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Posts Tagged ‘Mary Ellen Talley’


Mary Ellen Talley starts us out in this issue with two poems, “Red #1” and “Red #2”. They work together for me, each very short, but displaying the same structure and so creating resonance. The first opens with “The bruise at its beginning…” the next with “By now the core / of the apple…” Both beginnings contrast against the second parts of their poems, and since they come right after the other, the reader can go back and forth, taking them almost as one work, almost like a cross-stitch. It’s an interesting exercise to mush two separate poems together that way.

Benjamin L. Perez gives us a few “Fragments From / The Love Songs of Hades.” Again, these are in a series, and so bounce off each other. “Eos,” is the first fragment: “Play yourself, like a lyre.” The fragments use subtle rhymes. “Elegos” is two couplets, “Heavier poise, silent-echo; / Heavier peace, blinding shadow.” being the first one. With so few words, we can concentrate on the ones we have, meditate on them, roll them around on the tongue.

In fact, with many of these poems, what is left out is more than half the effect. That sure seems true with Beatrix Gates’ poem: “Dear Half, // I feel the unwound / cave heart / that does not speak.” What of the other half, we wonder. What might the cave say if it did speak?

But other poems, like Jane Stuart’s “Slippery leaf / caught in the corner..” are a complete meditation unto themselves; all is there for us. It is the silence after the poem that reveals the resonance.

Finally, one of my absolute favorites of this issue is Valorie Broadhurst Woerdehoff’s “my first visit / to father’s grave…” which has a semi-amusing, semi-shocking, and maybe even semi-poignant twist. Certainly there’s much to think about here, in this bite-sized little poem.

Peace in Poetry,

P M F Johnson

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

Related blog posts:

Missouri Review – Fall, 2018

Iconoclast – #117

Rattle 62 – Winter 2018

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