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The Centrifugal Eye

Winter/Spring 2014 Volume 8 Issue 3


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, J. D. Knight Essay Columnist: Erik Richardson Art Assistants: D. J. Bryant, Tyler Smith Staff Readers’ Circle: Anonymous Reviewers

“Postcardese” Designed by E. A. Hanninen Spot Art: Top - L: Vintage Postcard, ca. 1910, R: “Yucatan Eye” by Cece Chapman Middle - L: “Warship Galleon” by Phil Martin, R: “1969 Polish Dinosaur Stamp” Bottom - L: Slice of “Dali Museum” by kerry rawlinson, C: Vintage Postcard, ca. 1907, R: “Joey Polar Bear” by Eamonn Stewart

Fonts Used: Headline — Sybil Green; Display — Lucida Handwriting, Lucida Sans Unicode; Body Copy — Lucida Bright

Copyright 2014 The Centrifugal Eye *Collected Works*

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Contents 4

6 9

Contents

Editorial

The Evolving Language of Postcards by Eve Anthony Hanninen

Features: Essay: Meditation on the Writing Life with Postcards by Kitty Jospé

Poems: 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22-25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33

Not a Postcard from Tokyo by James Toupin Letter from Iraq by Judith Terzi Four Postcards by Lisken Van Pelt Dus Major League Birding by Earl J. Wilcox Answers on a Postcard by Allen Ashley What You Left Me by Mary Jo Balistreri Channeling by April Salzano Interruption by Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt Mini-Interviews, Part II

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Reclamation & Definition & At the Market Common by Danielle Blasko Giving Thanks & A Snake in the Cupboard by Pat Hale Return to Sender by Fern G. Z. Carr From a Mostly Forgotten Word & From a Wanting & From a Dream & From the Trenches by Melissa Carl Your Invisible Girlfriend by Lauren Hudgins It’s fine on this island & Posted North by Kitty Jospé Valley Fever by Jennifer Lagier Liberated Woman by Ellaraine Lockie Mini-Interviews, Part III

34-37

40 41 42 44 45 46 47 48-51 54 58 60

From St. Pancras, Old Church, London & To My Grandson, from Eastern Colorado by Wilda Morris Never-Sleeping City by B. Z. Niditch You Say Goodbye by Hal Sirowitz Algonquin Gestalt by Karla Linn Merrifield Waking the Caloosahatchee & Friday the Thirteenth, Chicago by Colleen Powderly Adverse Memory by Eamonn Stewart Love Vs. Duty by John J. Brugaletta Spargelzeit in Munich by Noel Sloboda Mini-Interviews, Part I

Review Column: Merrifield’s Tao of Poetry: “postcard(s) / with no return address” On Tom Holmes’ The Oldest Stone in the World, by Karla Linn Merrifield Essay Column: Into the Labyrinth: “Postcards as Snapshots of Hyperreality” by Erik Richardson Literary Briefings & Posted Notices: The Latest News & Guides

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The Evolving Language of Postcards By Eve Anthony Hanninen

As a kid, every summer, I collected photo postcards from the many various roadside stops my folks pulled into while we were traveling between campsites and hiking destinations. Most fruitful for postcard pickings were national-park ranger stations and cabin- or beach-style gift shops. From Mt. Pilchuck to Ocean Shores in Washington State, from Agate Beach to Klamath Falls in Oregon, from the Pacific Crest Trail to Yosemite in California— west-coast ranging yielded a trove of postcards I kept pristine in tiny merchandise bags printed with regional or commercial logos, designed just for the sale of these tourist cards. Are you old enough to remember those bags? Postcards made for a steady business at one time. Before photo postcards became popular, many cards were illustrated with inks or watercolors. Some were embossed, and others sported ribbon or mesh inserts in die-cut openings. As an adult, I began collecting Victorian and Art Nouveau postcards from antique and thrift shops. My favorite cards were adorned in embossed or handpainted violets, daisies, and forget-me-nots. These decorative types were once the norm, but gradually, the photo cards became far more prevalent due to cheaper production costs. Now, postcards are increasingly harder to find, not because of materials, but mainly because most of today’s writers rely on email for correspondence, instead. Despite that, though, numerous enterprising poets send postcards to peers in their writers’ groups. The limited message space on the backs of postcards creates a builtin challenge: How many poetic lines can fit in such a space? Is there room for a title, too? Will full stanzas work, or only a few sensory fragments? Several years ago, I participated in the Perennial Postcard List, which was created in response to the success of the 1st-annual August Poetry Postcard Fest, a month-long, daily postcard-writing festival begun in 2007 by poets Paul E. Nelson and Lana Hechtman Ayers (the latter poet a longtime contributor to The Centrifugal Eye). The idea behind the Perennial Postcard List was to send at least one card a week for a whole year to other poets signed–up to a private mailing list. Although the year-long private list was eventually discontinued, Paul still sponsors the annual August Fest, so if you’re interested, watch for the 2014 call in July. (http://poetrypostcards.blogspot.ca/) While not a diligent participant, I ended up sending out 50 handwritten postcards that I had made from art papers and repurposed greeting cards, over a 3year period. Each of my postcards featured an original poem I wrote just for the poet it was addressed to. I set a few guidelines for myself, too, such as limiting lines to 15 or fewer — the average coming in around 12 lines per poem — and decided that there should be some tiny connection to the address of the intended poet, as I usually didn’t know my audience personally. Some of those poems were linked to a street name or a city. Others made a personal association to the addressee’s first or last name. The poems strove to evoke place, time, personality, and event. I’ve since had published quite a few of these postcard poems in various magazines and anthologies, and I hope to assemble the majority in a collection, someday soon.

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In the meantime, though, I’ve sought to recycle the enjoyment of a similar challenge by asking TCE’s contributors to share some of their own poems that use the imagistic or contextual language of the “postcard” — in other words, Postcardese — with you, our esteemed readers. As an added special feature, many of the Postcardese issue’s contributors agreed to give mini-interviews. (Hmmm, now, wouldn’t those be fun to receive in the mail on postcards? But that’s an idea for another project . . .)

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, Switchedon Gutenberg, Sea Stories, and many other fine journals. She is anthologized in The Centrifugal Eye’s 5thAnniversary 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 MiniChapbooks 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: centrifugaleye@gmail.com

Art Nouveau Postcards, circa 1905-10. Left: Ribbon Violets; Right: Handpainted Pansy

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Featured Essay A Meditation on Postcards and Writing for Audience

Short Poems Poems of 15 Lines or Fewer, Prose Poems of 150 words or Fewer, Poems of Direct Address Poems of Place or Event

Mini-Interviews Pithy Words from Many of Our Contributors

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Stamp Art: “Doorknocker� By kerry rawlinson, 2014

there a reason for the reader to care about the relationship? What is the purpose of the

Do you care to know about the pretty picture, the man, the sender? Does the text evoke something you are glad to feel? Or, perhaps,

Featured Essay

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imagine a postcard that reflects sights, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes, with a script that hints at inside feelings. For instance,

As writers, whatever the subject chosen, the way we share it will determine the success of


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“Thinking of You” Postcard, circa 1907


Meditation on the Writing Life with

Postcards by Kitty Jospé

A postcard lies in front of me, image side up. Anything is possible on the other side: a message about the image, a compressed record of thoughts addressed to someone, a note to anonymous or someone who will never receive it. The analogy to a poem is striking: the image is a trigger from the world; the words need to be concise, say much with little, and any reader, aside from the one for whom the card is intended, must triangulate image, text, and addressee for meaning. Success comes from a sense of delight, or surprise in reading something. Using postcards as examples, let’s see what we can learn. Here’s a pretty card of a mountain at sunset, addressed to a man called John. The text reads: I thought you’d like to see the soft pinkness on the snow our favorite mountain wears as a mantle in the last light of the day. How the folds gathered by the knife ridge cut against the endlessness, of sky, of possible peace. I love you Dad.

