The Spirit of Change | Alison Stone

Air Space

When my neighbor’s tree
crashes through the roof, 
allowing storm water to flood
our kitchen, his insurance company
has to pay nothing. Though
the tree’s roots tunnel through his soil
and the snapped trunk stands
on his grass, the part that broke
had leaned across the property line.
I’m a therapist—I understand
where we end up matters 
more than where we start.
A friend of mine married
her one-night stand. Another
wed her “soul mate,” lawyers
got the house in the divorce.
Today on my couch a woman,
incest survivor, squelched wife,
tells me she feels in her body
strength to leave. Her thin arms
lift as she speaks, fingers
reaching toward the light.
from Dazzle (Jacar Press, 2017)

Dancing

This is our new dance, my mother calls out, 
suddenly unable to walk, as my father 
half drags, half carries her down the hall. 

       Once she dressed for dancing in big 
       earrings, clingy gowns. I watched her twist 
       her thick hair, then paint
     
       her suddenly mysterious face.
       My father watched the clock.
       Fumbling with buttons, she tried
      
       to sooth him, Soon, I promise. Soon.
       He grumped out to wait
       in the car. I helped her raise 
      
       her zipper, clasp a strand 
       of pearls. Her hands 
       shook when he honked the horn.

Days of couch to bathroom, chair to bed,
the living room and back. Despite bursitis
he maneuvers her, my mother wrapped

in a bathrobe, scarves and wig discarded,
apologizing, This is too much for you. 
Step, pause, shuffle, shift of weight, 

step, step, turn, my father 
watching her, his movements slow and tender
as though they had all the time in the world.
from Dangerous Enough (Presa Press, 2014)

Sunset
Photograph, ©2022 Miroslava Panayotova

The Emperor

Every life needs edges.
I protect you from the meadow’s 
wanton splendor,
passion running amok.

Lean against my law
the way a child lets go
into a father’s arms. Pruned 
and tethered vines bear stronger fruit.

Defy me 
if the sobbing
of jailed innocents
grows louder than rain.

Kill me 
when the names 
for animals and sky
replace the animals and sky.
from Ordinary Magic (NYQ Books, 2016)

©2022 Alison Stone
All rights reserved


Alison Stone…

…has published seven full-length collections, Zombies at the Disco (Jacar Press, 2020), Caught in the Myth (NYQ Books, 2019), Dazzle (Jacar Press, 2017), Masterplan, collaborative poems with Eric Greinke (Presa Press, 2018), Ordinary Magic, (NYQ Books, 2016), Dangerous Enough (Presa Press 2014), and They Sing at Midnight, which won the 2003 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Award; as well as three chapbooks. She has been awarded Poetry’s Frederick Bock Prize and New York Quarterly’s Madeline Sadin Award.

Website / Stone Tarot



Insurrection Say Travesty | Alison Stone

Insurrection Snapshots

Words aren’t swords, or bombs,
gunpowder, rifles, dragons.
Not a scaffold with a waiting noose.
Words aren’t religion, airplanes,
torn-out panic buttons,
flagpoles or fire extinguishers.
Not a zip tie. Not a wick. 
Just the flame.

          *
Rioters climb through the broken glass.
Just one bullet, roses blooming
from the hole in one white throat.
          *

From mad rush to single-file 
when they see the velvet ropes -- some instinct
or manners turns the mob obedient,
gives the prey essential
seconds to escape.

          *

A rioter brags his sharpened flagpole
is for “someone special.”  
Others yell for Pence, Pelosi, AOC, 
their “hidden” offices
circled on maps.

          *
Praise to the officers, outnumbered and battered.
Praise to the clerk who thought to grab the votes.
Praise to the selfie-posting killers’ desire for fame.
Praise to crews who soap the shit-stained halls.

          *

Woman with a Don’t Tread on Me banner
trampled to death.
Rioter tasers himself in the groin.
Though reporters mock the fur-clad people 
as cosplayers, my daughter corrects,
That’s live-action role play.

          *
Blood and feces scrubbed away,
already the story’s changing.
Lies fester in the aftermath. 
Rage-filled gun buyers prepare for the next round.
The horned one eats organic food in jail.

©Malcolm Garrett via Pexels

Say Her Name

Say, mind on your new job, you change lanes, don’t signal,
And a cop sees you, his skin white and thin,
N-words stashed in his heart the way a perp hides
Drugs. Asked to snuff your smoke, you know your 
Rights. Question history about how far that gets you.
Ask the holstered gun.

