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Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Boston’


Jack O’Brien starts the festival of poetry in Asimov’s November issue with a rewrite of Shakespeare’s 116th Sonnet: “Let me not to the making of new minds / admit impediment.” Frankenstein as a man of rhyme. Fun to compare old poem versus new, see where O’Brien cribbed rhymes and phrases and turned them to his own nefarious purposes. Might be a good exercise to have students do such rewriting, except they would surely turn subversive. ;->

Bryan D. Dietrich also has fun with monsters in his poem, “The Monster” — “Does he contradict himself? Very well, / then…” Here the monster is running a kind of Walt Whitman-esque list of himself: “What makes him — / crafted from everything other — want another / other…?” I have to admit, Whitman’s containing multitudes is a great place from which to start concocting a monster.

Lou Ella Hickman’s narrator in “Creature Comforts” loses a rapid battle with something like fishes’ ick: “it soon / became like a scale from monstrous fish / drink more water I thought…” Made me smile.

Dominica Phetteplace thought to create a monster from parts of long ago in her “Neanderthal Frankenstein” “to grow up to become the other…” And does a subtly effective job of moving (more or less) from slant rhymes to true.

And good ol’ Bruce Boston flips that thought on its head by giving us “Marie Antoinette, 2125,” too short to quote but with a sentiment that all us book lovers will surely appreciate.

Lot of fun in this issue.

Peace in poetry,

P M F Johnson

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In the February 2013 issue of Asimov’s (don’t know why they like to count a month ahead) Ruth Berman’s “How Many” is a fun little derivation from the phrase how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.  “Well, it depends. / Self expression, / Room for one’s plenty.”  Then she reviews what happens with two angels, all the different dances one might see in that case, then keeps increasing the number, eight, nine, reaching ten “Chagalling overhead / To make up the minyan, /The angel with the fiddle.”  Kind of a cerulean square dance, I guess.  ;->  I liked it.

Bruce Boston outdoes himself this month, with “Curse of the Procrustean’s Wife,” turning the old Greek Procrustean myth into a modern fable of emotional abuse.  “She was once a woman / of moderate size…with moderate / needs and desires.”  It develops in a compact, powerful manner: “the longer / she stays by his side, / as he delimits her needs and defines her…”  The abuse, of course, increases, and the result, at the end, is devastating.  A great poem.

Finally, Robert Frazier gives us “7:17 AM, June 30, 1908, Central Siberia,” which title gives the time and location of a meteor (?) striking the earth.  He distributes eyewitness quotes to lay the groundwork: “the sky split in two” “fire appeared high and wide” then discusses how investigators, decades later, could not find the spot, and speculate on why this might be: “‘no crate site revealed’ by the aerial survey of 1938.”  Meteor?  Spacecraft?  You be the judge.  Kind of an interesting review of what-ifs and what-might-bes.

Peace in poetry,

P M F Johnson

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