Do you care to know about the pretty picture, the man, the sender? Does the text evoke something you are glad to feel? Or, perhaps, do the words irritate you? How could you charge the three monosyllables, I love you, if you were a poet? Finally, what would help you care more? What if I told you this postcard won’t be sent, as the father can’t decipher words any more, due to Alzheimer’s? Now, how do sunset, last light, and I love you make you feel? How might you write about a favorite mountain and special shared moment? Today, the world provided me with a line from an American sociologist who wonders if a diary entry is to clarify “some mysterious personification of one’s own identity.” My response is to imagine a postcard that reflects sights, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes, with a script that hints at inside feelings. For instance, a water scene comes to mind, perhaps in Venice with a gondola bobbing on a shimmer of blues and greens, reflecting ochers, goldenrods, reds. Text: Wish you were here to hear pearls of rapid Italian string the street against a background slap of water, children kicking a ball in a square. We’d join the grandfathers gathering this hot day for granita di caffè con panna.

Addressed to: a woman called Nan.

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Would you be more curious if she were an estranged lover, a young mother, or if she had an exotic name? What if you knew the person writing with such adult language were twelve years old? How might the text, which records sight and sound and a desire to be with “Nan,” become a poem, yet sneak in the personality of the addressee? Is it enough to see the scene, smell a hint of salt in the water, hear the music of language, children at play, and scolding elders? Can there be “ulteriority,” Robert Frost’s word for saying one thing, but meaning another? What would a poet do to craft the message to make it something an unknown reader would care to read again? And what if I told you Nan is someone’s mother, who will never go to Italy or leave her locked ward . . .? As writers, whatever the subject chosen, the way we share it will determine the success of reaching the audience. If the message is too personal and private, with no captivating image, diction, or hint of some universal human concern, how can the reader engage? An example would be this postcard with a musical score of the “church bell chords” of the Debussy Prélude, “La Cathédrale engloutie.” The text reads: Dear L: We’re on the Brittany coast — and I can hear the bells of the sunken cathedral in the mist. Play this for me and I bet I’ll hear it — I hope you see a bit of rocky coast of the island of Ys with a lighthouse, watching over the magic. Heartfuls of Love —K

If you aren’t interested in church bells, music, Debussy, or myths of sunken cathedrals, this postcard will remain as abstract as the notes on the image. The “heartfuls of love” aren’t intended for any other reader but “L.” Are you curious about him or her? What if it’s an inside joke between “L” and “K,” who both play this prelude. So what? The next postcard is also personal, and tries to match an original image with a sassy text. Postcard image: a shop window with silver drapery, filled with size-2 mannequins wearing stylish clothes recklessly encouraging a slip off shoulders. Text: I thought you’d look great in the macramé crepe de chine silk shirt with the striped pants for your next Sax Quartet performance. I’d come see you in that handwoven rayon blouse with the silk/velvet notched collar and cuffs and the skirt with side seam pockets with 4-bone button closure and those ultra-glam chandelier earrings! Break a leg at the concert.

One unknown person writes to a musician without identity aside from belonging to a sax quartet. Is there a reason for the reader to care about the relationship? What is the purpose of the flip tone? But if I told you this card is from a sister to another sax-playing sister— who adores her and loves to tease her about fashion, would that change anything?

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How about a postcard from Vuokatti, Finland? Land of midnight sun, showing orange light caught on slippery rocks, and a large lake. The text: They have strawberries, so we’re OK! Luvoogoog!

You might guess that luvoogoog is key to a secret family language and perhaps the writer is writing to a set of parents. What alchemy could a poem practice to foster a desire to know more about the adventure that is not told? Just like a painter choosing which viewpoint, palette, brushstroke, rhythm of line to use, a writer sets out with his tools to explore an image and to discover something unusual that goes beyond mere description or recognition. Good writing and art evoke feelings and challenge us to think of human relationships and life. A poet’s job is to wake up our empathy, our desire to understand another. Postcard: a summer cornfield. Text: Good Luck with your Writing! — send me a line as you harvest, peppered with a dash of surprise. Let me hear the wind, the cicadas. Tell me about the farmer who tills the field, and how the town is changing and how fracking threatens the lake. Make me care so I laugh, cry, shake my fists, hug the person next to me, glad I have read what you wrote because it woke up feelings I forgot I had.

I address this to you, reading this. You might not want to write about wind, cicadas, fracking. You might have a personal vendetta against people who say “pepper with a dash of surprise.” I invite you to pick an image that strikes you as so important that you want to share it with another. Make someone care about it, and be glad for the feelings, whatever they are, that make us all feel alive. Send postcards.

Clipart from Office.com

You’ll find 2 of Kitty Jospé’s postcard poems on page 45, along with a brief bionote. You’ll also be entertained by Kitty’s Mini-Interview responses on page 50.

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“Dive Afrique” By Cece Chapman, 2014


&

Interviews

Stamp Art: “African White Rhino” By Karla Linn Merrifield, 2014

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pale phalanges refuse to remain buried and creep up under cover of sudden storms fish

every poem should have some sort of purpose or reason for being. That may be the meaning or observation it carries or it may be a

Poems

I recently read Richard Hugo saying that we should write what we′re passionate about, so that′s given me faith that I must continue to

waterlilybunchberry blacksprucewhitepinemaple If I do not freeze in the lake of winterbear


Wilda Morris

From St. Pancras Old Church, London Here on the heights of Kings Cross where ancient Britons bowed down to the Horned One, stag-headed lord of the forest, here where gods of Rome were worshiped, where Christians built their first church in England, and the last mass was said before the Reformation, drivers rush by, minds on business or unpaid bills. Few locals or tourists stop to notice birds singing in the garden, stones crumbling, violets resting heads against this ancient wall.

To My Grandson, from Eastern Colorado Cowboys may still sing Don’t Fence Me In, but on this ranch cattle are surrounded by barbed wire. In the Ramah State Wildlife Area our eyes searched for pronghorn but all we saw were wild white plastic bags, billowing in the breeze. It’s not New Mexico, but it is a land of enchantment; not Montana, but we are in big sky country.

Wilda Morris’s poetry has been widely published in print and on the Internet. She is a former president of the Illinois State Poetry Society and is currently the workshop chair of Poets & Patrons of Chicago. She hosts a monthly poetry reading and leads poetry workshops for children and adults. Her blog (see below) provides a poetry contest for other poets each month, and links to some of her poems published on the Internet. Wilda also writes an occasional nature blog for an online newspaper. Blog: http://wildamorris.blogspot.com/

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B. Z. Niditch

Never-Sleeping City That nervous blind conundrum of the blues at midnight drawn into packed clubs living in the torque and tongues of Bird a stranger sweeps by open doors with a fugitive face ashen with pale runaway snow kisses, in spare arms of chaos, asking to dance “the pocket” she made up her own downtrodden steps in unfamiliar corners, blushing on the clay floor in unfamiliar corners, absorbed by whispers in vigilante beats against a graffiti wall of a lost sax taken up by flashlight of mercenary love.

B. Z. Niditch is a poet, playwright, fiction writer, and teacher. His work is widely published in journals and magazines throughout the world, including: Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry and Prose, The Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, Hawai’i Review, Le Guépard (France), Kadmos (France), PRISM international, JEJUNE: america eats its young (Czech Republic), Leopold Bloom (Budapest), Antioch Review; and Prairie Schooner, among others. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

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Hal Sirowitz

You Say Goodbye I miss your touch. I especially miss finding your loose strands of hair on my furniture. I think I found the last ones yesterday. The only evidence I have that you’re alive is the occasional postcard that you send. Please send a letter, something that I can unfold, to keep my fingers busy, now that they have nothing important to do, since you’re not here.

Hal Sirowitz is the co-winner of the NoirCon 2012 Poetry Contest, selected by Robert Polito. He has poems in the new anthology, New America: Contemporary Literature for a Changing Society, published by Autumn House Press. He's also the author of a new book of poetry, Stray Cat Blues, published by The Backwaters Press in Nebraska.

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Karla Linn Merrifield

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 Just Poets (Rochester, NY), and a member of the New Mexico State Poetry Society, Florida State Poetry Society, and the TallGrass Writers Guild. Visit her blog, Vagabond Poet. Blog: http://karlalinn.blogspot.com.

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Colleen Powderly

Friday the Thirteenth, Chicago Sipping French vanilla coffee, I contemplate the wages of sin as Vincent knew them — as the thing that’s missing, that leaves me alone with recriminations, some the strident whine of others, most my own nagging through the night in a hotel room or in Vincent’s yellow house, fresh paintings on its walls. Sunflowers, gracious heads opening in astonishment, a few bent petals broadcasting joy. The Bedroom, perspective-opened the size of his dream-fired heart, welcome for Gauguin to their community of artists, fantasy real as the stink of loneliness on Vincent’s skin. Making his last plea for acceptance, desperate as the light in an empty coffeeshop on a morning we both long for home.