Because there are no witnesses, we’ll never
Learn exactly when or how
A plastic bag that shouldn’t be there finds your
Neck. A tragedy but not a crime, they say. You can’t
Disagree or finger anyone.

Travesty

Skittles, iced tea, unarmed. Seventeen years
old. Looks like he’s up to no good…he’s just star-
ing at me. Though cops tell Zimmerman to stay
in his truck, he gets out to find a stre-
et sign.      Fox News anchors rave
about gold teeth, suspension, drugs. Show Trayv-
on pose tough, blow smoke. Never vary
the message. Mock Rachel Jeantel, her tart
tongue mumbling, That’s real reta-
rded, sir. Dangerous. Dumb. Thug. The strate-
gy works. The dead kid’s guilty. The defense can rest.

©2022 Alison Stone
All rights reserved



Alison Stone…

…has published seven full-length collections, Zombies at the Disco (Jacar Press, 2020), Caught in the Myth (NYQ Books, 2019), Dazzle (Jacar Press, 2017), Masterplan, collaborative poems with Eric Greinke (Presa Press, 2018), Ordinary Magic, (NYQ Books, 2016), Dangerous Enough (Presa Press 2014), and They Sing at Midnight, which won the 2003 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Award; as well as three chapbooks. She has been awarded Poetry’s Frederick Bock Prize and New York Quarterly’s Madeline Sadin Award.

Website / Stone Tarot


Three Poems About Ukraine | Alison Stone

Self-Portrait March 2022

Warring nations mingle in my blood—
Russia, Germany, Ukraine, all the great-
great somebodies who boarded ships
pulled toward America’s promise-paved streets.
Their passports all stamped Jew.

My heart’s a non-fungible token,
encrypted. Needing heat.
My eyes hold boat rides on rivers
through glittering cities.
My finger’s locked as though stuck on a gun.

Daily, my legs take me the same loop—
kitchen, bathroom, office, street.
The mountain dwarfs me as expected.
My hands reach for passing dogs.

Clients tell me their dreams—
wolves, staircases, snow, an open window,
terror jumbled with desire. Symbols giving form
to need. Outside, premature crocuses
open dumbly, unaware of the forecasted storm.

The news offers its collection of horrors.
How easily beauty is bombed into meme.
What are you doing about it?
the first spring birds chirp, and no matter
what I stammer, a fat brassy crow
caws not enough.

Chill

Outside our thick locked door, the air grows cold.
Fall plays songs of loss. For an encore, cold.
 
Cascade of tangerine and neon pink–
The dying sun departs in splendor. Cold
 
nights for the too-long married. The furnace
breaks. More than metaphor—the air grows cold.
 
Poe writes his dead love back to him, despite
the tiresome raven’s Nevermore, cold
 
and final. Waves swallow the sand. Sun sets.
How long will stubborn swimmers ignore cold?
 
The power of love versus the might of
power. Who’s stronger, Venus or Thor? Cold,
 
hot, cold, hot—Our wounded planet revolts.
Flood. Drought. Plastic-filled whales wash ashore. Cold.
 
Grandma’s crooked fingers, Cossack-blue eyes.
Gold chai she always wore. The air grows cold
 
near gravestones. Too late to learn her secret
Anatevka dreams. East wind brings more cold.
 
Ukrainian bride strips off her wedding
gown, puts on the uniform of war. Cold
 
metal in her hand. Poets sip the Green
Fairy, enter delicious stupor, cold.
 
The old unfold chairs and umbrellas. Teens
sprawl tanning on the sand, all languor, cold
 
beauty.  Truckers wave swastika flags. Books
are burned in churches. The hungry implore cold
 
gods. In Stone’s empress daydream, two laws: Have
mercy. Plant seeds before the air grows cold. 

The Monster
Painting
David A. Amdur ©2022

Russian Soldiers Plant Landmines in Ukrainian Cemeteries

Despite landmines, mourners visit the dead.
Strategy is a cold, barren thing.
Which commands must be obeyed, which ignored?
An army is made up of people.

Strategy is a cold, barren thing,
measuring success in numbers of stopped hearts.
An army is made up of people,
some generous, some mean. All want to live.

