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Summer 2014 Volume 9 Issue 1

The Centrifugal Eye

East West

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The Centrifugal Eye

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

Cover Art: “As the Heron Flies” By E. A. Hanninen When Eve Anthony Hanninen dons her beret, and her writer’s tools are momentarily set aside for brushes, ink, pastels, acrylics, fine papers, and digital finagling, she most often comes up with something surreal or impressionistic. Though continually busy with producing The Centrifugal Eye, she now and then finds time to illustrate someone else’s book cover or brochure. Read more about Eve after her editorial on page 5.

Spot Illustrations/In-house Stock Photos by TCE Staff Orbz Icons by Milos Mirkovic, Creative Commons Notes & Book Stack by Jackson, Creative Commons Copyright 2014 The Centrifugal Eye *Collected Works*

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Fonts Used: Headline — Sybil Green; Display — Nyala; Body Copy — Nyala & Sylfaen

East of West

Contents: 5


“Expressing Longitude. Taking Latitude.” by Eve Anthony Hanninen


Featured Interview Poet: Michelle Barker


An Essay on the Writing Life

“Mystical and Earthy: The Paradox of Writing” by Michelle Barker Elemental Verse from TCE Contributors: 20 Michelle Barker 26 Seth Crook 27 Karen Greenbaum-Maya 28 William Doreski 30 Casey FitzSimons 32 Andrew Jarvis 33 Lori Lamothe 34 Siham Karami 36 John N. Miller 38 Lynn Otto 40 Leslie Philibert 42 Karla Linn Merrifield 43 Esther Greenleaf Mürer 44 Ron Riekki 46 Judith Terzi 47 Lynn Strongin Review Column: Merrifield’s Tao of Poetry:


Literary Components & Poetic Particles: The Latest News & Guides

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“Stuck on the Same Stupid Cloud Channel All Day Long” by Karla Linn Merrifield, On Harvey’s If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? 58 Review: “A Silted Thing” by Gram Joel Davies, On Darren C. Demaree’s As We Refer to Our Bodies 64 The Centrifugal Eye Contributors, Summer 2014: Bionotes

“Nothing makes the Earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.” ~Henry David Thoreau

“Good writers are often excellent at a hundred other things, but writing promises a greater latitude for the ego.”

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~John Cheever

Expressing Longitude. Taking Latitude. By Eve Anthony Hanninen

Eve Anthony Hanninen is an American poet, editor, and illustrator ranging the Saskatchewan prairies. Her poems have appeared in About Place Journal, Karla Linn Merrifield & Friends (mgv2>publishing), Eye Socket Journal, Switched-on Gutenberg, Sea Stories, and many other fine journals. She is anthologized in The Centrifugal Eye’s 5th-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 a limited-edition, altered-book imprint called Sylvanshine Editions. Contact Eve:

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Just what does “East of West” mean, anyway? Of course East is east of West. And West is west of East. Yet West is also east of East; East is also west of West. Do you get a feeling of hopping over the meridian as you read this? Maybe it’s a blur when you try to picture each direction as a destination, one beyond the other. And, why yes, that could be a description of trying to watch our Earth spinning on its axis. But what does The Centrifugal Eye hope to bring to mind with its thought-directing, East-of-West theme? As usual, our editorial aim is to maintain a broad avenue of creative interpretation for contributors and readers alike. And so, you will find in these pages written works that flirt with juxtapositions and contrasts of Eastern versus Western cultures. Philosophies and imagery may hop apart, or they may blur into intriguing, even haunting, amalgamations. You will also be reminded through the issue’s sub-theme, Elemental Verse, that East and West are not only directional designators, but they are also considered by many cultures to be elementals — think of the Four Winds: East, West, North, and South. And because elements and elementals play such a huge part in the myriad cultural mythologies commingling on our planet, it is nearly impossible to escape elemental imagery of some sort when writers consider what comes out from East of West.

East of West of East of West Featured Interview: A Dialogue between Poet & Fantasy Writer Michelle Barker & TCE Editor Eve Anthony Hanninen

Featured Essay: “Mystical and Earthy: The Paradox of Writing” by Michelle Barker

Elemental Verse from 16 of Today’s Quintessential Poets

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Poetry-Review Articles

Featured Interview Poet

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Michelle Barker

East of West Featured Interview Featured Interview: A Dialogue between Poet & Fantasy Writer Michelle Barker & TCE Editor Eve Anthony Hanninen

EAH: Michelle, great to be chatting with you this summer. Thanks for sharing some of your time with The Centrifugal Eye’s readers. You very recently returned from Belgium and Amsterdam. As you’re a self-professed, avid swimmer and hiker, I hope you got to indulge in favorite activities while you were east of Canada? MB: Actually, I didn’t. The trip was definitely an urban experience. We did do a huge amount of walking — I had to work off all the chocolate and waffles somehow. And we rented bikes in Amsterdam (I also love to cycle), but the canal water looked less than inviting. I stayed in the boat. EAH: Ha! So, dirty canal water’s not your thing. But in general, are there certain types of environments you most enjoy exploring? For example, swimming in saltwater bodies versus freshwater lakes? Hiking breezy mountain meadows versus the sundried prairies?

EAH: Well do we know that you’re inspired by your surroundings — you’ve remained a regular poetry contributor to TCE for several years now, for which we’re grateful. Yet, I suspect many of our readers may not know you also write fantasy. What are some of your recent accomplishments?

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MB: I live just outside Penticton, BC, and our property backs onto Crown land, which means miles of mountain hiking. That’s my favorite place to hike, and it’s quite varied, with both meadows and forests. As for swimming, I confess I like to see bottom. If I’m going to swim laps, it’s chlorine for me. But Penticton is situated between two freshwater lakes and there are some beautiful places to spend the afternoon. And I love the ocean. Just watching it surge and roll into shore is a great source of inspiration for poetry.

MB: I had a short story published in The Fiddlehead. It’s called “The Things We Lose on Purpose,” and it’s about two sisters coming to terms with the recent death of their mother — which brings up festering wounds in their relationship. The story is part of a larger work that began as a collection of linked stories, but it’s looking more like a novel now. Another from the same collection, called “Fun House,” is due to be published in The Dalhousie Review. Lately, though, I’ve been pouring all of my energy into a YA fantasy novel called Way (at least, that’s the title for now). It is the second in a series — the first was published in 2013 by Thistledown Press. The Beggar King and its in-progress sequel are stand-alone novels that explore a dark force of magic called the undermagic. I didn’t want to create a stark black-and-white picture of good versus evil, but rather explore the undeniable draw of powerful-but-dangerous magic. In the first book, fifteen-year-old Jordan Elliott must wrestle with the temptations of using this magic to save his mother who is being held prisoner during the occupations of their lands. In the second, seventeen-year-old Sigrid Ostergaard discovers that the undermagic has spread to her land and that one of the men in line for the throne might also be under its influence. She must stop him —without being tempted by the undermagic herself. Both protagonists discover that everything has an underside — even magic, even them. As for poetry, earlier this summer I gave a two-hour presentation to a group of 65 kids ranging in age from 8 to 18 — and NO ONE fell asleep. EAH: I’m a sucker for fantasy stories involving elements of magic. You’ve intrigued me! And you must have intrigued your young poetry audience during your presentation. Any tips for engaging this age range and making poetry palatable for kids?

EAH: I love the idea of making definitions personal — that’s a terrific way to serve up poetry to a young or novice audience. And, boy, it’s tough to fool kids when it comes to their tastes; sneaking yucky stuff into the mix (except fart humor, obviously) often fails to impress.

