25th Anniversary of Poetry Ink

How do you present (potentially) 300 poets when many viewers feel Zoomed out after just two hours? Our answer is to take an entire week to present our poets for about two hours each day.

poetry ink

Get the antholgoy here: https://moonstone-arts-center.square.site/product/25th-anniversary-2021-poetry-ink-anthology/290?cs=true&cst=custom 

Poets are organized alphabetically by last name. Below is the reading schedule for each day, with links to the readings.


July 19 @ 7:00 pm

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84308329737?pwd=RjJUdCtJVXRySjlvMHdXakJRRzVmUT09  Meeting ID: 843 0832 9737 – Passcode: 678146

  • Alandra Abrams
  • Fran Abrams
  • Liz Abrams-Morley
  • Michael Abreu
  • David Acosta
  • Carolyn Adams
  • Marjorie Agosin
  • Nathalie Anderson
  • Nathan Antoine
  • Meredith Avakian
  • Fran Baird
  • Kwame Bakari
  • Houston Baker
  • Floi Baker
  • John Balaban
  • Catherine Bancroft
  • JT Barbarese
  • Katherine Barham
  • Lisa Alexander Baron
  • Herschel Baron
  • Amy Barone
  • Peter Baroth
  • Tina Barr
  • Margaret Chew
  • Barringer
  • Samantha Barrow
  • Adriann Bautista
  • Siduri Beckman
  • Ken Been
  • Michele Belluomini
  • Norma Bernstock
  • Sylvia Beverly
  • Byron Beynon
  • Lili Bita
  • Pamela Blanding
  • Lynn Blue
  • Julia Blumenreich
  • Willeena Booker
  • Elizabeth Boquet
  • Matilda Bray
  • Joni brenner
  • R. Bremner
  • Eugene Brown
  • Deborah brown
  • Megan Brown
  • Margaret Brown
  • Mary Brownell
  • Lisa Bruckman
  • Steve Burke


July 20 @ 7:00 pm

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84308329737?pwd=RjJUdCtJVXRySjlvMHdXakJRRzVmUT09  Meeting ID: 843 0832 9737 – Passcode: 678146

  • Dennis Brutus
  • Barbara Carlson
  • Charles Carr
  • Aileen Cassinetto
  • Erin Castaldi
  • Grace Cavalieri
  • Sandra Chaff
  • Joseph Chelius
  • China Rain Chung
  • Ty Clark
  • Eulinda Antonette
  • Clarke-Akalanne
  • CA Conrad
  • Jim Cory
  • Beverly Cottman
  • Lynda V. E. Crawford
  • Terence Culleton
  • Raheem Curry
  • Craig Czury
  • Eileen D’Angelo
  • Steven Davison
  • Toi Derricotte
  • Steven Deutsch
  • Gregory Djanikian
  • Pheralyn Dove
  • Tom Driscoll
  • Carlos Dufflar
  • Terry Dugan
  • Philip Dykhouse
  • Mare Earley
  • RuNett Ebp
  • Ryan Eckes
  • Oliver Egger
  • W.D. Ehrhart
  • Helene Eisman Fisher
  • Massimo Elijah
  • Alfred Encarnacion
  • Martin Espada
  • Cole Eubanks
  • R.G. Evans
  • Katherine Falk
  • Linda Fischer
  • Peggy Fisher
  • Francis Flavin
  • Philip Foster
  • Bryan Franco
  • Daisy Fried
  • Deborah Fries


July 21 @ 7:00 pm

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84308329737?pwd=RjJUdCtJVXRySjlvMHdXakJRRzVmUT09  Meeting ID: 843 0832 9737 – Passcode: 678146

