Tceautumn2013 jeweled

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The Centrifugal Eye

Autumn 2013 Volume 8 Issue 2

The Centrifugal Eye

Editor-in-Chief & Art Director: Eve Anthony Hanninen Contacts Editor & Review Columnist: Karla Linn Merrifield Assistant Editors: David-Glen Smith, Maureen Kingston, Mark Melton Essay Columnist: Erik Richardson Editorial Assistant & Reviewer: D. J. Bryant Art Assistants: D. J. Bryant & Stephanie Curtis Staff Readers’ Circle: Anonymous Reviewers

“Jeweled” Designed by E. A. Hanninen Spot Art: Top - L: “Winter” by Phil Martin, R: “Neon” by Cece Chapman Middle - L: “Screengrab from Paste film” by Cece Chapman, R: “Sanke Madonna” by Edward Schelb Bottom - L: Slice of “Owl Christ” by Edward Schelb, C: “Lincoln Cobbles” by Phil Martin, R: “Beachrox” by Cece Chapman

Fonts Used: Headline — Sybil Green; Display — Beach House Stars; Body Copy — Constantia

Copyright 2013 The Centrifugal Eye *Collected Works*

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Editorial Glints off Sunlit Water by Eve Anthony Hanninen

Luke Stromberg 8-23

Interview, Poems & Essay

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Neutrality by Ron Yazinski Along the Moroccan Road by Brigit Kelly Young The Naturalist by Lynette Reini-Grandell Digs Tintagel Castle by Phil Wood The Gospel of Columbkille by Edward Schelb Journeying Alone in Assisi by Lucia Galloway Scrumptious Words by Tricia Knoll The Letter J by Lynn Hoffman Perspective by Karen Greenbaum-Maya With Ruby by A. J. Huffman Super Flea by John Flynn A Wealth of Things by Laury A. Egan Grande Dame of the Carbons by Fern G. Z. Carr Wounded Bison Drawn on a Cave Wall 15,000 B.C. by Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt Misleading Spirits by Martin Willitts, Jr.

30-34 35 36 37 38 39 40-41 42-43 44 45 46-47 50

Review Column: Merrifield’s Tao of Poetry: “the lost jewelry showed up” On Anne Whitehouse’s The Refrain, by Karla Linn Merrifield


Reviews: Jewels Fashioned with Craft, by Colleen Powderly On Merrifield’s Attaining Canopy: Amazon Poems & On Egan’s The Sea & Beyond


Memoriam: Karla Linn Merrifield on Robert C. “Beau” Cutts


Literary Gems & Valuable Facets: The Latest News & Guides

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By Eve Anthony Hanninen

Peacock feathers, a dew-spritzed spider web, a thousand dragonflies cloaking a lilac shrub in Joseph’s coat-of-many-colors; these natural beauties are but a few that stimulate my nervous system into excitement. And what of the manmade lovelies that have existed since humans took up tools? Intricate carvings, gilded religious illuminations, jeweled crowns, silk embroideries? I do appreciate ornamental things, like many people. Yet, for me to be most enamored, these “things” will have an elegant, vintage cast about them. I’m not a glitzy, bling-y sort of gal, so instead, I prefer lowlight gleam and Old-World luster. I’m “an antiquer” — a sifter of junk and picker of treasures. Some people like to collect and/or exhibit items of a specific nature, like NBA trading cards or Coro’s demi-parure, aurora borealis jewelry. The specifics depend entirely on what each collector perceives is of value: what’s beautiful, what’s worthy; perhaps, even, what’s functional. This sort of collecting and displaying is prevalent on Internet social-media sites, too, where information-treasure-hunters are dazzled by digital, photographic images and hyperlinks leading to profound/ funny/ provocative status updates or blogsite articles that our friends and colleagues have curated like so many blissful packrats. What splendid plunder will we find in our newsfeeds, today? We ask ourselves. My grandmother, Dorothy Jane, whom some of our readers may remember from earlier editorials, passed away last year at the age of 95. During much of her lifetime, she was an avid practitioner of this “information curating.” She had access to the Internet for very few of those years, little chance to scour the Web for its sparkling, witty news stories. Nor did she luxuriate in the ease of rapid communication transfer — but she did rely upon the Pony Express (okay, the United States Postal Service) to deliver savvy news paragraphs and scrumptious recipes clipped from the Erie Times News (PA) that she “liked” and wanted to “share” with family members and friends. These little gems that she set within the pages of nearly all her hand-penned letters were valuable to me, because when I unfolded the long, printed columns or typeset blocks of newsprint, I knew these particular clippings meant something special to her — whether I had any association with them or not: her church raffle, local Villa Maria volleyball tournament, a tree planted in a neighborhood I never visited. This is human nature. To collect ideas and memories, as well as trinkets, souvenirs, or even expensive valuables that most of us deem “treasures.” What we prize in our hearts is often considered the greatest treasures — emotions and experiences valued above inanimate objects — these precious jewels we believe irreplaceable. And who but poets are most likely to uncover the language that best represents the varied things we value?

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I think you’ll enjoy the approach we’ve taken in highlighting the poems selected for our Jeweled issue: a flowing reveal of similar and evolving notions that straddle both the natural and manmade realms of “value.” So, please— go on a “treasure hunt” of poetic ideas with our Featured Interview Poet, Luke Stromberg, and me. Borrow a jeweler’s loupe and examine the fine facets of each of our poets’ poems. Dig for gold in the sand, explore ancient caves and diamond mines. Celebrate words and letters for their shine. Delve into 2 great reviews and a gem of an essay. I bet you’ll find plenty to “like” and “share” with your colleagues and friends. And while you may be disappointed that our “Into the Labyrinth” column does not appear in this issue, essay columnist Erik Richardson plans to return to it in 2014 after his current hiatus involving robotics in education. Do tell, Erik!

“Canal Street Scene” By Phil Martin, 2013

TCE’s staff and I wish you a sparkling holiday season.

Eve Anthony Hanninen is an American poet, editor, and illustrator ranging the Saskatchewan prairies. Her poems have appeared in Karla Linn Merrifield & Friends (mgv2>publishing), Eye Socket Journal, Switched-on Gutenberg, Sea Stories, th and many other fine journals. She is anthologized in The Centrifugal Eye’s 5 -Anniversary Anthology, Crazed by the Sun and Trim: A Mannequin Envy Anthology. Eve edits and publishes The Centrifugal Eye poetry journal and is currently at work on TCE’s Chapter & Verse Mini-Chapbooks Project, and on two poetry collections of her own, as well as launching a new, limited-edition, altered-book imprint called Sylvanshine Editions. Contact Eve:

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“Fairy Queen” By Phil Martin, 2013

art, craft, concept, perception, nature, scarcity, rarity, value, art, craft, concept, perception,

art, craft, concept, perception, nature, scarcity, rarity, value, art, craft, concept, perception, nature, scarcity, rarity, value, art, craft, concept,

“Jeweled Chalice� By Phil Martin, 2013

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art, craft, concept, perception, nature, scarcity, rarity, value, art, craft, concept, perception, nature, scarcity, rarity, value, art, craft, concept,

art, craft, concept, perception, nature, scarcity, rarity, value, art, craft, concept, perception,

The Centrifugal Eye’s

“Luke Stromberg” By Zach Burkhart, 2013


Eve Anthony Hanninen, editor-in-chief of The Centrifugal Eye, chats with poet Luke Stromberg about what he finds valuable in poetry, conversation, and life-in-general. EAH: It’s a pleasure to get to learn more about you, Luke. You confess to enjoy conversation, so that’s a boon for The Centrifugal Eye’s readers. What do you like to talk about most? LS: Since I’m an avid reader and an English teacher, I obviously enjoy talking about books — particularly poetry. I can honestly say that there are few things I enjoy more than close reading. Yeah, sometimes it's nice to read or listen to a poem, for instance, and just let it wash over me, but I love to sit down with a poem and try to unlock its mysteries. And I don't just mean figuring out what a poem "means," but how it means, what it "does" — if that makes sense. This isn't just a solitary pleasure for me, either. I'm interested in what other people have to say. That conversation, that back and forth — that's exciting to me. EAH: TCE makes a practice of participating in extended personal communications with many of its contributors. This obviously jibes with your love of intellectual interactions. LS: Yes, I think a sense of community is good for creating art. When you’re in touch with other people who are trying to do the same kind of things that you’re doing, it helps you feel like you matter, like you have an audience. That’s very motivating. And you can benefit from other people’s experiences, too. Plus, it’s just fun to talk!

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I discovered how much I enjoyed that sense of community when I was a student at West Chester University. We had a tight-knit group of writers. When class would end, we would travel en masse — to a nearby pub and pick up where we left off. Our teacher, Alexander Long, would also often come with us. Those were beautiful times. We collaborated on projects together — most notably a spoken word and music record. It felt vital and nourishing. I don’t think I’ve ever been as prolific as I was then. To this day, though, I’m still in touch with most of those people and consider them among my closest friends. We have an informal writing group that meets off and on. That’s when I share my poems first. It’s good to have people like that in your life. From that same group, most volunteer to be on staff with me every summer for the West Chester University Poetry Conference. I've been involved there for several years now. I worked for the poetry center as a graduate assistant and have stayed active there since. The conference focuses mainly on formal and narrative poetry. You probably wouldn't know it from the poems I sent you, but I have a strong interest in formal poetry. I’ve met a lot of cool people and amazing poets through that conference. Then there’s the local Philly scene. I’m a sporadic reader for the poetry editorial board of Philadelphia Stories, and I like to attend readings like the reading series hosted by E-Verse Radio and the salons hosted by Poetdelphia. I try to stay connected. EAH: What are you reading right now? What conversations might arise? LS: I mentioned the informal writing group that I participate in sometimes. As part of our meetings, we assigned each other books. Before we talked about our own poems, we would talk about what we got out of the books. We discussed W.S. Merwin’s The Lice, Michael Donaghy’s Shibboleth, and George Green’s Lord Byron’s Foot. That was fun. Like many writers, I guess, I like to imagine the possibilities for my own work suggested by the poets I read. A little while ago, I got really into Thom Gunn’s stuff. One of the results of that is that I started experimenting with syllabics like he does in My Sad Captains and elsewhere. Juliana Gray has some awesome poems inspired by/in dialogue with Hitchcock films in her recent collection, Roleplay. Since I am a movie buff, I have been meaning to also try to write poems that are inspired by or allude to films. George Green does this to great effect in some of his poems as well. I really admire his stuff. Also, my exposure to a lot of metrical poetry or poetry in received forms has inspired me to write more often in that vein. Right now I’m reading Vanished Act, James Reidel’s biography of Weldon Kees, and revisiting Kees’ collected poems. He is one of my favorite poets. My old boss at the WCU Poetry Center, Michael Peich, introduced me to Kees after one of my poems reminded him of his work. One of the many things I really like about Kees is his skill with received forms. The other day I reread some villanelles and a sestina he wrote. Those forms can often just seem like fun exercises for workshops, but Kees uses them to generate real poems. The first of his “Five Villanelles” (“The crack is moving down the wall”) is just brilliant. Poets more contemporary than Kees demonstrate the continuing vitality of received forms as well. I tried my hand at writing a couple of tritinas (a shortened sestina) after being struck by David Yezzi’s exquisite poem “Tritina for Sussanah.” The poet Ernest Hilbert is a first-rate sonneteer. He has actually created his own modernized sonnet form that has been dubbed the “Hilbertian sonnet.” I could go on. I’m leaving a whole bunch of wonderful poets out. Each time you use a form, too, it’s in conversation with all the other poems written in that form — talk about conversations arising out of poetry!