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MB: It was tricky! I have four children of my own and stayed home to raise them, so I know firsthand that kids will only sit still for something that interests them. Most important, perhaps, is to make them laugh. One of the poems I read to them — to show them that modern poetry is actually a lot of fun — was “Gas,” by Charles Bukowski, which is about the narrator’s huge farting grandmother. The other important component in keeping kids interested is to keep them busy, so I had them write some poems. We tackled the haiku, did an exercise where each member of the group wrote one line of a poem, and we worked on a dictionary poem, which involved choosing a noun and making up personal and specific definitions for it.

In your opinion, Michelle, what top 3-5 elements do you think are needed to make up a good poem, for either a child or an adult? MB:

1. Strong imagery with lots of sensory detail. 2. A surprising connection that helps me see something in a new way. 3. Clarity of imagery and language. 4. An ending that leaves readers with something to think about. 5. Effective line lengths and line endings.

I spent a fair bit of time during that presentation emphasizing the importance of sensory detail and being specific. Stephen King speaks of writing as a form of telepathy, which I think is an excellent and effective way to think about writing in any genre. During the presentation, we tried some telepathy. I purposely made my examples generalized and abstract so that the kids would appreciate, in contrast, the importance of drawing the reader in with detailed imagery. EAH: And what qualities overall are needed to be a writer or poet? MB: Throughout the years of raising my children, I’ve worked as a writer, editor, and workshop leader. I still do a lot of editing and love to speak to people about elements of writing. Two qualities I have relied on heavily over the years as a writer are self-discipline and persistence. A writer needs to work every day, and not get discouraged by the word no. Inspiration doesn’t necessarily come when it’s called, but when the Muse shows up, she has to know where to find you. I also believe a writer must read. It’s important to know what’s being done in the genre one writes in, in order to come up with something fresh and new, as well as know something about the tradition from which one is drawing.

MB: Agh. I was an English major. I stayed as far away from science as I could. But last year I had to help my son pretty intensely with Grade 10 chemistry. He has learning disabilities, so we tackled the material together. What a surprise to discover how interesting it was. I loved it. I think science can be a huge source of inspiration because there is so much that is being discovered about the world that boggles the mind. Just thinking that our bodies transform and pick up bits and pieces of everything else, including stars, could be fodder for several poems.

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EAH: Right. The more you know about your genre’s history (and your subject), the less likely you are to regurgitate the same story and poem ideas — you’re more likely to present inventive material to publishers. And readers. In some science-fiction and fantasy tales, for example, science plays as big a part as magic does. Which of the elemental sciences (electricity, mineralogy, cosmology, biology, etc.), if any, do you have an interest in? Do they ever play a part in your writing?

EAH: Ah, you’ve been inspired by stars before, such as in your mini-digital-chapbook, Glimpsing the Stars.* I wonder what would happen if you had to study electricity or meteorology with your son? Hah! I’m sure you’re “struck by lightning” (profoundly inspired) on a fairly regular basis. When was the last time? MB: For the fantasy novel I’m writing, I have been making extensive use of the images available on Pinterest.† The most recent lightning strike came from a photograph of an abandoned house in the woods, which became for me a hidden community of mages. It led to a total shift in the novel, which was very exciting. EAH: Visual prompts are extremely useful. What other stimuli do you make use of when crafting a story or poem? MB: I read — a lot. I find that reading will inspire new ideas — sometimes directly, such as when I come upon a beautiful description of a city in a fantasy novel and realize that I could include more detail in my own descriptions. But sometimes the inspiration is indirect and completely unexpected, and I can’t quite fathom where it came from. I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone to bed with a problem and woken up with a poem (and I mean that literally, not figuratively — don’t get the wrong idea!). I also really love written prompts, especially ones that seem like they might be difficult to work with. I like being forced out of my comfort zone. Sometimes it only results in a mess, but other times I surprise myself.

MB: The East of West part. I’m fascinated by the way elements of Eastern spirituality have made their way into the West, most notably Buddhism and yoga. I attend yoga classes (more sporadically than I’d like) and I’ve read some books on Buddhism because I’m interested in how so many Buddhist practices can be incorporated into our lives — and improve the quality of our lives, enriching other practices, philosophies, and even religions. However, there is also a faddish quality to things like “power yoga” and the sale of Buddhist slogans printed on everything from t-shirts to coffee mugs. I’ve seen "Mind the gap" iPhone covers and Namaste bumper stickers. I couldn’t resist poking fun at my own willingness to leap on the bandwagon for a time. EAH: I can see you agree it’s healthy to sometimes laugh at the universally human pursuits of spirituality, happiness, and meaning. * †

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EAH: The challenges of prompt-writing are what led to my deciding to make TCE a themed journal, and our contributors over the years have reinforced for me through their enthusiasms that this was an applauded decision. What was it about our East of West/Elemental Verse theme that drew you?

I’ve been excited to put together this issue of TCE, especially to see how other writers interpret the “East of West” slant on the theme. Eastern and western ideas continue to overlap as cultures are more exposed to each other through advancements in communication and access, so staff and I loved your “poking fun” at all the “cool kids” who embrace merging spiritual practices. I admit I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that the elemental aspects in life are the meaning of life. The components, the details, the stars in our bodies. Are we writers what we collect and absorb? What do you think, Michelle? MB: Absolutely. I can’t help but think of a black wool coat I own that I sometimes foolishly wear in springtime when the air is full of pollen. The coat is a magnet for every bit of whoknows-what that happens to be floating around. I feel like this is how writing works, as well. Things around you stick, from snippets of conversation to a gesture you saw someone make. You never quite know what will stick or how it will make its way into a story or poem. But inevitably it does. This is why I think it’s so important for writers to pay attention — to everything. And write it all down. There’s nothing worse than coming to the end of your day and realizing you had that great idea in the morning, but you can’t remember what it was (— or maybe I’m showing my age!). EAH: Thanks for that great description — I can see a writer walking through her world, and as she moves along her day, bits of information, of music, fragments of imagery, specks of varied colors, all stick themselves to her until she’s covered in a vibrant coat of useful data. That’s a perfect visual note on which to end our interview. I now invite readers to have another look at your sticky coat and how it’s taken different forms in your absorbing essay and subsequent offering of poems in the next several pages. MB: My sticky coat, I love it! Thank you so much for the chance to chat. I feel honored to have been able to contribute to TCE these past few years, and it’s been a pleasure to work with you and your team of careful editors.

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EAH: The pleasure’s been mutual.