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, RiverSedge, The Alembic, Fox Cry Review, HazMat Review, and Sea Stories; and in the Malala: Poems for Malala Yousafzai anthology (2013). Colleen supported her poetry habit by working as a chemical dependency counselor before leaving the workforce in 2010. She now tries to live poetically and write dangerously, and dreams impractically of living in Ireland. She keeps writing poems because she simply cannot stop. Colleen is a regular contributor to The Centrifugal Eye.

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Eamonn Stewart

Adverse Memory

“Sword of Light” 1922 Postage Stamp, Ireland

When the Nerve Growth Factor is purged from her brain, she’ll never feel about you that way again. When the oxytocin sublimates like dew, saliva from remembered kisses waterboards you. Forever, then, you both will be like the couple in "X-ray for Casualty," foreskin snagged on I.U.D. — adversely joined in memory.

Eamonn Stewart is currently finishing an SF/alternate history screenplay for TextFilms about Northern Ireland's Sputnik panic in 1957. He also takes photos and remains involved in public-housing activism. Eamonn is a longtime contributor to The Centrifugal Eye.

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John J. Brugaletta

Love Vs. Duty Dear Dido, Loved our tryst in the cave. Water dripping gave the right rhythm. Sorry I can't stay and impregnate you with a new dynasty. Merc flew in with Jupe's message. Threatened to emasculate me if I didn't choose New Troy over you. Probably we'll meet up again. Favoring winds now making my sails look like pregnant bellies. Got to go. Burn this letter. Aeneas

Stamp Art: “War Ships� By Phil Martin

7p

John J. Brugaletta was editor of South Coast Poetry Journal for ten years. He has two collections of his poems in print, with a third due out this winter through Negative Capability Press. He lives in Northern California with his wife.

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Noel Sloboda

Noel Sloboda’s work has recently appeared in Rattle, Harpur Palate, Redactions, Salamander, and Modern Language Studies. He is the author of the poetry collections Shell Games (2008) and Our Rarer Monsters (2013), as well as several chapbooks. He has also published a book about Edith Wharton and Gertrude Stein. He teaches at Penn State York. This is Noel’s second appearance in The Centrifugal Eye.

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Clipart from Office.com

TCE asks Wilda Morris: How do you think travel to places far (or near) enriches your poetry? WM: Travel enriches my experience of life, especially when I am not just a tourist, and am able to meet and interact with people of other cultures. I do a lot of observing and listening. These are all skills important to poets. Do you deliberately aim for brevity in your overall work? WM: It is sometimes difficult to say something important, clever or unique in few words, unless you write like William Marr. It can also be difficult to sustain the music of a long poem. Usually my poems dictate their own length. They tell me when they are finished. Do you ever send actual postcards? Do you like to receive them? WM: I still send postcards occasionally. As long as Aunt Dorice lived, I sent her cards whenever I traveled. She was a farm wife who never went very far from home. She traveled vicariously when she received the pictures and notes I sent from China, England, Mexico, Colorado, etc. I think every postcard I sent her ended up on her refrigerator. I try to find time to send cards to my husband (if he isn’t with me), children, grandchildren, and long-time friends, especially when traveling someplace where I haven’t been before. And I send postcards with notes of encouragement to friends who are dealing with serious illness. And yes, I do enjoy receiving postcards.

TCE asks B. Z. Niditch: Do you deliberately aim for brevity in your overall work? Which is more challenging to write, a short poem or a long poem? BZN: Yes, I consciously aim for a minimalist art, with nothing extraneous in the process. I prefer capturing a mood in a short poem. It's a wonderfully literary challenge of visionary originality. As some critics of literature say, the short story is more difficult to write than a novel. Do you ever send actual postcards? Do you like to receive them? BZN: Very much enjoy sending and receiving a postcard, especially if it has unique artwork. The Centrifugal Eye

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TCE asks Karla Linn Merrifield: What’s the shortest poem you’ve ever written (words, lines)? Has it been published? KLM: I love the challenge of the short poem, trying to deliver the goods in so few words! So, I often write scherzi. The scherzo is a form created by poet William Heyen — limited to 13 syllables in two lines containing two rhymes (true or slant). I’ve had many of them published, sometimes as a solo scherzo, sometimes in suites. My favorite was published in About Place Journal, titled “Third Coast Scherzi Suite, West to East.” It’s a montage of five scherzo, each one encapsulating one of the five Great Lakes. Have you ever mailed a postcard to someone where the message is a poem that you’ve written? What was the occasion? KLM: You betcha! I write them to myself! When in Antarctica, I realized I’d probably never get a postcard from there unless I mailed one to myself. In a rush to make the postal drop at Port Lockroy, I jotted a poem on the card. Turned out that postcard poem became the title poem for my book, The Ice Decides: Poems of Antarctica! Nine short lines dashed off before our Zodiac left shore. Just last week, I mailed a scherzo to myself from the tiny Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia.

TCE asks Colleen Powderly: Postcardese readers will quickly discover that many of the poets featured in this issue have traveled far and wide to bring back their poems for our pages. How do you think travel to places far (or near) enriches your poetry? CP: Although one of my poems in this issue, “Waking the Caloosahatchee,” actually came from a trip to Florida, it′s the only trip I′ve taken in years because I am a disabled person with limited income. My "travels" tend to be of the mental sort, based on reading, and to a lesser degree, on TV programs. Sometimes I think I′m too limited, and I certainly tend to write about a select few themes, but perhaps that′s okay. I recently read Richard Hugo saying that we should write what we′re passionate about, so that′s given me faith that I must continue to write about my favorite themes. It will make for better poetry. How do you feel about the “vignette” in poetry? Does every poem have to have a story or event to be considered complete, or can a poem be built solely around imagery and impressions that don’t necessarily “go anywhere” — but may suggest numerous narratives? CP: I′ve written narrative poems for a long time now — they are undoubtedly my favorite to write. Stories carry the lifeblood of our culture, have done from ancient times, so I like to think that I′m working in a legitimate tradition. Besides, images can suggest much, but people are for me much more fascinating because of their profoundly flawed humanity.

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TCE asks Eamonn Stewart: Based on your own experience and preferences, what are the differences for you in writing a long poem vs. a short one? Which is more challenging to write? And as writers compose, they’re vaguely aware of a hypothetical reader out there somewhere. In selecting your work for the Postcardese issue, was this implicit reader chosen for its obviousness? ES: I am not sure which questions I am answering but here goes: When I was a teenager I filled whole notebooks with single sequential poems. My juvenilia mss. was accidently lost by some friends around 16 years ago. My poems have been becoming shorter and shorter since then; they are replete with disquieting aperçus and hypotyposes. I make strange connections with disparate things. I regard them as Meteor Burst Communications (as used by the US Navy submarines) from the unconscious. The window for reception is very brief. They come from vaguely dependable directions from my own archetypal store of Platonic forms. They come out jumbled and I have the overwhelming feeling that I am frantically taking down something already written. I agree with Socrates in Plato’s Ion* that it is not cleverness that makes me write my works; they are a kind of catharsis, but a pyrrhic catharsis. I imagine my reader is as well educated as myself and would delve into any apparent obscurities before rejecting what they have read. We have Google as our electronic oracle. Indeed, my friend, Patrick Webb, calls me jokingly, "The first poet of The Google Age." My poems are written in a special state of consciousness. When I first read that W. B. Yeats wrote his works in a mystical state, I thought it was pretentious nonsense. I have revised my opinion in the light of my own practice. *Editor Hanninen’s note: Percy Bysshe Shelley’s translation suggests that poets are inspired in madness (possessed by God), with the central idea of Socrates’ dialogue attempting to distinguish between real and simulated knowledge.