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The West Chester Conference, of course, is a good place to meet poets who are interested in formal poetry and to talk about it — but other stuff, too; that conference isn’t just about formal poetry. Finding communities, like I mentioned before, is great for an artist — or anyone, really. It’s good to find like-minded people. If you share one obsession, you likely share others as well. It's not just literature that I love to talk about. I like to talk about music, movies, and visual arts, too. EAH: The gems in life. LS: Absolutely. See what I mean? Find like-minded people and good conversations will follow. When I go to a movie with friends, the conversation that happens afterwards can be just as entertaining to me as the movie itself. I have an analytical mind. Not everyone appreciates that. When I used to work as a sewer inspector (among other things) for Upper Darby Township, I would drive my co-workers nuts by picking apart the words to popular songs on the radio and criticizing their use of language. They would tell me that I think too much. One silly example is when we went to this burger place for lunch one time. The place had this mural of a giant hamburger with arms and legs strolling along with a bag of food from this place, and I thought out loud, "Why would a burger eat a burger? Wouldn't that make him a cannibal?" The guys just groaned, and this older gentleman looked at me askance and said, "You're a different sort of fella, aren't you?" I guess I am. I was just trying to make conversation. EAH: Different is good, no? And I’m with you on the advertising sign — in the 1970s, there was a similar sort of burger joint that opened near my house, complete with giant sign depicting a young woman sitting on top of a well-dressed burger. She, too, was dressed fashionably, in bell bottoms, platform shoes, and a peasant blouse. In the ’90s, the new owners updated the sign by repainting the girl in spiked heels, tiny hot pants, and a bra top with bolero. I referred to the place ever afterward as the burger stand “with the prostitute on a bun.” LS: That’s wild! Who wouldn’t notice that and want to talk about it? EAH: It often surprises me when some people don’t, yet I believe that not only words, but images, need to be analyzed for the messages they impart. Is language critique part of your classroom curriculum? Do the students enjoy such discussions? LS: For each one of the students’ major papers, I devote a big chunk of class time to peer review. They read each other’s drafts and give each other feedback using a rubric for performance standards and a reference sheet I provide for them. I am trying to get them to think about writing as a process and to teach them how to think critically about their own writing and other people’s writing. Getting students to think critically can be really difficult. They just haven’t been asked to do it very often, and some of them can be resistant. I see that as part of my job, however. Once in a while, I will get a good group, or the stars will align perfectly or something, and we will have a really good conversation. That’s when teaching is exciting.

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A lot of it, I think, comes down to providing the right scaffolding. You have to model critical thinking. You have to show them how to read closely, how to ask the right questions, how to make connections before you can expect them to do those things on their own. EAH: This relates so well to writers, to poets, who have to learn how to think critically in order to self-edit. Revising requires you to step around your ego to be able to get close enough to the work to read what (you hope) you’ve written and to examine it critically. I usually recommend poets go practice on other poets’ poems to develop a more objective eye. Maybe I should get a few struggling writers I know to enroll in your classes . . . LS: Ha! I wonder how much good I would do them. But I agree that reading other people’s work and learning to read like a writer should be a big part of any creative writing workshop. The ability to read and think critically is an important skill for any writer to develop, really. Even in my College Writing class, we do a whole unit on critical analysis. To begin, I have them find advertisements and write about them. They also bring them in, and we talk about the ads as a class. During other classes in the unit, we have talked about the political messages in Bob Dylan’s songs and compared and contrasted Elvis Presley’s recording of “Hound Dog” to the original by Big Mama Thornton. Most of the unit, though, focuses on analyzing poems. I give them poems with questions, and we discuss them. Poems are very foreign to them, and they can be intimidated. Still, I’ve had a lot of success teaching Gwendolyn Brooks’ “The Mother.” My students tend to love that one. Other poems that have been consistently well received are A.E. Stallings’ “First Love: A Quiz” and Alexander Long’s “Flash Forward with The Amistad Before Us in the Distance” (which is one of the finest contemporary poems that I know and should be more widely read). We have had some really lively and productive conversations about those poems this semester. EAH: I’ll have to look up Long’s poem, too. Thanks for the recommendation. I see you like to “give up the dope” on poetry celebs — offer up the goods, say. You know, some people are afraid to talk about others because they think doing so is “gossip.” Is there a difference between informal conversation and gossip? LS: I should admit that I am a gossip. The word has a negative connotation, but why should it? Robert Frost once said in an interview that the three great things in the world are religion, science, and friendly gossip and that friendly gossip was the greatest because it demonstrated our interest in one another. I like that. One thing I love to do is read biographies of my favorite poets, novelists, songwriters, performers, or whatever, because they are full of good gossip. And I like to get the goods from other people, too. Joshua Mehigan touched on the pleasures — and benefits even — of poetry-world gossip in a recent blog post he wrote for The Best American Poetry. I’m certainly not the only one who enjoys that kind of thing. But actually, I'm interested in good stories in general. Everybody has good stories, but not everyone knows how to identify them or tell them. When something unusual, funny, or dramatic happens to me, I almost always immediately think about how it might become a good story. That's a family trait, I suppose. I come from a line of good storytellers. So yeah, I like to hear good stories, and I like to tell good stories. EAH: Is that why you became an English teacher? Where do you teach?

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LS: I am an adjunct professor at Eastern University in St. Davids, PA. I mentioned earlier that I teach a class called College Writing. It is a composition class. In the past, I have also taught at West Chester University where I went to school. At West Chester, I taught Critical and Research Writing. It can be frustrating and time-consuming, and I don't make a lot of money, but I generally like it. I fit in literature when I can. That's what I went to school for. I've considered going back to school for my PhD or MFA, but I'm still indecisive. That was the original plan, but now I'm not so sure. EAH: How often plans change. Yet you still make sure to fit literature and poetry into your schedule. I’m starting to wonder — with your love for and history in formal poetry — why you submitted the particular poems you did to TCE; were you looking for a free-verse-prominent journal for that batch of works, or did you research us first and decide those poems could be a match? LS: I forget how I discovered TCE. Most likely you published work by a poet I like. That’s how I discover most journals. But I came across your journal a year or so ago and liked it and wanted to send you work. I don’t believe I gave much thought to the fact that all of these poems were written in free verse. They just went together and seemed like the type of work that you might publish. But, yeah, I guess I tend to save my formal poetry for niche formal journals — not all the time, but a lot of the time. About half of my poems are still free verse, but I like to think they are free verse that have been informed by formal poetry. EAH: Informed by classic figures of speech, perhaps— my favorite devices, and surely sometimes necessary adornments? Tropes and metaplasmic figures, or repetitions, such as “anthimerias,” “paragoges,” . . . or “anaphoras”: “Mad world! Mad kings! Mad composition!” (King John) LS: I do try to incorporate those things. Well, I don’t know about paragoges — I tend to use more naturalistic language (even when writing metrical verse) — but I like using nouns as verbs and stuff like that when it feels right. And anaphora is a good device, especially in free-verse poems, which really, I think, are rarely completely free but rather make their own forms. EAH: I love what you said there last. LS: I used anaphora in “Talking to God.” The anaphora was the device I hung the poem on— that idea of repeatedly starting lines with “God.” As I remember, it was originally more repetitive than it is now. I was inspired by Allen Ginsberg poem, “America” (“America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing”). A lot of the lines in that poem begin with the direct address to “America,” like the lines in my poem begin with the direct address to “God.” Ginsberg’s probably also where I got the idea for the long lines, too. Later on, somebody told me it reminded him of Kenneth Fearing. I hadn’t read Fearing at the time, but now that I have, I am pleased that he made that connection. That’s definitely the type of language I was going for. But it was challenging finding the form “Talking to God” should take on the page. I always had the sense that that poem is one that should be spoken for the full effect. In fact, my friends Adam Wassel and Andrew Baranek made a recorded version ( of that poem with voice and piano and performed it live a few times. Adam’s reading of it is a bit

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heavier than I hear it, but it’s really cool, and audiences responded well to it. It’s exciting to have someone take your work and give it new life like that. Finding the appropriate form of a poem is like setting a jewel or making the right cut of a diamond. My teacher, Kate Northrop, always encouraged me to think about the "why" behind the formal decisions I make in my poems. In my view, a poem's formal choices should not be incidental but essential. There has to be some reason why a villanelle is a villanelle— if I may mention that form again. Have you ever seen the drafts for Elizabeth Bishop's "One Art"? I remember seeing them a while back. That poem wasn't originally a villanelle, but eventually the poem found its form, and everything clicked into place. The form participates in that poem's meaning. One way that I have tried to put this idea into action is thinking about my line breaks. How can I create tension or ambiguity in the poem through how I choose to break my lines? Sometimes my line breaks are just about rhythm (I often write in metrical patterns or syllabics, for instance) or how they look on the page; other times, with my line breaks, I am trying to be dramatic, mimic/help create an action or emotion, or lend some kind of semantic ambiguity to a line that enriches the meaning of a poem. In the most successful instances (probably few and far between!), I am doing all of these things. EAH: Line-breaking is a favorite topic of mine — one of the single-most-important devices used in free verse, I believe — and it’s always educational to hear the specifics behind a poet’s decisions for his or her line breaks. Thank you. LS: You’re welcome. Philip Levine has a poem about how his cat’s swatting paw determines his line breaks. I can’t remember the name of it. But I guess we all have our methods. And when I wrote the poems featured in this issue of TCE, I was really into finding interesting imagery. Not only can images make a piece of writing more specific and alive, they can also be so evocative. A picture's worth a thousand words, right? EAH: Absolutely. LS: One of my favorite poets is Archibald MacLeish, and I often think of his poem "Ars Poetica," that great staple of anthologies. When he writes, “A poem should not mean / But be,” I think he is saying that a poem means through being. A less memorable but more precise aphorism comes a few lines earlier in the poem: “A poem should be equal to: / Not true.” The lines that follow elaborate on this statement:

For all the history of grief An empty doorway and a maple leaf. For love The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea—

This poem was one of the poems that really sold me on poetry, and the lines always seemed so beautifully evocative to me. I couldn’t explain grief or love any better or more concisely than those images do. One of the exciting things about poems is the way they can make abstractions particular! The Centrifugal Eye

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And speaking of jewels, as we are in this issue, an image in a poem is often a kind of jewel— something we desire or want to keep. Images are so important for poems about desire or loss. What better way is there to evoke these feelings than by presenting what is desired or lost? What better way is there to write about wanting to hold onto something than by showing what you want to hold onto? EAH: Oh, yes! I agree that an image is a jewel. And the structure of the surrounding lines in a poem is the artistic setting for that jewel. Poems are little treasures. Are you a collector of objects? Or appreciator of fine things? Places? People? LS: I get very sentimental about objects and places— people, too, of course! One of the poems featured, "Chester Heights," is about the small community where my family owned a cottage that we lived in during the summers. When all the people we knew started leaving, and my parents sold that cottage when I was still very young, it was such a traumatic experience for me. A part of me is still grieving! Similarly, I am very attached to my hometown. I don't know why exactly, but the thought of moving away or losing it permanently has always filled me with anxiety— even as I have contemplated it. I fear change. I hold onto things. It's probably why I have such a vivid memory— I am constantly recalling the past. When I was a kid, my dad redid our kitchen, and I insisted on keeping this square of wretchedly ugly wallpaper, so I wouldn't lose it completely. The poet H. L. Hix has a blog called Object Lessons where he invites people to send in pictures of their prized possessions (stuff they didn't buy) and write a little paragraph about them. He invited me to participate in this project. I sent him a picture of my pillow. I've had the same pillow since childhood. Eventually, he published a book collecting the best of the blog called Made Priceless: A Few Things Money Can't Buy. It's a beautiful book. My pillow is featured in it! EAH: Funny, trying to picture your treasured pillow puts me in mind of a precious-stoneencrusted crown resting in the center of it. I don’t suppose you keep a crown lying around for that purpose? But suppose you did— if you could “crown” the next US Poet Laureate, whom would you appoint, and why would he/she deserve the name, “National Treasure”? LS: This is kind of a tough question. A lot of my favorite contemporary poets have already served as Poet Laureate! I don't want to name anyone I know, but a few of my poetry friends and acquaintances would certainly be worthy of that honor. How about Frederick Seidel? He is a poetry-world outsider and would never accept it, but he writes strange, daring, fascinating poems with his own peculiar music. Seidel includes crude jokes and lines that flirt with being doggerel in his poems, but they work with what he is doing. I think he's one of the most interesting American poets writing today. Though much of his work centers on his elite, globe-trotting lifestyle and often strikes one as shameless and decadent, it can also be lyrical and beautiful and pack a mean political punch. Off the top of my head, "Boys" and "Home" from The Evening Man are powerful and "important" poems. A lot of readers are turned off by his work, but he's rarely boring. Besides, wouldn't it be hilarious to name someone as divisive and atypical as Seidel as the representative of American poetry?

EAH: I’ve always had the impression Americans sort of love their divisive poets: Bukowski, Kerouac, Ginsberg, et al. But I guess they seldom (never?) invite them to be laureates. I’ll be keeping an eye on Seidel now.

