This blog consists of reviews, interviews, news, etc...from the world of the Boston area small press/ poetry scene and beyond. Regular contributors are reviewers: Dennis Daly, Michael Todd Steffen, David Miller, Alice Weiss,Timothy Gager,Lawrence Kessenich, Lo Galluccio, Zvi Sesling, Kirk Etherton, Tom Miller, Emily Pineau, and others.
Founder Doug Holder: email@example.com.
* B A S P P S is listed in the New Pages Index of Alternative Literary Blogs.
Ed Meek is the author of the poetry collections "Spy Pond" and "What We Love." He also has a collection of short stories out titled, "Luck." Ed has recently joined the staff of "Ibbetson Street" as a managing editor.
--Silence is so accurate (Mark
Silence is so inaccurate.
It is the sense of absence
when someone is gone.
It is the ellipsis at the end of the
It is not the comma, but the period.
It is the break at the end of the
One way to consider poetry is as an
attempt at exactness of expression. It consists of le mot juste as
the French call it when it captures a thought or feeling. “This is
the hour of lead,” says Emily naming the feeling that follows a
death or “great pain.” Dylan Thomas reminiscing about his childhood
says, “Time held me green and dying/ Though I sang in my chains
like the sea.” Warren Slesinger takes the idea of poetry as a
means of defining words and feelings and runs with it. This slim
volume has twenty-six poems arranged in alphabetical order (of
course). Each poem begins with what sounds like a dictionary
definition expressing form or function.
Glass (glass) n-es 1. A miracle that
in the mineral world when a white hot
of silicates, oxides and potash fuses
a bright and brittle substance that is
itself: a thin, square, rigid pane of
Slesinger goes through four definitions
concluding with an example:
… 5. An object
made wholly of glass; hence, its’
Before he sipped the bubbles of
he raised his glass: “To
So, although the poems seem like
dictionary definitions, the lines are arranged as a poem with
attention to sound and rhythm and there’s a leap, as Robert Bly
would say, to something insightful and often surprising at the end of
the poem. You may have noticed the apostrophe after the s in the word
“its.” There are a number of those in the book along with quite a
few typos: a K missing from Knowledge, an e left off of secrete, an r
missing from sandpiper. There should either be a comma or a hyphen
between white and hot in the above poem. Proofreading is going the
way of the dodo.
Some of the poems are self-contained
and funny like this one called “Shirt.”
Shirt (sh.irt) n-s 1. An
article of clothing with
a buttoned frontal
opening, two sleeves,
a collar and a tail for
tucking into the trousers
buttocks and the
2. One’s most
to risk or injury:
One’s most prized possessions indeed.
One can also find comments on language in a number of poems.
“Letter” begins with “a form of written expression, brings in a
reference to Maupassant, goes on to “love letter” and ends
with Letters … Literature in general. B. Learning
and/knowledge esp. of literature: “In truth, / I prefer a pretty
woman to all the arts/and letters.” That’s a paraphrase of a
comment by Maupassant who said: “I prefer a pretty woman to all the
A few poems make political statements.
It appears that the United States has finally woken up (or is woke)
to the notion that poetry can be political. This poem is called
“Vapor.” It succinctly captures the awful nature of the current
state of warfare.
Vapor (vay.por) n-s 1. Something
in the air: a mixture of suspended
that makes it difficult to see down
in Baghdad. 2. A mist with a man in
Vaporize: (vay.por.ize) v. 1. Only
to convert into a vapor with the heat
of a high explosive. 2. To detonate
a mess of manhood high-strung on hate.
Vaporous (vay.por.us) adj. 1. What
is collecting in a cloud of
malice. 2. Rising from a blast of body
parts on the ground.
Many literary magazines today are
obsessed with experimental hybrid forms that are often just a mash up
of poetry and prose. New rule: art must evidence some skill in order
to be considered good art. Slesinger’s approach succeeds at being
experimental. Well worth a read. Just don’t pay any attention to