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“Heron Cupola” by E. A. Hanninen, 2014

“A writer needs to work every day, and not get discouraged by the word no. Inspiration doesn’t necessarily come when it’s called, but when the Muse shows up, she has to know where to find you.” ~Michelle Barker

East of West Featured Essay An Essay on the Writing Life by Michelle Barker

The Muse. Inspiration. Staring out windows. Choosing just the right pencil, or coffee cup, or angle of light. We writers are allowed to get away with a lot of so-called strategies that the rest of the world would call lazy, crazy, or just plain strange. To be fair, imaginative work is not an ordinary job. Where someone else might spend an hour writing a business letter, I may spend the same amount of time trying to come up with the perfect metaphor that allows readers to think of, say, owls in a new way. If I’m lucky, I might even make them think differently about life. After an hour, the business person will no doubt have their letter in hand — any mystery to writing a business letter can usually be solved with a template — but I might not have my metaphor. Not that day, or the next. I’ve had poems sit in my notebook for a year or longer before the missing piece clicked into place. Besides writing poetry, I also write fantasy. Not only do I have imaginary friends, I also have an imaginary world of my own making that is as real to me as the one I live in. It’s a strange place to put myself every day. The world continues to exist around me (I think),

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Mystical and Earthy: The Paradox of Writing

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but I leave it for hours at a time, to a place where magic exists alongside rivers and valleys and meandering bazaars. My job is to tell readers about it in such a way that it becomes as real for them as it is for me. Not quite as straightforward as a business letter — and so it shouldn’t be surprising that creative writing requires a different skill set. In fact, what I believe it requires is faith in a paradoxical process that is at once mystical and earthy. Consider, for example, the slippery concept of inspiration. Either we can regard it as the decisively earthy habit of showing up to the page every day, or the struck-by-lightning phenomenon that writers wish would happen more often. How can it be both? I can’t pretend to understand how the mystical part of the writing process works. All I can say is that in my experience it is both. I wouldn’t want anyone to misunderstand me. I am not an advocate of the wait-forinspiration approach to writing; in this way I am as practical as a writer gets. There is craft to learn, and technique to practice. There are the nuts and bolts of grammar, and stanzas, and line endings. I’m a firm believer in discipline. To a certain extent, I think inspiration is earned. It’s the compensation a writer receives for persistent and sustained work even on days when nothing works, or you’re exhausted, or the house needs cleaning, or your life is falling apart. Showing up every day is my way of courting the Muse — that source of inspiration I am convinced exists, call it what you will. I show up. That’s the earthy part. But sometimes I also light a candle. Sometimes I murmur a prayer. When I’m stuck in my work I take the dog for a long walk. I take these walks on faith, knowing that if I open myself to the world and keep my mind still, an answer will come. It always does. Because sometimes inspiration is unearned, more like a form of grace than anything. That’s the mystical part. Writing is punctuation and dangling modifiers and theme and structure, but it’s also ethereal and unnameable. (We writers are a superstitious lot. Name it, and it might just fly away.) Ideas arrive in the shower. Poems drop into my lap literally out of nowhere. Sometimes I go to sleep perplexed by a plot glitch and wake up with the answer. My best work comes when I stumble out of bed to sit at my desk (always with coffee, that’s a nobrainer), my critical right-brain still half asleep and completely unaware that its rainbowcolored partner is already up and dancing with the lampshade on its head. I think writing itself echoes this paradox. In order to fully inhabit your imagination as a writer, you must be able to dream, to make strange links and metaphorical leaps, to think sideways and upside-down. But you must also keep both feet firmly on the ground, eyes open and paying attention to the world around you, senses alert. In my opinion, the best poems and stories rely on strong sensory detail to bring them to life. If there’s food in a poem, readers want to smell it and taste it. If there is clothing, we should sense what it feels like on our skin. Weather is not just a description: rain has a

sound, snow has a smell, and the sensation of the air on one’s cheek will be different in winter than in summer. Seasons have color and scent. The world is alive with sound — bees, or a jackhammer, or a field of crickets at dusk, or the sudden dampening of sound when you enter a cathedral in the middle of a city. Details such as these can only come by taking our whole bodies with us into the imaginative experience. I need to pull myself down to this place (some people may see it as up, I see it as plumbing the depths of some kind of loamy soil), and engage every sense in order to find the best way to bring the reader to my side. It’s like full-contact telepathy, where the reader is both in the world and in my head. On some days this is as easy and natural as breathing. On others it feels as if I’m trying to pull out my own teeth — a painful and pointless task for which I am wholly unqualified. Why exactly do I do this? To see my name in print? That would be a paltry payoff, and as it turns out, the judges keep moving the finish line. No, I do it for the sake of the process itself. I do it because it’s both mystical and earthy: it involves, in equal measures, grit and grace. The balance feels good. The payoff is le mot juste — the right word falling into the proper place at the most fitting time. That click. You know it when you hear it. No sound is sweeter.

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“Consider, for example, the slippery concept of inspiration. Either we can regard it as the decisively earthy habit of showing up to the page every day, or the struck-by-lightning phenomenon that writers wish would happen more often. How can it be both?” ~Michelle Barker

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East of West Elemental Verse Elemental Verse from 16 of Today’s Quintessential Poets

John N. Miller Lynn Otto Leslie Philibert Karla Linn Merrifield Esther Greenleaf MĂźrer Ron Riekki Judith Terzi Lynn Strongin

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Michelle Barker Seth Crook Karen Greenbaum-Maya William Doreski Casey FitzSimons Andrew Jarvis Lori Lamothe Siham Karami

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“Back to Earth: Recycled Antique Wheelbarrow” by D. J. Bryant, 2014

Michelle Barker Featured Poet Pose This morning in a yoga hip twist I found my father lodged beneath the joint, aching my muscles, which had been tight for days.

I forgive you, I said and waited for him to go away. We breathed into our ribs and there he was compressed between bone and bone, pinching every breath.

I forgive you, I said breathing him into the large orange room, out and then in again. Obviously this wasn’t working. So I stood strong in my mountain pose, eyes to the sky, and shouted

and my toes gripped the floor and my hands gripped the air and my breath clutched my heart. Nothing was fooled.

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I forgive you

In the Beginning Was the Word She sat at a table alone in a Kelowna café sipping her tea and reading the teachings of Buddha, and I at a nearby table eating my blueberry muffin looked on. She would read, sip her tea and then put the book down to let it steep. Studying her face was like eavesdropping on a prayer, as she stared into the distance and watched her life rearrange itself into devotion. How mere words can change the color and flavor of a life —

We toss them together like children playing with chemistry kits heedless of the danger, the grace contained in basic elements, the prospect of mixing ingredients in a particular order to create fire.

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the common words — once upon a time, take two tablespoons of oil, don’t forget to pick up milk.

Satori For one moment on my walk this afternoon I became breath and the space around breathing. Momentum released me, its to-do-to-do drumbeat of dinners and laundry and driving to school. My body disappeared. In that instant I was the long grasses, the hum and buzz, sky clouding over, I was the scent of pine. I glimpsed timelessness and understood that eternity has everything — and nothing — to do with me. The world opened up

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and I threw my whole life in — even my car, even this poem — and lay at its feet.

All the Cool Kids Are Buddhists Now they smell of incense tattoo peace in Japanese on their ankles all the cool kids have a mantra can Om themselves through breakfast survive on jasmine tea and seaweed all the cool kids wear saffron get disastrous haircuts refuse to kill mosquitoes they understand the Zen koans crossing rivers one hand clapping they have a teacher (why can’t I have a teacher) the cool kids know how to breathe they are partially enlightened not afraid to bow to strangers breathing in they smile (I still don’t know what happens when they breathe out) I want to get lost in noble silence pick my way along the eight-fold path without a machete say Namaste to my drycleaner walk barefoot on Main Street hang some catchy slogans on my walls already I have given up punctuation and bought myself a lava lamp I’ve had it with organ music clunky church hymns I want a slow snake charm out of a woven basket I promise to take refuge do no harm walk softly I will be a sand mandala artfully arranged and then scattered by the wind oh

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Jesus help me I want to go to heaven and be somebody.

