Posts Tagged ‘Peter C. Leverich’

I liked “Paws For Peter” by Peter Leverich in this issue. But of course, with a title like that, how could I not? ;-> “down from his nursery window / a neighbor’s cat / gives us pause…” A fun, quick thing.

“Before” by Lisa Meserole has some sharp images as well. “when the …myrtle’s in…bloom / and the marigold’s still getting butterfly love.”

Charlotte DiGregorio gives us “Ode To Shade.” “Sooth me, after months / of wasting sun.” I always like double meanings, as with the word wasting there. Lots of good stuff in this work. “maple trees shedding / weightless crimson and gold.”

Carol A. Amato’s poem “Progeny” has such an excellent opening: “Beyond August / dragonflies still stop / to capture precious spots of sun.” That could almost be a poem in itself. I think this may be my favorite poem in the issue, in fact: “monarchs have emerged / from their jeweled inscrutable wombs…” A lot of thoughtful lines here. “the rip-tide wind…”

“October 4” by Joan Colby is worth reading. “The gilt beans have been harvested / Leaving a scraped and bare audacity…” Interesting to choose audacity over austerity there.

“Pumpkins on the River” by Phyllis Beck Katz has such an unusual idea: pumpkins in a flood floating off down the river. “You could see lines of liberated / pumpkins stretching for miles.” Great image.

Ed Galing’s “The Park” touched me. “It looked so out of place / a small park right in the center / of a busy street.” The very spareness and plain language of this poem lend it power.

Many other excellent poems fill this issue as well, too many all to mention.

Peace in poetry,

P M F Johnson

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

Related blog posts:

Iconoclast – #116

The New Yorker – Aug 13, 18

Rattle 60 – Summer 2018


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In the latest Avocet, Peter C. Leverich, the former editor, gives us a light poem, about a ride in a boat, called “Lift.” “…one sharp tug on the leeward sheet / and the sail breaks loose, / rustling and slappy.” The poems put me back on a sailboat, where I have not been in more than a while. Really, it’s the ending that makes this poem work for me, uplifting, but not sappily so.

Joan Colby’s “Evensong” is an adept poem: “Dark stem floating / Like a long bird into an ambush of cloud. / It is twilight.” Too short for a sonnet but with that sort of movement and sweep, and a strong ending.

David S. Pointer gives us a fun little haiku, starting with “old go cart track” — I like the pairing of this line with the second image very much, and breaking away from the 5-7-5 format seems wise for this poem.

Nick Adams goes deeper with his poem “Birds And Looks” than a simple describing of a natural scene; the narrator is hauled along on a bird watch without necessarily wanting to be there: “She invites me…to watch birds. / I think we should leave them alone.” That amused tone carries well throughout the poem. “We’re after the ones who shun us and / find us troublesome…No matter, it makes her happy.” Worth re-reading.

John L. Wright gives us “The Western Red Cedar,” about the narrator’s relationship to a tree. “I’ve done the talking, / but you…nearly symmetrical, have been the teacher.” Again, there is more going on here, as the narrator evidently has the tree cut down at the end; we are not sure why. And it points out how limited such a relationship really is: “I feel a twinge of emptiness, of angst really…” Not everything in poetry is a huge deal, some losses are small, though real.

Lastly, Joanne Stokkink gives us “July Cinquain,” an almost imagist poem that works very well for me: “with sticks / longer than the / crow locked in its beak / the crow stops…” Again it is the ending that makes this poem, but of course to read it you should send off for the magazine. ;->

Peace in poetry,

P M F Johnson

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The Fall 2013 issue of The Avocet features Joanne Stokkink, who has appeared in these pages before. I enjoyed especially her first poem, “The Scarecrow — After Wallace Stevens” “You must have the mind of autumn / to see the bright pumpkins.” She’s discussing ‘you’ as a scarecrow: “Holding a black crow on your gloved left hand. / You’re no falconer.” Love the sense of humor here. And a top notch ending.

I like Peter C. Leverich’s “By the Light of the Silvery Moon,” and not just because my wife immediately began singing it to me when I started reading the poem to her. “Slo / mo / moon // barely / up to / speed…” fun variations on that.

Irene Fick had a thoughtful poem, “Signs.” “My dear friend believes her dead husband / came back to her as a blue-jay…” An interesting meditation on death and memory and signs.