  • Keith Gaboury
  • Nina Gadson
  • Maria Gillan
  • Eli Goldblatt
  • Leonard Gontarek
  • Amy Gordon
  • Beulah Gordon-Skinner
  • Linda Goss
  • Sandy Green
  • Ray Greenblatt
  • Ona Gritz
  • Luray Gross
  • Gena Gruz
  • Hanoch Guy
  • Anna Halberstadt
  • Vernita Hall
  • Therese Halscheid
  • Sean Hanrahan
  • Michael Hardin
  • Anne Harding Woodworth
  • Laura Hawley
  • Maurice Henderson
  • Alison Hicks
  • Ernest Hilbert
  • Everett Hoagland
  • Ditta Hoeber
  • Ann Huang
  • Joan Huffman
  • Susan Hulbert
  • Barbara Hurwitz
  • Jane Ellen Ibur
  • Jack Israel
  • Jaz
  • Mary Jo Jerome
  • Irving Jones
  • Quincy Jones
  • Betti Kahn
  • Chris Kaiser
  • Carl Kaucher
  • Nzadi Keita
  • Aziza Kinteh
  • Rachel Kiskaddon
  • Jody Kolodzey
  • Lisa Konigsberg
  • Kathleen Kremins
  • Leonard Kress
  • Donald Krieger


July 22 @ 7:00 pm

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84308329737?pwd=RjJUdCtJVXRySjlvMHdXakJRRzVmUT09  Meeting ID: 843 0832 9737 – Passcode: 678146

  • Ed Krizek
  • Jim LaVilla-Havelin
  • Kyle Laws
  • Jeffrey Lee
  • Lynn Levin
  • Michael Levin
  • Elliott Levin
  • Antoinette Libro
  • Carey Link
  • Jewel Lloyd
  • Robin Longfield
  • Warren Longmire
  • Gregory Loselle
  • Dick Lourie
  • Gregory Loselle
  • Dick Lourie
  • Frederick Lowe
  • Alison Lubar
  • Lynette
  • Nick Lutwyche
  • Sean Lynch
  • Deidra Lyngard
  • Terri Lyons
  • Alina Macneal
  • Haki Madhubuti
  • Ann Malaspina
  • Norman Marshall
  • Angel Martinez
  • John Mason
  • Trapeta Mayson
  • Bernadette McBride
  • Octavia McBride-Ahebee
  • Cecelia McKinney
  • Austin McLain
  • Pat McLean
  • Diane McManus
  • Tony Medina
  • Barbara Meier
  • Drew Miller
  • Ethelbert Miller
  • Michael Miller
  • Helen Markil
  • Gail Mitchell
  • Abbe Mogell
  • Curtis Mohn
  • David Mook
  • Kathleen Moore
  • Michael Moss
  • Iryna Mozovaya
  • Peter E. Murphy


July 23 @ 7:00 pm

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84308329737?pwd=RjJUdCtJVXRySjlvMHdXakJRRzVmUT09  Meeting ID: 843 0832 9737 – Passcode: 678146

  • Charlotte Muse
  • Wun Kuen Ng
  • Thom Nickels
  • Leonard Niedermayer
  • Gloria Nixon-John
  • Stu O’Connor
  • Daniel O’Hara
  • Cynthia Oka
  • Ewuare Osayande
  • Alicia Ostriker
  • Marko Otten
  • Hermond Palmer
  • Our Sun Paul
  • Faith Paulsen
  • Joan Penn
  • Aaren Perry
  • John Polier
  • Steve Pollack
  • Kate Potter
  • Prabha Prabhu
  • Susana Praver-Perez
  • Halle Preneta
  • Elijah Pringle
  • Elijah Pryor
  • David Radavich
  • Margaret Randall
  • Patrick Reardon
  • Tennessee Reed
  • Don Riggs
  • Theresa Rodriguez
  • Ruth Rouff
  • Ursula Rucker
  • Destiny Samuel
  • Sonia Sanchez
  • Hayden Saunier
  • George Schaefer
  • Nina Schafer
  • Peter Schmidt
  • Jennifer Schneider
  • Esther Schnur-Berlot
  • Naila Schulte
  • Connie Wasem Scott
  • Fereshteh Sholevar
  • Alyson Shore Adler
  • Daniel Simpson
  • David R. Slavitt
  • Bob Small
  • Amy Small-McKinney


July 24 @ 7:00 pm

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84308329737?pwd=RjJUdCtJVXRySjlvMHdXakJRRzVmUT09  Meeting ID: 843 0832 9737 – Passcode: 678146