“The celestial bodies are the cause of all that takes place in the sublunar world.” ~Thomas Aquinas

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“The cosmos is a vast living body, of which we are still parts. The sun is a great heart whose tremors run through our smallest veins. The moon is a great nerve center from which we quiver forever.” ~D. H. Lawrence

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“Heart of the Solar System” by E. A. Hanninen, 2014

Seth Crook High Winds Headless horsemen at full tilt, pushers of the loveless night, kin to homeless jivas, ghosts. Extinguishers of candles, lamps, haters of the steady light, loose sails, small boats, wren hopes.

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No face, no lips, no urge to kiss, uncontested rulers of the cold, crack dancers of apocalypso.

Karen Greenbaum-Maya Opioid Withdrawal / Total Eclipse Symptoms begin with restlessness

as birds stop singing and

a general feeling of unease

the cows are scared, dogs howl,

tingling as if the soul

pulling at the gut, the third chakra

is being rubbed with sandpaper

straining against one’s own emptiness.

Symptoms deteriorate

As earth regains ascendance

to a flu-like condition,

wrongness crawls over the temples,

fatal in some circumstances

when the sun sets, at noon, in the middle of the sky.

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(translated freely from Adelbert Stifter’s account)

William Doreski Gnome Tracks Gnome tracks garble the early snow. Not the tacky plastic gnomes sold at the garden center but the mean little buggers that scare the bobcats and weasels and steal fifty-pound bags of birdseed from my shed. Genetically warped descendants of early white settlers, they lack the restraint of law, and mock the faux-sincerity of bankers, realtors, lawyers, chefs and other tame and feathered creatures.

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Although I wish they’d stay away I’d rather not offend them by waving a loaded shotgun. Gnome gangs could ransack my house while I’m festering at the office. They’d leave scat on the Turkish carpets. They’d steal my antique jazz LPs for dinnerware, downsize my clothing to plump themselves for winter. They’d cart away kitchen utensils to accessorize campfires I spot every night in the distant woods.

Let them have the bird seed, the cracked corn set out for turkeys, let them gnaw the woodpeckers’ suet. If only they’d stop whispering all night under my bedroom window. If only they’d don those pointed hats the vinyl garden gnomes wear to make themselves foolish and cute.

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These actual gnomes eat mice and bugs and cannibalize the weaker members of their crew. I’ve found the bones, boiled and shining in the forest; and once I found lying facedown on a boulder a tiny bible smutted with blood, annotated with spidery microscopic scrawl almost as clumsy as mine.

Casey FitzSimons On Rectangles

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The farming square, the legacy of Jefferson’s ruled lines across the plain, berms and mounds, dikes and middens giving way to the center-seeking vertical of wall and the shortest point-joining straightaways against which the farmhouse might abut or that wedge of knife that yours from mine so clean and fairly cuts, has married us to rectangles for all time, sentries to gravity: the sky reflected in a cow pond, my face in a trough, a family through a window.

Henge Only that: circled plain, empty sky, close horizon Shelter against agoraphobia, cacophony The ditch: a warning not to leave Stones hauled in, stood on end snaggled over eons, snug in their sockets, they beg meaning, bite the round sky ineffectually, swallow

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the tongue that has anything to say.

“Stonehenge� from

Andrew Jarvis Plank House The thing is rearrangeable, the sides boarded without windows, with light warming only the roof. And the uprights hoist the rafters holding the planks overlapping as if salmon were scaled for tiles. There is a space for the whalers and one for mother and her loom, as if she wed a sea planner. This is the perfect space without the ugly bows and pierced deer meat bleeding on moveable floorboards. The fire shines on our grandmother, her hair carved in a cedar frieze with mouth drooping where father slipped. Grandfather has a better face, with ornamental shells framing his eyes staring and impatient.

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And then we will hide them away before the house is dismantled, untied, undone, and moved again.

Lori Lamothe and, yes, I feel a little freakish, cleaning wax and crystal. But I’m no poltergeist — hurling psychic energy this way and that — mind whirling transparent bullets that wound even the houseplants. Still it’s a world of unsolved mysteries, so many blanks on the far side of right. My brother, whom I haven’t heard from, has his own stalker now. She steals kittens and bank cards, photos and yoga mats. She can strike without warning, appear at midnight in an open heath brewing obsession in a cauldron of frogs and false teeth. Actually I wanted to write about Ophelia, gown ballooning gorgeous in death, skin beaded with pearls of light. I imagine her at peace in a clarity of water. Note how the river illuminates her face, how her beauty wouldn’t break with honesty whatever Hamlet said. For once I want to be romantic and hopelessly naive, to slam the door on cynicism. I want to believe the child suffocated with duct tape really did drown in her grandparents’ pool — that when she stumbled into blue the angels swept down out of sublime and carried her broken bird-winged soul up heaven’s feathered ladder one sunny day.

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While Writing a Poem Glass Breaks

Siham Karami Losing Count

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Doctors wonder at the pluck of pi Spewing numbers to infinity, Defining circle. They say he'll die, A matter of a day or maybe two. Ellipses close on nothing they can do, But slowly drip the sedatives into A raw descent of figures: one-oh-five Becomes a ninety-three — heartrate: alive — The diastolic number falling free To everlasting zero. Is he gone? Stray fractions pulse within a fading bone Gone elemental, back to waves and tide And winds and skeins of numbers twisting hard Til nothing holds, the variables bombard The constants — gravity's equations churn Primordials, unraveling a me Into the infinite, uncounted we: To we who made you, now you shall return.

And the stars and trees prostrate themselves. . . The Qur’an 55:6

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A stand of trees: their foreheads press the sky toward the brightness that descends into their hands outstretched to green with light digested and transformed. They rise in counterpoint, another way of gravity, undaunted rivers coursing through their trunks, their branches, heavy yet light, their sighs inaudible in breezes, their waters moving upward. To questions of to be, their sacred chemistry replies within each trunk that holds a world, and leaves what grows to grow, leaves what lives to rise.

“Trees: Abstract Nature” by Vector Graphics

John N. Miller New Year Hwaet we Gardena in geardagum . . . What were we war-Danes in yore-years . . . —Beowulf

When in winter’s southeast sky Orion’s outline star-points glinted ice-like the dragon’s coils lay freezing its fire flamed out during battle with Beowulf himself sorely bitten to slow death he the hero who manhandled the grim marauder of Hrothgar’s mead hall then met and slew the monster’s mother come from the netherworld to wreak revenge.

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In the dead of the year he died soon after his fierce foe the fire-tongued beast. Then did the Geats grieve for their dead king cursing the dragon that had ravaged his realm and for their own flames formed a great pyre from which bits of the hero’s burning rose to the sky to signal his end.

⪤⋇⨳⦓⦔⨳⋇⪤ Above, the Hunter held his ageless watch for the Great and Lesser Bear. In the slow circlings of the zodiac the dragon’s Asian prototype awaited its turn to initiate the year named in its honor.

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During the cold of what we Westerners call “February,” festive days brought the new year’s dragon down to earth, as they still do, with fireworks, coiled, red-paper offspring of the beast illumined, sprouting human legs to move them into happy, warmer months; and celebration of ancestral heroes who reappear anew in ancient masks.

Lynn Otto In China I Am Blameless The Chinese doctor says External pernicious influence. Wind invading. But I am not to blame the wind; it is a brush stroke in the black ink painting. He says The mother is the daughter is the mother. The daughter is the mother is the daughter. In the West it is because.

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In the East it is.

Penjing I can manage the landscape in this tray. I can comprehend the small stone mountains, the clinging miniature trees, wired and trimmed as if the wind is always westerly. I clear the path of tiny fallen leaves, pretend the tiny building is a church I attend and sing the psalms and listen to the preacher,

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who is old, crippled, and has the right to speak of God.

