New Voices of New England
Ravi Shankar is Associate Professor and Poet-in-Residence at Central
Ars Poetica with Grape and Litany
Poems are various approaches,
reached, else once breached,
are embodiment of a kind
that any constitution of “voice”
as well as the virtuoso’s avowal
should be summarily forbidden
as its furthest horizon. The poem is simultaneously musical relic, tool for contemplation, embalmed missive, inspired litany, proof to define the nature of reality, confabulation of/ in/ for the divine, vestigial as a spiracle and just as sculptural, a political retort, pounce and jouissance, utterance drawn from inner depth like well-water, else an exploratory collage that tilts the gears and wheels of language to the light. It is, in Celan’s words, “a making toward something”; in Bachelard’s “a bud attempting to become a twig”; in Hejinian’s “under an enormous vertical and horizontal pressure of information.” The very thingness of the thing, the pith of the wood, the release of the pressure is at stake, and the making is a marking, transfiguring and unmasking, a reformulation majuscule in its music, unsustainable in any form other than that which moves it forward, removing or warding off the hindrance that sloughs in awareness, never to compost and give root to vines that will accrete sun and intoxication in thin-skinned, translucent orbs that can be crushed into wine. Sure as no day is sure but just as profound. Necessary.
Mary Walker Graham was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and now lives in South Boston, MA. She is the cofounder of Rope-a-Dope Press, and her poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, Poetry Daily, 42opus, OCHO, and PFS Post.
[Once, there was a revelation]
Once, there was a revelation; then all
Somewhere, over all this, the thing
What child is this? A giddy
Chiaroscuro: The Beach at Night
Because there was—at one point—
I could scarcely see
looking curiously like a hip.
a hand or hands, his hands—
legs lying in it—then,
Things fall apart: baskets, wicker, or straw—
There’s no reason for it either. From the alley I hear
For a long moment the streetlights seem
Julia Story is a native of Indiana and now lives in Somerville, Massachusetts. Her first book, Post Moxie, will be published by Sarabande Books in summer 2010. Her recent work has appeared in Indiana Review, Octopus, Absent, and MoonLit.
Zachary Bos is a founding member of the Boston Poetry Union and the Union's literary imprint, The Pen & Anvil Press. His current projects include a secular English-language redaction of the Koran; an erasure-poetry edition of the Bible, to be titled 'HOLY'; and a translation of Vicente Huidobro's 1939 novel, Sátiro. He is at present completing an MFA in Poetry at Boston University.
Walden: On building
Without me the cattails would explode
If I have not wasted my life certainly
Wanting to fill the deep kettle of it
I should keep and sort them, match
I should hermit here under these pines
THE FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST
I. Edifice: Spirit and Mother Substance
By isolating a structure in open space
II. Doctrine: Mary’s Beating Marble Heart
There is peril in poring over scripture
In his December thirty-first column,
At your party we dandled plastic flutes
Mistaking their senselessness for some grace
Lost in talk, we missed the significant tick
Later in the washroom, I mull the logic of my gut
I fell in love with a mortal man
Augustine says why love the world when you should love only the Creator from whom it emanates
Death was created to remind us that we should only love God and not love his Creation it is a reprimand for getting too attached
I love the sun on the snow. I am afraid my husband will die.
Some of your emanations are in love with other of your emanations and I cannot figure out if this pleases you
Your breath is the lilacs, your breath is burning flesh
You are ice in a broken flowerpot. You are the cold which made it break. You are the shards, but do you have sympathy for them? You are the sun on the snow.
I fell in love with a mortal man
I will take my pain, confusion and error and bind it up with my love. This is what I shall mean by happiness.
I am leaving out the part where you break me
I never said you were easy to love
How can I separate my voice from the organs of the universe that I might call to you
If I succeed how will I live with the gap forever looming between myself and the world
I cannot cry to you to mend the gap when it is you who demanded it
Maybe we are not supposed to love the world because you don't love it either
Or maybe your love is as imperfect as our love
I am leaving out the war and one pain that took my breath
Do you find this command extreme?
Is it hard to poison the lake?