Measure success in numbers of stopped hearts.
Count the empty places at tables –
Some generous, some mean, all people want to live.
Children starving in basements eat their hope.

Count the empty places at tables,
the houses bombed to blood-streaked rubble.
Children starving in basements eat their hope.
How inconvenient is the call to help?

So many houses bombed to blood-streaked rubble.
Despite landmines, mourners visit the dead.
How inconvenient is the call to help?
Which commands do we obey and which ignore?

©2022 Alison Stone
All rights reserved


Alison Stone…

…has published seven full-length collections, Zombies at the Disco (Jacar Press, 2020), Caught in the Myth (NYQ Books, 2019), Dazzle (Jacar Press, 2017), Masterplan, collaborative poems with Eric Greinke (Presa Press, 2018), Ordinary Magic, (NYQ Books, 2016), Dangerous Enough (Presa Press 2014), and They Sing at Midnight, which won the 2003 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Award; as well as three chapbooks. She has been awarded Poetry’s Frederick Bock Prize and New York Quarterly’s Madeline Sadin Award.

Website / Stone Tarot



Butterfly Effect

Chaos on a shoe string


Alit, photo digital art, ©2013 Michael Dickel
Alit, photo digital art, ©2013 Michael Dickel

This piece is part of a series of experimental writing I worked on in 2013. This hybrid-flash has a relationship to surrealism, automatism, Robert Bly‘s leaping poetry, and chaos theory. If you want to explore some of my tangential associations, hover your mouse cursor over the links in this post and see what pops up—follow the links if you wish to engage in a hyper-text non-linear reading. Don’t forget to come back! Such a reading might be determined by initial conditions, and thus fit chaos theory very nicely…


 

Surrealism: Below the Snow, digital photo / art montage ©2013 Michael Dickel
Surrealism: Below the Snow, digital photo / art montage ©2013 Michael Dickel

 

Butterfly on a shoe—a constant bliss, elated and surreal, some automatic writing made from fresh warm milkdreams of rain. The desert sunset signifies peace to the gopher writing its manifesto far from the Saskatchewan railroad’s violence. A nasty sherbet left a taste of forgotten hypocrisy like a flashbulb memory in his mouth, burnt like boiled-over soup on the stove top. The moon mirrors his face, its shadow-craters another dimension.

Greed spills blood through the nun’s hands, nuclear waste pouring out her fingers. What bread will she eat, this stench of death in her nose? Lady Macbeth knew blood and hands and death. The ocean breeze ruffles her hair like forest leaves, while the sea’s salt walks the dog like sweet coffee travels through the night, Mercury retrograde, with nomadic drivers hustling the highway for spare change at the pool table.

The tulip knows cold winds, playing Scrabble®, drinking mint tea under the snow, waiting for the cardinal’s lonely, red, winter vigil to leap up into spring. The spirit needs rest. Karma suffers bouts of cold and sweat; hot, dull space drips its indigo cello-blue into Luce Iragaray’s recursive folding of flesh away from the center, touching and brushing together moments of possibility.

The cat in the sky sits on the green roof, thinks, “time to go.”

—Michael Dickel

Chaos Water Digital art ©2013 Michael Dickel


Michael Dickel’s most recent book, The Palm Reading after The Toad’s Garden, which collects series of experimental writing and some more “conventional” narrative, all flash fiction, that I’ve written over the last few years. 

This originally appeared on Michael Dickel’s blog in 2013.


 

Posted in The Bardo Group Beguines, The BeZine, The BeZine Table of Contents

The BeZine, Dec. 2018, Vol. 5, Issue 4, Theme: Life of the Spirit

“Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it…”  The Art of Living, Wilfred Peterson

December 15, 2018

A Life of the Spirit is a many-faceted jewel. Some of our contributors interpreted the theme for this month as Spirit (Being, the Ineffable, the Divine) and others more as spirited, strong. Some find Spirit and courage in the great love of their life or in their art, in their religion or spiritual practice. Others find it in an inspiring parent or grandparent.  You will see that nature plays a role for nearly everyone.

I don’t think I’ve ever used as many hankies in pulling together an issue of The BeZine as I have with this issue.  Contributors this quarter speak intimately from both joy and heartbreak, which is perhaps not surprising given the theme.