Leslie Philibert Church Stiff and cold as a whale`s skin, full of space and thin air, edges and corners beyond stone, moon windows and cold-fire brass, slow and dark in pitch. This is the hole at the end of the Earth with too much God. I am a spider crawling up gold and patina to a height that reduces all below. This is bloodless, lost and serious. I have forgotten the gravestones outside, they are all out at sea, old with green, not lucent but thick with rock, the left-behinds, we are the lucky ones

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that hear the first bells, a shake of tones, we rise at command, trained and black.


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Snake earthed and feathered, my chest full of curved fish bones and a departing heart. Let me be cut open with a stone or lose my skin against a rock, hang me under a storm before widows. I have been turned inside out like a bedsheet. I’m an empty bottle full of stains, never to be clean.

“Old Bottle” from

Karla Linn Merrifield Pacific Sisters

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On the day of the four green sea turtles, I commune with them on Olowalu’s reef off Maui. Like ancient priestesses in silent service to Kanaloa, great god of great waters, they summon me to their shallow seabed. Honu of the East, breathing sun, warms my spirit of its cold anger; Honu of the West, breathing moon, releases my body from the grip of grief; Honu of the North, breathing stars, endows my mind with quiet wisdom; and Honu of the South, breathing a rainbow, eases me into time’s slow healing waves. A hui hou, my sisters, a hui hou.

Esther Greenleaf M端rer Listen My pencil scratches a jazzy solo against a counterpoint of whooshes, swishes and buzzes. The Dopplering of passing cars, the grumble and wheeze of a bus, the fugue of air conditioners: The energy saver in the living room revs up its alto, followed by the condenser's breathy bass; then both clunk to a full stop. The tenor in the kitchen holds steady against the mezzo whine seeping from the house next door.

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And through it all, the north woods calls from long ago and far away and yet so close: the sopranino sawing of the cicadas that live in my ear.

Ron Riekki Orlando Medical School They teach you in paramedic school: do not milk the umbilical cord. They say Have the dad boil some water. What do we use the boiling water for? To get nervous fathers out of the room. They say you get used to seeing things like a toothbrush stuck in an eyeball, that you’ll learn tires can explode, that electrocution can kill your partner, that the human body is so complex that you have to treat it with simplicity. If it’s bleeding, stop it. If it’s broken,

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splint it. If it’s not breathing, make it breathe. They say to get a shower curtain with the periodic table, to put an anatomy

chart across from the toilet, that you should have flashcards in your back pocket at all times, that what you don’t know can kill somebody. They say Yes, I’ve killed a patient before.

You will too, if you stick with this job long enough. We watch videos of skateboarders landing on their groin, impaled by fence. A gymnast breaking both ankles. A bath salt addict trying to eat his neighbor’s face. The man struck by lightning on the beach. So that at night I dream of a perfectly healthy world, one where HIV is cured by coffee and falling from thirty feet makes people bounce. I go to class the next day and they say One day

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if you’re lucky, you’ll lose all your emotions. It’ll probably lead to divorce, but you’ll save lives.

Judith Terzi The Road to Buckhorn Over 160,000 acres of the Angeles National Forest were burned in the Station Fire of 2009, the largest forest fire in the modern history of Los Angeles County.

It starts halfway up. This aftermath of fire, risen from ash, from arson. Lavender forest, overgrowth of turricula — poison wildflower. Sharp-toothed leaves and blossoms bend against limbless poles of big cone spruce, Coulter pine. Risen from ash, from arson. Lavender forest. This air infused with char recalls the crime, the feat of flame, Santa Ana's scorch and howl. Limbless poles of Douglas-fir and Coulter pine. Saplings planted high in drought-drenched soil are gone. Do beak-beats revive the cloth of bark? Feat of flame, Santa Ana's scorch and howl. Yet larkspur and goldenrod delude the dark. And monkey flower, Spanish broom and sage. Do woodpecker beats revive the cloth of bark?

Her dresses and blouses hanging in closets lure. It starts halfway up. This aftermath of fire, of death. Polyester remains of my mother. Overgrowth of turricula. Wild fire flower.

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My mind returns to clothing in the after-phase of life. Polyester remains as if my mother were still alive. And monkey flower and sage.

Lynn Strongin Our fathers taught us cold grace Sitting in their harp-back chairs Making a solemn music Giving us children to know greater than speech Was silent voice. We bowed to the voice we could not hear: In our long-johns, in our nightdress While the dogs barking outside had still to be fed.

Is it either eat or be eaten?

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Soon it was bed, The tulip flare of sheets fresh-ironed Being turned back by mother. We zipped into the dark cups of sleep.

East of West Reviews Merrifield’s Tao of Poetry Review Column by Karla Linn Merrifield

“You are in for one heckuva ride with Tabloids . . . Something totally different in the universe of poetry, with elements of surprise, both visual and verbal, on every page.” ~Karla Linn Merrifield (On Matthea Harvey)

A Silted Thing: A Review by Gram Joel Davies

“This is the rain that brings flood. Tiny short lines. Images tumbling fast, almost in non sequiturs.”

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~Gram Joel Davies (On Darren C. Demaree)

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“Nouveau Lily Rain Chain” by E. A. Hanninen, 2014

“The Objectified Mermaid” by Matthea Harvey, From If the Tabloids Are True What Are You?

Merrifield’s Tao of Poetry Reading By Karla Linn Merrifield

If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? By Matthea Harvey, Graywolf Press, 2014 81 Pages / $25

“stuck on the same stupid cloud channel all day long”

If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? depicts our postmodern

in words and

images — using elements such as silhouettes, photographs, artful illustrations, sculptures, tinwork — in a way that means you cannot experience the poem solo. This

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There is something new under the . Not just the newest from Matthea Harvey, but a whole new way to experience poetry between two covers. Positively revolutionary.

indivisible marriage — as in a comic book — is even employed in the table of contents where poem titles, for example, are incorporated into silhouettes for one poetic sequence, like this: ; and where a photo composite such as functions as each poem’s title in another sequence. This is funky stuff in a funky book. My stupid icons can’t come close to how text and image interrelate in Tabloids, so I’ll cut out that shit and give Editor Eve Hanninen a break from fussing with too many of them in formatting this issue. Let’s get back to this totally postmodern book that challenges our perceptions with its unique combination of visual elements and text. Let’s take its wild trip.

“a mini / Michael Jackson wearing Disco Barbie’s glove” Yes, funky, truly funky. It is, after all, a book populated by Elvis, the Michelin Man, Martians, aliens, a prom king and queen, nine species of mermaids portrayed in nine poems, e.g., “The Homemade Mermaid,” as well as a mermaid chorus, to cite a few. The funkiest character is an Italian inventor “best known for developing a voice-communication apparatus,” so states Wikipedia.* In fact, he stars in the master poem, “Telettrofono,” which is the book’s longest sequence, a sweeping 28-pages long. Good old overlooked Antonio Meucci, upstaged by A. G. Bell, gets to communicate — Matthea channels him! — with the reader. At long last. And what does he have to say? Here’s classic Meucci, in “Preset Antonio Meucci Monologue Mode” (pg. 111), lamenting:

(Yes, mermaids again.) If you want to hear Meucci’s voice, go to The Poetry Foundation’s SoundCloud recording of Telettrofono, which “was originally created as a soundwalk with sound artist Justin Bennett for stillspotting nyc: staten island, a Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum project.”† * †

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But oh if you filleted this telettrofono, the wonders you would see. . . . floating in a small stoppered vial, one petticoat snippet, one mermaid tear, and a cell from the gill of an electric eel. You are holding in your hand “the telephone which I invented and which I first made known and which, as you know, was stolen from me.”