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And an eye on you; I’d like to return to something you mentioned earlier: You said that the poems appearing here in our feature were concerned especially with imagery. Perhaps you’d like to tell us a little about the genesis of these poems? And why was imagery your main focus in particular? LS: I guess I focused on imagery because most of them began with images — daydreams — and I started pairing images together and realized that I was writing a poem! “Saturday Morning” was written when I worked for Upper Darby Township. Often I would run into the animal warden — in the elevator or restroom or whatever. I was intrigued by what this guy does and started to imagine him taking out a rabid dog with a rifle. There’s probably shades of To Kill a Mockingbird there, too — doesn’t Atticus shoot a rabid animal at some point? Anyway, when I got back to the office, I started to think about a rabid person being put down instead of a dog, and I surreptitiously began drafting that poem. I probably should have been scanning old plot plans for the archive or something. In the poem, the animal warden becomes two policemen because they are scarier. “Teenager in Love,” believe it or not, was inspired by an episode of The Honeymooners. Ralph and Alice try to relive their teen years. Their idea of what teenagers do, unsurprisingly, was very dated — like an early Archie comic. I started to think about the level to which I could relate to the classic iconography of the teenager and that poem emerged. EAH: You’re quite good at imagining yourself in others’ rhinestone shoes. The way you describe getting into the voice of each poem reminds me of horror-fiction-writer Stephen King talking about how he generates his ideas. TCE staff readers were enamored of these genuine voices — they were what attracted us most when selecting your poems for the Jeweled issue’s feature pages. Thanks for joining me in this delightful conversation, Luke.

“Dragon” By Phil Martin, 2013

Read some of Luke’s poems, and his essay, on the following pages, 16-23.

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Luke Stromberg

I am a brother to dragons and a companion to owls. God, I'm being melodramatic; forgive me. I've been having a hard time lately. My friends have all been replaced by empty chairs. Some mornings I step out into the bluster and feel weak as a fallen leaf, a wet paper bag. The spring's long days and yellow leaves are too far off. I wonder if they will come again. God, let me be simple and happy like the people in Pepsi ads. Pull this frowning face off me as if it were a rubber mask. I feel something clawing at my heart, like fingers grubbing in the dirt, And as I stop to think, the end of my pen in my mouth, I realize I have no idea who I am. A visionary? A flake? A poet? A reprobate? The kind of person they erect statues of in parks? Or a ragged hidalgo, tilting at windmills? Surely, I'm not one of the numberless in between, standing in line at the supermarket, same haircuts, same clothes. Am I moving toward something, someone, slowly turning to gold, Or stranded in my living room, watching daytime television? I feel like the understudy for myself. It's time for something new. God, I’ve always admired Humphrey Bogart. Give me his peculiar grace, his fast-talk; Let me stand with one hand in my pocket, swirling scotch in a snifter, calling some woman “Kid,” the picture of self-reliance, blowing smoke between my lips, fazed by nothing. Thank You, God, by the way, for smoke on black and white film, curling, like ivy up a wall, from a cigarette held between two fingers or resting in a jeweled ashtray. If only cigarettes didn’t cause cancer, I would smoke two packs a day. God, sometimes I want to die, but let it be peacefully in my sleep or after collapsing on my lawn in my bathrobe while getting the morning paper, something swift and easy. Spare me the ugly farewell: the solemn young doctor with his clipboard, my family, the sick bed. I don’t like the thought of brownish blood streaking my clean, white, porcelain sink. God, let me be noteworthy. Don’t let me blend in with the wallpaper this time. Make me a writer — one who people read. I’d take it: the table by the window; the notebook, two Pilot pens beside it; the discipline. And it would be nice to be admired, to matter, To have my own talk show with potted plants, a sidekick. Let me mock myself on stage; maybe the floodlights will burn away my insecurity before the dark, laughing crowd. God, You should have never let me watch television. The Centrifugal Eye

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This body You’ve given me, pale and thin, like some ascetic, is no use to me. I am as welcome on the beach as an oil spill. Don’t let that brute in the tight swim trunks kick sand in my face. God, introduce me to Charles Atlas. Make me famous for my build, the classical ideal, the dream of sculptors, a marble statue made flesh. I am so tired of women who say they love my mind. I want to be loved for my body. I don’t want to be just friends. I want to inspire lust in a mousey librarian with cat-eye glasses. Let me slowly unbutton her blouse. Don’t make my fingers tremble; let me kiss her white throat and feel her breath against my ear. God, I want the cheerleaders, too. I want young women to lie awake weeping for me, burying their pretty faces in pillows. For once, I want to be able to say “no” to a woman. Let it please, please, be the other way around for a change, As I offer an apology, my voice pained, the faintest gleam of triumph in my eyes. God, allow Sophia's heart to open to me. Make me appeal to more than just her vanity. I want to see myself in those darkly shining eyes. Forgive me for wanting her so much; forgive me for ever wanting anyone else. God, I know I want too much. I saw the silhouette of a hawk perched in a tree, crows circling around it. I wanted my desires to go with the hawk into the distance. God, in the early morning hours, a small bird comes and pecks at my lips. It is the Holy Spirit. I know it. I am trying my best. I’ve heard how You’ve transformed men who had exhausted their means, their eyes red, drugs all gone, money spent, no longer able to fake transcendence. I’ve heard how gently You took the razor blade from their hands. God, I’m ready; touch me, please; teach me to surrender.

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If you want to make me cry That won’t be so hard to do. —Doc Pomus

I’ve squandered my youth on loneliness and cynicism. Couples slow-danced, close together. I leaned against the wall, stirred ice in my drink. Those June nights. That lovely girl smiling, whispering in her partner’s ear. A parked car and the shine of a radio dial. They never were for me. Someone told me Love was dreamed up on Madison Avenue by men in suits over bourbon and cigarettes. I believed him. Now the drive-ins are all deserted. Roller skates broken. Soda fountains shut down by the Board of Health. Lights out on the Ferris wheel. I can't find the moon. But something about you, that strand of curly hair against your cheek when you turned away from me, the paleness of your lips, or just those icy fingers I felt poke at my guts, made me think you could have taught me how to be young. I even thought I saw us for a moment on that barren fairground before we disappeared in a little motorboat through The Tunnel of Love. The neon sign flickering on and off on the dark water. Though it probably wasn't us at all. I'd just like to think it was. Her head on his shoulder; he so strangely calm. They must've been some other couple — only faintly real like the sound of church bells someplace far away — who maybe love each other but probably don't. The Centrifugal Eye

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I roam the streets, like a rabid dog, a diseased sex maniac, something off in my gait. I grind my teeth down blocks of sun-drenched lawns, hoping for an innocent out for a stroll, the violence of her body concealed beneath a cotton dress. From the safety of her kitchen, a housewife pushes aside a curtain, decorated with stalks of corn, and gasps to see me in her garden, smelling the flowers, fondling them with my dirty fingers. Soon the police arrive in a black-and-white, gleaming with menace in the summer sun. They spy me in the distance, my feet dangling above the ground, as I climb a tree to get a better look at a girl. I am caught in their rifle scope. And I fall shot in the back, put down like a rabid dog, a diseased sex maniac. I lie on the grass, coughing blood. And the girl passes by a window in her bra.

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What you’ll remember, like I do, is the smell of fallen leaves, of smoke on a blanket. Things I can’t separate from the place to this day. In the same way I can’t separate metal washing basins or wood crosshatching from the summers we spent there. You’ll remember the winding staircase, treacherous, but soothing in its particularity. And the dead chipmunks Tiger left for us between the beds. A new one each morning. Was it October, ’89? ’90? The day we left Chester Heights. I can’t remember if the trees had turned, or if they were green. Green as the summers to which they belonged. But the cottages. The painted trim. Wooden shutters. Outhouses in back. Colored lights strung around balconies. None of these belonged to me anymore. They belonged to someone else — some other boy. You must have felt the same way. Behind the screen, full of holes we used to poke our fingers through, the door to our cottage now locked. The keys in Mr. Montgomery’s pocket. He was nodding gravely, talking to Dad, who was smiling, joking in the private language of adults we were only beginning to understand, sitting in the back seat of Dad’s old sedan. And me squinting at the cover of a Captain America comic that refused to focus.

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“Sunset Wood” By Phil Martin, 2013

I feel I’ve left something behind there. Something less obvious than my initials carved into the soft wood of our bedroom door. Something I cannot locate in any other place, any other room, any other landscape. But I took something with me as well: the sense of loss one must develop and perfect as one grows older, as you and I have, away from childish games. Something — if it had a sound — that might sound like the tires of Dad’s car crunching the gravel drive for the last time, the black dog — Whose dog? Where did it come from? — that chased the car, barking.

Luke Stromberg’s work has appeared or will be appearing in the El Aleph Press Anthology, Transient, Shot Glass Journal, Turks’ Head Review, The Rotary Dial, Victorian Violet Press Journal, The Tower Journal, Lucid Rhythms, Philadelphia Stories, Think Journal, The Mid-America Poetry Review, and on Ernest Hilbert's blog, E-Verse Radio. It has also been featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer on multiple occasions. He lives in Upper Darby, PA, and works as an adjunct English instructor at Eastern University.

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By Luke Stromberg

What makes a poem a gem? I often wonder what it is about a particular poem that I connect to, that makes me like it. Explaining why one likes anything is difficult. What makes something beautiful? “Well,” we are tempted to answer, “it just is.” Sometimes it is because it reminds us of something else that is beautiful. Sometimes we cannot find the words to articulate our pleasure. Sometimes we just do not know. However, I think people who want to write poems should ask themselves why they like the poems they like. Not only will they learn a little about themselves, but if they want to write a good poem, they have to try and understand what a good poem does. Good writing is rarely accidental. What, then, makes a poem “good”? If we are talking about diamonds, a number of factors contribute to their value: color, clarity, carat, and cut. All of these things make a diamond unique, give it its individual character, and contribute to its quality and desirability. What contributes to a poem’s quality? An obvious answer, for me at least, is that a good poem contains memorable images. Good poems are vivid and specific, purposefully rooted in things. Another obvious answer is that a poem needs to sound good. A poet needs to pay attention to the way his or her words work together, the music they make, the way they resonate when spoken aloud. Poems are also often interesting because of their ideas: a startling analogy, an insight into human relations, the way they make the strange familiar, and vice versa. Interesting imagery, sounds, and ideas make for a good poem (though hardly ever on their own), but a good poem is also largely determined by voice. The voice of a poem is like the cut of a diamond. A shoddily cut diamond lacks the shine or sparkle of a diamond that has been competently cut. The cut determines the way light travels through the stone. In the same way, voice determines how we experience the other qualities of a poem; it is the way a poem engages us. Multiple things work together to create voice: tone, word choice, and point of view. In a sense, voice is synonymous with style. We often hear that poets must find their voice: what sets them apart from other poets. All of the best poets have a voice that is distinctly theirs. But we might also talk about the voice of a particular poem. What I mean here is the voice of the speaker, the character one hears speaking when a poem is read. For me, a poem is memorable, effective, or good when the character of the speaker is engaging. I do not have to like this character, or even agree with him; I just have to want to listen to him. The character has to have personality, be interesting, and intrigue me. Some poems are more dependent on the character of the speaker than others. For instance, a lot of Leonard Cohen’s work seems to survive on voice alone.

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Most people, of course, know Cohen as a singer-songwriter. His reputation, rightfully, rests mainly on his music, but Cohen began his career as a poet and novelist. At his best, Cohen is a fine poet, capable of really breathtaking imagery, and profound lyricism, but he has also written several little “ditties.” One hesitates to even call them poems because they are so brief and seemingly insubstantial. They are more like jokes. Some of them work better as poems than others, but they are all almost totally dependent on the character of the speaker. When they do succeed, we can attribute their success to their speakers’ charm. Cohen’s Death of a Lady’s Man (1978) is a dark, gut-wrenching book, but one of my favorite poems in the book is an example of one of these “ditties” I have mentioned. “The Dream” is very short and very simple, yet the characters of its two speakers make it memorable. We get the voices of both a man and a woman in the poem. “The Dream” reads in its entirety:

O I had such a wonderful dream, she said. I dreamed you made love to me. At last, he said to himself, the spirit has taken up some of the heavy work.