TCE asks John J. Brugaletta: As writers compose, they’re vaguely aware of a hypothetical reader out there somewhere. In selecting your work for the Postcardese issue, was this implicit reader chosen for its obviousness? JJB: If I envision a hypothetical reader at all while composing, it is someone who knows enough about the history of poetry to be able to enjoy alliterative/accentual verse as much as free verse, heroic couplets, blank verse and double dactyls. This, of course, always assumes that the poem is as literate as a good novel, musical and powerful. When short poems succeed we recognize it almost immediately. When they don’t, a variety of factors seem to be in play. In your experience, what are some typical reasons for such failure(s)? JJB: The typical reason for failure in a poem written today, I think, is inaccuracy within a metaphor. To say that leaves falling on a cold day are like dead birds could succeed, but to say snowflakes lazily floating downward are like sick lava is just effrontery. The Centrifugal Eye

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Do you deliberately aim for brevity in your overall work? JJB: No, I don't aim for brevity in all of my poems any more than I aim for a child of a certain gender, personality or quality of voice when I make love with my wife. How do you feel about the “vignette” in poetry? Does every poem have to have a story or event to be considered complete, or can a poem be built solely around imagery and impressions that don’t necessarily “go anywhere,” but may suggest numerous narratives? JJB: No, I don't think every poem should contain a vignette, especially if by “vignette” you mean physical action.* I certainly hope there's still room in our lives for meditative art. *Editor Hanninen’s note: By vignette, I mean a stationary, impressionistic scene or panorama not necessarily portraying complete action; in poetry, the vignette can be thought of as the collection of objects in a decorative room-box — one focal room in a house of miniature rooms — or, perhaps, as abstract colors and shapes in a crop of a larger, more complex photograph. I do favor Brugaletta’s concluding sentence.

TCE asks Noel Sloboda: Many of the poets featured in this issue have traveled far and wide to bring back their poems for our pages. How do you think travel enriches your poetry? NS: I usually find myself compelled to write while away from home. This is probably because of similarities between travel and poetry: a great poem jars you out of your comfort zone, thrusting you into an unfamiliar space, which, in turn, gives you a new perspective on your starting point. Do you deliberately aim for brevity in your overall work? NS: I treat each poem I make like a suitcase for an extended holiday: I want to cram in as much as possible. Based on your own experience and preferences, what are the differences for you in writing a long poem vs. a short one? Which is more challenging to write? NS: Even in "long" poems, I am after compression. Anything that will weigh down the poem and limit its ability to soar must be jettisoned. That said, I usually overwrite early in the game, then whittle away. Long or short, every poem I have produced represents only a fraction of the material with which I started. Where have your shortest poems been published? NS: I compose a lot of haiku, and I love Modern Haiku, Presence (UK), Lilliput Review, and Frogpond, all places that have included my work. These journals feature strong examples of short forms, illustrating that oftentimes "less is more." More interviews follow the next 2 poem groupings, beginning on pages 34-37 & 48-51. The Centrifugal Eye

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James Toupin

Not a Postcard from Tokyo You asked me to send a poem, not a postcard. I have flown so long my body is not certain which day it inhabits. Even the question — what is place? — perplexes. From this high window emblazoned towers stretch toward infinity. You’d love this. The signifying mountain interrupts the dark horizon. Below, traffic respects the sign toward Ginza. Beneath an overpass, a pond — on which the fishermen’s boats sleep — adheres to the thruway like a ditch. Out now, until noon. Tomorrow I will report on whether the haze has obscured Fuji’s supervising symmetry, or the pond yielded a catch, or the forest of towers responded in sympathy to what dreams at the horizon.

James Toupin is a retired government lawyer (former general counsel of the US Patent and Trademark Office) who lives in Washington, D.C., and teaches in the law school at American University. He began publishing his poems in 2008, and they have appeared in numerous print and online journals. New work is scheduled to appear in North Dakota Quarterly, ARDOR Literary Magazine, and VQR. He is also cotranslator for Alexis de Tocqueville: Selected Letters on Politics and Society (University of California Press). Recently, he co-authored a book edition on patent law, which was issued by Lexis/Nexis. This is James’ second appearance in The Centrifugal Eye.

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Judith Terzi

Letter from Iraq after "Baghdad's Walls Are Closing In: Shiites and Sunnis are virtually imprisoned in their enclaves. On the street, the wrong answer to a subtle question can be a death sentence.” ~Los Angeles Times, 8/20/06

“Postmarked Stamp, Iraq” By D. J. Bryant, 2014

My dear Yasmine. Tonight I am me again below our Baghdad moon. I slip off my Shia mask and cradle my arms, brush my hair. I am intact though I cannot sleep for fear of becoming the day-woman I pretend to be. I just want to be me. Who will settle this chaos, I ask you? How is life in Dayton, Ohio? You are lucky to be free, to be Sunni with no backdrop of battle. Did you receive the hand of Fatima I sent you? I must not question its power to guard my home, my oasis from this turmoil of men. The muezzin is calling — do you hear? — it is four, and other shadow selves sweep through our streets like palm fronds. Since you left, the Tigris flows on with all its broken vows and forgotten ink. The moon is high still. We need rain so the river marshes can fill. I must pray now. Write soon. Layla.

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), The Raintown Review, Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60s & 70s (She Writes), 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. This is Judith’s second appearance in The Centrifugal Eye. Visit her website at http://home.earthlink.net/~jbkt.

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Lisken Van Pelt Dus

Four Postcards 3 May It’s hard to find postcards at all here and the picture on the front looks nothing like what I wanted to show you — this morning, for instance, me, sitting on a park bench with sun in my eyes and pigeons at my feet, writing to you.

24 May I wonder, have you been receiving my cards? Do they come evenly spaced, as I send them, every Monday? Or do they clump together, begrimed and mangled? I write neatly, but the woman at the post office handles them roughly. I think that she does not believe in you. I wonder, do you believe in me?

Lisken Van Pelt Dus is a poet, teacher, and martial artist living in Massachusetts. Her work can be found in such journals as Conduit, The South Carolina Review, qarrtsiluni, and upstreet, and has earned awards and honors from The Comstock Review, Atlanta Review, and Cider Press Review. Her chapbook, Everywhere at Once, was published by Pudding House Publications in 2009.

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Earl J. Wilcox

Major League Birding In the cool dugout cave, rows of orange-and-black Orioles perch on backs of benches. Browns and whites and blacks tanned by more than a hundred summer suns, the birds wear home-white pants with snazzy orange stripes, orange-beaked caps. Multicolored designer shoes and sox shimmer in the early September sun while multimillionaires preen

for TV cameras scanning benches for photogenic hunks nibbling pumpkin seeds washed down with GatoradeŽ — and vanity.

Earl J. Wilcox has published baseball poems in various print and online journals, in addition to being an avid bird watcher. His favorite birds remain the St. Louis Cardinals. Now in his 8th decade, he lives in South Carolina, with his wife of 60 years and their sassy cat, who is also a bird watcher. Earl is a longtime contributor to The Centrifugal Eye.

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Allen Ashley

Allen Ashley has recently had poetry published in the following British publications: The BFS Journal; and Spokes, Poetry on Two Wheels, an anthology celebrating bicycles and cycling. His most recent book, as editor, is The Alchemy Press Book of Astrologica: Stories of the Zodiac (Alchemy Press 2013). He is currently editing Sensorama: Stories of the Senses for Eibonvale Press (UK).

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Mary Jo Balistreri

What You Left Me Sheer peach drapes sagging in the sun’s wide eye vacuum silent and uncoiled on the beige carpet grandfather clock from your childhood stopped at 8:02— chimes useless oatmeal-raisin cookies hard as stones in cashew jar coffee pot unplugged black karaoke case on the counter Willie Nelson’s “Red Headed Stranger” hanging out its sleeve dress shoes waiting by the door beveled mirror in the foyer

Stamp Art: A Study of Eyes — “Green Eye, Blue Eye, Pain” By Phil Martin, 2014

splotches of dried blood on the white marble floor your eyes as mine blue— startled

Mary Jo Balistreri has two books of poetry, Joy in the Morning and Gathering the Harvest, both published by Bellowing Ark Press, 2008, 2012. Her chapbook, Best Brothers, will be published by Tiger's Eye Press this spring (2014). Mary Jo is a founding member of Grace River Poets, a poetry outreach to women's shelters, schools, and churches. Mary Jo is a regular contributor to The Centrifugal Eye. Website: http://maryjobalistreripoet.com/

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April Salzano

Channeling Yellow is laying claim to our fields of soybeans. Corn is ready to surrender, stalks drying, no longer raised, a field of worshippers seconds after the moment of most meaning, arms already descending to sides, hands uncupped. The sun is strong here. Cloudless sky seems to ache after movement of flocks heading south, closer to where you have made a life away from snow, away from cold that pierces to the bone, heart. I count my fence posts and come up with a number more than the number of months you shared my climate.

