poet

2 Poems by Tony Rickaby

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Elephant & Castle Underground Station

Elephant & Castle Underground Station

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 ELEPHANT & CASTLE
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A voice from somewhere
Accelerates away around
Chugging on
Circling overhead
Silence suddenly
Screeching at the crossing
Shouting running home
Siren round the corner
The Eastenders theme
This particular flightpath
Today’s rat run
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A baby cries spasms
Buster barking
A conversation ends in laughter
In a deep voice
Door slams deeply
Hiss from somewhere
Not so loud reply
Shunt to a halt
Cheerful snatches
Something muffled dragged
Sort of rustling
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A machine spins
Asking so quietly
Blares and booms
Continuous screaming
Coughing in a waistcoat
Red anorak revs
Repairs somewhere
Roof bangings
Sighing on a car bonnet
Splattering onto concrete
Throbbing in time
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IMG_5131 copy (1) copy

photograph by Tony Rickaby

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TOWARDS THE RIVER
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different dots – fixed directions
floating rubber – grey positions
lines at angle – random dark
row of arcs – see-through metal
some thin – some thick
striped horizontals – elastic brown
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thicker emerging – woollen sphere
angled table – floating ochre
camouflage cover – concentric slots
cracked hill – edible stop
lost root – mirrored y
mystery box – resting bricks
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splitting wall – yellow island
upturned purple – criss-crossed flaking
corrugated shop – leaning diamonds
mesh wall – hanging hedge
weeping slats – tangled brick
wooden rust – lonely white
Tony Ri
Tony Rickaby has produced hypertext animations for Drunken Boat, Locus Novus and Toad; visual poems for Altered Scale, Counterexample Poetics, Cricket, InStereo Press, 20×20, Otoliths and Suss; prose for Anderbo, Athregeum, Aspidistra, Dark Sky, Litro, The Whistling Fire, and Word Riot; poetry for Camel Saloon, Ditch, Message in a Bottle and Sugar Mule. He lives in London. Tony Rickaby

Phoenix by Jane Rosenberg LaForge

phoenix reborn by iron phoenix

Phoenix Reborn by Iron Phoenix

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Phoenix
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If I had to choose the circumstances of my birth,
the mother of all do-overs
it would be alone, slick and silent
and I would shine on an empty stage
numinous like livestock:
But of which variety?
Which animal is without sin?
Meat on the hoof
or at the breast,
horns as vestigial anatomy
like the human pineal gland
or an appendix.
Which species denies pleasure
to its executioners
before the profits come rolling in?
After the capillaries are broken,
the rest is choice
about sentience and organs.
I would like to be more than my body
more than the limitations of my skin ;
and certain angles, slopes, ratios
of costume medals: never the good stuff
the markets trade in.
They say touch is nothing to us,
nothing to me
and yet I rub my hide
along a fence collapsing
from a surfeit of rain
and too little maintenance
until the follicles are breached,
ripped free of their burden
and I am another layer,
fresh and naked.
In the moonlight I will bray
at other possibilities,
Other systems,
and wait as patiently as I might
for my next set of parents. 
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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Jane Rosenberg LaForge’s poetry collections are With Apologies to Mick Jagger, Other Gods, and All Women (Aldrich Press 2012); the forthcoming Daphne and Her Discontents (Ravenna Press); and four chapbooks. Her forthcoming novel is The Hawkman: A Fairy Tale of the Great War (Amberjack Publishing) and her memoir is An Unsuitable Princess: A True Fantasy, A Fantastical Memoir (Jaded Ibis Press 2014).   

