Foreword Reviews

Well-Versed in Summer's Poetry

poetry

Whether they’re ridiculing convention or finding meaning in addiction, straining purpose from long days or alleviating emotional tension, the poetry collections featured in our Summer Issue give careful readers much to consider. As summer winds into autumn, take a moment to lose yourself in these irresistible lines.

100 Chinese Silences

Book Cover
Timothy Yu
Les Figues Press
Softcover $17.00 (135pp)
978-1-934254-61-5
Buy: Local Bookstore (Bookshop), Amazon

All nature of tired, absurd stereotypes of China and her people maintain a hold on the minds of most Americans, even as China’s superpower ascendancy has dominated headlines for some twenty-five years. With weaponized pen, Timothy Yu set off on a one-hundred poem crusade to heap ridicule and brilliant insight at Ezra Pound, Gary Snyder, Billy Collins, and other purveyors of Far East falsities. Yu is director of Asian American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Chinese Silence No. 37
after Tony Barnstone, “Get Zen”

Get laid, you think. Or try. Indulge your lusts.
Think of a joke: What do you say to Freud
When he comes to your weiner stand, bill poised
For payment? “Sometimes a hot dog is just
a hot dog.” Easier to close your eyes
and think of Buddha, roly-poly gut
and empty loins—he’s kind of like you but
on purpose, not a loser full of sighs.
Gratification is a young man’s game.
Now that you’re old, it’s time to turn Chinese
and cultivate a neutered silence. Pleased
to make an Eastern virtue of your sad-
sack self! You don’t really think desire’s bad;
self-pity’s just better in Buddha’s name.

MATT SUTHERLAND (May 27, 2016)

Dead Man’s Float

Book Cover
Jim Harrison
Copper Canyon Press
Hardcover $23.00 (135pp)
978-1-55659-445-8
Buy: Local Bookstore (Bookshop), Amazon

The fix is in: we are hopeless Jim Harrison fans, and his recent death moved our reverence beyond reason—he alone spoke our Mother Tongue.
In a forty-plus year career, Harrison authored thirty-six books, most of them collections of poetry and novellas including Legends of the Fall and Revenge, both major motion pictures. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he died of a heart attack while writing a poem at seventy-eight.

Another Country

I love these raw moist dawns with
a thousand birds you hear but can’t
quite see in the mist.
My old alien body is a foreigner
struggling to get into another country.
The loon call makes me shiver.
Back at the cabin I see a book
and am not quite sure what that is.

MATT SUTHERLAND (May 27, 2016)

Tiller North

Poems

Book Cover
Rosa Lane
Sixteen Rivers Press
Softcover $16.00 (80pp)
978-1-939639-09-7
Buy: Local Bookstore (Bookshop), Amazon

The tough, rolled-up shirtsleeves, diesel fumes, and rural sensibility of Maine’s fishing villages separate Rosa Lane’s poetry from other super-talented, MFA-bearing poets from Sarah Lawrence College. No, effete is not a word to describe her. A practicing architect, Lane’s work has appeared in New South, Ploughshares, Crab Orchard Review, and other places.

Omen

A wreck of weeds washes up pale
sea glass at the deck’s edge.
Wild blooms scribble across the back-
field, then skim the top fringes
of meadow, afloat in this freak summer
we could not fathom at first.

June began with our father’s boat
pocked with barnacles, laid keel up,
overturned by a cancer undetected, then
the rash of salmon that appeared
in a sunset across his chest and brooded
in his lungs that hung on a plastic line—
a pump of oxygen constantly not enough.

The three of us: sunflowers planted
around his bed, our heads tracking
every move of our father’s fall. Windows
pull to the east, each morning
a golden ratio of the day before.
His face half-hidden under the wing
of his arm, his body disappearing,
his future sliding back just ahead of us.

MATT SUTHERLAND (May 27, 2016)

The Whole by Contemplation of a Single Bone

Poems

Book Cover
Nancy K. Pearson
Fordham University Press
Softcover $24.00 (112pp)
978-0-8232-7117-7
Buy: Local Bookstore (Bookshop), Amazon

If Nancy Pearson chose to offer life lessons, moralizing, and even a bit of poemtificating about her struggles with meth addiction and depression in this latest collection, we’d forgive her. Indeed, we’d happily climb mountains to read anything she writes. A former prof at the University of Houston and a L.L. Winship/Pen New England award winner for Two Minutes of Light, she lives in Maryland.

mirrors

We eat slices of pig so thin I can see right through it. Lardo. Butter.
We eat olives and asparagus with red sauce and shrimp in garlic
wine broth and bread in oil. Everything in oil, even the pig fat.
We drink wine and I feel sexy and you have a stomachache and
we love each other so much it hurts to disagree about something
as small as okra. You wear a new tank dress and I, soft light-
blue linen. The sky is blue and clear, honey and lemon, the corn
whistling on our way to town. The horses slick. We were married
yesterday or eight years ago. I could be high. Between the trees.
I feel like swimming. To spoon the stars, collapse the sheering
insects. We eat lemon cake with olive oil.

MATT SUTHERLAND (May 27, 2016)

Orphans

Book Cover
Joan Cusack Handler
CavanKerry Press
Softcover $18.00 (184pp)
978-1-933880-56-3
Buy: Local Bookstore (Bookshop), Amazon

From the founder of CavanKerry Press, this delightful memoir in verse bears witness to a complicated family history of Ireland’s Troubles, devout Catholicism, fierce maternal strength, aging, death, bitterness, and love. That Joan Cusack Handler’s poetry is flawless serves to draw the emotional tension of her carefully measured remembrances even tauter. She is the author of two other collections of poetry, another memoir, and the recipient of five Pushcart nominations.

II

Partners in this loss, Dad attends
mornings, I afternoons, but Catherine
gives all: two weeks’ vacation sleeping on the stiff recliner
waiting
for the words that will
finally tell her that,
yes, her mother loves her.
My sister suffers a deeper grief;
this is the second time she’s lost our mother —
convinced from childhood that she was adopted, no
other reason for Mom’s refusal. But I pose
another: Catherine’s Dad’s favorite.
For our mother, our father loving his daughter meant he loved
his wife less.

MATT SUTHERLAND (May 27, 2016)

Matt Sutherland

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