And with Ann Floreen Niedringhaus’ “Autumn Garden,” you know a poem is going to be good when it starts: “Behold the sturdy brussel sprout.” And it is. ;-> Definitely worth reading.

Janet Riegle gives us a very good sonnet indeed, “Wrens on Fall Migration.” Only going back to it did I realized this was a sonnet, though it is purely rhymed and all, about wrens testing a nest in the fall. What a great theme, even.

I liked Charles Portolano’s “Autumn Love Affair / for Pat Bush.” We get to fill in some of the blanks, which is nice. “When she turned sixty she told me, / her favorite season had always been / the fall…” A beautiful portrait of a person.

Oh, and there are other good poems in this issue. “Texas, 1944” by Jim Spurr (now there’s a western name!). “Autumn Exchange,” by Joyce Holdread “”Where slender strippers / in a final fling / cast their garish garb / to the frenzied wind.” “Thin Paper Bags,” by James L. Freeman… a rich issue all around.

Peace in Poetry,
P M F Johnson

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Image is of central importance in the poems in the Summer 2013 Avocet, and one of the poems that handles image best here is Peter C. Leverich’s “Egret” — “An exclamation of white / in the first light of day…” and “quiet in the water’s lap.” I enjoyed going through the poem as each image unfolded.

I don’t remember haibun appearing so often in previous issues, but they sure do here. I especially enjoyed the haiku that ended “Bones,” by Dennis E. Rhodes. “…fickle summer / should be ashamed of herself / for going so fast…” We’ve all felt that way!

I liked “Summer Reading,” by Gary Blankenburg: “…in the sheer nebulosity, / heat, and drowse / of a summer afternoon…”

And both my wife and I liked “Where da rabbit,” by Charles Portolano. “Our walks aren’t the same /ever since Coco…first sawe that rabbit…” We have a little Bichon, Bogart, and he was so proud of himself for chasing rabbits out of our garden (back when we had a garden). He knew it was his job, and he felt he was very good at it indeed. ;->

Finally, let me mention a poem printed here in full by Joan Colby, from a review in this magazine about her new book, “Dead Horses.” Which poem is “Ox Team At Garfield Farm,” a description of oxen yoked and working together. “By two months wearing the smallest yoke.” A meditation on life, on pairing up, on work. “The commands / Which nigh ox and off ox / Understand differently.” Very much worth reading.

Peace in poetry,

P M F Johnson

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So the spring issue of The Avocet starts with three poems by ed galing, the most powerful of which for me is “voyage for two,” about a man and his wife going on a familiar journey through the woods each spring — to a cabin maybe? — “ducks were always in / no danger from us,” bringing us a beautiful scene. “sun shining on the / ripples making a sort of web…” But the web catches more than just water: “the doctor had already / told me that / memory loss is evident” and there is a beautiful twining of the natural and the personal from there to the end of the poem.

Peter C. Leverich, freed from his editing chores, gives us a poem about a heron on his pond: “he marks it with his air of hauteur…” giving the creature a real personality through the heightened tone, and making the poem fun: “he behaves like he’s the king of France!” The turn to the narrator’s voice leads us to a more philosophical end, very satisfying: “Yet I would be his alter Audubon, the illustrator of…”

Joan Colby gives us a poem, “Spring Green,” about yearning for spring — since we had snow here yesterday, particularly apt for me. ;-> “First grass / hormonal with a green intensity…” Great line. And then a paired poem, “Spring Snow,” which goes deeper into the soul, lending it power when contrasted with the previous poem. “The moon stalls…I toss in its headlight / unable to save myself…”

Charles Portolano gives us a portrait of “The American Avocet,” very appropriate indeed: “I watch unseen this / long-legged shorebird, with its pied plumage / and a dash of red around / its head and neck…”

I liked Andy Roberts’ poems, “Waiting” and “Bluebells in the Floodplain,” and the emotional renderings of M.J. Iuppa’s “Hemlock Lake.” “They are staring us down — standing guard over / 120 confined eggs.”

Finally, let me mention “Black Swallowtail,” by Charles H. Harper, having an interesting beginning: “I believe in the visible world / there is no creature softer…” which, put the way it is, gives us the first line to be read not only as a commentary on the butterfly itself, but also a declaration of the narrator’s whole approach to the world, a belief in the image, the concrete, that which is real. This sort of sly complexity recurs throughout the poem. Very nice.

Peace in the valley,

P M F Johnson

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