  • Christopher Sohnly
  • Ezra Solway
  • Meghan Sood
  • Charles Springer
  • Mbarek Sryfi
  • Lamont Steptoe
  • Jeanne Sutton
  • Kristen Swanson
  • Abigail Swoboda
  • Albert Tacconelli
  • Therese Taha
  • Elaine Terranova
  • Kelly Thompson
  • Melinda Thomsen
  • Esha Thornton
  • Terry Tierney
  • J. C. Todd
  • Jonathon Todd
  • Bevil Townsend
  • Sarah Trembath
  • Sandra Turner-Barnes
  • Bill Van Buskirk
  • Aliya Vance
  • Lois Villemaire
  • Elle Vintage
  • Brad Walrond
  • Dan Warner
  • Mercedes Weathers
  • Afaa Weaver
  • Kelley White
  • Diane Wilbon Parks
  • Roland Williams
  • Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon
  • Eleanor Wilner
  • Johnny Wilson
  • Rocky Wilson
  • Yolanda Wisher
  • MM Wittle
  • Donna Wolf-Palacio
  • Nellie Wong
  • Keith Woodrow
  • David Worrell
  • Samantha Wright
  • Sarah Zale
  • Robert Zaller
  • Sekai’afua Zankel
  • Daniel Zehner
  • Yelena Zotova
  • David Zuckerman

Moonstone began in 1981 when Larry Robin began to present writers at Robin’s Book Store, thousands of writers, poets, fiction, and non-fiction writers have read over the last 40 years. Poetry Ink started in 1996 as a benefit for the bookstore, where the cost of attendance was the purchase of a book. It has continued as our largest program, usually about 100 poets reading for six hours or so with an anthology that included those poets reading that year. This year is different, we have reached out to any poet who has ever read with us, and we are still functioning virtually. Our 25th annual Poetry Ink Anthology has 300 poets, some who are now famous and read here years ago and others who we just met. About half of the people who contribute to our anthologies are usually available to read, and I am never sure exactly who will show up.

Get the antholgoy here: https://moonstone-arts-center.square.site/product/25th-anniversary-2021-poetry-ink-anthology/290?cs=true&cst=custom 

Two Poems by John Dorroh

For Mary Oliver Who Loved Dogs
We are learning new things
about the history of dog bones,
how they permeate the soil
on every continent, a gauge
of the manner in which civilizations
have flourished and failed, burying
their own bones beside them.
The collective souls of canine
beings – wolves and chihuahua,
beagles and basset, mixed breeds
and the paperless hound – form a cool
gray layer that only those who’ve
fallen in love with them ever sense
or see. It’s in our marrow, saturating
the pulp of existence.
We’ve always loved them, even
as they crouched on the perimeters
of pre-historic fires, inching forward,
cowering on bellies that kissed
the cold ground, stealing bits of skin
and meat while humans slept under
the stars.
Reluctant Crow
There’s a reluctant crow stuck in my throat,
unable or unwilling to recognize my face.
How could he not remember these acid-etched
furrows, this cute pink nose, such rosy cheeks
and a head the shape of a cube? He’s not trying,
that’s all. Sad bird. If I can remember the way
that green bottle flies entered the dead man’s mouth
at the river when I was 8, their drone-like metallic
buzzing, the way the lemon sun felt on my neck,
and the excitement when we pulled up obsidian
glass shards from the bottom of the gravel pit,
then why can’t this crow remember me? Perhaps
he harbors some gene for resilience, or experienced
a traumatic avian childhood with blood-drenched
scenes that he can’t get out of his head: witnessing
a bald eagle being shot from the sky, or seeing
his father murdered?  Hundreds of articles
documenting the intelligence of crows and cousins
of crows, feathered beings worthy of scientific literature,
of behavioral antics that defy description: Betty,
a New Caledonian, picks up a piece of wire
in her cage, uses an object to bend it, like a junior
engineer, into a hooked tool that she uses to lift
a chunk of scrumptious pig heart up into her beak.
Instead, I have the special crow, the one who doesn’t
fit the mold, the one who grew up just like me.
John Dorroh’s poetry has appeared in about 75 journals, including Feral, Dime Show Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Os Pressan, and Selcouth Station. He also writes short fiction and the occasional rant.