I am tempted to call the poem a dialogue, but no exchange takes place. The woman shares a bit of information, and the man reacts, thinking out loud. With the first two lines, Cohen manages to develop some of the woman’s character. Instead of simply telling the man she wants him to make love to her, she is coy. She tells him about this dream she had and lets it do the talking. Only a shameless flirt would say such a thing! When I read the poem, I hear her tell it so sweetly and matter-of-factly. That “O” in the beginning is quite well-placed. We hear her voice right away. The character that comes through these two opening lines is what makes them charming. Then, with pleasing symmetry, we get a sense of the man’s character when he reacts in the last two lines of the poem. First of all, I enjoy the way he thinks aloud. One can almost see him swallow hard, eyes widening, turning away like an actor delivering an aside in a Shakespeare play. Secondly, the fact that he interprets her dream as some sort of divine intervention, the spirit helping him to take this woman to bed, is also amusing. He takes this business of courting her very seriously, likening it to physical labor. If we want to be precise, a third speaker also participates in the poem, but he refrains from saying much. He simply moves the narrative forward with no commentary, which is intriguing in itself. The detached narrator, even if he barely narrates, creates a feel for the poem. Cohen’s poem would read very differently, for example, if the man or the woman were the narrator. As it is now, both characters, both of the main voices, hold equal importance. These quickly sketched, idiosyncratic characters are what make Leonard Cohen’s poem interesting. The content is slight, but the poem wins us over with its personality. Its success depends on its characters more than anything else. Since the poem is brief, rather plainly written, and contains no imagery, it relies heavily on voice and the characters evoked by voice. “The Dream” illustrates how the character of the speaker works in a poem because this particular poem has been essentially stripped of everything else, but the same principle is also at work in longer, more complex poems. I submit that the character of the speaker is one of the main things that makes a poem glimmer, that helps us find the diamond in the rough.

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Man-made & Natural Treasures Poems about the Things We Value Art & Craft, The Conceptual & Perceived, Nature’s Beauty, Scarcity & Rarity

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art, craft, concept, perception, nature, scarcity, rarity, value, art, craft, concept, perception,

art, craft, concept, perception, nature, scarcity, rarity, value, art, craft, concept, perception, nature, scarcity, rarity, value, art, craft, concept,

“Pomegranate� By Karen Greenbaum-Maya, 2013

art, craft, concept, perception, nature, scarcity, rarity, value, art, craft, concept, perception, nature, scarcity, rarity, value, art, craft, concept,

art, craft, concept, perception, nature, scarcity, rarity, value, art, craft, concept, perception,

Ron Yazinski

Of all the tokens shoplifted on our travels, Only the Swiss Army Knife means anything to me. Not that it reminds me of happier times— Except that once it mattered to me to make people happy. I palmed it from that little, hygienic shop in Lucerne, Near the Lion Monument to Swiss mercenaries, While you distracted the owner with questions about the Guard. It was the afternoon of William Tell’s 500th birthday. That night, the town was lit up By only five rockets, A handful of sparklers, And a quick beer toast, Because the Swiss had to go home to bed, As there was money to be made in the morning. But that knife— Even after I’d pawned everything else— I kept Because it reminded me of what I meant to you: Quaint, provincial, serviceable, With a dozen possible functions, None of which you ever needed.

Ron Yazinski is a retired English teacher, who with his wife Jeanne, divides his time between Northeastern Pennsylvania and Winter Garden, Florida. His poems have appeared in many journals, and he is the author of the collection of poems, South of Scranton. Ron is a regular contributor to The Centrifugal Eye.

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Brigit Kelly Young

a century from now the abandoned home on this roadside in Morocco left in the inconsistent care of rain and dust from clay will die in its bed surrounded by its mountain family the empathetic walls will turn to earth and pass beneath the mud like all who used to open its bright blue doors light touches the white stones it hovers protects its city without the harshness reserved for steely starless worlds like ours

“Bird Madonna� By Edward Schelb, 2013

Marrakesh real red like rust that made itself with no need of wet and tin defiant flowers live in heat on roadsides never worn but dried like bridal bouquets hung from western windows fated to mark anniversaries under pressed papers but these flowers stand they mark the graves of a thousand homes a woman in long pink jilbab holds her child and tilts her face to kiss the wind

Brigit Kelly Young has been published in several venues, including Opium Magazine, Drunken Boat, North American Review, and Black Magnolias Literary Journal. Her work is forthcoming in Emerge Literary Journal. Contact Brigit:

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Lynette Reini-Grandell

This small horse is a savvy naturalist, a modern Linnaeus, identifying then eschewing violets, anemones, preferring timothy and first-growth clover. It takes a four-footed expert to draw attention to apple trees blossoming in the forest of a forgotten farmstead, where small spring leaves do not hide the brighter blooms. The naturalist moves past them now. He will sense the apples later when they have become round, ripe, and useful. Last week the clover was not good enough, only the succulent ligules of meadow-grass tasted right; this week the palate expands, dandelions gain a cunning astringency, clover pre-bloom hints of sugar, timothy’s green honey flows through its fattening stem. It’s so clear how to live when the head bows to the grass, when one follows the contours of the curving world, nuzzling all manner of insects in the soil amid the year’s yellowing roots. He lifts his head occasionally to see something in the distance, a moving shadow, the source of a strange new scent, then stretches downward, eagerly examining the earth. Lynette Reini-Grandell's work has appeared in It’s Animal but Merciful,, Poetry Motel, The River Muse and Evergreen Chronicles, and she is the recipient of grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Finlandia Foundation. Her poetry is part of a permanent art installation in room 5D of the Carlton Arms Hotel (Manhattan). She lives in Minneapolis, where she performs regularly with the Bosso Poetry Company, a subsidiary of Bosso Enterprises, theoretically based in Big Lever, Wyoming. Contact Lynette:

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Phil Wood

My son buries my feet in sand with his red spade. The sun's unfolding a gold-leaf across Cardigan Bay. I dream of sleep. He digs.

Her loving voice is like a dripping tap. Tip-tap, tap-tip, a dripping tap, he twists so tight the washer snaps. A break is best; the sea maybe, perhaps a cup of tea? He drives past hives that brim with honeyed lives, a winding road along a smugglers’ coast of coves where lovers surf and tickle toes, in quest to find the castle climbing high. He waits alone in line behind a girl who’s dressed in summer frock and sunny smile, and when the waves start whisp’ring Guinevere, he laughs, for is he not Sir Lancelot?

Phil Wood works in a statistics office, which exercises his mind. Poetry is his choice of lifestyle outside the workplace. His most recent published work can be found in London Grip and Poetry Scotland's Open Mouse.

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Edward Schelb

“The fragility of high branches protect the fragility of the nest.” ~Francis Jammes

I count the snakes in the Book of Kells— some carry fantails of blue flying fish, others are woven into nets where letters writhe and tumble. A ruined catch equates to sin in this seacoast gospel — hell-mouth hagfish, arrowtooth eels — but monks must have invited snakes into this illusory book only if they would act like snakes and burrow, flee, glide under riverbank willows barely creasing the water or curl in sexual display, in small protests against exile in those cold damp cells. Why the absence of animals so close to hand? Gulls could have tempted Adam with herring scraps. A monk could have invited birds to nest in his chest cavity, insects to nestle in his groin (like mail-order ladybugs in the magnolia cleft that slowly stirred and flew into the garden, years ago). On the columns of Iona abbey,

now you can see marsh birds, swifts, herons in flight. You can see birds whose wings curl along woodgrain, with throat and beak blackened with knots, with their motion captured in the ancient tongue: in Irish the self receives heat and cold like a visitation. Hunger comes upon you with the swiftness of birds. A thing descends, overtakes, fulfills, with no verb for possession to sow confusion. An object exists at the place a body resides, as if to persist outside of all ownership, and I think the sea’s proximity — wind-rush between the lips, throats barely touched by air unclaimed by all — cultivates such sea-whispers that caress the beginning of words. In the knots and braids of the Gospel, a hidden grammar of shifting winds, the world’s inner

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brightness a cavalcade of fish-shadows, catfish green instead of the colorless unity of the first cause, the thing unmoved, empty of all meaning save when the richness of fish-smell invades the cold air with an illusory warmth. The water never reassures us by its transparency. It is true that the Gospel of Columbkille imported its colors— verdigris from distant ports, lapis lazuli from the banks of the Oxas. Monks then added those tones to what was gathered from lichen and stone outcroppings to form the Gospel’s knotted syllabary. But ornaments persisted: eel-curves and spirals from the time of New Grange, where burial mounds testified to the fragility of light, and to the fragility of light’s renewal —dove in the cleft of the rock, radiant caress on the solstice that may or may not come, sea-fog denying the light’s embrace and forcing you to move from the act itself to a reverence that cannot be destroyed. A cloud of unknowing, deep in ancestral memory. I like to think of those guardian spirals

as fog banks, swirls of river mist, to challenge those who rely solely on what can be seen— though the vault itself forces sunlight to be palpable, with only smaller stones tracing the moon’s path, crudely, the way lovemaking only approximates sea wave or thunderstorm. We wake to torrential rain. Our gutters clog with maple seeds that lodge in drainholes and float like huge drowned termites in dark water. The basement floods. A cloudbright grey lingers thick as varnish on the streets. The Spanish bayonet next to the bakery looks a little ragged from the rain, its early blossoms limp, designed only to flourish in dry desert air. Storm drains burst with catkins and seedpods that will soon adorn river bottoms with a thick tapestry of stillborn trees. I recall that Eckhart spoke of overflowing radiance, and here seedheads of grass are gashes of light, tight-curled and waiting to explode. Each year the tree’s energy unbinds and disperses. Each year the idea of the book is dismantled, its words and colors evoking geological strata, its letters recalling mineral debris. The Centrifugal Eye

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Abandoned books fill archways, spill out like rainwater from a gargoyle’s tongue, fly up like startled pigeons. The flesh of the book. I wait for naked torsos of paper — breasts you can enter like the diagrams of churches or poems, with meaning truncated by the edges of nipple and belly— where sap extrudes and the words become unreadable a little at a time, leaving sweet nectar to trap the unsuspecting. On the train home, I admire tattoos of Jesus. Our own bodies are now merely terrestrial, barnacled, antlered, bruised with diplomatic maps. A debauchery of bone and seed, ikons of decay compared to the Evangelists, whose bodies were simply absent, far less fleshy than the small strokes of crow quill imported from Rome and letters taut and round as berries on swollen stems. In the Gospel, you can find many lines sharp as bird-tracks, others blotched and crude by another hand. There are degrees of anonymity. The letters of the Gospel are fishbone black. On the train home, I think of inking my arms with Elijah’s ravens and Solomon’s gazelles, speckled cattle of Laban

and the palm fronds of Jerusalem broken and bent after the journey, with plenty of skin untouched by bird beak or breast or bone. I plan to engrave entire books on my arm, with letters so small they could be mistaken for insect bites or stars in a distant galaxy, or perhaps a bullam stone upright in a river or built into cathedral walls, sloped and jagged like moraines softened by centuries of rain. Priests must have regretted the loss— the ingathering forms, the salmon runs, the trees that ran wild over the hills. Divinity of rainwater, moss, pebbles from distant fields. At least the body-marks endure, for a time, a bulwark against absences that seep from the surface of things like well water poisoned by dead animals, against the simulacrum where the digital erasure is almost immediate. The instant mask. Clip, curves, thresholds exploded, with species of blur to fabricate motion and meaning where none survives. The city can be fractured in ways the body cannot. I can sit in the dark and wait among the red trees while the darkness celebrates. I can watch buildings fall asleep upright The Centrifugal Eye

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like animals. I can see the shapes I draw congeal into cities, where windows stretch to infinity like unmarked graves instead of a language of hieroglyphs empty of all meaning— a contour of fish gills or wave crest only intimated, with no clear outlines, a message perpetually coming into being, where ideas are reduced to fishbones and the eyes of small birds. I can prepare an absence with a monk’s care, purify it, until blackness merely suggests a grackle’s wing or decay after long stretches of hallucinatory clarity. Formless, no top, no bottom, directionless, whose emptiness bristles with subtle gradations of light. Formless form. But that emptiness is itself an illusion. Within the violinist’s bow dwell horses and trees. Within the flute, wool and goldbeater’s skin— cow intestine used to separate layers of gold-leaf. I try listening to Penderecki’s angel-turmoil and hear only a graveyard of horsehair and tree sap. Part of the music lists you sent me — revenge for all the Cecil Taylor albums I played you on the way home from flute lessons — as if I knew how to listen to such Luciferean crackle. At least I understood

Martinů’s geometry of whippoorwills, with the flute almost withdrawing back into silence, hesitant, like a pine cone finally spilling out its clenched seed after a wild fire. Tone rows, matrices, quincunxes— the artifice doesn’t disturb you, while I find myself as I grow older seeking an anchor in things seen. My ear is not much subtler than a sparrow’s. Sex, territory, flight, thunder. Retreat. Return. Begin again. I should assemble you a tree alphabet to trace the arcanum of flute fingerings. I should teach you to distinguish a Takemitsu score from a topographical map. The truth of those high flute registers —a yearning to transmute precious metals into bamboo. Alchemy in reverse; the peacock’s tail formed of green stalk, a reversal to elements (Heaney’s wild pennywhistle, like releasing squirrels in a church). I witness creation through a foreign tongue. The invader’s words fly up — paradise, sin, firmament — and I follow them, haltingly, knowing they are illusory. I travel through deserts where sagebrush and sloping hills dip and rise almost like sea-swells. Claudel saw the Gospel in terms of waterlilies, their roots dangling The Centrifugal Eye

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Witness the womb-temple’s fate: a hill fort, then a palace, then an empty field. The pregnant mare’s belly-hill so carefully aligned— ends covered with brambles. Only small animals found their way into its passages— bones of elk, stag, hare scattered in mud where priests once led their fog-stricken liturgies. I would like to see the Brú na Bóinne with an animal’s eye, its ideograms of breath, nebula swirl, fernheads, lustbirth. Its dark places to rest, its choruses of carrion-smell. Instead, I scrounge among stones. I move from stone to stone like the blind victims of Clochan-na-n’all and dream simply of the erosion of holy writ, verses surviving like cliffs wormholed and infested with birds, a breviary of brambles and ridge-buckles

and heather obscuring ancient truths. I watch for signs of collapse, measure the fitness of rocks, judge the trouble to remove them. Mudslopes and pastures overgrown with nettles, flaming lichen on stones too heavy to move. Others more practical have been here before me. Raths for corrals shine like lamprey wounds on mapmakers surveys, and the letter-knots in the Gospel recall a sailor’s knots in which I see the same impulse that unwove the cairns to make graves in times of famine.