©2018 Naomi Baltuck, Chris Spengler, and Allison Cox

Our contributors have also rallied their spirits to speak out against gun violence and to speak up for the LGBTQ community. Violence and cruelty are not an absence of Spirit but a lack of awareness.

c 2018, Anjum Wasim Dar

My country – America – has a gun violence history that is notorious but firearms are ubiquitous on this Earth and complicit in wars and conflicts, hate crimes, terrorism, suicide and accidental shootings. Death by fire arms is grotesquely common in South American countries, Jamaica, and Swaziland.

Gun-suicides: I’ve taken the liberty of including a poem about my big sister, Teresa Margaret, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. She was twenty-seven. I was fourteen. Fifty-four years later, the trauma remains. The questions remain: Why? Where did the gun come from? Who taught her how to use it?

“Although the USA ranked fourth in the world with 12,400 firearm-related homicides, that figure pales in comparison with its 23,800 gun suicides. None of the other 194 nations and territories  [ … ] came close; India ranked second at 13,400.” USA Today HERE

Easy access to firearms is cited by experts as one reason for the prevalence of their use in suicide. Another may be that guns offer an effective means of suicide.

Since there is history, culture, identity, and ethic involved in gun ownership and use, attempts at doing away with guns are not feasible at this time. Complicated core issues need to be defined and addressed first. Will we ever come to a unified place where we agree that murder and torture are not options?  How then would Spirit play in the garden of material life?

Thanks to The Bardo Group Bequines team and to our guest writers for helping us put together an issue that is honest, artful, and inspiring, one that walks “with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground.”

As you read, we hope that you will leave your “Likes” and comments behind to let each contributor know they were read and appreciated and to enrich the experience for others.

In the spirit of love (respect) and community,
and on behalf of The Bardo Group Bequines,
Jamie Dedes
Founding and Managing Editor

TABLE OF CONTENTS


How to read this issue of THE BeZINE:You can read each piece individually by clicking the links in the Table of Contents.
To learn more about our guests contributors, please link HERE.
To learn more about our core team members, please link HERE.


BeAttitudes

A Murmur, John Anstie

Your Freedom Eyes, Linda Chown

Julia Vinograd Slipped Into My Writing, Michael Dickel

Feathers of Grass, Joe Hesch

Whelm, Tricia Knoll

Making White Flags, P.A. Levy

Hope Springs Eternal, Tamam Tracy Moncur

Spirit Speaks, Corina Ravenscraft

A Gift of Courage, Anjum Wasim Dar

Poems

Standing Out in the Straight …, Linda Chown

Stone Love, P.A. Levy

Landing, P.C. Moorehead

Illuminating, P.C. Moorehead

Dense Flesh, P.C. Moorehead

Songbird, Jason A. Muckley

Princess of the Sea, Jason A. Muckley

Four Haiku, Jason A. Muckley

Log Cabin Quilt, Anne Myers

Lit Up With Your Warmth, Scott Thomas Outlar

Catching Leaves and Picking Clover, Scott Thomas Outlar

High Tide Hallelujah, Scott Thomas Outler

The Spirit of Us, poem by Deborah Setiyawait, photography by Carl Scharwath

The Star, Clarissa Simmens

my decision is not new, since …, Anjum Wasim Dar

for those who don’t know the chocolate, Amirah Al Wassif

the poetry is …, Amirah Al Wassif

Windows of Madrid, Amirah Al Wassif

Social Justice for LGBTQ

Telling Tales Under the Rainbow, Naomi Baltuck, Alison Cox, Chris Spengler

Gravy, Chris Spengler

Gun Violence

GunShot, Gary W. Bowers

A Girl in a Box, Jamie Dedes

A Poem for the Tree of Life Synagogue, Michael Dickel

Silencing the Thunder, Joe Hesch

Snow Angels, Joe Hesch

CONNECT WITH US

The BeZine: Be Inspired, Be Creative, Be Peace, Be (the subscription feature is below and to your left.)

Daily Spiritual Practice: Beguine Again, a community of Like-Minded People

Facebook, The Bardo Group Beguines

Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

SUBMISSIONS:

Read Info/Missions StatementSubmission Guidelines, and at least one issue before you submit. Updates on Calls for Submissions and other activities are posted every Sunday in Sunday Announcements on The Poet by Day.

Second Light Network of Women Poets: Celebrating Anthologies of Women’s Poetry

They thought death was worth it, but I Have a self to recover, a queen. Is she dead, is she sleeping? Where has she been, With her lion-red body, her wings of glass?

