Posts Tagged ‘Gary Mesick’

Bruce Bond opens the fall issue of Atlanta Review with a poem, “Mistakes,” after W.S. Merwin. It does have Merwin’s sort of square look on the page, each line being of similar length: “They are out there somewhere the mistakes / that led me…in some room / where they grow a little old…” An interesting meditation on mistakes as a collection of items to be listened to, guides to more mindfulness (the poet’s idea not mine).

“Pride,” by Judson Mitcham, about “the deadliest hotel fire in U.S. history” captured my attention: “Billboards along the road…called the Winecoff fireproof…” It becomes a personalized poem in an understated way, about grief and uncertainty.

“My Father Whistled” by Thomas Lux explores limitations: “only when he was nervous about fixing something…It was an aptitude he lacked.” Certainly I feel an uncertainty about fixing household objects, so this poem hits home.

Sidney Wade has fun with “Hot Flashes.” She starts the poem, “they come / at 4 am // hooligans / in wet suits…bomb the / monument // to Morpheus…” A well-crafted work. We get a shot of empathy.

Atlanta Review has always been a magazine dedicated to poems grounded in the real world, the shared experience. Probably one of the reasons I like the magazine so much. We get a sense of all the worlds around us about which we know little. “The Cabinet Maker’s Apprentice” by Arthur Smith is one such poem: “The smell from the ripped plywood / was vinegary in the rained-in garage…” Why yes, I think, I have smelled that smell. “It made all of learning bittersweet…” And we want to know why.

I very much liked “Hay Fever,” by Gary Mesick,” it has such a surprising/arresting beginning: “I’m drowning in sex…” You know right off this is a poem by a poet who attends to his audience, cares about their experience, wants them to leave the poem happy. “Strange, spoor-laden secretions / dam my lungs.” Great pun there. And the best line: “Cruel, craven stamens.” Anyone who has had hay fever will relate.

There are quite a few more poems of equal quality in the mag — this is a very solid issue, much to be enjoyed.

Peace in poetry,

P M F Johnson

My eBook of poems, Against The Night, a sweet, rueful look at love in a long marriage, is available on Amazon, and at other fine e-retailers.

Related blog posts:

Blue Collar Review – Fall 2017

The New Yorker – Jan 22 2018

Rattle 58 – Winter 2017


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