Bird Flying through the Banquet by Judy Kronenfeld

kronenbook
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Review by Richard Nester
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Judy Kronenfeld’s narrative powers are on full display in her latest collection, Bird Flying through the Banquet, a book whose central concerns are signaled by its cover art, a recasting of Pieter Bruegel’s painting, Peasant Wedding. Kronenfeld’s approach is ekphrastic with regard to multiple mediums, primarily visual, but musical also, as the book’s cover art presents a complex chord that the book’s contents both riff on and elaborate.
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A close look at this opening chord shows how complicated it is. Two ideas stand out: first, there is the Venerable Bede’s assertion found in Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of England (731 AD) that man’s life can be compared to the flight of a sparrow through a mead-hall on a winter night from dark to dark, unknown to unknown; second, is the way that Kronenfeld applies that metaphor to Bruegel’s painting, where the darkness is represented by the graying-out of two strips at the left and right margins and the sparrow is added as a silhouette.
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Both of these ideas find a place in Bird Flying. Sometimes Kronenfeld’s subject is the ineffable itself, the permanent in the transitory, the missing in what remains—the sparrow’s all too brief but still exquisite journey. At other times, she foregrounds her immigrant experience, captured in the trope of the peasant gathering of Bruegel’s painting, which differs in one important way from the mead-hall gathering addressed by Bede. Bede was speaking to an audience of nobles, whereas Bruegel portrays a peasant banquet, more pot-luck than fine dining, an image Kronenfeld uses to bring together a series of poems that are both celebratory and richly peopled by person and places from her memory cupboard.
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Bird Flying is an intensely visual collection with a palette that ranges from the concrete to the imaginary,  from the “cracked sidewalks flashing mica” of “My Long-Left Birth City,” where the “newsstand, candy store, barbershop” are “utterly, beautifully, unremarkable,” to the mental vista of “Rothko Dark,” where after “long looking . . . giving oneself to darkness / faintly lightens it.” This poem does not refer to any particular Rothko work, but rather, to the optical vibrations created by the painter’s characteristic methodology, an effect Kronenfeld mimes in her memory portraits. The careful reader will note that “Rothko Dark” contains but one sentence, elegantly formed, as graceful in its lines as it is in its forward movement. So composed, it mirrors the book as a whole and the way individual poems propel it forward, while not sacrificing any of their individuality.
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 Kronenfeld’s fascination with time is constant. Examples include timepieces, her father’s alarm clock in “Ten Minutes,” times of day as in the lyrical “The Braille of Evening” with its “last coins of sunlight” and “darkness-gathering trees,” important dates such as yahrzeit in “Neighborly Sorrow” where the memorial candle “burns now in my agnostic /house, three thousand miles /from the Bronx,”  or time itself, as in “Grief-Shock.” “Grief-Shock” is worth careful study both with regard to its imagery and its sound. In the first place, this is not time as an abstract entity, but a particular kind of time, that is “grief” time, which simultaneously rushes our sorrows forward and stacks them up in a series of “after[s]”that leave us “stranded” and “despoiled.” At the same time that the imagery strands us—a clever but nonetheless organic wordplay (Kronenfeld is never witty for wit’s sake) on the shore, its language propels us relentlessly forward by a series of “s” sounds—“spot,” “homestead,” “stomped.” Every line has at least one “s” with one telling exception: the line that sets up the poem’s conceit in the first place “but time—like the metronome clicking,” a reference to time’s twin character as both object—  metronome—and process.
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Kronenfeld is seldom overtly political, but when she is, the effect is startling. The poem “What We’re Reduced To” offers such a moment, one where Kronenfeld’s husband is “reduced” to filing his protest on a scrap of paper shoved into a sidewalk crack, a comic rendering of the Jerusalem Wailing Wall, where worshipers place rolled up paper messages in crevices between the wall’s stones. Overt politics aside, her poems possess a high degree of civic involvement of a kind not reducible to slogans, as if they have decided to conduct politics by other means, those of language, family, and neighborhood.
