Friday, December 25, 2009

Poetry Press Review - Southern Poetry Review # 47 :2


Issue # 47:2 of the Southern Poetry Review (SPR) is a collection of poems orchestrated through subtle transitions of poetic themes, carefully engineered by its poetry editors.

The issue commences with a group of five poems, followed by « Slow Fuse Around the Cranium » by Elton Glaser, a poem that was awarded the 2009 Guy Owen Prize.

“Slow Fuse Around the Cranium” is a poem written in a vein of humour and lyricism, whose final may be construed as the fulcrum of the poem:

« The future might ring in the rich bronze
Midnight tone of some Mongolian death gong… »

Or maybe not.

Perhaps a few other key points are made (and hidden) in the preceding stanzas where rhetorical questions are asked:

« …when I can
Flay myself in the doldrums of my own home? »

A poetry of surprising metaphors and themes, found on page 17 of this issue of the Southern Poetry Review is « Cleaning the Mermaid » by William L Ramsey.

I should mention that I personally view this poem as a unique artistic achievement in the context of a string of poems of high poetic calibre within the collection.

« Cleaning the Mermaid » by William L Ramsey dazzles through its imagery and poetical treatment.

With no intention to give away the gist of this poem, since its poetic tension can hardly be rendered ‘second hand’ , I would like to quote a few lines, that might provide an inkling as to the  poem’s theme, weaved in over three stanzas.

Here is the beginning of the first stanza:

« What to say of it, the fish part,
    that does not sound like
    any fish »

To note that this forceful beginning is followed by a second stanza, where cascading metaphors are sequenced out in a dramatic crescendo that take the reader to a mountain-top of poetic exhilaration.

Once having reached the high altitude where William L. Ramsey’s poem has taken us, it becomes increasingly difficult to put up with run-of-the-mill poetry.

Fortunately enough, other poems in the collection continue to maintain this altitude.
Among them: « Burning Down the Camper » by Mark Jay Brewin, JR.

This poem is a miniature symphony, in which the abrasiveness of reality yields, in its final, to an opening, an aperture into what poets of a different era would call ‘the ineffable’ or ‘the sublime’.


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