“Contemplate” By Cece Chapman, 2013

like jellyfish, but I prefer the hidden springs that form cathedrals where ospreys nest and migratory birds assemble, where alkali flies crackle and scatter along the dead banks where gulls run low to the earth, beaks open. A Sea Monkey Sutra in the stagnant water, insect eggs stretch like great sunken cities and brine shrimp float in the shallows like grains of rice carved in jade.

Edward Schelb is a poet, graphic artist, and critic who lives and works in Washington, D.C. His scholarly articles have focused on postmodern poetry, while his poems have increasingly turned to exploring long musical forms. Spurred by his virtuoso flautist son — a missionary for the avant-garde — Edward’s meditations on avant-garde music in poetry usually gravitate back toward illuminated manuscripts and tree alphabets, despite his best intentions. Contact Edward:

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Lucia Galloway



Light bisects narrow lanes when morning throws itself against signs and legends posted on walls at street corners. There is a saint whose city this once was. Now the city owns the saint— Francis, who turned from sure entitlement to cast his blessing on the birds and make himself a life among the poor. There must have been moments when he feared he could not compass this strange journey: stranger to himself, winding through narrow streets, turning corners opening onto Umbrian vistas dazzling in new light. All this Giotto and his lackeys captured in wet plaster.

Bare feet on cobbles meant closer to God, and Francis suffered on his once-sound leg a suppurating wound from the stigmata that would not heal. Clare sewed a sock to cover it, made him a soft shoe so he could go about the city— a city that now owns Clare as well: the dimly lighted cases where on display the linen alb and woolen cloak she wore on errands to the poor. Her bones rest in the crypt of Santa Chiara, its outer walls of Subasio limestone, pink and creamy white in the slanting sun. I could die in this city of earth and ether. Offer my flesh and bone to be housed here, slowly dissolve under stone the color of shells or the soles of children’s feet.

Lucia Galloway chairs the popular monthly reading series, Fourth Sundays: Poetry at the Claremont Library. Her books are Venus and Other Losses (Plain View Press, 2010) and Playing Outside (Finishing Line Press, 2005). Recent work appears in The Comstock Review, The Sow’s Ear, Inlandia: A Literary Journey, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Poemeleon, The Prose-Poem Project, qarrtsiluni, Stirring, and Untitled Country Review. She is the recipient of several awards and prizes, including Honorable Mention in the MacGuffin National Poet Hunt and the Robert Haiduke Prize from the Bread Loaf School of English. See more of Lucia’s work on her website, or contact her on Facebook at "Fourth Sundays." Visit:

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Tricia Knoll

We eat them, mouth them, lick them. They tease us with their sweet and sour, sad. Frangipani. Ypsilanti. Tippecanoe and Tyler, too. Jambalaya and crawfish pie and filé gumbo. Elixirs and escalators. Scrumptious words couple up; we know why frankincense and myrrh. Alpha and omega. Live and learn. Live and let live. We rhyme, sublime. We diddle to fiddle with riddles. We tom tom repeats. Trickster’s tricks and tattle tales span from Judas to Monica. We pun to keep us sane. The big flop of 60s bra burning. Now it’s glass ceilings and fish on bicycles. Or propaganda and the top-hatted goose.

Tricia Knoll is a Portland, Oregon poet. She is a master gardener, practices tai chi and writing haiku, and runs on Oregon's beaches. Her poetry has appeared in many regional and national publications, contributing regularly to The New Verse News, as well as recently in Verseweavers, VoiceCatcher, Muddy River Poetry Review, Literary Mama, haiku publications, and two anthologies. Contact Tricia:

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Lynn Hoffman

i am immensely fond of capital J and not, my friend, because it is the first letter in your name or because it initiates Justice or wanders with Jew. i am immensely fond of capital J for its generosity, for the way it dips and scoops and offers up what it spills. i love its versatility, the way it hangs from the stern and steers or hangs from the ceiling and takes my coat. i like, no, love how little it holds in its curve how little it cares for holding, how blithely it lives from jewel to jewel to jewel.

“Paste” By Cece Chapman, 2013

Lynn Hoffman’s next book is the hilarious medical memoir, Radiation Days. It will be published in May 2014 by Skyhorse Publishing. Lynn is a longtime contributor to The Centrifugal Eye.

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Karen Greenbaum-Maya

When Shakespeare wrote Who steals my purse steals trash, it’s clear he never had this purse in mind. Fab Kate Spade purse in Vogue is just the kind of A-list party I don’t want to crash. Procure this purse, your life is in the bag. The chunk of space encompassed by the hide would swallow all that I might toss inside. I’d rummage armpit deep, yet never snag. Steel-studded leather tent! This purse will hold a camel plus its rider. Climb on in. Your Steinway, your Guarneri violin would still not pay this fashion gateway’s toll. Persephone, who gave up more for worse, says, Honey, let it go. It’s just a purse.

Karen Greenbaum-Maya, retired clinical psychologist, German major, and occasional photographer, no longer lives for Art, but still thinks about it a lot. Poems appeared recently in Women's Studies Quarterly, B O D Y, Flutter Poetry Journal, and qarrtsiluni. “Eggs Satori” was recently selected for Black Lawrence Press’ forthcoming anthology, FEAST. In 2012, The Centrifugal Eye featured her mini-chapbook, Floating Route. She was featured poet in the August 2013 issue of Unshod Quills. “Real Poem” was a Special Merit finalist in the Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award competition. Kattywompus Press is the publisher of her two chapbooks, Burrowing Song, a collection of prose poems, and Eggs Satori (in press). For links online, visit Karen’s blog:

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A. J. Huffman

slippered dreams of returning to a far-off land labeled home, I click my heels three times. Nothing happens but another scuff I cannot cover up with blood-marker rubbings. There is no magical wizard behind curtain, no alternative method of transport at the ready. I am still cowardly and heartless, my rusting brain overstuffed with idols. Winged monkeys and good fairies fly amok before dropping like leaden stones through the glass pond of my reflection. I see myself in pieces, too obscure to form a whole. I have fallen through myself, my imagination trailing behind, a tornado devouring path and past.

A.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has previously published six collections of poetry all available on She has also published her work in numerous national and international literary journals. She is the editor for six online poetry journals for Kind of a Hurricane Press. Learn more about A.J. Huffman on Facebook and Twitter. Hurricane Press: Huffman on Facebook: Huffman on Twitter:!/poetess222

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John Flynn

Hubcap Harry from Cheektowaga swears by fortunes found in every street, the rich don’t care for picking, got more than they need and plenty to eat. His partner Packrat in mirror shades and straw fedora displays their latest van-load of smalls and incunabula while Hank Williams from a scratchy radio sings Your cheatin’ heart will tell on you . . . Packrat says, I’m more gypsy than merchant, gave up on credit cards, strictly cash and carry, ask anyone around, it’s resale that made me. Fifteen bucks gets you Ohio-made tin snips, a rusty manual egg beater, Captain Kirk and Spock on TV tray, musty tome without jacket by Zane Grey.

Spot Clipart from

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Underwood, Stanley®, and Flexible Flyer in this Drive-In turned Kasbah for trash antiquarian. One thing’s for sure, there’s always a buyer. Aunt Jemima knick-knack, tobacco tin for Bugler®, quasi-ivory Bakelite® combs, porch chairs made of wicker, I Like Ike campaign pins, boat lantern that needs kerosene, glass paperweight, roll-top desk, Mickey Mouse, and Jeter’s rookie year. Who’s on the cover of that Look magazine? Skeleton key I weigh in hand sure and easy takes me back to what’s outlived its prime — solidity in the haggle with forever, toy rocket from World’s Fair, Roosevelt dime.

John Flynn is an adjunct English professor at Piedmont Virginia Community College in central Virginia. He also writes as Basil Rosa. Samples of his published books (fiction, essays, translations, and poems) and other works can be found on his website. His newest poetry chapbook, Additions To Our Essential Confusion, is due out this year from Kattywompus Press. Visit John/Basil at

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Laury A. Egan OPERA GLASSES Passed to my grandmother Ethel my mother Agnes and then me my great-great aunt’s opera glasses pearl and brass made in Paris inscribed Marguerite Leach. Lenses dimmed and smeared by a hundred years of tears evoked by hearing too much Puccini I peer through their hazed scrim and see singers of the 1890s Emma Eames and Adelina Patti. And though the glasses mimic cataracts I took them to the Metropolitan Opera in memory of Aunt Maggie. (Marguerite Weston Leach, born 1867)

HANDBILL Centered on a printed handbill Popular Lectures an oval portrait of my grandfather Jim Ricks stately handsome sitting in a chair wearing white tie. His subjects “Sense and Sense in Spots” “Queer folks and…” the latter torn inadvertently protecting prim sensibilities. (James Moore Ricks, born 1870)

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BUDDHA Brought home by my father war souvenir from China a porcelain Buddha of Happiness though my father did not believe in gods or prophets. I lie in bed gaze at Buddha on its ebony wooden stand it is my father’s face I see a ghost-white countenance smiling with serenity. (Richard Patrick Egan, born 1912)


“Morning” By Phil Martin, 2013

On a basement shelf sits my mother’s box of oil paints Winsor & Newton tubes begrimed with crusted color bent and twisted silver skins cracking. Inside the paint has dried leaving husks like dead men tossed together a mass grave encased in mahogany. From far away I hear her voice reciting Alizarin crimson Cadmium orange Phthalo blue see her head wreathed in cigarette smoke as she spoke to students. On my walls her paintings glow with life the oils fresh and breathing in the new light of every morning. (Agnes Elizabeth Ricks Egan, born 1914)

“A Wealth of Things” is from Laury’s collection, Beneath the Lion’s Paw (FootHills Publishing, 2011). Laury A. Egan is the author of two poetry collections: Beneath the Lion’s Paw and Snow, Shadows, a Stranger as well as a chapbook, The Sea & Beyond (reviewed in this issue), all published by FootHills Publishing. Her newest novel, The Outcast Oracle, and her short fiction collection, Fog and Other Stories, are available from Humanist Press. A psychological suspense novel, Jenny Kidd, was published by Vagabondage Press. Laury is a longtime contributor to The Centrifugal Eye. Visit her website: and her blog:

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Fern G. Z. Carr

Born from a womb of volcanic fury rife with violence and drama, she is spewed forth from the Earth's mantle through kimberlite pipes flinging magma skyward — her buried treasure in its molten rock; a child of Vulcan, she is also conceived from tectonic plate coll isions and meteorite impacts, her crystals revealed in the dust of spent stars — an entrance befitting such illustrious stature. Her passionate fire kindles the flames of ardor, bewitching monarchs,scientists,insurgents,lovers and jewel thieves who worship the strength and allure that her cubic lattice structure, re frac tive index, and d i s p e r s i o n mag na nimously bestow — all worthy of critical acclaim for this, the most noble three-billion-year-old g r a n d e d a m e of the carbons— the diamond.

A non-visual version of “Grande Dame of the Carbons” was published in New Contrast 39.1, no. 153 (Autumn 2011): 9-10, Cape Town, South Africa.