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In this regard, I find itj instructive to contrast Kronenfeld’s use of Bruegel with that made by Auden in his poem “Musee des Beaux Arts,” one of poetry’s the better known ekphrastic poems. Auden references Bruegel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus and his verdict with regard to art and its influence on the larger world is the same in “Musee des Beau Arts” as it is in “In Memory of W.B. Yeats, ” where he says that “poetry makes nothing happen.” Art can call attention to the “astounding” moment and the way that it is ignored by the demands of commerce but that is all. In Icarus, the ship witnesses suffering, “a boy falling out of the sky,” but ignores it in pursuit of business as usual. In fact, the witnessing agent is not animate, not the sailors on board, but the ship itself, and all art can do is record that indifference.
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In contrast, Kronenfeld offers us a different Bruegel painting, Peasant Wedding, and a different set of conclusions about the human community and its resources. In “Ten Minutes” she shows us that business as usual is accompanied by bone-weary sacrifice, a poem in which suffering takes the form of an alarm clock whose demands can only be bought off for a few minutes. Nevertheless, Kronenfeld closes the emotional distance between art and suffering by offering us a father and daughter with a common set of problems. One way or another both are bullied, the father by the necessities of earning a working class living (witness the living room hide-a-bed) and the daughter by school yard injustice. Kronenfeld folds their two experiences together while merging the strategies each uses to cope, the father’s snooze alarm, which offers him a middle ground between sleep and waking, and the daughter’s cupcakes. Kronenfeld mines this memory only with great effort:
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            It’s terrifying how far back
            this memory goes. I feel as if
            I’ve had to lie on my belly
            with a head lamp and inch forward
            in the dark to see it.
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Nevertheless, the ore recovered is precious “as if / ten minutes would sweeten arm-twisting /death, or gentle me into braving his.” The minutes gained are a reminder of the celebratory meal of Peasant Wedding, where time is suspended by a community event that weds not just a couple but a community.
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Another back-channel source of recollection occurs during a dream recounted in “Lives of the Dead” where Kronenfeld’s parents, neither of whom can spell, play an “anarchic” game of Scrabble while she attempts to inform them that she has been robbed. They are suitably non-plussed, because after all they are dead, and, thus, immune to time’s persistent robberies, taking place downstairs and outdoors in the waking world. What makes this dream convincing is its intensely visual nature combined with the narrative grace Kronenfeld employs in steering her parents “to their little pocket of moored time.” The poem opens with a typical Kronenfeld canvas that renders the mundane beautiful: “Alive in my dreams, and serene /they sit in our 40-watt /dim Bronx kitchen on the lollipop-red /dinette set leatherette chairs.” Again, as in so many of her poems, the speaker is confident in her resources, able to gather the ingredients she needs, emotionally and linguistically, to serve and participate in time’s banquet.
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Mercy and compassion are far more prominent in these poems than complaint, which is not to say that the speaker is always content—far from it. There is a restless, probing energy in every poem, exploring and seeking answers, however elusive. Nevertheless, Kronenfeld locates the grandeur and consequence in apparently inconsequential lives, and in so doing, rescues us all. You will feel more alive for having read her poems.
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Richard Nester has twice been a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He has published poetry in numerous journals, including Ploughshares, Callaloo and Seneca Review and essays in the Catholic Agitator. His work has appeared most recently in Floyd County Moonshine.
R