April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. She recently finished her first collection of poetry, for which she is seeking a publisher and is working on a memoir on raising a child with autism. Her work has appeared in journals such as Poetry Salzburg, Convergence, Ascent Aspirations Magazine, The Camel Saloon, Dead Snakes, The Montucky Review, Visceral Uterus, Salome Magazine, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle. The author also serves as coeditor at Kind of a Hurricane Press. This is April’s second appearance in The Centrifugal Eye.

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Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt

Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt’s poetry, essays and fiction have been published in Crux, Room, 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 a professor in the English Department at Champlain Regional College in Lennoxville, Quebec, and an MFA student at the University of British Columbia. Her current writing projects include a children’s novel and a memoir set in the Middle East. Tanya is a regular contributor to The Centrifugal Eye.

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TCE asks James Toupin: Many of the poets featured in this issue have traveled far and wide to bring back their poems for our pages. How do you think travel enriches your poetry? J Toupin: Lyric poetry, as I see it, is stimulated by a sense of strangeness. The novelty that travel exposes one to enforces its strangeness, if only because the traveler has to make an effort to fend with things that at home would be easy because commonplace. This need to fend puts pressure on language to say things that it otherwise would not need to bring to the surface. A downside of travel-inspired poetry, though, in my experience, is that the writer may not have a life stake in what s/he writes about. Such stakes are also a way language becomes concentrated. The ideal would be to bring the sensibility of the traveler to one's home ground. Some poets feel that “found poetry” is akin to cheating, in that so much of a found poem’s content is appropriated, while other poets believe a found poem can be as original as any other poem. Where do you stand on the issue? JT: Found poetry can be as original as other poems; as original, for example, as poetry that is composed in given forms. Found poetry poses the risk that the writer may simply think the reader will have the same experience the writer had of the uncanniness or other appeal of the found text and therefore may not put in the work of creating something original. This temptation is similar in kind to the temptation of thinking that fitting words into a rhyme scheme makes verse into poetry. In my favorites among my own poems that employ found language, I used received forms to shape the found elements. In one case (published), I worked excerpts from Emerson's essays and journals into the syllabic scheme of a Robert Lowell poem. In another case (unpublished), I poured sentences from a translated journal of Kafka's into a pantoum form. The results at least felt original.

TCE asks Judith Terzi: When short poems succeed we recognize it almost immediately. When they don’t, a variety of factors seem to be in play. In your experience, what are some typical reasons for such failures? J Terzi: Well, I guess for me, the primary reason a short poem may not succeed is because the whole story cannot be told within the framework of the form I've chosen. The poem may seem contrived, superficial. I write a lot of sonnets and looking over these now, I see that they are very limited in scope, be it a scene in a convalescent home, my mother's handbags, a tsunami in Chile, a type of music, etc. What I have to "show" fits within the walls of the form and jibes with the musicality and mood I want to sustain. I'm working on a chapbook of memoir poems right now, and each part is over a page long. Perhaps the longer poem allows one to swing back and forth in time and stretch out the narrative. In a way, it's like the difference between a symphony and an étude: the short poem has to be as accurate and sharp as possible technically in order to succeed.

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Some poets feel that “found poetry” is akin to cheating in that so much of a found poem’s content is appropriated, while other poets believe a found poem can be as original as any other poem. Where do you stand on the issue? JT: Well, this is a tricky topic. In fact, I recently attended a panel at AWP (Seattle) entitled "Teaching from the Stolen Purse." The panel examined the use of published work as a springboard for ideas or a hoard of useful techniques. Of course, the ethical issues were addressed as well. I have used newspaper articles as a springboard for poems, such as the one in this issue. Earlier versions of this poem were very different: One was a quatern and one a sonnet. Those versions stuck more closely to the newspaper article and didn't allow me the flexibility of wandering. In the prose poem letter I stray far from the text in order to create the mood and intimacy I was looking for between Layla and Yasmine. In my case, I always use some sort of epigraph to give credit to the journalist; after all, the original text informs the poem.

TCE asks Lisken Van Pelt Dus: So, how about them Postcards? (Lisken’s essay response to the Postcardese Mini-Interview Questions:) LVPD: I’ve been working on a new manuscript of poems that relate in one way or another to borders, to international travel, to the ways in which identity shifts with geographic and cultural circumstance. I grew up internationally and contain multiple selves forged in each of the places I lived or spent time. Because these selves sometimes contradict each other, this multiplicity can be a source of frustration or uncertainty, but it is more fundamentally a source of richness in my life. I continue to require travel, both to former homes and to new lands, like sustenance. And postcards have always been a part of my experience. Any family member who went anywhere sent a postcard, whether my grandfather’s minimalist “Auguri!” from Italy, or my mother’s detailed description of some sight she believes will resonate with the recipient. I’ve kept up the tradition — though lately it’s been increasingly difficult to find postcards to send. Sadly, it seems a genre that is shrinking as instantaneous communication grows. As for postcard-as-poem (or is it poem-as-postcard?), the opportunity seems to be a twin challenge of compression and expansion. It’s compressed in a quite literal way, of course, which amplifies not only the normal poetic imperative for making each word count but also the efficiency with which any necessary context is provided. Who is writing, to whom, from where, to where? The reader of the poem doesn’t necessarily have to be able to specify all of these, but she must feel confident that they exist. Paradoxically, it is in this same space that expansiveness comes into the equation. A postcard is acutely aware of from and to, and of the separation between them; the separation is both temporal and spatial. The postcard is only ever partially itself: one identity that of the postcard in the time and place of its production, another that of its reception, another yet its existence during its undefined period of travel. They’re utterly separate, but they’re all the postcard. Rather like me.

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TCE asks Earl J. Wilcox: Do you ever send actual postcards? Do you like to receive them? EJW: Yes, during my teen years (mid 1940s), postcards were quite common. We kept a supply of them because they were cheaper than stamps, and most of us didn’t have much to say by mail anyway! I had pen pals, with whom I exchanged cards, plus birthday greetings were often sent via postcards as several in my era did not go to town to shop for Hallmarkesque cards. Surprisingly, people seemed not to care that the postman and half the world read what they had to say on postcards. My motherin-law was the champion for getting most information on all her cards as she wrote in tiny script, plus she used all the margins such as they were on the tiny cards. I have a fairly recent postcard from a great American poet, Richard Wilbur, who apparently likes typing his messages on his manual typewriter.

TCE asks Allen Ashley: Do you ever send actual postcards? Do you like to receive them? AA: Yes, I do write and send actual postcards. And I like to receive them. Mostly from people on holiday or who have been to an interesting exhibition or something. They are much more satisfying than some poxy text message or idiot tweet. Postcards and letter writing are dying arts. Resist their extinction. When short poems succeed we recognize it almost immediately. When they don’t, a variety of factors seem to be in play. In your experience, what are some typical reasons for such failures? AA: Some very short poems are absolutely great and, like you say, it’s obvious straightaway. William Blake’s “To see a world in a grain of sand . . .” immediately springs to mind. I think the reason why many fail is that they evoke a “So what?” response. There seems to be no point, no meaning, nothing happening or being said or observed, whatever. How do you feel about the “vignette” in poetry? Does every poem have to have a story or event to be considered complete, or can a poem be built solely around imagery and impressions that don’t necessarily “go anywhere,” but may suggest numerous narratives? AA: Call me old-fashioned, but every poem should have some sort of purpose or reason for being. That may be the meaning or observation it carries or it may be a formally interesting experiment. Many, many poems are built around one tiny image or fleeting moment caught. That’s fine. The idea contained within wouldn’t necessarily sustain a short story or even a flash fiction, but that’s OK. Sometimes the observation or moment is so trivial that one reads the poem and thinks: is this meant to enlighten me, really, this minor little quip? However, I like your idea of hinting at possibilities or suggesting numerous narratives. That’s something to keep in mind: letting the work stay open to varying interpretations. Neat idea. The Centrifugal Eye

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TCE asks Mary Jo Balistreri: Have you ever mailed a postcard to someone where the message is a poem that you’ve written? Why not? You’re a poet, so wouldn’t this idea appeal to you? MJB: It appeals to me now, since your call for postcard poems. I never thought much about it before then, but I’ve been writing postcard poems ever since. Some proponents of “postcard poetry” believe those types of poems should be fragmented and conversational, mimicking broken prose, rather than focused on line breaks and polished diction. What types of postcard poems attract you most? And what’s your definition of a “postcard poem”? MJB: I’ve been sending haiku postcards since the call for postcards poems. I’ve also sent ones that focused on nature, talking about the picture on the front, what I’m doing there. The ones I wrote before “Eve” were fragmented, colloquial, etc. I always paid attention to diction, but they were written in short bursts. My experience and opinion have enlarged since. A postcard poem takes me somewhere else, allows me to see France, or Turkey, Chicago, or Florida, for example. It whets my appetite for more. I usually look up the place of the postcard’s origin. It could even be one that explores an image we’re familiar with but might not have thought about — something like, “Hi Karla, have you ever thought about . . . ?”