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Also, there’s the ultrafunky “M Is for Martian,” an 8-page sequence of photographs of book pages, in which all of the text has been masked except for a few lines that form the poem. For example, on page 27, you look at the near-blank page and read:

“During the Age of Failed Cures” But this book is also deadly serious and can get downright scary, especially when Matthea goes sci-fi-ish on us and delivers a chilling post-apocalyptic vision, as she does in the prose poem “


The sun was dim then done, but after months of treatments, the animals did begin to glow. Elephants tried to siphon the light from their bellies, trunkful by glowing trunkful.

Then there’s “

,” a poem that gave me shivers:

As you might have guessed, underpinning the book is the poet’s critique of contemporary society. (I read “Era of Flood” as a commentary on the consequences of our denial of global warming. We did little, we got fucked.) Among the other issues Matthea tackles is violence against women. In her view, it’s such an overwhelming problem that there’s even violence against mermaids; even they can’t escape male predation. Thus, we encounter in “The Objectified Mermaid,” a female as subject of an on-site photo shoot at the bar where she’s on view in her tank and available for patrons to gawk at, as well as get a “quick feel of her tail.” The mermaid tolerates the photographer, too, but has him pegged: “this fool of a photographer has her holding two clear fishbowls / in front of her breasts so it looks like goldfish are swimming past her nipples.” Matthea’s social commentary comes to the fore in a riff on toys with poems whose central — elemental — images are, for example, a hula hoop and the Slinky®. Amusing poems, but ones with dark sides. In “Neptune’s Settlers Revert to Olde Worlde Ways,” there’s no escaping the multi-planet corporations’ capitalistic claws; our entire solar system has been sold to the highest bidder: “Our Sponsored Sky zippers open” and the settlers are subjected to “Advertisement Slinkies” that go shimmying down “the plastic trees like / an ancient wingèd thing from a song.”

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This is what the Last Ones left us. After the Era of Flood and after the Era of Fire, we creep into the Central Clusters and rifle through the rubble.

“Death is the lover she longs for.” Death, oh, yeah, death gets into the picture, too. As in “The Morbid Mermaid,” who’s longing for death. And in “The Impatient Mermaid,” who’s suffering from depression — “A scallop stuffed with Xanax can give them precious hours of peace.” The depression is so severe that “she can’t wait for the day when the buzzing in her head turns to black and she’s dead.” Ouch. Some poems are excruciatingly painful, like taking a tab of bad acid. That’s akin to what I felt reading “ ” (illustration: “Foxellation” [fox constellation], pg. 52), maybe because it speaks the truth. The poem opens: “The world is already crowded with instructions.” It goes on, growing darker, with reference to the “No More Suicide Fox” of the title/image,” then weaves in a prayer: “Star light, star bright, no one dies / tonight.” But how in this world, in this postmodern era, do we “sniff out despair . . . before another friend is found dead in the bathtub.”

“On Rhyme’s first day”

“the ones / who will stare all day at a blank piece of paper”? Another poem entitled “ ” is entirely metapoetic, and takes us into a writing classroom where one rebellious student is “making spitballs out of the haiku handout,” and poems themselves, such as “the Sestina twins,” are frolicking on the playground. We also encounter a student named Fragment, “an ethereal girl with a choppy haircut.” What a send-up on the art of poetry writing! This is just what the book needed, a component of comic relief at poetry’s expense. Other comic flashes await us tucked here and there between observations on death and violence. Matthea brings a touch of levity to the page in “The Straightforward Mermaid,” a creature who “hates the thought of socks.” Oh, my, there’s also “the puppet snob” of “There’s a String Attached to Everything,” in which she listens to “Meanwhile Music in elevators.” Ha! Yes indeedy, part of the pleasure of reading this unique collection is uncovering its lighter-hearted moments.

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So, a funky, scary book. But also one with metapoetic elements to delight the reader, especially poet-readers. Matthea’s metapoetic flourishes enrich the reading experience. Thus, in “Using a Hula Hoop Can Get You Abducted by Aliens,” the alien-narrator of the poem is perplexed by the human activity of poetry writing. Who are these strange creatures,

“synapses / making temporary chandeliers / of thought-sparks in the brain’s / blank sky” There is also the pleasure of the poet’s craftsmanship, what you’d expect from a mature poet who’s been with Graywolf Press through three volumes of poetry. Matthea moves with great ease from prose poem to lyric and back again. The masterful “Telettrofono” is its own brand of originality in modern verse. Throughout, you get the sense that each line is meticulously wrought as in the sonnet “Michelin Man Possessed by William Shakespeare,” which closes:

Make us a man, or make us a machine— but do not have us trapped here in-between.

Often it was her deft imagery that bowled me over, as in “ ” (illustration: “Mousellation” [mouse constellation], pg. 54), where I read the arresting line “one severed dollhead — one violin left out in the rain.” Amazing how that one line choked me up. Consider, too, the music she brings to these poems. The prose poem, “The Radio Animals,” vibrates off the page with pleasing sounds:

Like pitter and its petite echo, patter. On land, they scatter into gutters and alleyways, pressing their noses into open Coke cans, transmitting their secrets to the silver circle at the bottom of the can.

of poetry, but the superb artistry Matthea Harvey displays grounds us in the familiar. Other than an occasional lame line break that limps to an end on a wimpy preposition (“If you’re an integer in that kind of / equation” in “Using a Hula Hoop . . .”), this is a book of flawless poems. However, all the while I was reading and rereading the book, and then in the course of writing this review, I wanted to punch the lights out of the book’s designer. Oh, yeah, a terrific job of marrying visual elements with text to bring off the comic-book feel of it, but, dammitall, why the small font for the body of the poems? 10-point type? A niggardly 10.5? Geez, people. Go for 12, why dontcha? What a disservice to poet, poem, and reader. I squinted so long and hard I got headaches reading this. On with my trifocals, off with them. Up with the magnifying glass, down with it. Squint, squint, squint, squint, squint. Even

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If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? may take the reader to a strange new world

more annoying? There are inches upon inches of white space for most of the poems to accommodate a bump up of one or two points. Pass the Tylenol®, please. But in the end? Fasten your seatbelts, dear readers. You are in for one heckuva ride with Tabloids . . . Something totally different in the universe of poetry, with elements of surprise, both visual and verbal, on every page.

Also a National Park Artist-in-Residence, TCE Staff Columnist and Editor 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 Eiseman Award for Poetry and she received the Dr. Sherwin Howard Award for the best poetry published in Weber — The Contemporary West. Karla is a member of the board of directors of Just Poets (Rochester, NY), and a member of the New Mexico State Poetry Society, the Florida State Poetry Society, and TallGrass Writers Guild.

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Visit Karla’s blog, Vagabond Poet:

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“Foxellation” by Matthea Harvey, 2014, from If the Tabloids Are True What Are You?