Fern G. Z. Carr is a lawyer, teacher and past president of the local branch of the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She is a member of and former Poet-in-Residence for The League of Canadian Poets. She also composes and translates poetry in five languages. A winner of national and international poetry contests, Fern has been published extensively worldwide, from Finland to Mayotte Island in the Mozambique Channel. Canadian honors include being featured online in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, having her poetry set to music by a Juno-nominated musician, and having her poem, “I Am,” chosen by the Parliamentary Poet Laureate as Poem of the Month for Canada. One of Fern’s haiku is even included on a DVD sent to Mars on NASA’s Maven spacecraft. Website:

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Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt

Beast, your pain is gorgeous to me— this hand-drawn cave wall death in an earthen tunnel hidden deep beneath northern Spain. My fingers strain to trace your finely painted lines and the place where your back thickens into your curled body. I, too, am equal parts art and stone, my flesh at once alive, yet perpetually dying.

“Wounded Bison” cave-painting depictions, Altamira, Spain Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt’s poetry, essays and fiction have been published in Crux, Room, The Centrifugal Eye, qarrtsiluni, Saint Katherine Review, Other Voices, Grain, and in the anthologies, Writing in the Cegeps, and Taproot II, III and IV, as well as Liberty’s Vigil, The Occupy Anthology: 99 Poets among the 99%. Tanya is mother to four children, teaches classes in embodied prayer and is a professor in the English Department at Champlain Regional College in Lennoxville, Québec. She and her husband are the founding directors of the Québec House of Prayer. Tanya is an MFA student at the University of British Columbia, and is currently working on a novel for young adults.

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Martin Willitts, Jr. A “daemon,� according to Socrates, was a spirit who would speak up when he was about to do something not in accord with his true nature.



Once again, in the middle of sleep, he was possessed. The rocks were chiding him in the desert to walk off a cliff into trust. Did this bring him closer to the Father? Or to something else? How do you approach the different angles of God? How many are possible, and how many are impossible? The notation upon his flesh declared: find me! But where? The desert had no sign of God anywhere; instead, it had the absence. Sleeping was burning. Find me! He was changing into bread. 2.


What if, by preaching nothingness, you become nothingness? You hallow out. Words become light inside a dying lotus. What if, by preaching, you become famous? It would defeat the purpose of humility. And if you become known in this life, what happens in the next? He thought of keeping the first idea silent so the second idea would not be so disturbing, but his first mind said, tell people about finding! 3.

Sitting Bull

He saw horses and men falling as stars, numerous as grass, glowing, free-falling backwards, so many he could not count them. He pulled back on the leather as he danced a circle of increasing madness, until barbs pulled chunks of incessant flesh from his chest, yanking out dreams, feathers, horses of flame, arrows of stars. He could hear the far-off voices wanting to know what he had seen in his finding-vision. Find me! called the crows. Find me! begged a long yellow hair.

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4. Ono no Komachi Her numerous lovers were floating reeds shunning the mountains in autumn. How can you fail to see the invisible? Find me! Indeed. Who am I to rest? We are white eyebrows! We wear straw raincoats! Find me! She was in the hiddenness, removing herself until nothing remained, and even then, she did not feel empty enough. Kingfishers always find what they need below reflection. 5. Gandhi Like making cloth from his own wheel, he could make himself thin as the moon, thin as last breath, thin as a sliver in his finger, make his breath small as leaf bud. He went deep into silence, its many rusty gates, its numerous absent breaths past vision, into pure light, into a trembling, into subtle heartbeat. All over, the twitching sky, whorls of light from stars! 6. Li Po He would never find the light at the bottom of the sea — like rice wine, like Huron winging across shadows, like stars falling out of his breath sudden stillness — but he dove in, anyway.

Martin Willitts, Jr. is a retired librarian living in Syracuse, New York. He currently evaluates Prior Learning Evaluations for SUNY Empire State College. He is a visual artist of Victorian and Chinese paper cutouts. He won the William K. Hathaway Award for Poem of the Year 2012, and has been nominated for 9 other poetry prizes. Martin also ran a handson workshop “How to Make Origami Haiku Jumping Frogs” at the 2012 Massachusetts Poetry Festival. His forthcoming poetry books include Art Is the Impression of an Artist (Edgar & Lenore's Publishing House), City of Tents (Crisis Chronicles Press), and Swimming in the Ladle of Stars (Kattywompus Press), and he was the winner of the inaugural Wild Earth Poetry Contest for his full-length collection, Searching for What Is Not There (Hiraeth Press).

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“Fish Madonna” By Edward Schelb, 2013

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By Karla Linn Merrifield

& Colleen Powderly

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Merrifield’s Tao of Poetry: By Karla Linn Merrifield

The Refrain Anne Whitehouse Dos Madres Press (2012) 97 pgs / $16 US

Hot lava kills 6 people as a volcano erupts. Police violate one man’s constitutional rights. One dead, 3 missing in flash flood. Bahrain deports American teacher for anti-government writings. A wave of violence shakes Iraq. An “orgy” of US drones targets Yemen terrorists.

Stop. Rethink. Begin again.

“Remembering Last Summer.” “Roses in November.” “Ellen’s Peerless Hands.” “Moon and Sun in Yoga Class.” “Dancing in Water.”

There, that’s more like it. Poem titles, not news headlines. Every sweet reason to slump down in my recliner and crack open a book of poetry, in this case, a powerful antidote to what ails humanity, titled The Refrain, by Anne Whitehouse. It is, in fact, a jewelry box or treasure chest of finely crafted works that sparkles (even in more somber moments) with all the panache of a Harry Winston necklace or Tiffany bracelet and promises a “golden thread of pleasure” (“Wish Fulfillment”).

“A wild elation filled me”

Beauty abounds in Whitehouse’s collection. Quite often you find that beauty in poems about her garden or farther afield in wilder nature. Take “Herbal,” for example, which is essentially a report card on her fire-escape garden of the previous year. Toward the end, as she replants for a fresh season, she lists several herb plants, then completes the stanza with a simple,

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elegant flourish that delights. You can almost smell the bouquet of fragrances. But note, too, color and texture in the lines: There’s basil again, and coriander, silvery sage and flat-leafed parsley, tarragon, thyme, and rosemary, and lemon balm with candied breath.

There is also the balm of garden flowers whose beauty has buoyed this poet during times of loss. In “Remembering Last Summer,” Anne summons hostas, coral bells, myrtle and phlox to recall a beloved friend (or so I assume), also an avid gardener who spent his dying days in a fever of “digging, transplanting, sewing seeds and bulbs.” Poignantly Anne reveals, “At summer’s end you left us all for good.” But Anne does not dwell in the loss. The friend and his dahlias may have died, but “the tulips you planted came back / majestic as you would like, / their satiny petals unfurling.” My welling tears dry because I am made to stand in the man’s garden and see at poem’s end “you live again / in its brief blooms.” “Fertile Earth” is another Edenic gem. Here gardening is a metaphor for life. In Part I of the poem, Anne presents a lyric narrative about as concrete as you can get. We encounter two women laboring to dislodge a boulder from their garden so they can plant a new damask rose.

It took two planks and the two of us working all day to dig it out: there, at last, unearthed, a rock the size of a coffee table. Two women, one aging and one old— we gaped in awe at what we’d done.

That vivid scenario leads directly to the opening couplet in Part II, where the concrete becomes the abstract and we are told: “With patience, forbearance, and a stubborn will, / almost any obstacle can be made to yield.” And that’s how a crafty poet like Anne Whitehouse can get away with an abstraction that in other less-wily poets would be flat-out didactic.

“This is my life / finding one thing in another.” Anne invites us to wander with her farther afield into wilder nature to find Mother Nature’s healing graces as in “Rites of Spring,” where a robin’s nest promises spiritual renewal after a long winter: The hard smooth surface Of its hollowed-out hemisphere Enclosed three eggs, Small and perfectly formed, The color of heaven.

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Another bird, a falcon, is the central image in “The Falcon,” which Anne observes on her birthday in all its soaring beauty as she performs the mundane task of hauling her shopping cart. She takes comfort in the bird and invites us to do the same in the poem’s closing couplets:

The gloom of the day Split through the middle By perilous flight Became something rare.

How generous of her to share her brief moment of attention to this uncommon gift of nature. I can’t help but think that she’s asking us: Are you paying attention? What did you see today? What gift did you receive? Yes, Anne, I’m paying attention and the most recent gift I received was the buzz and flash of a male ruby-throated hummingbird at my window feeder just two feet from where I write. I’m grateful for your reminder.

“this cold exhale off the snow.”

In many a sparkling moment, Anne sculpts a line from the most common and universal elements of human existence: weather. What is so often the topic of small talk around the office water cooler becomes in Anne’s nimble mind powerful and symbolic, as in “The Past,” where she ponders the prospect of old age while remembering “the litter of years.” Here’s the fulcrum stanza:

Memories reveal emotions that bind me, rooted, yet constantly shifting like grasses still tender and green in the fields of October. Shining in sunlight, they tease and beckon before the frosts.

How telling are the two words “the frosts.” An editor might be tempted to excise the article “the,” advising the poet to then make “frosts” into “frost” for economy of language. That would be an error in judgment. The weather imagery evokes the many, many October frosts she has lived and survived. The line dazzles. Anne also employs meteorological atmospherics to establish the scene in several glimmering poems, a common enough poetic device, but one particularly effective in her poems. Thus in “At the Winter Solstice,” she sets the emotional stage for what turns out to be a poignant reflection on a lover’s long-ago final farewell. The poem begins:

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The western sky flushed pink; clouds blew over like smoke. There was no wind: the trees stood still, as if carven. On their branches littered tiny lights like jewels on a skeleton.

Oh, my, “like jewels on a skeleton.” When has ice or snow, on bare tree limbs or otherwise, ever been put to such evocative use? Perhaps not since Gerald Manley Hopkins’ “The Wreck of the Deutschland.” How nimbly Anne places the reader in situ.

“my art / of instantaneous fragments”

Yet another pleasing aspect of Anne’s artistry is what I call the architecture of her poems. Many of the poems are divided into parts. Roman numerals, or a trio of asterisks, signal a longer pause than do mere stanza breaks. This strategy lends itself naturally to a poem such as “New Year’s Musings,” where Parts I, II and III mark three related but independent poetic observations, one a straightforward (but lovely) evocation of weather, the next a cameo portrait of a bride and groom, and the third a scenario in a concert hall. But the technique also often adds considerable power to her poems. “Water Cure” is a good example. Part I runs across three pages in 14 short-lined stanzas focused on the “fissure of pain” that “zigzagged” and “pressed” on the speaker’s bones, generating a mighty thirst she attempts to quench, culminating with this forceful stanza:

To be drunk on water is a glorious thing. Think of alcohol, its opposite, that poison that delivers its glories first and suffering afterwards.

Then ensues Part II, a single — and final — stanza in which for the first time, Anne addresses us, her readers:

For you, reader, I pass you a slip from this thought. May you raise your own vines from it.

Without the demarcation “II” we would have been jettisoned out of the poem because the abrupt shift is too sudden, perhaps awkward and dismaying. But because we are directed to take

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a lengthier pause, we’ve been prepared for and can receive the closing triplet in all its beauty and generosity of spirit.

“the eye’s natural focus is infinity”

You might think these imagistic factors — a garden’s beauty, uncultivated nature, weather in many guises — are sufficient incentive to drive you to your nearest indy bookstore for a copy of The Refrain. But there’s more. Like 56 pearls on a long strand, these poems are fashioned into a whole with consummate thematic cohesiveness. Anne’s themes are eternal ones: the inevitable passage of time in a human lifetime, and both the power and fragility of human memory. From page 1’s “Choices Apprehend You” with its meditation on Saint Sebastian — “Eternity’s magic / lived in his future” — to the last page, where appears the book’s title poem and its “life and death” and “life-in-death” juxtaposition, we join in the poet’s contemplation of mortality, confronting our own and our loved ones’ with Anne as our able guide and comforter. To wit: “Meditations in June,” a gently didactic poem with Anne’s signature architecture, reminds us:

Time is a breath of air. Time is the fire within you. Time is the accepting earth. Time is water flowing ever on. ................................ As I grow old, I am ever more certain Of uncertainty. My weakness has shattered me, The fragments scatter on the ground, Sparkling and fading.

The poem pulls us from the universal to the specific and we can’t help but think about our own weakness, and puzzle over which of our fragments lie on the ground. When Anne writes that “our hearts beat to Celestial Time,” as she does in “Bear in Mind,” we’re reassured we are not alone. As mere mortals, we all suffer (or will suffer) the ravages of time, one of which is the loss of memory. I see it happening to my husband who is 20 years my senior. Maybe you’ve seen it in your mother or father. Or have already started making excuses for your own “senior moments.” It’s sad. It sucks. But it’s part of the all-too-human story, as Anne makes clear in the opening lines of Part II in “Bear in Mind.”

