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32 Poems, Fall/Winter 2016

This is a pretty decent collection of poems. It didn't necessarily blow my socks off, but to be perfectly honest it's probably better than the depression and anhedonia in my brain are letting on. It's got quite a lot of romantic poems and poems about things growing in the spring for a Fall/Winter edition of a lit mag, but then again maybe the depths of fall is exactly the time when you need a poem about green things growing.

I do know that I like the concept of this literary magazine: no fluff, no explanation, no opening letter from the editor. Just 32 poems, most of them short enough to fit on one page, from poets that aren't necessarily well-established but like. Maybe they could be. There's a poem by Maggie Smith in this edition, is what I'm saying.

Here's a poem I quite liked, and not just because it has an epigraph by Terry Pratchett:

From Can to Can't

by Susan Blackwell Ramsey

"She meant from the first moment in the morning when you can see,

to the last minute at night when you can't"

--Terry Pratchett

After breakfast, in the observation car,

Kansas flowed dim outside our dome of windows.

Horizon everywhere implied, the night

began to thin, details surfacing

as if all the world were Polaroid,

the land now light, and still the sun not up.

Where I lived glaciers left us lakes and hills.

Trees velvet our horizon. I live with lamps.

Through undifferentiated dark I've lollopped

without discernment or appreciation,

a bumpkin guzzling brandy like cheap beer.

True connoisseurs see three degrees of twilight

before the sun appears, after it sets:

civil, nautical, astronomical.

This matters to navigators, mountain lions,

Muslims, hunters, generals, Jews, and deer.

What joy in being handed a specialized tool,

trowel instead of pointed stick, steel needle

instead of bone, scalpel so what seemed

a lump falls into shining separate leaves.

To some eyes green sings "jade, viridian, kelly..."

Nuance is the daughter of attention.

Sailors need a clear horizon and a star

to navigate. Well, don't we all,

but most of us are glad for civil twilight,

for light enough to walk without a lantern.

Only astronomers want it deep enough

to see the Milky Way before it's night.

So India celebrates "cow dust time" as magic,

Parisians promenade at the blue hour,

Scottish lovers take advantage of the gloaming,

and as night comes on I'll try to pay attention,

try to differentiate degrees of dark.

- - -

If you buy the magazine, you can even see it with the correct formatting! which is, most likely, a better experience.


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