Into the Lives of Other Folk by Catherine Chandler

Laundry

Photograph by g emil reutter

Into the Lives of Other Folk  
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You could be anyone or anywhere—
the checkout lady at the A&P,
the Uber driver sporting purple hair,
the full-sleeve-tattooed ER orderly,
the Denny’s waitress on the graveyard shift,
the Walmart greeter with his hammy grin,
the single mom, the bellboy who’s been stiffed,
the sergeants notifying next of kin.
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No matter who you are, I presuppose
a motivation, blessing or regret,
inventing possible scenarios;
but I don’t judge. Each fanciful vignette
seeks some humanity in humankind,
a commonality of heart or mind.
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Of course, this works both ways. It’s only fair
to wonder what you might concoct for me,
whose buoyancy can often mask despair,
who craves the saving grace of poetry.
I claim your offhand gift of shortest shrift—
it’s tough to see beyond the crepe-like skin,
the balding crown, the thoughts that tend to drift,
the turkey wattle underneath the chin.
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Still, as we sort our gunnysack of clothes,
then watch them spin at Betty’s Launderette,
your story piercing ears & tongue & nose,
we joke about a lost sock, and forget
man’s inhumanity to humankind,
and let the heart begin to cloud the mind.
 
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chandler
Catherine Chandler, born in New York City and raised in Wilkes-Barre, PA, is the author of The Frangible Hour, winner of the 2016 Richard Wilbur Award (University of Evansville Press); Lines of Flight (Able Muse Press), shortlisted for the Poets’ Prize, Glad and Sorry Seasons (Biblioasis), and This Sweet Order (White Violet Press). Her complete bio, a sample of podcasts, a list of awards, reviews and other information are available on her poetry blog, The Wonderful Boat, at www.cathychandler.blogspot.com . She lives in Saint-Lazare-de-Vaudreuil, Québec and Punta del Este , Uruguay .

Demons by Ed Krizek

tooker-subway-big

Courtesy The Morning News

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Demons
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            After “Subway” by George Tooker
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Flash like a bomb
on the dark hell. Unconscious
revelations.  Ambush. Fear rises
when I see my shadow.
I try hiding, ignoring, running.
All paths block, barred.
I am a prisoner
of  neuroses which cage me,
concrete and metal.
Where is the exit?
It seems there is only one way
out and Lucifer leans
at the foot of its stairs
holding a red carnation..
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Ed in Red cropped
Ed Krizek was born in New York City and now runs a sales and marketing business in Swarthmore , PA , a suburb of Philadelphia .  He holds a BA and MS from University of Pennsylvania , and an MBA and MPH from Columbia University .  He is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County, has published over seventy articles, poems and short stories in various publications, and won prizes in several poetry and short story competitions.  You can see more of his work at www.edkrizekwriting.com.

New Release – 13 Poems from the Edge of Extinction – by Adrian Manning

Manning 13 Poems front COVER snip

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“Adrian Manning has a phenomenal ability to transform words into pictures. I love the way he paints his poems, brushed with this highly surreal and emotional tone. His newest poetry collection is no exception. Read it and see for yourself.”

—Janne Karlsson

“These short poems do a ‘dance on your tongue,’ delivering a feast for the mind. I was drawn to them like a moth is drawn to the heat of a lightbulb. Taste them like a hummingbird tastes the nectar of a flower in bloom. Each poem is like a step ladder, each rung leading you to the next one. Food for thought, digest them as you would a warm meal on a cold winter night.”

—A.D. Winans

“When I read work by Adrian Manning I fully expect to be challenged, intrigued, entertained and surprised. This little book is no exception to the rule.”

—John Yamrus

“Adrian Manning is a live-wire from Leicester, England, an old school old soul poet/publisher. Stay on your toes because these lean poems punch well above their weight.”

—Kent Taylor

 

Adrian Manning’s 13 Poems from the Edge of Extinction is hand assembled and saddle stapled. It features white cover stock, pastel light yellow end papers and pastel ivory pages. Cover art by Kevin Eberhardt. 8.5 x 5.5″. 18 pp. Laser printed. ISBN: 978-1-940996-39-4. Limited 1st edition of 100 copies.

Check out the book here: http://ccpress.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/ManningCC87.html?m=1

 

North of Oxford is Now Open to Poetry Submissions

sub open

New:

North of Oxford is now open to submissions of poetry. Please send no more than five poems in word doc with a bio and jpeg to sahms-guarnieriandreutter@gmail.com for consideration of publication. Please note Poetry Submission and your name in the subject line of the email. Poems will be published the 15th of each month.