sure to read intently as gentle metaphor and imagery blends with the harshness of farm life as Willitts captures rural Amish America.
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You can find the book here: Harvest Time
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g emil reutter is a writer of poems, stories and an occasional literary review. He can be found at: https://gereutter.wordpress.com/about/
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