We reach for the poetic, the brought into being sense of poiesis, as an act of creation. The poetic mind creates a connection between the visceral experience of life and the abstract condition of language, seeking always to play along to the rhythm of the known and the unknown.
In this daily act of language, of exploration, of manipulation, what arises is a new thing. A syntactic structure that did not exist suddenly becomes and, in becoming, creation is made visible while remaining veiled. The poem and poet are joined and are visible, while the act of poiesis is invisible, yet the act, poet, and poem together succeed in sinking into this Tartarus to experience both potentiality and impotentiality and in doing so, we become capable of creating and truly becoming poets in that space between knowledge and experience to paraphrase contemporary philosopher Giorgio Agamben.
Both reading and writing poetry are acts of faith. It is with this faith in the newly created that we surrender our day-to-day selves and offer up our essential, interior self to become, right along with the poem, a new thing.
Thanks for your faith in all these acts of creation,
Michele Lesko, Editor
Slight Faith is what we need in these extraordinary times and Risa Denenberg offers us this and more in her personal how-to manual for survival: “train for comedy and calamity”, she urges. From Babylon to New York City, these luminous poems travel via polished lines and prescient language. Yet, the voyage is never easy. The poet keeps vigil alongside the dying and the dead but these poems exist in service to the living. It’s as if Denenberg has split open her life and scraped out the interior fruit. Judaism, Buddhism, yoga, and all night car rides — the speaker scours each for answers. Across decades, families, and the names of trees, we experience “this double helix called love.” This is a collection I plan to return to, to read again the music of “sozzle,” “trundle,” and “roil”; to revel in the alchemy of “everyday clouds that amaze.” As a Jewish woman poet, I am especially excited to welcome this book into the world. Susan Rich, author of Cloud Pharmacy
In This Issue
Jennifer Reeser is our Featured Poet. Born in Louisiana, she is a bi-racial writer of Anglo-Celtic & Native American Indian ancestry. She is the author of five books of poetry: Fleur-de-Lis (2016), The Lalaurie Horror (2013), Sonnets from the Dark Lady and Other Poems (2012), Winterproof (2005) An Alabaster Flask (2003).
This issue's Featured Artist is Harry Bertschmann, who was profiled recently in The New York Times by Susan Chomsky. This artist's work and his story illustrate the depths and heights of a life lived for art. There is a marketplace toward which we should not have to scramble while we are compelled to create, yet, the reality of sustenance for ourselves and our loved ones is clear.
We have a, dare I say lovely, review of Lesléa Newman's new book, Lovely, by Risa Denenberg, whose own new collection, slight faith, will be available in May 2018.
Please note the Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize has a new start date for submissions. We look forward to reading your best work.
Our Poets, the backbone of every issue, include six finalists from the 2017 Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit Poetry Contest and six poets chosen from submissions. They are: Partridge Boswell, James Croal-Jackson, Genevieve DeGuzman, Benjamin Garcia, Alani Hiscks-Bartlett, Naima Kazmi, Joseph McBirnie, JB Mulligan, Thoma Piekarski, Adrian S. Potter, Jonathan Riccio, and Bob Schildgen.
Risa Denenberg lives on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state where she works as a nurse practitioner. She reviews poetry for the American Journal of Nursing and is a co-founder and editor at Headmistress Press. She has published five previous collections of poetry, most recently, Whirlwind @ Lesbos (Headmistress Press, 2016). She blogs at risaden.wordpress.com Her collection, slight faith, is available May 2018 on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and IndieBound.com, or order directly from Risa