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Posts Tagged ‘Blue Collar Review Spring 2019’


I’m glad that a magazine like Blue Collar Review exists, that poetry with a caring point of view has not vanished, that not all attempts at poetry are simply academic, or intellectually driven.

There are some fine poems in this issue. I liked “So Far Away from the Nightingale,” by Fred Voss. “It is 6:05 am and still dark in the L.A. basin and one of the men / on the shop floor has… thrown open the big overhead tin / doors…” it begins. “we tap / with hammers turn screws lock cutters… and no one mentions the drought / or global warming…” A poem about hard work in the context of our larger world, of the larger troubles we all face. “we handle parts that will fit into spaceships.” The irony inherent in blue collar work geared at helping someone, someday, escape the mess our world is becoming. We need work like this.

Al Markowitz gives us a poem comparing a person’s life to a butterfly’s in “April Butterfly.” “Emerging / from the wintered-over chrysalis… to be born / under a bad sign… emerging flawed.” It’s a straightforward poem, which gives it a strength and even a touch of humor, and a smile of recognition for the reader.

“Windscreen Washer,” by Christopher Palmer, recognizes a moment many of us have experienced. “A footy shirt zigzags / among all the passers-by… working the corner of Northbourne and Hunt… this intersection; it’s his patch, his beat.” We feel the vulnerability of the fellow hustling for a few scattered dollars. “questioning with his eyebrows.” A fine understatement here.

Boy, I liked “Over Broken Bottles and Rivers,” by Millicent B. Accardi. Such a wonderful voice. “We sailed, unequaled amid / a stupid sea of hard knocks. / You were no sharp match / for me, a somber artifact…” This poem is an education in how to use adjectives as spice, to accent or invert meanings just enough to make the story interesting. Very nice.

Finally, Joan Colby’s “Blame,” has a real bite. “It was not secured therefore it toppled / When the child tried to climb.” An indictment of carelessness among manufacturers. “An innocent object, a dresser…” The actual moment of disaster is not pictured; instead, the author turns to a larger view of our lives. “Who can sleep through storms? / Who finds relief in changing passwords?” A reflection of the dangers of our modern world, of how little we can protect ourselves from, at last. Powerful.

Peace in poetry,

P M F Johnson

My book of poems, Against The Night, a wry look at a love that builds through a long marriage, is available on Amazon, and at other fine e-retailers.

Related blog posts:

Nimrod – Spring-Summer 2019

The Missouri Review – Spring 2019

Rattle 64 – Summer 2019

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