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.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

A Life in The Day by Cathy Porter

A Life in The Day
Cathy Porter
Finishing Line Press
2012  ISBN 1-59924-964-2

“Fear has a certain smell;
a sickly sweet enticement
chasing ghosts in the machine.”

Porter's voice has no fear, it is the voice of calm prophetic
insights. The poems speak larger truths. The truths of a person
who sits for a moment on her bench under the beech tree in her
backyard, or in the park or sitting beside someone waiting for
a bus. the words guide us on a path made from many walking,
on dirt, rock and gravel:

“She covers herself
with a dirty sheet,
and settles in for the night,
winter creeping up her backside.

Deep drags on a generic menthol;
smoke rings and frosty breath
pray to the heavens.

The girl who once smoked
name brand only?
No forwarding address.

It's quiet under this bridge;
not much traffic overhead,
and the cops can't be bothered
with this area much.”

A Life in The Day, is about voices, the poet's voice, the voices
of family, and voices led by inner addiction, or the small
voices under a bridge, voices on bar stools:

“So many doors, so little
time. Sara knocked back another shot,
stood up on the bar and shouted:
“gentlemen, start your engines!”
And most did seem to be firing up
their motors. Sara knew that all
the women, and some of the guys,
thought she was a whore. She didn't care-
their lives were nothing like hers.
They were born with silver spoons in
their mouths, not like the wooden one
she was born with, still choking
on the splinters.”

The poems knocks, sing like birds song, blink like signs. Porter
scraps the pages, asking the reader to read the signs of our time,
and to listen to how people cope with living on a one way
track, their trailing off speech. Porter gives us poems that hear:

“Sometimes the best course
of action is stationary;
when answers are not needed,
nor sought after...”

Irene Koronas
Reviewer: Ibbetson Street Press
Poetry Editor: Wilderness House Literary Review

Wednesday, May 02, 2012






HOSTED BY:  Gil Barbosa, proprietor 
                      Richard Wilhelm, poet

WHERE:         The Book Shop at Ball Square
                      694 Broadway
                      Somerville, MA 02144 

WHEN:           6 PM
                      Wednesday, May 23, 2012

            DOUG HOLDER is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press.  He teaches writing at Endicott College in Beverly, MA and Bunker Hill Community College in Boston.  His own poetry and prose have been in such journals as Rattle, Main Street Review, Houston Literary Review, Poesy, The Boston Globe, and many others.  Holder is the Arts Editor of The Somerville News, and curator of the Newton Free Library Poetry Series.  He holds an MA in Literature from Harvard University.  One of his latest collections of poetry is "The Man in the Booth in the Midtown Tunnel" (Cervena Barva Press.)

           JAMES DECRESCENTIS has had poems published in New Letters, The Cafe Review, Ibbetson Street and other literary magazines.  He currently teaches at Bunker Hill Community College and runs the Gallery at the Piano Factory in Boston.

          GLORIA MINDOCK is editor of Cervena Barva Press and The Istanbul Literary Review.  Her poetry has been translated into Romanian, Serbian, Spanish, and French.  Widely published, her poetry recently has appeared in Levure Litteraire (France) and in Vatra Veche Romania).

          LUCY HOLSTEDT teaches at Berklee College of Music.  She is a composer, songwriter, choral arranger, playwright , actor, piano player, and vocalist.  Her poetry has appeared in Ibbetson Street, The Wilderness House Literary Review, and the Lyrical Somerville column of The Somerville News.

          DOUG WORTH is a Cambridge poet, a retired teacher, and author of "Catch the Light: Selected Poems, 1963--2003", a book that won praise from such luminaries as Howard Zinn and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. 


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Love Poems Kanta Bosniak

Love Poems
Kanta Bosniak
$8.99 on Amazon

Review by Rene Schwiesow

Kanta Bosniak makes her home in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.  There she focuses on her art, music, writing, life coaching, inter-faith work and people.  I met Kanta in a wonderful, artsy coffee shop that showcases much of Kanta’s artwork on a hot, summer morning in 2011 – The Coffee Depot in Christianburg, VA.  I was surrounded by her vibrant artwork (she had a show hung in the space) and we chatted about many of our similar interests including our need to write.  Kanta has a tenacity that I admire combined with energy and action.  When she puts her mind to a task it is virtually complete even as she thinks about it.  She also has a caring, loving soft side that translates well to her book “Love Poems.” 

This work is not about sappy, teenage infatuation, but rather takes our thoughts about love to a higher level, to a place where love encompasses all relationship – that with family, others, and That which we consider the Beloved, God.  In Love Poems Kanta has combined delightful, energetic drawings with “hand-written” quotes from well-known individuals such as Rumi, Hafiz, Saint Augustine and Gibran and tossed them both with her own poetry.  This poetic, artistic salad feeds us with wisdom, color and fun.  I greatly appreciated her analogy in “Socks:”

I’m glad we’re both the sort of sock
that doesn’t get lost in the machine.
We may spin a little,
but that’s just for fun.
We’re no-drama footwear, easy care.
100% natural fiber.
Comfortable, yet stylish.

Then she’ll take us back to awakening and connection in a quiet meditative piece entitled “Morning:”

Jasmine tea and toast and You
while my beloved sleeps,
exploring inner landscapes of his own.

She spends time speaking to a phenomenon that most of us are familiar with in meeting a person who carries burdens, anger or sadness in “Traveling Light.”

Yesterday I met a woman
in love with death and sadness

The poem relays the feeling of being sucked in, to taking on the shadow of the other person

I felt the stale sweet heaviness
like mordant gray smoke

And choosing to “Travel Light,”

“No thanks,” I told her with a smile

Kanta’s book of Love Poems is a book to turn to for a pick-me-up on a drab day, for a reminder of the connection we have to all others, for a smile and warm fuzzy before drifting off to dream,

letting go,
letting go,

. . .sliding on sunbeams
carried on moonrays. . .

*****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.