A Silted Thing: Review of As We Refer to Our Bodies, by Darren C. Demaree by Gram Joel Davies

Above the sand, three floors up from the turtles, Emily does the dishes in a sheer tank-top, .................... dipping her finger in one more time to taste the avocado. —“Joy #27”

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From a high place, I am looking down on a flooded moor. The levels of Southwest England are far removed from the Ohio River, but a book floats in my mind. I have recalled what art my teacher taught me, how to draw the empty place next to what I want to draw. Around me are things that have gone, become submerged: roads; ditches; gates; the legs of geese, pedaling. From my hill, I can squint until the slots of lashes cut the view into rays. Contrast increases. I like the way silos and pylons and steeples flitter out of view, how the landscape resembles deep time. I have been trying to think what to tell you about Darren C. Demaree’s poems. To review poetry makes a problem. I want to bite off chunks of pulsing qualia and hand them to you — here, he writes this way — but I can’t. It is not my business either to trash or speak with pomp about a book’s status. If I did not think you should read As We Refer to Our Bodies I would not be here . . . but I ought to say why. Sometimes, it is easier to talk about what something is not. In poetry, there can be a critical push to make each poem distinct, differentiated. This is not how I experience Demaree. Rather, as I read, the world stretches and blurs, one piece bleeds into the next and meaning becomes a drifted, silted thing. Behind the many slots of page breaks and titles, a panorama rolls. The almost incidental nature of the poems bewitches me. This is the rain that brings flood. Tiny short lines. Images tumbling fast, almost in non sequiturs. Titles that never quite contain their content, then become entirely absent for long stretches. Would you call these “like haiku”? I would not. More like worlds, glimpsed from trains.

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The book has its phases. This piece, from the opening cluster, arrives surprisingly, before shapes have begun to form in the swirl. I am caught thinking of a zoetrope, those stills between slits that pass stiffly until suddenly a certain speed is reached and then the image melts into dance. At some point, this happens during Demaree’s writing. At this early stage, we do not know we will meet Emily, twirling through guises, later on; that her fragments will assemble. Perhaps a person may never be completely known, or a place. At least not, Demaree reminds us, at one given time. Familiarity unpeels itself from scattered motes. In naming his observations incidental or fragmentary, I do not regard them as insignificant or vague. Such writings as “a featherless bird too naked / to capture, has flown kamikaze,” or “to take the sexy / out of the bee sting,” or “dream of satellite instants / & zebra fish” flash fiercely into vision. I am left joining dots in the afterglow. A signifier of the sequential, cumulative (and yes, like cumulus) form of this work might be taken from its organization, which has distinct titled and untitled segments. There is dearness and a tart taste, at once, in “Ohios,” where serenades to Demaree’s home are gathered. But that place, its river, lace through the whole book — always, meaning has a watercolor nature. In another book entirely — The River, by Alessandro Sanna — I found a set of illustrations that could be the very metaphor of Demaree’s poems: vivid, whilst retaining a bleeding mutability. In them, also, it is possible to glimpse how the personal is silhouetted against its flaming backdrop, dark ink, and how parts of a canvas left blank illuminate what is there. Demaree’s river draws through its landscape, and someone seems to appear within negative space. This is not the work of a poet bound in a particular clique. His language might suggest itself as occasionally flowery or sentimental, taken out of flow, but Demaree offers not just a counterpoint, bowling us phrases such as, “Finally, sex like a burned / corn field,” or “how cavernous / the facial // lacerations become.” No, he is able to pitch sentences as classical as “everybody envies / lilies: their little / moans of beauty” with steep sincerity. We may be doubly struck by these extremes. So it is with a whole series of Emily As . . . poems, which occupy a central place in the book. Emily becomes fledged in a strobe of wildly different elucidations (hung laundry, a swarm), each of which is marked by some absence of Emily. Writing in sequences like this has a special quality. Poetry that excites me is, generally, not accessible in memory. By this, I intend to say that the meaning of a piece is woven into the experience of reading it, not as some abstract or literal truth to be comprehended then carried away. To reread the same poem is to relive it in a way that recollection cannot, a way similar to that in which a piece of music truly becomes itself only when it’s played and heard. To read As We Refer to Our Bodies is like this, although, additionally, the poems seem to inform one another. Reading through the sequence creates momentum, and that which exists in the book, outside of its parts, enriches each part. So, it feels that to reread some piece or other from the volume a second time expands it, thickens it, turns it on in new ways. Perhaps, as if understanding a hologram.

I admire Darren C. Demaree’s consistent vision. There is such spareness, it seems . . . until we pause, staggered under loaded senses. Demaree is able to achieve great richness in the space left by other things.

Not as a bee, so close to the ground, so nested in the one, colored hive, my love is a lunatic with wings, a dynamo in reds, in oranges with no yellow. —“Emily as Thousands of Colliding Butterflies”

In the end, I walk away from As We Refer to Our Bodies knowing something important has happened. Nothing is circumstantial. There is no fleeting. Time has depth. Words made it so. This isn’t some weighty realization, but the exhilaration of concert-goers or crows in storms. I am looking down on a flooded moor. From a higher place.

As We Refer to Our Bodies By Darren C. Demaree th

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8 House Publishing, NY (2013) 90 Pages / $15.88

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“Orion in the Fire” by D. J. Bryant, 2014

“A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.” ~Madeleine L’Engle

“It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.”

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~Frederick Douglass

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“Out in the Elements” by E. A. Hanninen, 2014

The Centrifugal Eye Contributors, Summer 2014 In Order of Appearance:

Michelle Barker lives in Penticton, B.C., and is a regular contributor to The Centrifugal Eye. Her poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in various literary journals and anthologies. Her first novel, a young-adult fantasy called The Beggar King, was published by Thistledown Press (2013). A chapbook, Old Growth, Clear-Cut: Poems of Haida Gwaii, came out in 2012 with Leaf Press. TCE published her mini-chapbook, Glimpsing the Stars, which is available on its website (see link for “Mini-Chapbooks”) as a free PDF download. Please visit Michelle: Seth Crook taught philosophy at various universities before moving to the Hebrides. He does not like cod philosophy in poetry. But likes cod, poetry and philosophy. His poems have recently appeared in Scotland's Northwords Now, Gutter, The Open Mouse, Southlight, New Writing Scotland, and Far Off Places. And south of the border in such places as Magma Poetry, Envoi, The Rialto, Orbis, The Journal, The Interpreter's House and various fine e-zines. The world is his lobster. Seth is a regular contributor to The Centrifugal Eye.

William Doreski’s work has appeared in various e- and print journals and in several collections, most recently, The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013). William is a longtime contributor to The Centrifugal Eye. Contact William:

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Karen Greenbaum-Maya, retired clinical psychologist, German major, and occasional photographer, no longer lives for Art, but still thinks about it a lot. Karen’s “Real Poem” received Honorable Mention in the 2013 Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award Contest, and her “Poetry is a space casual” received Honorable Mention in The Found Poetry Review’s 2013 Dog-Ear Poetry Contest. Kattywompus Press publishes her two chapbooks, Burrowing Song and Eggs Satori. Karen is a regular contributor to The Centrifugal Eye. Links to poems and photos online may be found on Karen’s blog:

Casey FitzSimons is host of a reading series in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her poems have appeared in Red Wheelbarrow Literary Magazine, The Midwest Quarterly, The Sand Hill Review, Newport Review, and many other print and online journals. Her chapbooks include The Breeze Was Mine: Poems in Form (2013), Riding Witness (2012), and No Longer Any Need (2011). She has a master’s degree in Fine Arts from San Jose State University. Contact Casey: Andrew Jarvis is the author of Choreography (Johns Hopkins University Press), Sound Points (Red Bird Chapbooks), Ascent (Finishing Line Press), and The Strait (Homebound Publications). His poetry has appeared in Stonecoast Review, Pilgrimage Magazine, River Poets Journal, Rattapallax, and many other literary magazines. He was a Finalist for the Homebound Publications Poetry Prize. He also judges poetry contests and edits anthologies for Red Dashboard, LLC. Andrew holds an M.A. in Writing (Poetry) from Johns Hopkins University. Lori Lamothe's poetry and prose has appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Blackbird, Canary, Cleaver Magazine, Fogged Clarity, Linebreak, and other magazines, and had a chapbook come out in March of this year: Diary in Irregular Ink (ELJ Publications). Another chapbook, Ouija in Suburbia (dancing girl press), is due out November 2014. A full-length collection, Trace Elements, is slated for publication in December 2014 (Kelsay Books). Lori is also a mentor for The Afghan Women's Writing Project and teaches at Quinsigamond Community College. Siham Karami lives in Florida, USA, where she co-owns a technology recycling company. Her poetry can be found in Unsplendid, The Raintown Review,

Contact: Website:

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Mezzo Cammin, Wordgathering, String Poet, Loch Raven Review, Kin Poetry Journal, Snakeskin, Angle, Lavender Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Shot Glass Journal, Tilt-a-Whirl, and Eyedrum Periodically, among other venues, as well as in the anthology, Irresistible Sonnets.

John N. Miller, though born in Ohio (1933), grew up in Hawai’i (1937-1951). He retired in 1997 from teaching literature and writing at Denison University (Granville, OH), and now lives with his wife, Ilse, in a retirement community in Lexington, VA. Over the past six decades, his poems have appeared in a wide variety of publications (including previously in The Centrifugal Eye); in May 2014, Pinyon Publishing of Montrose, CO, brought out his largest full-length collection, In Passing. Lynn Otto adjuncts at George Fox University (Oregon) and freelances as a copywriter and copyeditor. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Portland State University. Other of her poems have appeared in Plain Spoke,

Generations of Poetry: The eZine of Gemologists, Strong Verse, Triggerfish Critical Review, and the "Sinkhole" issue of The Centrifugal Eye.

Karla Linn Merrifield, a National Park Artist-in-Residence, has had nearly 500 poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has nine 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 Eiseman Award for Poetry and she recently received the Dr. Sherwin Howard Award for the best poetry published in Weber — The Contemporary West. 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 Karla’s blog at Vagabond Poet:

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Leslie Philibert is a writer living in Germany. After studying English Literature at the University of Ulster in Coleraine, he now works as a social worker and has translated for South German theatre groups. He’s married, with two children.

Esther Greenleaf MĂźrer lives in Philadelphia, PA. She has been writing poetry all her life, but got serious about learning the craft when she turned 70. Since then, her poems have appeared in numerous webzines, most recently in Kin Poetry Journal. She was featured poet in The Centrifugal Eye's February 2010 issue. Her first collection, Unglobed Fruit, appeared in 2011. Links to many of her poems may be found at Ron Riekki edited The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works, a 2014 Michigan Notable Book. Judith Terzi holds an M.A. in French Literature. Recent poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Malala: Poems for Malala Yousafzai (FutureCycle Press); Myrrh, Mothwing, Smoke: Erotic Poems (Tupelo Press Poetry Project);

The Raintown Review; Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60s & 70s (She Writes Press); and TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism. She is the author of several chapbooks, including Sharing Tabouli and Ghazal for a Chambermaid (Finishing Line Press). A former high-school French teacher, she also taught English at California State University, Los Angeles, and in Algiers, Algeria. Judith is a regular contributor to The Centrifugal Eye. Visit her website at

Gram Joel Davies (36) is from England. He has contributed to The Centrifugal Eye as reviewer and poet on several occasions, and you can find some of his poetry online at Blast Furnace, Bolts of Silk, and the Black Market Review. He is a member of Juncture 25 poets, and is currently working on his first collection. He also plays at being a photographer, tweets as @poplarist, and blogs a bit at Poplar Culture.

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Lynn Strongin (born New York City, 1939) grew up in NY and various parts of the southern US. She moved to Canada in 1979, where she still lives today. She’s written many collections of poetry, as well as novels, the most recent being Patience and Sarah, and Burn, Alabama, Burn. She also appears in The Best British Poetry 2014 (Mark Ford, ed.). Lynn is a longtime contributor to The Centrifugal Eye.

The Centrifugal Eye’s Literary Components & Poetic Particles: The Latest News & Guides

Press Releases Pinyon Publishing has just brought out TCE Contributor John N. Miller’s new full-length collection, In Passing; visit: Longtime Contributor Lynn Strongin announces the forthcoming arrival of her new novel, Burn, Alabama, Burn, due from J. B. Stillwater Publishing in October 2014; visit Contributor Darren C. Demaree has a new collection, Temporary Champions, coming out in October 2014 from Main Street Rag Publishing Company. In the meantime, don’t miss our review of his earlier collection, As We Refer to Our Bodies, beginning on page 58 of this issue.

TCE’s first Featured Interview Poet (2005), Kenneth Pobo, has another new chapbook out (June 2014). When the Light Turns Green (Spruce Alley Press) is distributed through Lulu Press.

(See for Kindle version.)

Also a longtime contributor and TCE Featured Poet, Jared Carter is the subject of a study by Gilbert Wesley Purdy, review editor of Eclectica Magazine. The eBook study, The Ties of the Railroad Tracks Home: the Poetry of Jared Carter (The Virtual Vanaprastha, June 2014), may be found on And if you missed our last issue’s mention, Jared has another collection out from University of Nebraska Press — Darkened Rooms of Summer: New and Selected Poems, with a foreword and introduction by Ted Kooser. Contributor Paul Hostovsky’s latest, Selected Poems, is available from FutureCycle Press (Spring 2014). This collection includes 120 poems from 5 earlier collections. Out from Shabda Press, Contributor Jennifer Clark’s Necessary Clearings (June 2014). For a copy, visit:

From yet another longtime contributor: Lynn Hoffman’s Radiation Days: The Rollicking, Lighthearted Story of a Man and His Cancer was published by Skyhorse Publishing on July 1; it’s available at, and you may also want to check out his The Short Course in Beer, which is now out in a second, revised edition; visit

TCE Contributor and mgversion2>datura Editor Walter Ruhlmann has a new chapbook out titled Twelve Times Thirteen. Download your copy from Kind of a Hurricane Press:

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Contributor Kate Campbell is currently publishing her latest fiction novel in serial installments on You can read Drowning in the Delta for free: Contributor John Michael Flynn has a new poetry collection out: Keepers Meet Questing Eyes (Leaf Garden Press/CreateSpace, July 2014).

TCE Staff Columnist and regular Contributor Erik Richardson has his first collection — a berserker stuck in traffic — available and hot off the Pebblebrook Press.

Back Issues The Centrifugal Eye has been around for 9 years. Much of the work published during that time is still available in our online archives, and has been collected into an anthology (see for details). During the past 6 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

Submissions 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.

Back Cover Art: Chrysanthemum Wave Origami Paper

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Submission Guidelines

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The Centrifugal Eye Summer 2014 East of West  

The Centrifugal Eye - Summer 2014. An online poetry journal of literary force to experience: poetry, essays, interviews, book reviews, and i...

The Centrifugal Eye Summer 2014 East of West  

The Centrifugal Eye - Summer 2014. An online poetry journal of literary force to experience: poetry, essays, interviews, book reviews, and i...