Janaka Stucky is practicing the perfection of effort while working on silent relationships with knives, hairpins, & a history of tentacles. Other passions include whiskey and pugilism. He is also the Publisher of Black Ocean and its literary magazine, Handsome. Some of his poems have appeared in Cannibal, Denver Quarterly, Fence, No Tell Motel, North American Review, Redivider and VOLT.
This is not your house this is your
our children’s tears when I
Ben Mazer is the author of White Cities (Barbara Matteau Editions, 1995), Johanna Poems (Cy Gist Press, 2007), and The Foundations of Poetry Mathematics (Cannibal Books, 2008, 2009). He is the editor of Selected Poems of Frederick Goddard Tuckerman (forthcoming from Harvard University Press), Complete Poems and Selected Prose of John Crowe Ransom (in preparation), and Everything Preserved: Poems 1955-2005 (Graywolf Press), which collects the poems of Landis Everson. He lives in Boston, where he is a contributing editor to Fulcrum: an annual of poetry and aesthetics.
Elegy in a Windy Rain
Obviously your no means yes,
How much then
I love your self control,
These winds speak like the heart because
A naying and a braying,
Dan Chelotti's poems have appeared in many journals, including Boston Review, Glitterpony, and Tarpaulin Sky. "The Eights," a chapbook, was published by the Poetry Society of America in 2006. Recently, his work was anthologized in State of the Union (Wave Books 2008). He lives in Easthampton, MA, and teaches creative writing for Elms College.
The world felt too close, the empty picture frame screamed what it was, the stapler was a stapler so intensely that he felt its signified mass would send it plummeting through the earth.
Thus he watched the birds come and go, refusing to learn their names, imagining that if he did, they would stop flying.
He took solace in this form of responsibility, of false causality. This way, he could step from his door into a world free of things, a world where a hawk on a highway median was sent there to find silence, where the scattering rays of sun through a prism was the written language of trees.
She moved through the forest like scales through a song. She saw the tracks through the snow and began filing through the animals until coyote settled.
She had woken earlier than usual, hours earlier, and cited the tracks as the reason. Walks like this were rare. She took off her glove and put her hand against a tree. The sound of earth spin at a distance, the unnamed insects, the distant weed on the distant road she imagined when this happened.
Still, a wind above pushed the snow in the snow-rent air. She heard it land and knelt to hear it better.
The feeling wouldn’t last. Someone would knock on the door and point to her checkbook; she would notice the fire burnt to ash, but as she knelt she heard the approach of a plow, hid herself, and stayed ancient, palimpsestial, something the driver might have seen, but couldn’t see.
Richard Deming is a poet and a theorist who works on the philosophy of literature. He is the author of Let's Not Call It Consequence (Shearsman Books), winner of the 2009 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. Currently a lecturer at Yale University, he is also the author of Listening on All Sides: Toward an Emersonian Ethics of Reading (Stanford University Press).
In any place, denial, like night, makes itself
Now, a shuttered window
In my hand, there are five cards, all aimed toward failure,
Not every outstretched hand sketches a first desire
calculates the very shadowed
Film Threat (2)
If a black phone sits on an apartment floor, then a middle-aged widower will surprise himself placing a call and then he’s been alone for seven years; then on the other side of the city, another phone will ring nine times—each a small and reasonable hope; then on the other end a shy, beautiful woman with dark hair will answer. If she answers, then she is dressed all in white, and kneels on the floor. Then she will tell him, with her quiet and open voice, she is surprised that he would call. Then her head hangs down as she speaks, her long hair covering her face almost completely. If there are no windows where she is, then she does not yet know that he has already lied to her out of his sadness. Then he does not know that she has been kneeling like this, in the dark, for hours. Then they will make plans to meet for dinner and then she will smile and she will hang up the receiver. Then he will be relieved and excited and so then, in the room just beyond the black phone, a body inside a canvas bag cinched closed suddenly struggles one last moment, then stops. If so, and knowing we know that, we do not avert our eyes, do not stop listening, then there are such terrible, such familiar thirsts. These do not hide for long, no matter how white a dress may be or how many times a phone might ring, and so this cannot end well.