They thought death was worth it, but I
Have a self to recover, a queen
Is she dead, is she sleeping?
Where has she been,
With her lion-red body, her wings of glass?
excerpt from “Stings” by Sylvia Plath

*** ANTHOLOGY “HER WINGS OF GLASS” ***
 
“I’m completely wowed … the most important anthology for decades,” John Killick
 
“tremendously inspiring,” Moniza Alvi  

“an amazing anthology,” Pauline Stainer
 
“It’s a magnificent anthology (and I’m not just saying this because my mother’s face peers at me from the cover!),” Adam Horovitz
 
“I’m impressed,” Anne Stevenson

Second Light Network of Women Poets (SLN) does many wonderful things for women poets of a certain age, but among the loveliest is the production of poetry anthologies. SLN’s latest anthology is Her Wings of Glass, the title taken from Sylvia Plath’s poem Stings in which she uses the life in the hive as metaphor for her own life and feelings.

When we consider all the elements of an apiary with its oddly flipped sexual structure, the momentary life of the parthenogenic queen juxtaposed against the leisurely life of drifting drones, we appreciate the brilliance of Plath’s using the apiary as an allegory for her relationship with her husband and her conflicted feelings about domesticity and motherhood.  The bee community makes for an apt illustration of Plath’s poetic self (queen), her domestic self (drudge), her distaste for other women willing to be drudges, to sacrifice themselves.  The poem is intensely personal, has elements of tenderness but ends fiercely. (FYI: You can view photographs of Plath’s worksheets HERE.)

It’s easy to appreciate just why the women of the ’60s were so enamored of Sylvia Plath, why she is still appreciated for both her observations and her craft.  It’s also easy to understand why a reference to Plath’s work would make such a good title for a collection of poetry by contemporary women poets. The anthology, like the poets, poetry and the work in ARTEMISpoetry (biannual magazine) represent a cross-section of A-list poets and a range of themes, subjects and styles.

ARTEMISpoetry, Issue 14
Issue 14

There’s a good piece by Anne Stewart on Her Wings of Glass in the May 2015 issue of ARTEMISpoetry, which focuses on anthologies. Due to the very nature of SLN, many are the poets and poems that might be overlooked by other press as not in line with mainstream literary standard. I deem this an advantage indeed and wish more publishers would take note.

Petronella Gives a Reading c Kate Folley
Petronella Gives a Reading (c) Kate Foley

In addition to celebrating poetry anthologies, the current issue also featured Alison Brackenbury, the award-winning author of eight collections, and Jemma Borg in an interesting piece by Kay Syrad: The Illuminated World, A Dialogue Between Science and Poetry.   Jemma studied evolutionary genetics and worked as a tech editor among other jobs. She stands at the intersection of science and poetry.

“I tend now to think of science and poetry in some kind opposition because they are such different systems of thought in terms of the philosophical roots and development, but essentially it is this love of what is unknown that is common to both and which forms my motivation as an individual: how can we, and indeed is it possible to, understand this world we are embedded in.”

Susan Wicks selected the poetry shared  in this issue, which included these two:

Gift from my Daughter

A pink bag with lime-green flowers
in silk floated
like a lotus as she carried it
down the ward.

We fizzed with giggles over
the contents,
cream laced with sandalwood
and lavender,
lip-salve with lemon,
little bottles steeped in mint
and nutmeg,
a Morpheus spray
to enchant the pillow with sleep.

Outside, the weather slashed its tail
of water-scales
and hail,
and we unpacked the orient,
distilled these gardens from the east.

Isobel Thrilling

Where lies the blame?

Things in their quiet think no harm,
light probes, passes, leaves unmoved
knife, whip, Kalashnikov.

Stone voices grate, shingle shifts,
things in unquiet hands drip blood
the birds no longer sing.

Shadows touch, move on, abandon
farmhouse, barn and empty field
the bees have gone.

