“Mercy” Up at Mulberry Literary

and A review

Photo credit: TAS Roy Moffit, Hermit Crab. August 2018.Wikimedia Commons. PD.

Issue II of Mulberry Literary is here, and I am grateful to Editor Katie Lynn Johnson and the Mulberry Literary team for including my poem, “Mercy,” in it. I discussed the poem here.

I haven’t yet read much in Mulberry Literary, but I think the images the editors have chosen to go with the pieces make a colorful and compelling introduction to the issue. So please check my poem and the whole issue out, and let me know what you think.

And now, A Review:

Always like me some Russell T Davies.

My BEST Poem Accepted by Angel Rust–And a Review

Photo credit: Bruce Bisping, Old Style Cash Register and Canned Goods in a Butcher Shop in New Ulm, Minnesota. October, 1974. Wikimedia Commons. PD.

I am pleased that the editors of the new magazine, Angel Rust, have accepted my can poem, “BEST,” for their first issue. I have written about my can poems so many times that they have their own category on the blog, so you can just hit that for more information. Basically, I select text from top to bottom, front to back, of a can. The words coalesce around a theme. To give myself a slightly broader vocabulary, I sometimes put parts of two words together to make another.

I find that composing these pushes me to think outside the box because words I would not have thought of get worked into the poem and help it say something I did not expect. The corporate and commercial language also tends to produce an activist slant, because, divorced from its original context, this language highlights systemic depersonalization and inhumanity in our society, although at times it can also get positively lyrical. I hope to find enough new can text to produce four more poems, and then I plan to stop, though you never know.

“BEST” fits the can-poem theme of corporate depersonalization since its subject is an anonymous, perhaps collective, speaker’s demand for subservient mediocrity. According to their About page, Angel Rust “is a place for under-represented voices to be messy, to speak their truth no matter how shocking, and to die on a hill no one else cares about.” As such, it seems a fitting place for “BEST,” and I look forward to seeing the kind of company my poem will keep there.

And now, a review. This is the end of the Oscars reviews. Before my son and partner called a halt to them, I had already seen this movie and thought it was very good, so I strongly encouraged him to see it and do a review with me. I’m still his mother–what choice did he have? So after we finished seeing It’s a Sin, we saw Crip Camp. Here’s our review.

Second Poem Accepted at Right Hand Pointing–and a Review

My living room, taken by me, 7 June 2021.

After a worrisome dry spell, Right Hand Pointing announced on Facebook that they didn’t have enough acceptances for their next issue and requested submissions. Since they so recently accepted “Luminous,” I thought I should send something, and I happened to have a good poem called “While You’re Away,” written when my husband had to take two trips in a row

I walked into the living room/dining room/music studio (not visible in the picture, but to the left of the table), and found those two chairs turned as if invisible people were turned away from me and talking. I see that in the picture they don’t look exactly like this. The actual reason they are turned is that I read with my coffee in the mornings and rest my legs on the chair to the left. But that day they were positioned more as if two people were sitting talking together, so a poem was born. I’m grateful to Editor Wisely and staff, who promptly accepted it.

I enjoy the quirky work in Right Hand Pointing, and I have also been enjoying the haiku and senryu in First Frost, another product of Right Hand Pointing‘s parent press, Ambidextrous Bloodhound Productions. If you like brief, evocative reflections, this is the poetry for you. I don’t often attempt this sort of thing, but admire those who do it well.

I look forward to seeing “While You’re Away” out in July. In the meantime, here’s a review:

Our final take on It’s a Sin.

“Government Buildings . . . ” Out Again, and a Review

Government buildings reflected in a government building in Berlin, along the Spree. Taken by me, 2018.

I am happy to see that my poem, “Government Buildings in Berlin, 2018,” is out again in The Bookends Review. Many thanks to the editors, especially Editor-in-Chief Jordan Blum, who graciously accepted it as a reprint. I previously wrote about the poem here, and I am happy that Bookends included an explanatory note that you can read under the poem. It was first published in After the Pause.

From the admittedly small sampling I have read in Bookends, I would say the editors have an ear for beautiful language and an affection for all things quirky, offbeat, and original. So it’s not that surprising they liked my poem. Please go check out the other intriguing fare at the journal.

And now, another review of Russell T Davies’s It’s a Sin:

The character on the bobby’s back has had a breakthrough.

College Poem Accepted, and a Review

Mug my violinist friend made for me. Taken by me.

A few weeks ago, when looking through a drawer of old stuff, I came upon some writing I did in college. A poem struck me as tolerably good, so I submitted it, and it has now been accepted by Right Hand Pointing. I was probably eighteen at the time I wrote it, which means it is from 1983! Talk about evergreen content.

The poem is Asian-inspired, in more ways than one. When I was growing up, my friend’s mother translated Chinese poetry, and I was interested by it. And at the time I wrote the poem, I was taken with a Chinese violin student at Oberlin. We were never more than friends, but I enjoyed his company, learned from his teaching–he would burst into my practice room and help me phrase better–and appreciated the mug he made for me, shown above. My poem uses the mug as a metaphor for how I felt about him.

The mug still makes me happy when I look at it, and the prospect of sharing the poem is a joy.

And now, for something completely different, a review:

More amazing Holocaust references here. Also, I note similarities between my life and work and those of Russell T Davies that in no way mean I think I am equally talented–they just struck me.

Poem about Poll Watching Accepted at Quaranzine–Plus, a Review

Photo credit: Melissa Wilkins, “Jolley’s sporting a new Trump 2020 flag.” 2 March 2019. Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 2.0. Slightly enlarged.

I am pleased to report that Third Estate Art, “a group of artists and activists living and working in Chicago,” has selected my poem, “Poll Watching: Alabama, 2020,” for its online magazine, Quaranzine. According to the submission guidelines, poetry is an especially competitive category, so I am especially honored and grateful.

The poem is about my experience as a poll watcher last November, and I was driven to write it by my observations. On the one hand, the polling place was well run, and there were no untoward incidents or behaviors. On the other hand, the proportion of whites to Blacks I observed roughly matched the ratio of Republican to Democratic votes, and the whites seemed to feel much more free to express their support for the fascist yam than the Blacks did to express theirs for the Democratic candidates. The almost palpable attitude seemed to be, “Sure, you can vote, as long as we win.” I can only imagine the shock and horror in certain quarters over on the other side of the line, in Georgia, where patrons of a symphony I play in have posted racist libel about the Obamas, told me climate change was a liberal lie, and explained to me that slaves were happy.

I am not sure when the poem will come out, but I will post about it then, and you can read it. In the meantime, I will leave you with this joke that was making the rounds the day after Raphael Warnock, who is Black, and Jon Ossoff, who is Jewish, beat yam-adhering COVID profiteers in two Georgia Senate races (Ossoff later confirmed his win in a runoff):

A Black man and a Jew walk into a bar in Georgia. “What’ll it be, Senators?” asks the bartender.

And, of course, a review. No one makes insensitive remarks better than Emma Thompson as Vivienne Rook:

I Admire Davies’s Work and Unleash My Political Views

I didn’t know my politics ever were leashed, but my son claims they are unleashed here.

Minor trigger warning for Bernie fans. To be clear, I agree with many of Senator Sanders’s views. I felt a moderate would be more likely to win the election, but I may certainly have been wrong about that. The reason I don’t care for Bernie is his weak support for Secretary Clinton once she was the only candidate standing against the toxic yam. I do think the inaugural mittens were adorable.