Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Aurorean Editor: Cynthia Brackett-Vincent Spring/Summer 2012

The Aurorean
Editor: Cynthia Brackett-Vincent
Spring/Summer 2012
Volume XVII, Issue I
Encircle Publications
ISSN: 1521-8376
70 Pages

Review by Dennis Daly

This issue of the Aurorean presents imagistic droplets from the natural world so pellucid and bright in their artistry that the pieces of the included poets seem to gain relief and bloom out on virtually every page.  And yet these poetic pieces seem to complement one another in almost an organic interconnected way. Either this editor has sold his soul for a sorcerer’s stone, or something else is going on here.  

Consider this snippet from the history of physics. In the nineteenth century a scientific experiment was developed by Thomas Young, which seemed to prove that light is a wave-like phenomenon. In his Double Slit Experiment Young allowed light to enter through an open hole on one screen to shine onto a second screen with two slits. Beyond the second screen was a wall. When one slit was covered up, the light entered and the illumination on the wall was predictable. But when both slits were open the pattern of the light projection clearly showed a series of light and dark bands. The only rational explanation for these bands was wave interference. Thus light must be made up of waves.  So far so good!

Then Albert Einstein came along with his photoelectric effect proving that light is made up of photons or particles, not waves. Yet Young’s experiment still works. Okay, and what’s the point, you may well ask.
Apparently photons know when the second slit is open and are thus conscious and act accordingly, or, alternatively, fast moving information gets processed by these particles and they duly position themselves as probability waves dictates.

Back to the Aurorean.  Am I imagining poetic roots cutting through their appointed pages seeking nourishment even as I read? In the poem Photons by Llyn Clague the music of poetry is described as packets or particles of inspiration that run the show,

my impulses to poetry
flow beneath the depthless sky,
blue by day, at night
alive with suns,
and the dry cave of self…

I especially like the metaphor of the cave, where anxieties are like bats squeaking as the photons of poetry shoot through the atomic gaps of our troglodyte selves.
In Meteor Shower by Nancy Compton Williams,

Bits of midnight sky,
heated to luminosity,
prepare the eye for dawn,
for light on casks
of honey-colored hay…

Like the photons these waves of meteors lay the very vault of heaven at our feet. They know where they are expected to be in both reality and fancy and don’t disappoint.
The poem Sonnet for a Small Rock gets right to the point,

Who says inanimate objects
don’t have sentience, for example this
small rock from a creek, which I picked up
(with its intaglio of a primitive fish)
to keep on my desk?

The poet continues attributing feelings and mortality to the now precious rock. Human perception, according to this poet, possesses the power of imbuing consciousness. A connection is made and information is somehow passed from animate human to inanimate thing.
B.Z. Niditch’s poem entitled Landscapes seems to give the words of poetry a life of their own. They expect things. The poet explains,

Folds his mellow notes
Slowly pronounces
His last sentence
In a foreign tongue
Expecting to be translated.

In Gayle Elen Harvey’s airy, elegant poem, In that Space, she asks the key question begged in the natural world by the process of death and regeneration. The poet says,

Vacant, now, the dream song of that yellow bird
may outlive you like a prayer
of one syllable.

Bells are breaking open with a clean sound
that’s weightless—
Who is listening in that space


The ability of a fresh water muscle to study the universe is commented on by Craig W. Steele in his curious poem Heelsplitters. In this meditation the poet touches on uncertainty and existence (or non-existence). He says,

…Shoe-horned inside each

calcified confection lies a creature, confounding
to both Heisenberg and Schrodinger: existing; not;
re-emerging to study the universe with its tongue-body,
cast from the mold of its world like quantum Jell-O.

A little poetic gem by Charles H. Harper called It shows how unsuccessful we humans are in naming the source of consciousness in our world. The poem’s humble title becomes a powerful metaphor of our ignorance,

It is
not about you
or me—It is about
earth, space, mystery & our small place
in It.

Our very breath adds to this metaphor of human understanding in Geoffrey A. Landis piece entitled One Breath Poem. Its vividness equals the best of imagist poetry. It ends this way,

…it is enough
to say
even if it is only
to praise
cherry blossoms.

Like particles of shooting light these poems surely illuminate the artistic ability of the individual poets chosen by this editor. But looked at a different way, in their plurality, they also overwhelm with their interconnected mystery and make this issue of the Aurorean a must read for all who seek to understand the nature and the wonder of poetry.


  1. Manson Solomon1:59 PM

    Great review! This looks like one worth buying.

  2. I very much admire the precise, spirited attunement in which Dennis Daly composes his own poetry of response to the poetry he reviews.
    The praises he sings are both witful and warm. The merits of the Aurorean are fortunate to be reflected in such clear, appreciative consciousness.