Pages Come and Go By Carla Sarett

Pages Come and Go
Joyfully broke, I enter
The Frick, frayed Rimbaud
in hand. I leave a man I wouldn’t
call a lover for my mannerist
Sunday appointment. I can’t
resist Bronzino’s portrait,
Ludovico Capponi.
That small head, hooded lids,
witchy green eyes asymmetric. 
The right eye strays
with youth’s erotic chill,
worthy of Rimbaud.
The boyish mouth sulks,
bored as September
Vogue’s cover model.
Maybe he’s lost favor
with the Florentine court.
Pages come and go.
His sort of beauty gets
roughed up in women’s laps.
That risqué codpiece, small defense 
against commonplace loss.
My brother wore my Victorian
ruby, with crushed red velvet.
If he saw Bronzino’s work,
he’d love the violence of the green,
the sheen of brocades, stark
contrast of black and white.
As for boredom, he’d ignore it.
I wish Bronzino could have painted
my brother, but I’m glad he caught
Ludovico just before life started
to make sense or wear him down.
He was perfect as falling rain.
Carla Sarett’s recent work appears in San Pedro River Review, Words and Whispers, The Virginia Normal and elsewhere.  Her essays have been nominated for the Pushcart and Best American Essays.  Her novella, The Looking Glass, will be published in October (Propertius Press), and A Closet Feminist, a full-length novel, will be published in 2022 (Unsolicited Press.) Carla lives in San Francisco.


A first step in a strange dance By Arlyn LaBelle

IMG_4205 (3)
A first step in a strange dance
I jitter open the window, air mixing in a surge,
some of the song I hummed yesterday thinning
by the birds, thrumming like loose guitar strings,
and then this is death, the exhale, the bleed,
an insult, like I didn’t know.
But it is kind, that I will
mingle with the grass below
one day. That after
all by breathing I will grow.
So I do not close the window in disgust
First impulse
So I leave it open.
Arlyn LaBelle is a queer poet and writer living in Austin, Texas. Their work has appeared in the Badgerdog summer anthologies as well as  North of Oxford, The Oddville Press, Songs of Eretz, Grey Sparrow Press, Cease, Cows, Panoply Zine and The Southern Poetry Review. Their premiere book of poetry, Measurable Terms, is available through The Main Street Rag. You can find more of them and their work at www.arlynlabelle.com

Impressions By Douglas Cole

IMG_9632 (2)
vicious end of the cove,
black rock and broken trees
tough green seaweed
muscles and hard barnacles
everything picks a spot
to survive
no more transmissions
cell tower whistling silent
over Mount Constitution
I am gathering firewood
someone’s shadow bends
in the oyster garden
sun low over the hills
green black forest dipping
its limbs into the sea
the seagull rises and lets go
the clam falls and shatters on a rock
the gull descends and feeds
centuries of this design
from here all you can see are trees
nothing of the shape of the land
but if you run               then
through the gaps you see everything
oyster gardener banging sand from his traps
sounds like a slow drum or the faltering
heartbeat of the earth
warm sunlight
a father and son walking
down by the edge of the water
I was once both of them
a little kid with a stick
on the beach beating a rock
digging a hole
writing his name in the sand
wind braids the water surface
and cloud palisades look permanent
how many ways we misuse the word
like death and sunrise
from what I see
through these narrow eyes
the ragged sleeve of care
dark night oblivion home everywhere
smoke assembling and torn
and without a flicker of a doubt
accept the moment you are born
the innkeeper says a ghost stole her lunch
in a split second when she wasn’t looking
the cleaning staff say they see Emma
she’s the second from the right
in the photograph next to the bay window
and from the shadowless chair on deck
I leap from a cold passing still life
with a head cloud of unknowing
Douglas Cole has published six collections of poetry, a novella, and The White Field, a novel. His work has appeared in several anthologies as well as The Chicago Quarterly Review, The Galway Review, Bitter Oleander, Louisiana Literature and Slipstream. He received the Leslie Hunt Memorial Prize in Poetry. He lives and teaches in Seattle. His website is www.douglastcole.com/


Just A Thought by Frank Wilson


Arrest of Jesus” by the Master of the Karlsruhe Passion

Just A Thought
Out of the blackest blue a terror seized
His soul. A thought had swiftly crossed his mind:
The Savior’s torturers had likely been
Just guys like him, who afterward enjoyed
A drink and laughs. The terror that embraced
His soul, he feared, is what that night informed
Gethsemane, far worse perhaps than thorns
And nails and scourging: Evil’s commonness.
Frank Wilson is a poet from Philadelphia. He is the retired books editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer and blogs at Books, Inq. — The Epilogue

Carnation and Tenebrae Candle by Marosa di Giorgio, Translated by Jeannine Marie


By Greg Bem

There exists a most beautiful language whose words look like little houses made out of mushrooms. The loveliest runic letters pale beside it.

