Author: Editorial Staff
David James reads at Crazy Wisdom Poetry Circle (Video)
Follow this link to David’s reading of May 24, 2023 and all and all of the readings in the Crazy Wisdom Series:
Favorites / J. H. Danville
J.H. Danville—“Self Dependence” by Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold’s “Self Dependence” has been haunting me for weeks. Reading and rereading it, the opening lines echo deeper and more deeply into this season of the world. “Weary of myself, and sick of asking / What I am, and what I ought to be,” feels like a perfect encapsulation of the current mood. The speaker explores themselves standing on a ship at night, seeking the calm and expansiveness of stars and sea. The exploration settles with “”Resolve to be thyself; and know that he, / Who finds himself, loses his misery!”” The loss of which seems almost too precious these days.
Favorites / Randy K. Schwartz
“The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens
I love “The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens for its last line—“Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is”— and for breathtaking surprises along the way. It pretends to be about a child’s snowman, but Stevens slyly uses the impersonal “one”: snowman? human? Similarly, the first two stanzas pretend to be complete thoughts: “One must have a mind of winter/ To regard” etc. But in stanza 3, it’s suddenly clear these were merely hypotheses in a more complex thought: to regard x and to behold y, without thinking of z. In fact, the entire five-stanza poem is a single sentence, with masterful punctuation and line breaks. In its wonderful sonic quality and grammatical sleight of hand, it’s the work of a great American poet at the height of his craft.
Descending the Staircase / Laurence W. Thomas
Larry Thomas has a new book out. You can read it for free online or order a print copy from Amazon. Click on the cover image for details.
“The dream aspects of surrealism come to me naturally. Like most people, I dream frequently and vividly, sometimes so nightmarish that I force myself to wake up in order to escape the fear and horror. Interpretations of dreams are largely guesswork, Freud notwithstanding, and retelling them, impossible. But in those dreams, people, places, and happenings appear in incongruous juxtaposition and contortion providing the basis for surrealistic writings. Some of the poems in this collection are taken directly from such nocturnal experiences recollected through veiled layers of time and the continuous blanketing of subsequent happenings.” – L. W. Thomas
Favorites / Frank O’Brien
Frank O’Brien—“Pied Beauty” by Gerald Manley Hopkins
Though my “favorite” poem changes frequently, the one poem I keep going back to every year for the sheer brilliance of its word play is “Pied Beauty” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Since Hopkins had basically only one theme, he was totally free to concentrate on all other aspects of the art, even coming up with a whole new concept, “sprung rhythm”, in doing so. Although very much English, he picked up the use of alliteration from his studies of the Welsh language (most Celtic languages rely more heavily on alliteration than they do on rhyme). The way Hopkins welds together images with striking word selections and inventive alliteration remains amazing to me after decades of reading and repeating his poems. If you’re not in any way religious, the poesy itself should be inspiring; if you are indeed religious, then you should find it to be as good a single prayer as any you might have learned at school.
Poetry Reading by Thomas Lynch
Recorded January 25 by The Crazy Wisdom Poetry Circle, a PSM member group. (Click the Photo)
Thomas Lynch’s most recent of twelve books are The Depositions—New & Selected Essays (W.W. Norton, 2020) and Bone Rosary—New & Selected Poems (David R. Godine, 2021). He is finishing a novel which he fears might finish him. He keeps homes in Michigan and West Clare, Ireland.
Submission Call for “Making Waves: A West Michigan Review”
The Ludington Writers’ anthology, Making Waves, is open for submissions of poetry, prose and visual art from January 1st through April 30th for our fall 2023 issue. Ludington Writers is a PSM Member Organization
This year’s suggested theme/prompt: doorways.
Submit at http://wavesreview.Submittable.com.
Preview our past issues at http://ludingtonwriters.org.
The Human Engine at Dawn / Jim Daniels
The Human Engine at Dawn by Jim Daniels
The ghost behind these haunted and haunting poems is the bittersweet and stunningly detailed memory of his formative years in blue-collar Detroit, echoed sometimes in his present home of Pittsburgh. The latter (much less the former) isn’t Paris, he admits, but then, “Fuck Paris.” With The Human Engine at Dawn, Jim Daniels remains among this country’s most gifted and engaging poets.
—William Trowbridge, author of Call Me Fool
Jim Daniels. Singer of the broken city. Ishmael of lost families and foundered dreams. Virgil of what he calls “our poorly wired world.” These poems are deep dives into Daniels’ past, and a past Detroit. The portraits of his mother and father are unforgettable, both for their blunt, unsentimental honesty and their tenderness. Again and again Daniels manages to unearth bright shards of beauty in the bleak alleyways and poverty-haunted streets of the city. And there’s an ode here to his father’s bowling ball that will knock you down, that will roll you right back to the smoky, beer-soaked heart of the last century. The Human Engine at Dawn, in its dark and lyrical urgency, reminds me of why I came to poetry in the first place.
—George Bilgere, author of Central Air
About the Author
Jim Daniels’ latest books include Gun/Shy (poetry), The Perp Walk (fiction), and the anthology RESPECT: The Poetry of Detroit Music (coedited with M. L. Liebler). A native of Detroit, he lives in Pittsburgh and teaches in the Alma College low-residency MFA program.
Favorites / Claire Weiner
Claire Weiner — “PostScript” by Seamus Heaney
I find the opening words of Postscript by Seamus Heaney difficult to ignore. “And some time make the time to drive out west…” What an invitation—gentle and imploring at the same time. An invitation that mirrors the natural setting he describes: “the ocean on one side is wild…. and inland among stones the surface of a slate grey lake…” The yin and yang woven throughout this short poem continues with his magnificent description of the swans, “tucked or cresting or busy underwater.” He captures a moment that never fails to blow me away.