Take the alleged mundanity in “Trash-Burning”—“Out here it’s most weekends in the summer”; the personification of the “chair-back straight” tree in “Memory Tree”; and the Latin “vocat/aestus in umbra” in “National Bohemian Pastoral,” and you glimpse Mercer Bufter’s poetic philosophy.
A spiritual passion awakens in Ann Christine Tabaka’s poetry. The titles instruct: in “Cutting Through the Fog” the brume swallows the poet whole; in “Eternal Games” the story, like uroboros, eternally chases “its own tail”; and in “Brokenness” emptiness reaches out, “searching.”
It’s hard to match Samuel E. Cole’s lyricism. In “Instinct,” it’s the visualization of the child’s “heartbeat adrift/among the sounds of/cosmic collision”; the natural imagery as foreground in “Cherry Horses”; and the narrative of poverty wailing “multitude horrors” in “Epiglottis.”
An unambiguous pathos permeates Clara Burghelea’s poetry in, for example, this line: “I would have grown forgetful, had I stayed” in “My Own Key Slotted in Your Door.” Then, in “Survival” “love gave its sorrow a name/and drowned it.” And “how can I breathe breathless into the air of you?” in “On Life’s Meaningful Pauses.”
Read Renoir Gaither’s poems out loud and catch the meaning collapsing into rhythmic meter, as in this tercet in “Morning Papers Waltz”: “Salutations to subway dreams and spearmint gum./Salutations to asphyxiating oil addition and asthmatic Raqqa streets./Salutations to corporate welfare recipients mewing at public troughs.” The same is true of “Envelope” and “Auction.”
There is a special resonance in Louis LoRe’s poems. In “Community College of Vermont, the Early Days,” you hear the girl think “with hopes of becoming.” In “When I Awake” you feel the fear as “he rises to his haunches” and escapes. And you realize the boy can no longer be innocent of the apocalypse of nuclear war in “Sunday Morning.”
Leigh Fisher shows how the art of poetic narration works in “Fairer Hands,” in which the poet tries “to scale a ladder that was never made to be climbed”; and in “Diploma for Daedalus,” where no labyrinth prevents her success “with this degree in hand.” In “Dotted or Solid” she learns “the goal/is obeying the road’s lines.”
E. Merrill Brouder’s poetry is not limited in style or meaning. See the poet professing his love on the Ferris wheel in “County Fair, Senior Year”; delivering an encomium to the natural world in “Hallelujah, Hallelujah”; and asking, “What will become/ of the MERRILL lot/now that everyone has left?” in Genealogy.
Unmistakable in Adam Que’s poetry is his down-to-earth perspective, as presented in the narrative of Reye’s syndrome in “The Leftovers”; the concrete image of “Chaco shredding the pollo” in “Tuesday”; and the rich irony between “real” nature and “a downloaded app” in “Simulation.”
Elizabeth Luchniski shows us how to see women as individuals in “12 Ways of Looking At a Woman,” just as she does two men who “share a laugh/Discuss the unknown” in “Skyless Sky.” And “A Poem Is” a poem “That you may need,/But only if/You can feel it.
Personification meets allegory in Luciana Erregue-Sacchi’s poem “My Apple”—“Eve,/Stands, unrepentant/Venus Pudica”; and metaphor meets personification in “Garden”—“my garden is a map of my brain/Cobalt, cadmium, coral, kidney shaped.” “Volcanoes In Antarctica?” Read the poem to see poetry as analysis.
Nostalgia has a significant influence on humanity, and the wistfulness in Maya Roe’s poetry is poignant. The three stanzas “In Land I Knew” illuminate the poet’s remembrances as if you the reader were experiencing the land itself; so too in “Tangles” and “1941/2017” as entrances to the inner heart of memory.
Breslin White’s poetry is matter-of-fact, yet the irony in “Whence” plays with this pragmatism. “With Mother,” the line, “Some of these shapes look suspicious” injects a contrary interpretation. And the poem “All Alert”? Readers, like the swans, are “placated with the transformation.”
In each of Mart-Matteus Kampus’ poems visualization is key. In “Funabulism” a cat devours a mouse, “his red/whiskers/tightrope/walked/in the clear/morning air.” In “Click” the camera eye embraces all of what it sees—“sky,” shy moon,” “gentle summer.” And then there is “Chrysalis”—a feast of imagistic verse.