TCE asks Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt: So, how about them Postcards? TB-A: “Interruption” was inspired by a silent retreat I did one spring, at a monastery on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River. It was my first visit to such a place, and it had a profound effect on me: the monastery itself, huge and sprawling, inside and out, with hidden chapels and alcoves, an apple orchard, an ancient cemetery, and miles of walking paths through the woods and along the water. The quiet, steady devotion of the nuns provided necessary counterpoint to the chaos of my thoughts and emotions, the wrestling match of my inner life. I wanted to capture it — the serenity of my cell, the golden silence, the rhythms of the community, the river’s moods — in a three dimensional photograph. My poem is like a postcard I wrote to myself — a reminder, a snapshot that takes me back to that moment, that prayer, that breath. A postcard poem can evoke a mood, an emotion, a sensation, however subtle or strong. I’m suspicious of this business that says a poem has to speak to a larger, universal reality. I see it as quintessentially intimate, if it so desires, capturing just that one bit of lace, the hem of a garment, hanging at an angle, just so. It holds meaning for the artist who created it, and for the reader who encounters it, a different meaning perhaps — who’s to say? Its job is to suggest, to propose, to breathe into an image and give it blood, pulse, wing, presence. I used to send postcards all the time. I mailed them from India, Egypt, Greece and Israel, Northern Ireland and France. Now I send emails, post my pictures on Facebook. This issue of TCE is reminding me of the delight I used to take in selecting my cards and my words, pasting on the foreign stamps: a slice of beach sent to my loved ones in the north, a patch of sky from another hemisphere, a kiss of green. I recently made a list of those things my life needs more of: mohair, whimsy, candlelight, stargazing, cello, the handwriting of those I love. More postcards, please.

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Danielle Blasko

Definition Not the pink, glass bowl with the fallen angels about which I say, falling. In Jacob’s Dream, Feti’s angels are ascending: Wind-blown, golden-haired boys, climbing a gilded staircase, engulfed in cumulonimbus clouds. In the literal shadows, mountainous figures — lanky, sultanic, animal-masked, movers — stir up silver linings.

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Stamp Art: “Market Produce� By E. A. Hanninen, 2014

Danielle Blasko lives, works, and plays in Detroit. She is co-creator of the 30 Day Poetry Challenge, and coeditor of the anthology, Ready for Consumption. Her poems have recently appeared in The Burlesque Press Variety Show, Rhyme and PUN-ishment Anthology, Etchings, and march will be march. Danielle is a longtime contributor to The Centrifugal Eye.

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Pat Hale

Giving Thanks For the snow and for the end of snow, for the clouds lowered gray upon us, and the clear day that draws us skyward. For the wind blowing, full of snow or full of birds. For water. For abundance. For the moonscape out my window those winter mornings when I woke just before dawn, the neighbor’s house still shuttered, snow heaped over hedge and laurel, snow glowing as the sky grew light; for those mornings when I gazed out at a world I scarcely knew. For the tracing of ice on tree branch, the tracks and trails of squirrels, for that wonder, that weightlessness.

A Snake in the Cupboard As evening comes, a snake slips from the cupboard, twisting his liquid weight through the agony of air, with perfect faith that the emptiness will carry him to wherever he needs to go: the ground, the woods, a hole, anywhere but here where the last patient has slipped away, borne off in her mother’s arms to god knows where: the dark; a grave; a hole as deep as a man’s arm is long. A doctor closes his eyes and dreams of fish; a snake slides out into the night.

Pat Hale’s award-winning poetry appears in journals, including CALYX, Dogwood, Naugatuck River Review, and Connecticut Review. Her chapbook, Composition and Flight, was awarded the 2011 Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry Prize. She lives in Connecticut and serves on the board of directors for the Riverwood Poetry Series, Inc. This is Pat's second appearance in The Centrifugal Eye.

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Fern G. Z. Carr

Return to Sender “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Inscription on the General Post Office, New York City

No snow, no rain, no heat, no gloom of night — just good old-fashioned sunshine enveloped the mail truck as it dog - ged - ly grappled its way to the summit, passing conifers and homes nudged slightly askew by their mountain host on a glorious Disney morning — flowers a-bloomin' and birds a-tweetin'. The postmistress steered her van with one hand while she sorted mail with the other, experienced eyes darting back and forth — road, mail, road, mail, road, mail until the road got lost in the mail and she found herself being returned to sender, truck plummeting into the azure lake below. A splash. Silence. Eternity . . . Now she is but an anecdote stamped into memory — local folklore shared with tourists on lazy summer days.

Postcard design by Fern G. Z. Carr. A non-visual version of this poem in stanza form first appeared in Cirque 2, no. 2 (Summer Solstice 2011): 15. “Stamp” photo courtesy of WPClipart.

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 The League of Canadian Poets and former Poet-inResidence who composes and translates poetry in five languages. A winner of national and international poetry contests, Carr has been published extensively world-wide including Finland, Cyprus, Thailand, Israel, South Africa, Nepal, New Zealand, Mayotte Island in the Mozambique Channel, China, Romania, the Seychelle Islands and India where she has been cited as a contributor to the Prakalpana Literary Movement. Canadian honours 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. Fern is a regular contributor to The Centrifugal Eye. Website: http://www.ferngzcarr.com/

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Melissa Carl

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Melissa Carl has published her work with a variety of publications, including Amoskeag, . . . and love. . . . (anthology), The Broken Plate, Blood Lotus, Cellpoems, CircleShow, The Copperfield Review, Curio Poetry, Freshwater, Halfway Down the Stairs, In Posse Review, Off the Coast, Toad, and The Waiting Room Reader, Vol. II: Words to Keep You Company (anthology). In April 2013 she was one of 85 participants in The Found Poetry Review’s National Poetry Month Pulitzer Remix Project. She currently lives and teaches in York, PA, and Oak Island, NC.

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Lauren Hudgins

Your Invisible Girlfriend I think she's like Rhode Island, a state you sometimes hear about but never actually see. It's hard to believe in her rumors when you follow me to the West Coast. I heard you humming along with stereos and street musicians, whistling past me on bicycles.

Stamp Art: “Urchin� By kerry rawlinson, 2014

First Class Postage 49 USA

You crept out from colorful damp houses and pointed out the postcard you would like. I saw you in the record store, yesterday. But when you looked up, you had a new face.

Lauren Hudgins is an MFA student at Portland State University. Her poetry has appeared in Cliterature WOMEN & GIRLS and Third Wednesday.

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Kitty JospĂŠ

It's fine on this island fingers not attached to an old hand, rather, to years of phrases, and a memory of mallets tapping a convoy of croquet balls, played solo, no audience.

Kitty JospĂŠ teaches poetry appreciation, is a docent at the art museum in Rochester, NY and is grateful for a constant engagement with projects and collaborations needing words and a dose of enthusiasm. In 2013 she added two chapbooks: Mosaicq (Finishing Line Press, semi-finalist, available through Amazon) and its companion, Gathering Lines. Kitty is a regular contributor to The Centrifugal Eye.