(page 19)

The Uruguayan surrealist Marosa di Giorgio has seen much poetry arrive in contemporary English over the last several years and a strong selection thanks to the work of translator Jeannine Marie Pitas. In 2010, Ugly Duckling Presse released Pitas’s translation of Giorgio’s History of Violets, and in 2017 I Remember Nightfall. Though we knew not then during their publication, these pivotal translations of some of South America’s most stunning, uprooting poetry served as portals inviting us to receive the newest release: Carnation and Tenebrae Candle. This long, episodic work reflects and refracts the fantastical, exploring the transcendent and otherworldly landscape of di Giorgio’s childhood in Salto, Uruguay. And yet as specific as this bizarre world often feels, it pulls and pulls the reader toward its rhythmic center, keeping stability in question and understanding a challenging process.

Now, I was a branch, a broom plant; I saw that I was nearly a rose. The wind rocked me gently. But at the same time I was firmly attached to the ground.

That was the way I died as a child in that mysterious part of the garden.

(page 39)

The book is long and staggering. At times it feels like Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood. At other times like Alice in Wonderland. And at times like Grimm’s. At other times, the book feels balanced and mature in its reflections and wording, strangely aligned with some of the other recent surrealist and expressionist translations: Hirato Renkichi’s Spiral Staircase comes to mind, as does Salgado Maranhão’s Consecration of the Wolves. And it feels entrancing! I found myself throughout the book consistently mesmerized as though it was my first exposure to Lautréamont. Pitas points out in her afterword that, in addition to Lautréamont, di Giorgio was well-read and carried influences from Blake, the Brontë sisters, Poe, and Dickinson. I see their voices and faces in this book acutely.

In the end, I managed to turn around; on tiptoe, walking backwards, I arrived home. The wind was shining in the enormous windows; a silence floated over all the rooms. There were narcissi in all the vases. The fairy slipped away gently, round and gold like an egg.

(page 97)

But despite the similarities to other writers, Carnation and Tenebrae is a body of work unto its own, a poetry that contains substantial innocence, intimacy, and the potential for anything to happen—in a way that surprises and shocks even in 2021. That Pitas has concerted efforts at a time in our collective history where digital world-building is at its most prolific, where Minecraft is an alternate reality for most young people (and old people alike!), where virtual reality is finally accessible and desirable, where more people than ever are included in the conversations of creativity and construction, holds striking coincidence.

Carnation and Tenebrae Candle was originally published in 1979, but feels wildly new and also reminiscent of expressionist writers from 100 years back. The format, a numerical sequence of 124 sections (or entries) flows between prose and poetry in a way that feels natural, and reminds me of how one might approach jotting and scratching across a notebook as new ideas are born.

The sections are short (most are less than a page), allowing the book to be read in a flow that suits the reader’s needs and capacity. In this sense it feels like Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch. Ease is important in the context of the book’s density: di Giorgio’s genre might as well be called fantasy surrealism, or supernatural surrealism. The acclimation to these uncanny and beautiful snapshots or impressions takes time for the reader and often exhausts. There is a flirting with capacity and a tension with the stability of truth at play in almost all these poems.

Until you reach the immemorial garden of gladioli, the garden where I always knelt down, weeping and sobbing . . . But you remain omnipotent, ruling over those infinite flowers.

You took control of everything
even my memories of the time when I didn’t know you.

(page 55)

Within the long, rolling form of the book is a loose narrative that includes familiar, familial figures who come and go through domestic and filial circumstance, often (as seen in the quotes above) including elements of the pastoral or of gardens and natural objects. There is a theme of marriage as well, which is carried across many poems and raises questions, even if indirectly. The book’s origins are resounding of small town (or village) life—the perfect staging for the exploratory and imaginative inwardness of the narrator. I am reminded of Narnia, of the Upside Down, and of spaces of otherness that carry us away time and time again, generation to generation. And yet the fantastical breaks down those dichotomous framings and creates a more nuanced blend of realities. It is a mutant-like transformation of time and space; it is ideally surrealist as it moves back and forth between realities through some curious sensory connector left just beyond the reader’s awareness. It is a writing that finds a measured space between both worlds as one world, one unifying and captivating experience.