Jenna Plewes

The homage to Anne Cluysenaar in this issue was warm and appreciative and the thoughts of several poets who knew her were included. I find this sort of acknowledgement and loyalty touching and asked for permission to include Alison Mace’s poem in this blog post. Alison said that we need to read Anne’s Diary Poems to fully appreciate her poem, but I took it at face value and warmed to it, though I haven’t read Touching Distances: Diary Poems.  I like Alison’s poem for the gentle way it shows how one poet and her work and life were valued.

from LIVES OF THE POETS
ANNE CLUYSENAAR 1936-2014

Alison Mace writes: Since Anne Cluysenaar’s appalling and untimely death, I have meant to write about her, a poem if possible. Anne came, when she could, to our monthly NaCOT poetry-writing group at William and Juliet Ayot’s house near Chepstow. We were so lucky to have her. Her contributions were memorable and heart-warming, both of her own work – several of the Diary Poems that became Touching Distances – and in the help she gave the rest of us with our own poems.

.
Anne

‘Wise’ comes first to mind,
then ‘kind’,
and then so many more.
Heartsore,
we count the ways she was:
capable, nurturing,
loving her cob, her cat,
at home with hens and hay,
Mozart and Henry Vaughan;
happy to teach, to learn –
learned indeed – at ease
combining earth with wit,
abstruse with everyday –
and ours: muse, mentor, friend,
bringing her poetry
for us, wanting our own:
probing, encouraging –
all with her gentle smile.

And so it shatters sense
that such a life should end
with terror, suddenness
and wanton violence –
a bleak atrocity.
The distance we would touch
that our intensest thoughts
might wing to her
has widened beyond reach,
leaving us at a loss,
empty, and blank, and still
heartsore.

– Alison Mace

So, another altogether enjoyable read. Another issue to return to with pleasure.

All things SLN may be found HERE including gatherings and classes, remote – or as we in the U.S. would say “distance” – classes, coaching, contests, books, magazine, samplings of poetry and introductions to poets.  Much appreciation to SLN Founder Dilys Wood and to Myra Schneider and Anne Stewart and all the other women for their work, their poetry, and their commitment to women and poetry. Second Light Network of Women Poets is based in London and most of the members are in the UK, but membership is not geographically restricted. Of note: Anne Stewart has a site – poetry p f – which makes it easy to pay membership fees and to order books, ARTEMISpoetry, poem cards and other goodies.

Congratulations to Myra Schneider: Goulash from her collection Circling the Core (Enitharmon Press, 2008) was recently featured on Anthony Wilson‘s Famous Lifesaving Poems. We’ve featured it in The BeZine and are all fans.  Bravo, Myra! Here it is on the Lifesaving Poems site. Contact Myra for Circling the Core and other books.

Poems, cartoon, cover art are published here with permission of the publishers and authors.

© 2015, article, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; cover art, Second Light Live; poems and cartoon as indicated above.

Opsimaths, Polymaths and Poets

chap-book

As you already know, I am enamoured of Second Light Network of Women Poets for its committment to poetry education and for encouraging and promoting poetry by women, especially women who come to poetry late in life.  It’s “never too late” the saying goes … and Second Light seems to prove that indeed it is not too late to learn, to create and to appreciate beautiful poetry.

Second Light has the fair-sized, faithful and active participation of women to whom it offers support by way of connection, classes (including remote classes), competitions and publication opportunities, anthologies of women’s poetry and the biannual ARTEMISpoetry magazine.  The May 2015 issue is out now and you can order it HERE. Membership information and sign-up for email alerts are HERE.

While membership in Second Light is restricted to women, the poetry shared is for everyone.  This poetry includes works by accomplished – if lesser known poets – and works of well-established poets you may have long admired including R. V. Bailey, Jackie Kay, Mimi Khalvati, Anne StewartMyra Schneider and Dilys Wood, the founder of Second Light.

These and other women serve as role-models and also are often involved as judges of competitions, as editors of publications and as teachers through Second Light in workshop settings, through remote education or through The Poetry School, “the U.K.’s largest provider of poetry education.”

Polymath ~ a person with a wide range of knowledge or learning.

Each May and November when my copy of ARTEMISpoetry arrives I’m always delighted with the depth of learning that continues and with the wide range of knowledge, interests and observation that informs the poetry. What follows is an overview of the November 2014 issue and three poems from that issue.

* * * * * 

“Nights, I squat in the cornucopia
Of your left ear, out of the wind,

Counting the red stars and those of plum-color.
The sun rises under the pillar of your tongue.
My hours are married to shadow.
No longer do I listen for the scrape of a keel
On the blank stones of the landing.”