Film Threat (3)
(after Sam Raimi)
What is it we don’t do well enough that we’re constantly afraid? For the insomniac, night is a book that will not stop letting itself be read. Now it’s dark. A young couple, beautiful but not too bright, arrives in a yellow Oldsmobile. And when some uninvited thing rushes towards the door, anyone else would know not to open it. There will be a botched incantation and someone won’t survive because the words went wrong.
In an empty room, in the coldest shadows of some forgotten house, an older man’s voice echoes on a reel-to-reel. He is a disappointed father who tells a secret history over and over and who, once, long ago, was rent asunder by voices in a dark cellar. Remember me. Startled anew, don’t ask why it’s always like this. You already foresee an answer with bared teeth. And the things beneath the stairs will not close their eyes. Each of us a small, nearly forgotten body spinning and falling like a long kiss or a bad dream or the sound of celluloid catching fire.
Rob MacDonald lives in Boston and is the editor of the online journal Sixth Finch. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Octopus, Hanging Loose, New CollAge and Tears in the Fence. Last New Death, a chapbook, was recently published by Scantily Clad Press.
The feeling of having eaten
And the wind won’t cool you,
some girl taking off
and the word alone means
to hear the salting of sand
Maybe next year.
DEATH IS MUNDANE. MUNDANE IS AN INSULT TO ALL YOU COULD HAVE BEEN.
The lone goldfish in the bowl
Chad Reynolds has published some poems here and there, most recently in SIR! and Absent Magazine. He is the author of a poetry chapbook from Rope-a-Dope Press entitled Victor in the New World and he keeps a blog called Massahoma, Oklachusetts. He spent most of the past year preparing for and getting to know his new son. So far, so good.
FROM THE ADHESIVE
To see a thing without
Not a counter in the kitchen
To walk at night,
Not amid the shadows,
John Cotter is the poetry editor at Open Letters Monthly.
In the ‘80s my father led
and the Rotary. No floats
Dad grand on podium
in my chest :
Elizabeth Hughey is the author of "Sunday Houses the Sunday House," which won the 2006 Iowa Poetry Prize. She is a contributing editor to the literary magazine Bateau, and a 2008 Massachusetts Cultural Council fellow. New poems have recently been published in Lungfull, Zoland Poetry & Caffeine Destiny.
It was Crescent City. People were having regular Saturdays, standing in doorways with washed hair and coffee cups. And yet, at the hotel, there was a holiday. A tight one-piece on a girl floating towards the smokers in the pool. Three girls with still much to discuss. To be the swimsuit, the girls and also the new lovers. To be melting in a tall glass stolen from the pub. To be passed around with other berries. To be peed out into cold chlorine. A swimmer, like a worry, way down below the cliffs, thinks of another swim, in a shallow river, where surely someone in a passing car saw, felt, wanted to be pushing through a soft current. I was passing that day. We were in three different cars.
Sumita Chakraborty recently received the Morris S. Smith Foundation fellowship for emerging writers from the Writers’ Room of Boston. She is the assistant poetry editor of AGNI Magazine and a graduate of Wellesley College. Most recently, her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Salamander, BOXCAR Poetry Review, White Whale Review, and Muddy River Poetry Review. In her critical work, she focuses on poetry and literary theory; her reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Gently Read Literature and Boston Review.
Why is there nothing more to do than stifle near minor,
the first glass bead. The piecing together of brick with slime
emit imagined noises, gold-plated tongues run in muck,
dogs, or leopard spots. When you say what your comings
A note on “seanoses” and “bonelock”: these compound words are not inventions; see the corresponding Old English “sænæssas” (literally “seanoses,” meaning “cliffs” or “promontories”) and “bánlocan” (literally “bonelock,” meaning “joints”).