You can find the book here: https://cardboardhousepress.org/Carnation-and-Tenebrae-Candle-by-Marosa-di-Giorgio

Greg Bem is a poet and librarian living on unceded Duwamish territory, specifically Seattle, Washington. He writes book reviews for Rain Taxi, Yellow Rabbits, and more. His current literary efforts mostly concern water and often include elements of video. Learn more at www.gregbem.com



Lines of Defense by Stephen Dunn

By Ray Greenblatt 
         This is a very mature and yet somber book of poetry often with gleams of warmth and humor. This is Mr. Dunn’s most recent collection published in 2014. The poet employs the persona of an older man; we can never be sure what is the mask or the poet himself behind it. The man has worked through many obstacles and suffering, but over and over he manages to find life-giving resolution.
          I like his technique of juxtaposing two opposed views. He explores the age-old question, in this poem, of THE CHICKEN AND THE EGG:
          The chicken for dinner with earnest friends, the egg for breakfast
          with folks who like to play with their food before they eat it.
          The chicken fills you up so you can’t move,
          The egg cracks open, and choices begin— . .
           Yet sometimes the chicken is both necessary and sufficient 
          and sometimes your earnest friends instruct you
          about how to live with the beak and the gizzard.
          The egg allows itself to be hard-boiled or deviled.
          It doesn’t worry. To live right isn’t an issue.
Here you observe the obvious light humor but the philosophical observations are thought provoking. 
In similar fashion he compares a poet to a priest in IF THE POET to achieve even more fascinating possibilities:
          Would a good priest find the right words,
          as the good poet would, in among the many words
          passed down for centuries
          on what to think, what to believe? . . .
          That is, if the poet mistrusts words, as he should,
          makes them pass hard tests . . .
          wouldn’t he,
          although self-ordained, be more reliable?
          But what if the villagers believed
          they were saved by a prayer the priest said
          one Sunday among the ruins? And all the poet
          could do was elegize the ruins? . . .
          things got worse
          and prayers proved useless,  and poems
          merely decorated the debris where a house
          once was? Would it be time for the priest
          to admit he’d known but one book? For the poet
          to say he’d read many, and look, it hasn’t helped?
The questioner in the poem ultimately decides that in this world of unclear answers just trying might be enough.
        Another striking technique Dunn uses to further his philosophic probing is to focus on a strong woman. In BETTY FRIEDAN’S FINAL ADVICE this historical feminist gives her opinions:
          Don’t let
          a ship’s captain marry you
          unless he’s adept at changing course . . .
          Say the words you must say,
          but be sure to violate all the stupid stuff.
          After the ceremony, change into that funky
          outfit that drives only the right men crazy.
          Hope your husband will be one of them . . .
          Tell him also you have nothing
          against God, but remember only an insecure God,
          like an insecure man, insists that a woman
          must obey . . .
          Your job now
          is to define what heavenly is, and heaven itself,
          and find ways to let him in.
          In the last poem a strong woman gives her opinions about relationships. However, in FOR MY SON a father warns his son about a woman strong in the wrong direction:
          To marry Alison, Robert, will be to haul water
          from a deep well for the rest of your life.
          It will be to worry about beauty
          instead of enjoying it . . .
          You love her soul, you say,
          but Robert, a soul is unmapped territory . . .
          Well, you’ll have to learn a new language,
          hers, which she expects to be understood
          before it’s spoken . . .
          I just try to make things that last.
          I’ve  made you up; I’ve given you a chance.
          Dunn revels in ways to use the Word IN LOVE, HIS GRAMMAR GREW:
          In love, his grammar grew
          rich with intensifiers, and adverbs fell
          madly from the sky like pheasants
          for the peasantry . . .
          until roused my moonlight
          and the beautiful fraternal twins
          ‘and’ and ‘but.’ Oh that was when
          he knew he couldn’t resist
          a conjunction of any kind.
          For love
          he wanted to break all the rules,
          light a candle behind a sentence
          named Sheila, always running on
          and wishing to be stopped
          by the hard button of a period.
          We have seen the shadows and the light in Dunn’s poetics. I’ll close with a very moving ending to his poem A COLDNESS:


          That powdered stranger
          lying there, that nobody I knew?
          I was far away, parsing grief,
          turning it over in my mind.
          He was simply gone, a dead thing,
          anybody’s sack of bones.
          Only when his son spoke,
          measuring with precise, slow-
          to-arrive language the father
          he had lost, did something in me move.
          There was my brother restored,
          abstracted, made of words now.
          I knew nothing about Stephen Dunn. Perhaps years ago I read some of his poems but had completely forgotten them. I had heard that he taught in New Jersey. That was all: perhaps a good way to come at a work of art for a fresh impression. There are many poets out there. Poetry is a thriving sub-culture like antique collecting, gardening, cuisine, etc. Poetry is used in advertising and song lyrics. Our challenge is to find the best among the many. I’ll choose Stephen Dunn.
Ray Greenblatt is an editor on the Schuylkill Valley Journal. His book reviews have been published by a variety of periodicals: BookMark Quarterly, Joseph Conrad Today, English Journal, the Dylan Thomas Society, and the John Updike Society. His new book of poetry, Nocturne & Aubades, is newly available from Parnilis Press, 2018. Ray Greenblatt has two books out for 2020: UNTIL THE FIRST LIGHT (Parnilis Media) and MAN IN A CROW SUIT (BookArts Press).

Sonnets by Theresa Rodriguez

By Lynette G. Esposito
In Sonnets, published by Shanti Arts Publishing in Brunswick, Maine, Theresa Rodriguez executes the Shakespearean form and other sonnet forms in a delightful variant of topics.
The seventy-five pages of sonnets explore universal themes from love and loss to desire and faith. On page seventeen, Rodriguez presents a Spenserian Sonnet in which she acknowledges she is new to the form.
          Another form of poetry for me:
          The Poetic forms concrete, sublime, refined;
          Another type of sonnet flowing free:
          The product of a careful, studied mind.
As with other endeavors in this poetic volume, she addresses what it is to write as well as the intellectual discipline to write in a particular form.
         In joyous new discovery do I find
        The puzzle-solving mental different way;
        Creative energy will flow in kind
        In all that I can do, and write, and say.
The next quatrain addresses the complexity of staying in form almost as if there is a fight between the writer and the words as she works to fit the words into their rightful places.
        If every word would thus obey
       The many thoughts that full within me spring,
       Then I could make a miracle today,
       And I would birth a brand-new thing.
Rodriguez skillfully keeps control of the form and pulls it together with the final couplet.
         Oh, could I create a worthiness in this:
         That not a word would here appear amiss.
To write in a particular form, a writer must always be aware of the rules.  To marry content into the verse that has particular rules, requires the writer to have both discipline and focus.  Rodriguez displays both all through the book.
In her Petrarchan Sonnet on page eighteen, Rodriguez, in two stanzas and the standard fourteen lines, honors Petrarch and humbles herself to achieve the form. On page twenty-nine, Rodriguez speaks of unrequited love in her poem You’ve Made it Clear.  She says in the poem:  I know that love is never made by force and ends the poem with
          For though I’ve longed for you in every way,
          I also love enough to stay away.
The poem succeeds in a traditional theme of desire and loss.
On page sixty-seven, Rodriguez addresses how the young lose faith in The Prayers of Youth.
          The prayers of youth begin with fervent heat,
          And all the passions of a lover’s love,
          And all the ardor of an earnest sweet,
         Excited faith, transcendent from above.
She follows the theme through the aging process as youthful faith cools and the ardor diminishes.  The sonnet is successful in presenting the changes as youth matures and perceptions adjust to a different way of thinking. The couplet closes the poem with a plea.
        Oh, keep me on the warm and lighted way
       That you might fan me when I go astray.
It is interesting that the ending couplet gives direct address to a higher power with a passionate prayer.
If you are a lover of the sonnet form, there is plenty in this tome to enjoy.  I found Rodriguez dealt a little too much on her involvement in discovering various forms of sonnets and her self- awareness of her reaction to the various sonnet forms.  Overall, reading and re-reading. the book was an enjoyable exercise in sonnet exploration.
You can find the book here: Sonnets
Lynette G. Esposito has been an Adjunct Professor at Rowan University,  Burlington County and Camden County Colleges. She has taught creative writing and conducted workshops in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Mrs. Esposito holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois and an MA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Rutgers University.