II. Her Age Advances on Her “Once I prided myself on my memory. Now all that is lost.” She plucks at her sleeve, looking wistful.

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She cannot recollect the fall, her accident, the surgery. She presses unevenly on the weft of time. It will not hold her. She slips through it, as if through a sieve. Her memory’s in pieces.

We bear this knowledge in mind. And we, even if only fleetingly, bear the burden of that knowledge more easily, if only marginally. I am grateful to Anne for that gleaming gift.

“…stains of the past year”

This review would not be worth the (virtual) paper it’s written on if it didn’t address an imperfection or two in these Bulgari-worthy creations. Argue with me if you will, but I think “One Sunday Morning” would have worked better as a prose-poem. It’s an uncharacteristically prosy poem compared with Anne’s typically elegant lyrical works. I imagine turning, for example, the first stanza from

Before we knew what we had heard, The deep groan woke us in bed, A cry of outrage so vast We couldn’t imagine what made it. The rumble reverberated like thunder; We clung to each other, afraid.

to this:

Before we knew what we had heard, the deep groan woke us in bed, a cry of outrage so vast we couldn’t imagine what made it. The rumble reverberated like thunder; we clung to each other, afraid.

And it’s more my pet peeve than an imperfection, but Anne’s frequent (but not universal) use of initial caps on lines as in the stanza cited above makes me frown. Why impede the flow of lyricism with what always seem to me as an artificial and archaic device? Why impede the reader’s eye and mind with a signal falsely indicating the beginning of a new sentence? Over the years I’ve asked dozens of poets who do likewise: Why? “It looks more formal.” “It says ‘poetry’ more emphatically.” I think not.

* * *

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Radcliffe Quarterly has said that Anne’s poems "combine a precise intelligent observation with a personal voice and sensibility." Agreed. But The Refrain goes further, probes more deeply the beauty and the terror of life. In a word, this book is radiant with its “golden thread[s] of pleasure.” The glow of Anne Whitehouse’s creation endures, a visible refrain that shines in your mind long after you close the lid on the treasures within. And there’s no doubt it’s infinitely more pleasing reading than Sea Levels Up 3 Feet By 2100.

Column Editor’s Note: What’s your story behind a poetry book that you’ve read and desire others to read? What path led you to that book? Tell me. Just complete our online Reader Survey. From your stories I’ll select some of the books and I’ll review them for all our readers in future issues of The Centrifugal Eye. Give me something new to rave about!


A National Park Artist-in-Residence, Karla Linn Merrifield has had some 400 poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has ten books to her credit, the newest of which are Lithic Scatter and Other Poems (Mercury HeartLink) and Attaining Canopy: Amazon Poems (FootHills Publishing). Forthcoming from Salmon Poetry is Athabaskan Fractal and Other Poems of the Far North. Her Godwit: Poems of Canada (FootHills) received the 2009 Eiseman Award for Poetry and she recently received the Dr. Sherwin Howard Award for the best poetry published in Weber — The Contemporary West in 2012. She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye, a member of the board of directors of TallGrass Writers Guild and Just Poets (Rochester, NY), and a member of the New Mexico State Poetry Society. Visit her blog, Vagabond Poet:

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“Serenity” By Phil Martin, 2013

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By Colleen Powderly

Attaining Canopy: Amazon Poems By Karla Linn Merrifield FootHills Publishing, 2013 Paper / 59 pgs / $16 US

The Sea & Beyond Laury A. Egan FootHills Publishing, 2013

Paper / 25 pgs / $10 US

Among the treasures deserving exploration in The Centrifugal Eye’s “Jeweled” issue are those of the physical world. Karla Linn Merrifield in Attaining Canopy: Amazon Poems reveals her awe-filled experiences with that portion of Earth, and Laury A. Egan in The Sea & Beyond gives extraordinary voice to the power she finds in the sea and the enigma of the unknowable. Both poets create treasures in these works, so attention to their works belongs here.

The Tropical Rainforest, Raw Jewel Merrifield proves once again in Attaining Canopy that she is a poet enamored with the natural world, as she shares her emotional journeys through Amazonian stretches of Brazil and Peru with armchair travelers unable to make the trip themselves. These melodic descriptions of overwhelming rainforests are among the best evocations of environments I have ever read. Her profound curiosity shows in her near-constant analysis of her own consciousness as it tries to catalog an uncatalogable country where plants, animals, insects, birds and, above all, rivers stand my American-TV notion of “wild” on its limp-haired head.

Beauty and Variety, but Also Brutality Merrifield glories in the Amazon’s vast night sky in lines like these from “Sky Is the Consciousness”: The Centrifugal Eye

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Sky is the consciousness of its landscape. You can see not only moon and planets, but entire constellations reflected in the river that is its great heart.

Here I see water awash with points of light blending at the horizon with the night sky, creating landscape where lights spread outward in all directions from the speaker’s feet. In “Spectrum of Amazon Birds,” Merrifield celebrates this world’s avian colors. She speaks of “blue-headed parrots and green ibis /. . . orange breasts of oriole blackbirds” who join with other birds in the rhythms of the day:

All morning heat lofts on wings of yellow-rumped caciques. By midday red-bellied macaws scold flocks into humid quietude.

Here I see a rainbow’s end among the trees, its pot of gold transformed into a treasure of hues. Merrifield’s gift for understanding non-human beings powers “Bradypus Variegatus: Trickle of Consciousness,” where she communes with a sloth: “I think / I am / think- / ing / about— / no / I rest // I think / I may / climb / up / this limb— / no / not now.” The line breaks here illustrate better than any television program the reason I know this animal as an emblem for laziness. But Merrifield doesn’t show only the beauty and variety of the tropical rainforest. She also deals with its brutality. In “Defeat of the Amazon,” she speaks of sweat so profuse she wears “clothes sodden from step one,” and walks two miles wary of “poison promises / of wasps, bees, those inch- / long bullet ants.” And in “Ruinas di Vehlo Airao,” she imagines a cruel slavemaster’s fate: “Just say his body’s blood / fed a thousand fire ants.”

Witnessing Our Ecological Near-Nightmare I can’t even imagine myself in such an environment, but Merrifield is a woman willing, even excited, to walk away from the safety of civilization into a place where confrontation with nature becomes confrontation with the self, pushes self to look, listen, touch, feel, and learn in ways only explorers and scientists have known; witness the lovely “Wide Eyes in Brazil”:

Look from wide midstream— storm-washed blue dome, cloud mountains of quilting palm crowns.

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She is an American pioneer of our ecological near-nightmare, using her role as poet to show in words what cannot be caught in tourists’ snapshots — the essence of a place as it hangs on the edge of disaster. In so doing, she suggests why saving the near-uninhabitable reaches of this planet is a dire necessity. Amazonian essence suffuses “Stargazing in Brazil,” where Merrifield’s specificity illustrates primordial mystery: Thus six bright points of flaming light outline the Great hexagon of the Amazon, a tale goldly told in feathered pairs: spix guan hoatzin paradise jacamara screaming piha blue cohinga orange euphonia flying from the equator toward the first dawn of man.

In my mind’s eye these birds are true descendants of a pterodactyl, its shadow hazy on a long horizon. Merrifield’s musical naming of birds further enhances this mystery.

Form as Communication Few of these poems are long since Merrifield’s gifts with form allow her to structure her experience into graspable images that don’t overwhelm despite the encompassing nature of this environment. She uses the cameo, a 100-syllable form meant to capture a person or place in time, to share the power of darkness in “Night Is a Rarer Place”:

Solitary three-toed sloths in trees of dreams. Mystery throbs in throats of gladiator frogs, Earth’s primal drumbeats. Keeping the ceaseless vigil of invisibility, spectacled caimans watch wide-eyed from deep time.

Merrifield adapts the Fibonacci, a single-stanza form whose syllabic count parallels the mathematical sequence, and uses it to illustrate the constant presence of insects in “Bloodsucking Fibonacci”:

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ants gnats bees wasps mosquitoes— Amazon insects hum buzz bite sting; I am hordes’ meat.

And the scherzo, a thirteen-syllable form using two lines and at least one rhyme, serves Merrifield’s purpose well in “Scherzi Quartet: Amazonas”:

my mind I say fecund . . .

your terrain

steam-heated to your body

the brain succumbs my words

shape each other

After reading this poem, I understood the osmotic power of the Amazonian rainforest’s environment, how deeply it staked a claim in Merrifield’s poetic consciousness. Yet in the course of reading this and her other short poems, I began to imagine the unimaginable, one piece at a time, until finally the whole became the sum of so many parts I couldn’t fail to grasp its majesty.

More Treasures from Merrifield’s Gifts But form is not Merrifield’s only poetic gift. As mentioned above, she uses sound to powerful effect throughout this collection, notably in “Mantra de la Rio Madre,” 24 lines of rivers’ names. My ear delights particularly in these lines:

Rio Rio

Maranon . . . Yanayacu . . .

Rio Rio

Yorapa . . . Ucayali . . .

Rio Rio

Dorado . . . Pacaya . . .

Rio Rio

Sopay . . . Amazonas . . .

The repetition of “rio” followed by back-of-the-throat Ă vowels calms me when I read these lines aloud, carries me to gentle trance and deeper breathing by the poem’s end. Truly, it forms a mantra of imagined waters for this homebound reader. Merrifield also uses humor effectively in Attaining Canopy, gives me time to chortle, even giggle, and so step back from the intensity of her tropical environment. Two takes on poet John Roche’s Joey poems break the collection’s sections; in “JoJo the Poet Conjures Her Mojo” Merrifield displays wry humor about Amazonian snakes: The Centrifugal Eye

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She summons the assonance of anacondas, enjambments of boas to put a squeeze on lines.

And Merrifield laughs at her own love for and dependence on technology in “J the P’s NoGizmo Peruvian Mojo”:

When Jill the Poet cruises silty Amazon rivers, she is no longer in the guise of druidic ‘Droider. The Web is instead web; spiders out-spin cyberspace.

Humor also fashions her two poems saluting Allen Ginsberg’s 1959 Amazonian travels. “‘Magic Psalm’ Redux.doc” warps time as Merrifield crosses the confluence of rivers which begin the Amazon as Ginsberg did decades earlier, and she melds her “gizmo girl” persona with Ginsberg’s so that he “interfaces with techno-seraphim macawbots” and “tongues the anaconda / gigabytes and comes all over his future page.” Humor turns bawdy in “This Amazon Psalm is Rated R”:

Check it fuckin’ out, Ginsberg and me, we are like two jungle drum beats on an anaconda bongo. We percuss.

Here, Merrifield’s humor shows in her repeated variations on fuck; they appear fifteen times in 15 lines, a conscious echo of the verbal stylistics of the Beats. I found myself smiling here, reminded of my own adolescent rebellion.

A Celebration of Wilderness In this collection as in earlier ones, Merrifield’s sensibility and poetic gifts allow me to step beyond my own life to visit the few wild spaces left on our planet. A simple scan of her credited works reveals her as mission-led toward this goal, and Attaining Canopy ranks among the best of her travel-based works. She shows me nature’s jeweled spaces uncut by the ravages of humankind. Her love and respect for such spaces suffuses this collection as she celebrates wilderness; in her final poem, her words about a young girl’s parakeet can apply to the poet herself: “she tamed him, he turned her wild.” Merrifield’s trips along the Amazon took her to the great untamed face of true wilderness, where she saw the wildness at the center of life, the proper subject of the poet, and transformed it into small gems of poetry. Let’s hope she has further travels to share.

An Extended Pleasure Karla Linn Merrifield’s collection comprises small gems, but Laury A. Egan’s new chapbook, The Sea & Beyond, uses extended sonic pleasures to create a fresh, new song about the

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sea and a powerful meditation on the unknowable; she fashions showpiece jewels of sound and rhythm which bring me new visions of these two often-treated subjects, and does it without a single reference to diamond-lit surfaces, sapphired depths, or any of the usual images I’ve read.

“The Sea” In this nine-page poem, Egan uses personification and sound to reveal the all-consuming energy borne of the sea’s vastness. She doesn’t speak of its beauty, but emphasizes its unknowable power and humankind’s insignificant efforts to encroach on it. In the poem’s opening stanzas, Egan dashes old notions of the sea. She shows its vastness: “Some say there are five oceans and many seas; / there is One.” She also uses the non-gendered pronoun it rather than the traditional she throughout the poem; this choice reveals the poem’s intention to make a new, different definition of Earth’s waters. She reveals a profound conflict between land’s stolid solidity and sea’s constant motion, summing it up with: “The sea includes. The land excludes. / War is tacitly declared.”