Nancy Kuhl’s first full-length collection of poems, The Wife of the Left Hand, was published in 2007 by Shearsman Books; her second book, Suspend, is forthcoming in 2010. She is the author of The Nocturnal Factory, a chapbook published in 2008 by Ugly Duckling Presse. She is co-editor of Phylum Press, a small poetry publisher and Curator of Poetry of the Yale Collection of American Literature at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. www.phylumpress.com/nancykuhl.htm
Confession Scenario (Dream of Drowning)
Enormous and terrible, the sea. We two
ocean; mine all over again. Into this tide
Smooth-eyed fish open slivers barely seen
and green-curl. Surrounded or surrendered
impossible to tell you now even what falls
suddenlywideawake). Mine again, this edge
burnt eyelids. Ache. How sunbright marks
Confession Scenario (Late August Dream)
Haze drift hazy oblivion bare blue
forget the pine-heavy coast lungful by
sleep into waking; at sea it’s possible
heart still beating in its too-wide bonecage
The Story about the House
We sense grass sometimes past the open door and especially after rain. A long table all along: and the plums threaten blue at the center. Suddenly the gate and narrow road: a growling truck interrupts what you were saying. But this is a new Wednesday and mail drops thud through the slot straight through. Glass on two sides walls where walls should be. And no end of light reflected. We have studied wind current and meadow pitch. And low mountains unwavering, visible in the distance like a dare. Day dissolves late but without warning. And the house radiant. O to find you there.
Stephen Sturgeon is the editor of Fulcrum: an Annual of Poetry and Aesthetics. His poems have appeared in Boston Review, Cannibal, Harvard Review, Jacket, and other journals.
Star and Field
I have lit up a vision of drowning. Green
The yells in opaque thrust
Passing stars, passing fields; you may require
Delaying the dead dawn, pray to the dead
Dray-horses slip in stone;
Kim Garcia’s poetry collection Madonna Magdalene was published by Turning Point Books in the fall of 2006. Her work has appeared in Subtropics, Birmingham Review, Mississippi Review, Inkwell, Cimarron Review, Rosebud, Southeast Review, Tampa Review, Lullwater Review, and Negative Capability, among others, and has been aired on Writer’s Almanac. She is the recipient of an AWP Intro Writing Award, a Hambidge Fellowship and an Oregon Individual Artist Grant. A graduate of Reed College and the University of Houston Creative Writing Program, she teaches creative writing at Boston College.
Even combing his hair was difficult
The empty glass with its shock
They have eaten me away
thinking a piece at a time,
He was afraid of daylight,
Hated death especially, couldn’t see
explaining this to others. The house
Bag caught in the crabapple, looking more and more like a living
bloat that waxed and waned all winter. You can leave now. You’ve done
ghost. The course of your dying is too long—each molecule clasped
My sympathy doesn’t extend
I begin to bleed again—elaborate show—
the shelf, wipe down the counters, empty
A mess, a Mass. Keep the ground warm;
Dinghy—unmoored cup of clear water shipped slowly from the clouds
a body of cones, counter-clockwise thought, the brew of blush, incessant
and gentle, incessant again. Gentleness worn away, grains
behind my eyelids’ fallow (seeing cones, whirlwinds). Small.
Dream hazelnut, this hazelnut, will have some crown to throw.
Ay, lamentations. The twig twitches in my fingers, goes down
inky ejaculate, the tongue’s nib, tasting the dream air blue.
Lilies of the field
We have forgotten to consider them—five
Kate Schapira lives in Providence, RI, where she teaches writing to college and elementary school students, makes chapbooks, and runs the Publicly Complex Reading Series. She’s the author of several chapbooks published by other people, including The Love of Freak Millways and Tango Wax (Cy Gist Press), Case Fbdy. (Rope-A-Dope Press), and The Saint’s Notebook (forthcoming from Flying Guillotine Press), and her work has appeared in Narwhal (Cannibal Books), A Sing Economy (Flim Forum Press), Women’s Studies Quarterly, and Ecopoetics, among other places.
The passing of design.
Hers were so elegant
Her tantrums built
black under things
Distance between the art of the possible
Who knows what she was trying
Distance isn’t the heart of lack:
Bombs from outside
math in their
Not in their function.
and untrue alike,
Chris Tonelli co-curates The So and So Series and is the author of four chapbooks, most recently No Theater (Brave Men Press, forthcoming) and For People Who Like Gravity and Other People (Rope-A-Dope Press, forthcoming). New work can be found in LIT, SIR!, Sixth Finch, and the Tusculum Review. He teaches at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where he lives with his wife Allison.
|Copyright © 2009 by Chris Tonelli, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. Copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the editors are notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.|