“”
from The Colossus”, The Colossus and Other Poems, 1960, Sylvia Plath

The November 2014 issue of ARTEMISpoetry is dedicated to Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), the renown American poet, novelist and short story writer who produced in her foreshortened life a remarkable body of work that influenced her contemporaries and continues to inspire poets to this day.

If you are a fan of Plath, this issue will delight you for the fresh imaginative breath of its insight. If you are new to Plath, this issue will serve as an excellent introduction to her. It includes an imagined interview of Plath by Kay Syrad.  Anne Stevenson briefly tells of her struggle to maintain the appropriate detachment when writing Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath and how depleted she felt when she finished the biography in May 1988.  The narrative is followed by a quite lengthy and somewhat charged poem, A Letter to Sylvia Plath, which is an excerpt from Stevenson’s book, Poems 1955-2005 (Bloodaxe Books).

The last stanza of Anne Stevenson’s poem ~

“We learn to be human when we kneel
To imagination, which is real
Long after reality is dead
And history has put its bones to bed.
Sylvia, you have won at last,
Embodying the living past,
Catching the anguish of your age
In accents of a private rage”

Also included is Three Young Poets on Plath’s Influence that you can read HERE in the April 2015 issue of The BeZine, which was dedicated to poetry. Second Light partnered with us (The Bardo Group) in April for interNational Poetry Month.

I was happy to see Alison Blackenbury‘s piece on Jenny Joseph. Featured poets were R.V. Bailey and Adele Ward, who is also a publisher. 2014 Poetry Competition winners were announced and their poems published. As with every issue, this one was rich with poetry, reviews, and announcements of events, collections published, calls for submissions and other material of interest to members.

The poems that follow were published in the November 2014 issue and are included here with the permission of both publisher and poets. Enjoy …

Three of the poems published in ARTEMISpoetry, Issue 13, November 2014:

Featured Poet, back cover:

Flowers in the cemetery

Ahead of me as always, you were first
To die. But what possessed you, love,
Trusting a feckless gardener like me
To plant the flowers on your grave?

It’s garden-centre-best-suburban,
Sentimental, pink and blue,
Till in the natural course of things
I come to lie down here too.

Forget-me-nots and lavender –
What rustic cliches. Yes, I know:
I also know you will not care,
Since it was I who put them there.

– R V Bailey

Short Poem First Prize Winner
Second Light Open Poetry Competition for Long and Short poems by women, 2014:

By Heart

Once she had to memorize the chemical elements
of soil, learn how to measure the height of trees
using sine and cosine and how to address a letter
to a bishop – information lost now in dusty
box files in a corner of her brain, with lists
of Latin verbs and conjugations, the Attributes
of the Virgin Mary and which feast days a priest
wore rose or purple. But she remembers maples
graded from cinnabar to porphyry stretching
across the Laurentian hills like reels of Sylko
in a haberdasher’s drawer; the rustle of raven wings
through cedars as an Indian canoe skims the surface
of a turquoise lake; castles carved from blocks
of ice, snow on the windshield as she left.

– Margaret Beston

Commended
Second Light Open Poetry Competition, for Long and Short poems by women, 2014

Pray

Pray for Aurelia. She has a court case pending
and she misses her children. (Prayer Request, Church of Our Lady)

Pray for her.
For God has made her in his own image.
For this image startles her as she passes a shop window.
For she sees a cardigan (sleeves unravelling),
skirt (waist tied with string). Odd socks.
For the name-tag on her coat says Melanie.
For she knows God will clothe her. She’s a lily of the field.
For she has no thoughts of tomorrow.

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof

She’s fat with drugs. They’ve stuffed and stuffed her.
She has no teeth.
Her children have been taken from her.

Pray for her.
For she has a first class degree but her mind has betrayed her.
For betrayal is the only thing she knows.
For her father lifts his grand-daughter onto the swing in the local park,
touching her ever so, ever so gently.

For her mother didn’t listen.
Nor her brother, her sister, her teacher, her lover.

She’s a loony.
She’s a swing door.
She’s a bin-liner.

Pray for her.
For God has made her in his own image.
For he is with her even through the valley of the shadow of death

Which is her life, you know. Her one and only. Life.


– Vivienne Tregenza

© 2015, magazine overview, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; photo ~ Newstand illustration by J.C. Leyendecker circa 1899; copyrights to all poems are held by their authors and rights are reserved