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Jennifer Lagier

Jennifer Lagier’s eight books are: Coyote Dream Cantos, Where We Grew Up, Second-Class Citizen, The Mangia Syndrome, Fishing for Portents, Agent Provocateur, Hookup With Chinaski and Penetrating the Mist. She taught with California Poets in the Schools and is now a retired college librarian/instructor, member of the Italian American Writers Association, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Rockford Writers Guild and helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Jennifer is a longtime contributor to The Centrifugal Eye. Visit her website: http://jlagier.net

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“Liberated Woman,” Pollage by Ellaraine Lockie, 2014

Ellaraine Lockie

Ellaraine Lockie is a widely published and awarded poet, nonfiction book author and essayist. Her recent work, “Abandoned Garden,” has been awarded the 2013 Women’s National Book Association’s Poetry Award, and from Purple Patch magazine in England, the Best Individual Collection for Stroking David's Leg. She was also winner of the San Gabriel Poetry Valley Festival Chapbook Contest for Red for the Funeral and The Aurorean's 2012 Editor’s Choice spring chapbook for Wild as in Familiar. Her tenth chapbook, Coffee House Confessions, was released in 2013 from Silver Birch Press. Ellaraine teaches poetry workshops and serves as poetry editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh. She has just completed judging 2013’s The International Reuben Rose Poetry Competition for Voices Israel and the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contests for Winning Writers. Ellaraine is a longtime contributor to The Centrifugal Eye.

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TCE asks Fern G. Z. Carr: Based on your own experience and preferences, what are the differences for you in writing a long poem vs. a short one? FGZC: The obvious answer would be the amount of time spent; however, there isn’t necessarily a correlation between time and length. For instance, research even for a short poem, can prove to be quite time-consuming. The expression, “quality not quantity,” comes into play here. Each poem ultimately writes itself and does what it wants to do. Despite the length of the piece, I generally do a minimum of seven drafts before even coming close to the finished product. Which is more challenging to write, a short poem or a long poem? FGZC: Both long and short poems present their own challenges. If a poem is so long that it becomes rambling, the reader will lose interest. Yet on the other hand, if a poem is too short, it could be perceived as ineffective and brusque. What’s the shortest poem you’ve ever written (words, lines)? Has it been published? FGZC: The shortest poem I’ve written consists of four words, excluding the two-word title. It reads as follows: pregnant firefly you look positively glowing

Has it ever been published? It has now — thanks, Eve!

TCE asks Melissa Carl: Some poets feel that “found poetry” is akin to cheating in that so much of a found poem’s content is appropriated, while other poets believe a found poem can be as original as any other poem. Where do you stand on the issue? MC: I think that it depends upon the poet and his/her found-poem process. Grabbing a hunk of text and merely inserting line breaks? To me, that’s like “cheating.” Last year I participated in The Found Poetry Review’s National Poetry Month Pulitzer Remix Project. Eighty-five poets had to write a poem per day using only the words from their assigned Pulitzer Prize-winning work of fiction. Using an entire novel as a word pool meant great freedom to create wholly original pieces, just as a visual artist creates a collage. My poems generally used single words, small phrases and occasional sentences pieced together from across entire chapters. My assigned novel was The Killer Angels, and none of my poems were about war, civil or otherwise. I was working on a series of postcard poems separately from the Project, but one of the found poems I wrote during the month became a postcard poem, now published here. One would be hard-pressed to ever recognize the text of origin without the included author’s note, and I stand by the piece’s novelty and departure from its origin.

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What’s the shortest poem you’ve ever written (words, lines)? Has it been published? MC: I believe that the shortest poem I have ever written is only ten words — twelve, if including the title. This poem has been used as a quote for jewelry, and was incorporated into a piece of visual art as part of a special cross-genre project. It was published in my second collection, Brutal Allure. I’ll share it here, editors willing: Of Course the moon does not blame its silence on smaller stones.

As writers compose, they’re vaguely aware of a hypothetical reader out there somewhere. In selecting your work for the Postcardese issue, was this implicit reader chosen for its obviousness? Did it affect how you approached your poem/s? MC: I’ve been working on postcard poems for two years, now. The effort began as an exercise to ease turmoil and depression, and I was not thinking much about readers at all. At first I had only the vaguest sense of whom or what I was addressing— definitely not a Muse or God, but an entity far more personal and intimate. As I continued the excavation of my thinking, the truth came in pieces. Strands of mythologies and thoughtsystems braided together, granting me increased focus and purpose towards the work. The identity of M? In Freudian and Jungian psychology the Self divides into conscious and unconscious parts — while the Ego forms what we would call our overt identity, the Shadow exists as a repressed assemblage of feelings, desires, thoughts, and intuitions that the Ego’s architecture would rather not house. In the Yoruba belief system, three different spiritual essences are said to reside within a person. One of those parts is the ojiji. I think the word first attracted me because of its similarity in sound and essence to another word of which I am fond — ouija. The Yoruba teach that the ojiji is the shadow. No one escapes the shadow; it follows its owner throughout life on earth, waiting for the owner’s return to heaven. The ojiji is evidence that one is alive and not a ghost. Only things without substance have no shadow. In these poems, I am speaking to what I now know to be my Shadow, my Dark Constant. A fogged, broken-mirror version of my actual person, “M” is the moral and existential problem of my self-comprehension and acceptance. Not mere allegory, She is my real and present companion, a collective being with right and necessity of existence. I try to meet Her on ground of my own choosing.

TCE asks Lauren Hudgins: Do you ever send actual postcards? Do you like to receive them? And which is more challenging to write, a short poem or a long poem? LH: I do send postcards. I love physical mail more than a normal person should. It feels so productive in our computer world. I produce a tangible object; it travels via roads, rails, or air, to the hands of someone I care about. And I find it more difficult to write longer poems. I think and feel in brief moments and images. These vignettes are enough on their own and don't need expansion and translation over pages and pages.

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TCE asks Kitty Jospé: Some proponents of “postcard poetry” believe those types of poems should be fragmented and conversational, mimicking broken prose, rather than focused on line breaks and polished diction. What types of postcard poems attract you most? KJ: There are as many ways to approach “postcard poetry” as styles of postcards and writers! The challenge is exciting, because of the multiple options. For me, the ideal postcard will do one of three things: evoke the image on the reverse side of the message (which could be an ekphrastic exercise); attach some meaning to the location of the postcard sender (beyond a tourist commentary); reveal something intriguing about the relationship of sender to sendee. Wit, anything that avoids cliché is welcome, which usually will require attention to diction, or imitate a vernacular particular to place/speaker. If haiku, it should meet the requirements of the form, beyond the 17 syllables broken into three lines. Less pleasing to me is a catalogue of activities, lists. Dreams are wonderful, but difficult to use on postcards, as they compete with the postcard image, and there is not enough space to create the relationship to the sendee. Based on your own experience and preferences, what are the differences for you in writing a long poem vs. a short one? KJ: I prefer short poems, where meaning and sound are compressed to make a pleasing “big picture,” which can be read several times. Subsequent (and hopefully multiple) readings yield new layers of meaning. A longer poem runs the risk of losing the reader, and has the challenge of sustaining interest. A short poem doesn’t have to rely on narrative twists. I find a short poem allows me better access to emotion, and because I am working for a rich texture, the potential for epiphany is greater. It is perhaps akin to a movie, composed of individual frames — many of which meld into “background,” as opposed to one unforgettable scene. As writers compose, they’re vaguely aware of a hypothetical reader out there somewhere. In selecting your work for the Postcardese issue, was this implicit reader chosen for its obviousness? Did it affect how you approached your poems? KJ: The hypothetical reader was key to the poems I submitted: The tone of a short message is determined by both the addressee and the sender. I had a Grandmother sending a card to her Granddaughter and using as image on the card, oil pastels by a local artist, Gloria Betlem, which celebrate the beauty of New York’s Finger Lakes, and warn of the dangers like fracking, which endanger them. Another card was playful, using an anagram of Florida. Both show the tenderness of a grandmother writing to her granddaughter, as if to reflect the importance of transmitting appreciation of nature, life from one generation to another. In addition, the reader becomes a spy, an indirect part of the scene, yet privy to something intimate which will wake up some subconscious memory of some older family member.

Don’t miss Kitty’s essay on pages 9-11.

