Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Court Green Columbia College Chicago

Court Green
Columbia College Chicago

Review by Rene Schwiesow

At home she lives happily
on yoghurt, Diet-Pepsi and
the occasional celery stalk.
But take her out to diner
and, Boy can she eat!

“Miss Blank,” appears mid-way through “Court Green 9” and caused me to grin, then to chuckle with recognition.  “Court Green” is a poetry journal, founded in 2004, that is published in association with the English Department of Columbia College in Chicago.  “Court Green” is named for the property in Devon, England that was home to Sylvia Plath.  Plath wrote many of her most well-known poems at Court Green, including the Ariel poems.  The journal was awarded an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award.  This is easy to understand given the work that Court Green publishes.

In a section entitled, “Poems and Fragments,” Elise Cowan says:  “I don’t want to make your poem out of dead jonquils & stored crocus bulbs that may never bloom again but the shocks of memories that will live again.”

Court Green is filled with shocks of memories, of words that breathe through lines such as:

Dear God of the bent trees of Fifth Avenue
Only pour my willful dust up your veins

and in

At the acting class
The perfect paper daffodil
Upstages us all.

Throughout the book the work references iconic poets like Anne Sexton and speaks to mythological concepts as in “Take it With You,” where Charon receives a nod:

In ancient times, the dead carried
two coins into the Underworld. . .

. . .no one asked what the ferryman did with all
that cash, emptying his wallet before bed. . .

I had to admit that I had never considered what Charon did with all those coins.  And indeed, as the poet concludes, the trip is “a one way ticket across the river to where/there is nothing the dead could buy.” 

“Court Green 9” contains works of varying lengths from extremely short poetic snippets a few words long to lengthier, narrative poems.  Each issue of “Court Green” includes a dossier on a specific topic.  The theme of “Court Green 10” will be sex.  The submission period is March 1, 2012 until June 30, 2012.  Submission is snail mail only.  For complete guidelines visit the website at:  http://www.colum.edu/courtgreen/

*****Rene Schwiesow is a co-host of the popular South Shore poetry venue The Art of Words.  She writes a monthly arts column in The Old Colony Memorial and enjoys reading her work as feature poet and at open mics.

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