Making the Sea “Be” Egan creates her sea as a sentient being. Throughout the poem she endows it with emotions and the stealthy intelligence of a patient, knowing adversary. This sea plays “little games,” like sinking the Titanic, finds amusement in maritime battles like the defeat of the Spanish Armada, and lunches on wrecks; Egan calls it:

A black witch hungry for the taste of men and ships, whose maw spits steel, timber, masts, and braces in search of more tender human fare.

She goes on to say the sea tolerates fish and “doesn’t mind that big fish eat little fish. / After all, in time, it intends to swallow the land.” The sea’s patience is tried by human incursions on its edges:

And though we wish to think we tame the sea, this is a huge folly for it is a brute attacker, hacking with green cold fingers at docks and jetties, dykes and walls, its hiss and moan a product of its frustration. .................................................. Flaunting our technological prowess, we nibble at its edges until at last the sea raises its hand and smashes, reminding us who’s boss.

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Indeed, the future Egan envisions for this sea is one in which waters will conquer Earth, will one day reclaim all land. Toward this end, the sea’s primary mode is patience, which in turn forms its primary method of attack:

The sea has designs on Earth and is stealth itself in its slow conquering. ................................................ [I]t has secret plans for New Orleans, Charleston, Boston, New York; the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, and the Carolinas. ................................................. It knows there is no need to hurry. Relentlessness, its primary virtue, will eventually be rewarded.

Sounds of “The Sea” Egan’s gift for musicality is superb. She uses rhythm and alliteration to great effect throughout the poem; witness her Whitmanesque naming of the sea’s winds:

It is fond of its breezy friends: Nor’easter, Typhoon, Meltemi, Monsoon, Hurricane, Bora, Tremontana, Foehn, Chinook, Mistral, Levante, Sirocco, Tornado, Baguio, Buran, Santa Ana, Harmattan, Khamsin, and Simoon; allies against the land.

Egan also creates striking rhymes. As I read this stanza aloud, I am delighted by its hard and slant rhymes:

The sea knows when to sleep, to murmur the deep womb-like shushes that keep us near, that lull us to hear the thrumming of its light-lipped snores, that soothe the screech of our raucous lives.

Particularly well-done here is the repetitive S sound which ends the third and fourth lines; snores and lives contain very different vowels, but when spoken these vowels are not as strongly heard as the words’ pluralizations because of Egan’s rhythms and their occurrence at the end of a stanza filled with internal rhymes: sea / sleep / deep / screech, near / hear, shushes / lull us / thrumming / raucous, and for variation womb / soothe.

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A True Poet’s Choices Egan’s text is centered throughout the poem; this impresses me as a deliberate visual imaging of a shoreline. She also varies her stanza length from two lines to twelve, creating an echo of waves’ variations as they come to shore. And her word choices are in some cases deceptively prosaic; the first time I read the poem I was annoyed by its often prosy wording, and I questioned her juxtaposition of images. But as I returned to “The Sea,” I began to understand Egan’s choice of mixtures as a mirror of the sea’s seemingly endless variety. The more I read this poem, the greater my esteem grows for its author. By the time the poem ends, not with a climax, but with a final definition, Egan earns my respect as well as the poetic right to her final claim:

Paving the way to a meager understanding of all that is beyond, the sea is our world’s infinity.

Such a huge claim in the hands of a lesser poet would be nearly ridiculous. In Egan’s hands, however, it is believable despite its stunning audacity. She is to be congratulated for this achievement.

More on Infinity The final lines of “The Sea” create a perfect introduction to “Beyond,” Egan’s four-page meditation on what lies outside humankind’s ability to know. Like “The Sea,” this poem uses personification from both the natural and human-constructed worlds to make available what is profoundly incomprehensible. Egan opens with the age-old reference to beyond the horizon, makes it concrete with an image of ships moving toward it, then moves in a new direction, attempting to define beyond in a new way. She renews many natural images to accomplish her goal; among them are comets, clouds, and the ancient memories of birds. She manages some delightfully fresh treatments; witness: “Fog proudly believes itself to be / a distant relative.” And “Autumn leaves intend to be buried / there forever.”

A Kaleidoscope of Images Egan continues defining the realm via natural imagery using wind and electrical storms, mountains, and the pairing of whales and dolphins. She transits beautifully to stanzas on the inadequacy of human-made ways of reaching beyond by juxtaposing oak trees with skyscrapers, then moving to telescopes’ and microscopes’ inadequacies. Next she moves to a variety of images, each of which forms a kaleidoscopic piece in my mind’s eye. The most surprising of these is:

From within a cage, everything is beyond. Offices, jungles, and submarines are the same.

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Stanzas on states of consciousness, the concepts of eternity and infinity, and the inadequacy of mathematics, geometry, and time tell what beyond is not. Egan favors natural phenomena like sunsets and moonlight to get to the edge of this unknowable territory. She also links sea tides and symphonies, makes them tools for near-understanding. Then she reveals the closest answers to this mystery she can imagine:

Air, weaving through stalks of bamboo; the absence that is a presence, lurking in quiet places where we never look.

She suggests the beyond might be sensed by a poet “when he loses pace with his words / and is swept away as on a river.” Finally, she paints death as a movement toward beyond:

Perhaps when we are most weary and have lost the shape and thrust of life, in the moment between when we cease and begin again, we will see beyond.

Beautiful Sounds “Beyond” is clearly a sister-poem to “The Sea” in its use of personification and its accumulative imagery, and like the longer work contains some beautiful sounds. The most striking passage is:

In symphonies, the silent spaces between notes, the rests and pauses, sing its song, as do the tides, who croon lullabies to the beyond.

The rhyming of song and beyond here is quite pleasing, but what elevates the stanza’s beauty is its consistent use of soothing S sounds. Egan’s sonics in this poem, while not as consistent as in “The Sea,” combine with her imagery to create a new and different attempt to decipher the indecipherable. The poem’s sole failure is in its length; “The Sea” piles up images at such length the weight of their accumulation allows me to feel the enormity of the sea’s power. The shorter length of “Beyond” does not allow its imagery to accumulate as effectively, and so as a reader I am not fully carried away to the indescribable space where I think Egan wants me to go. Still, “Beyond” has much craft and fresh imagery, and is well worth reading. Both Egan’s chapbook and Merrifield’s collection bear treasures for the reader. They bring new, different ways of looking at the world and its spaces. Attaining Canopy introduced me to a part of Earth I’ve known little about, “The Sea” redefined my notion of Earth’s waters, and

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“Beyond” gave me a glimpse past earthly existence. How much more can I ask of an afternoon’s reading? Not a thing, because these poets’ jewels are enough.

“Autumn Canopy” By Phil Martin, 2013

Colleen Powderly began writing poetry in 1997. Early poems reflected her childhood in the deep South and youth in the Midwest. Those poems eventually formed the basis for her book, Split (FootHills Publishing, 2009). More recent work has focused on stories from the working class, particularly from women’s lives. Her work has appeared in many journals, including Palo Alto Review, Blue Collar Review, Steel Toe Review, Fox Cry Review, The HazMat Review and The Centrifugal Eye, and in the new anthology, Malala: Poems for Malala Yousefzai. Colleen supported her poetry habit by working as a chemical dependency counselor before leaving the workforce in 2010. She now lives poetically, writes dangerously, and dreams impractically of living in Ireland. She keeps writing poems because she simply cannot stop.

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The Centrifugal Eye’s 5thAnniversary Anthology is a representative collection of poems published in TCE’s first 5 years of quarterly publication. This hot collection includes works by some of our favorite, contemporary, international poets, all of whom have made TCE the popular literary journal it is today. (For a list of anthology contributors, visit our website:

210 pgs / $19.95 US Available through Lulu Press:

The Centrifugal Eye’s Chapter & Verse Mini-Chapbooks Project 4-in-1 Print Edition Visit our website:

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“Fairy Planets” By Phil Martin, 2013

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“Jeweled Fog” By Eamonn Stewart, 2013

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In Memoriam, Robert C. “Beau” Cutts (1947-2013) In the well of the night.— Beau Cutts, “The Etowah,” from Night Is A Rare Place And Other Poems

Beau’s painstaking revisions like Walt fussing over Leaves of Grass. And “The Etowah,” Beau’s master poem at the heart of the book, became the basis for a chapbook of my own, The Etowah River Psalms (, making Night Is A Rare Place a book that keeps on giving like its great-hearted author. Someday a PhD candidate will parse Beau’s editorial efforts in her dissertation. I figure collectors will scramble to acquire the complete set of NIARPAOP. I suspect Beau will be anthologized alongside Sidney Lanier. And I believe what was formerly known as the very soul of poet Beau Cutts will one day take up residence in Andromeda, close by, starwise, poetrywise. He’ll loom large o’er the night. ***

A new hole was ripped in the fabric of the planet on September 11: the molecules formerly known as Beau Cutts sailed from Mother Earth into the cosmos and poetry lost a poet’s great heart, an adventurer’s heart, a friend’s heart, a beloved’s heart. While it’d be fair to call Beau a regional poet (Georgia Poet of the Year, 2006), he managed to sidestep the fate of so many such versifiers; you won’t find him in the Galaxy of Obscurity. Sure, he distilled his entire wild life into a single slim volume of poetry, a oneand-only. But what a book it was, it is— as The Centrifugal Eye readers learned when I reviewed his Night Is A Rare Place And Other Poems in these pages in August 2009 ( The book went on to become a text assigned in college classrooms, where it was used to teach critical thinking and environmental advocacy. It sold out four times (several hundred copies, I believe), and went into four more editions, each one incorporating

P.S. Because most TCE readers no doubt missed the substantive obituary published in The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, "Writer's joys: adventure and telling of it,” let me quote AJ-C staffer Michelle E. Shaw to give you a deeper appreciation of Beau’s surprising talents: “Beau Cutts was a journalist for 40 years, but he’d been an adventurer all his life. He found a way to somehow meld his job and his hobby, and take complete strangers along for the ride. Cutts snorkeled with humpbacked whales, enjoyed skydiving and hang-gliding excursions and sailed around the world. And after it was all over, he chronicled the experience. ‘He liked to do things that people would maybe dream about doing and then write about them,’ said his former wife, Carol Cutts. ‘He was so able to reach the average reader in the way he presented his stories.’” The same held true for his poems. R.I.P., my Beau-mon.

~Karla Linn Merrifield

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The Centrifugal Eye’s Literary Gems & Valuable Facets: The Latest News & Guides

TCE contributor and MoonPath Press publisher Lana Hechtman Ayers is proud to present a new chapbook in its lineup, Something Like a River, by Roberta Feins. Check it out at 8th House Publishing,, out of New York/Montreal, recently released contributor Darren Demaree’s first full collection, As We Refer to Our Bodies, also available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Regular contributor Laury A. Egan recently saw her newest novel, The Outcast Oracle, published by Humanist Press; it’s available in paperback and as an e-book at

John Flynn’s new poetry chapbook, Additions To Our Essential Confusion, is available from Kattywompus Press:, plus another chapbook, States and Items, is just out from Leaf Garden Press: Also new, a book of short stories is available from Publerati, titled Dreaming Rodin. Visit And John’s novel, Heaven Is a City Where Your Language Isn’t Spoken, will soon be published by Cervena Barva Press: Regular contributor Karen Greenbaum-Maya will soon see her new chapbook, Eggs Satori, come out from Kattywompus Press; see Congratulations also to long-time contributor Kenneth Pobo. His limited-edition chapbook, Placemats, won the Eastern Point Press 2013 Chapbook Contest. Visit!ken-pobob/cqxx

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The Centrifugal Eye has been around for over 8 years. Much of the work published during that time is still available in our online archives, and has been collected into an anthology (see page 81 for details). During the past 4 ½ years, all but one of our issues have also been made available as print-on-demand editions through If you’d like to peruse our archives or pick up print copies, please visit these sites: Archives

Centrifuge/Special Projects

TCE Storefront/Lulu Press

If you are a poet, essayist, reviewer, or artist, and you think that your work may be a match for us, please visit our guidelines page on TCE ’s website. Submission Guidelines

“Banks of Sleep” By Painter/Illustrator Phil Martin Phil Martin, now based in Lincoln, UK, has painted all his life, having been resident artist in a Spanish gallery, and also worked for galleries in the UK. Phil now concentrates mainly on figurative work, some of which can be found on Facebook: He still produces some very controversial protest art, as well as local Lincoln scenes as the mood takes him. (See his works throughout this issue.) "I don`t believe in personal style" says Phil, who prefers a much looser attitude toward art. "If some of the greats had stuck to just one thing we would be poorer for it."

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“Banks of Sleep” By Phil Martin, 2013

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