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TCE asks Jennifer Lagier: Many of the poets featured in this issue have traveled far and wide to bring back their poems for our pages. How do you think travel enriches your poetry? JL: Travel offers a fresh perspective, new landscapes, exposure to differing cultures, discovery of unfamiliar stories. For example, a trip to Père Lachaise in Paris a few years ago triggered a series of poems based on grave sculptures. Ironically, my postcardese piece has to do with the familiar rather than the exotic. As a writer, I like to explore a variety of territories. How do you feel about the “vignette” in poetry? Does every poem have to have a story or event to be considered complete, or can a poem be built solely around imagery or impressions that don’t necessarily “go anywhere,” but may suggest numerous narratives? JL: Having just written a series of poems inspired by Chihuly glass creations on display at a museum/gallery in Seattle, I am inclined to believe poems can be spun from images and impressions. These can seduce the reader into creating the fourth wall within his or her own imagination, completing the frame. What are the differences for you in writing a long poem vs. a short one? JL: I’ve gotten into the habit of writing short poems due to lack of available writing time and a need to pare down writing to terse lines without frills. Now that more time is available for me to pursue scribbling, I’m experimenting with longer work, still tight, but exploring more rooms.

TCE asks Ellaraine Lockie: Which is more challenging to write, a short poem or a long poem? EL: There is a saying in the children's picture book world — "If I would have had more time, it would have been shorter." I think it also applies to writing poetry, at least the kind that I write. To be truly succinct, every single word has to be dead-center the "right" word for what is being communicated. Those right words often take much longer to find than flowing multiple-worded phrases that would be fine for prose. As writers compose, they’re vaguely aware of a hypothetical reader out there somewhere. In selecting your work for the Postcardese issue, was this implicit reader chosen for its obviousness? EL: I experienced quite a conflict in deciding exactly to whom this postcard should be addressed. I went from individual infamous men who are known for their ultraconservative attitudes toward women to ex-husbands to finally deciding that maybe all men should receive it — not that all men need it, but little reinforcements can't hurt. If you write “Found” poems, do you place restrictions on found elements? EL: A found poem to me means simply that I've found the poem in a particular place. It could be in a sentence, part of a paragraph, page, short story, novel, street sign or maybe a series of objects. And I don't think a found poem has to be an accurate quote to qualify. Giving credit to the sources is important, though.

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60f MAGYAR POSTA

Stamp Art: “Angst Stylized” By Steve Cartwright, 2014

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Column

Review By

Karla Linn Merrifield

Column

Essay By

Erik Richardson

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Merrifield’s Tao of Poetry:

“postcard(s) / with no return address” By Karla Linn Merrifield

The Oldest Stone in the World Tom Holmes

Amsterdam Press (2011) 36 pgs / $10 US Copies may be purchased via Redactions Poetry’s Etsy Shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/RedactionsPoetry/)

Postcard #1: “its ideal unanswered letter” Tom, my master! Ha! Betcha didn’t think you’d hear from me again. Just cuz you wrapped me up — zip, zip, zip — in 19 poems tucked betw/ the covers of The Oldest Stone in the World doesn’t mean I ain’t still doin’ my oracular thing. I found this old broad who’s sussed us both. She believes in us! Yrs truly, Omphalos

Postcard #2: “if an answer arose” Tom, o my lord! Back w/ the latest. So, this woman, a reviewer no less. She thinks it’s cool you fessed up in your “Preface” that me & our poems were basically “an experiment to write a poem at the rate of one word per day,” & then “also use the word-of-the-day in another poem.” Hence the 19-day run of poems in our book. “Coolio,” she says. Cheers, Big O

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Postcard #3: “the answer would not drown” Tom, poet-king, More groovy news. I overheard her tell a friend (another poet), “these are bite-sized poems w/ amazing depth.” I’ll be darned if she didn’t quote “The Oldest Stone, Yet One Day Older”— in toto. By heart. & were the Earth to flood, the answer would not drown with the letter washed away.

What a hoot! Ta ta, O the Stone

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Postcard #7: “at the intersection of mystery” Tom-Tom! If. If. If. If, if, if. She’s stuck, dude, stuck. Contemplating all the Ifs in our lines! As if If is the most important word in the book. She’s listed them, beginning w/ the 1st line of our 1st poem, “The Oldest Stone”: “There is an If in Delphi.” And then in the 2nd poem, “The Oldest Stone, A Day Older, its 1st line: “& if an answer arose.” Fact is, I think K thinks the essence of our chappie is “the contemplation of If.” (Remember that in “The Stone Becomes”?!) O the If (Maybe)

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Tom Holmes is the editor of Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose and the author of 7 collections of poetry. His most recent, The Cave, won The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013, which will be released in late autumn of 2014. Tom’s writings about wine, poetry book reviews, and poetry can be found at his blog, The Line Break: http://thelinebreak.wordpress.com/.

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!

Survey:

http://home.earthlink.net/~tinyviolet/thecentrifugaleyepoetryjournal/id366.html

Read a postcard poem by Karla Linn Merrifield, as well as her bionote, on page 17. You’ll also be entertained by Karla’s Mini-Interview responses on page 23.

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Into the Labyrinth:

Postcards as Snapshots of Hyperreality By Erik Richardson

Getting postcards in the mail is such a nice interlude of escapism that it’s hard not to be cheered by them. The particular appeal, I think, seems to be that we feel they have somehow temporarily closed a gap — a gap between ourselves and the sender and a gap between us and the fun or exotic location shown on the postcard. This little letter-backed piece of artwork tells us the sender misses us, she is thinking about us, etc. I would, however, like to consider two brief points along these lines. The first is that in setting themselves up as “closers of the gap,” the postcards are, in a way, the very things that help to create and sustain the perception that there is a gap. This idea of being “separated” in a moment of hypertravel is a problem we may not have been aware that we had. “Oh, here’s a pill for travel sickness; I wonder if I have some travel sickness.” As soon as there is a pill for fixing problem x or y, we buy into the assumption that some of us have that problem. The second point for your reflection is that poems and postcards like these are pale imitations of the real things. Hyperreality is an idea built into contemporary dialogue by Jean Baudrillard, Umberto Eco, and others; in its most succinct form, hyperreality is the state in which the consciousness is no longer able to distinguish between reality and simulations of reality. Italian author Umberto Eco explores the landscape of hyperreality further in his essay, “Travels in Hyperreality,” by suggesting that hyperreality is created as we go: we desire reality, and in the attempt to achieve that desire, we fabricate a false reality that is to be consumed as real. In the case of a postcard from a vacation spot, most of the time the image created is one of the venue during its aesthetic peak, but with a random sample of only one to build from, our minds fall into the habit of imagining the exotic location as if it were the normal or average condition of the place. Thus, there is a sense of closing the gap in space and time between you and the person who sent the card, but the problem is that you have been warped to someplace that doesn’t actually exist and, hence, a place other than the one where the sender is vacationing or visiting. (It may be a small consolation that it turns out the vacationer is not visiting the place she thinks she is, either.) Now, of course, we must consider the fact that in talking about this, I have suggested to you that there is a place where we can stand to see the gaps and overlaps between true and false realities, but because we are no longer able to find the seams where simulacra end and the original, underlying reality begins, that neutral place itself is a simulacrum with a postal code in hyperreality.

Erik Richardson lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with his family and assorted pets. The whole group is a tangle of dandelions in the middle of the suburban lawnscape (and takes pride in that). In addition to teaching math and computers and attending grad school in psychology, he runs a small business with his wife, fueling Sci-Fi & Fantasy fandom.

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Want more great reading? 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: http://centrifugaleye.com/)

210 pgs / $19.95 US Available through Lulu Press: http://tinyurl.com/TCEs5thAnX2

Coming In 2014: The Centrifugal Eye’s Chapter & Verse Mini-Chapbooks Project 4-in-1 Print Edition Visit our website: http://centrifugaleye.com/)

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The Centrifugal Eye’s Literary Briefings & Posted Notices:

The Latest News & Guides

Press Releases New from longtime TCE contributor Gilbert Allen is Catma, from Measure Press (http://www.measurepress.com/measure/index.php/catalog/books/catma/), and it’s available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell’s Books. TCE contributor and former Featured Poet, Jon Ballard, has a new chapbook, Something Between, out from Finishing Line Press (https://finishinglinepress.com/product_info.php?products_id=1759), and a new novel as well; it’s Year of the Poets, from Loose Leaves Publishing, LLC (http://looseleavespublishing.com/jon-ballard.html). Another TCE Featured Poet, Jared Carter, has a new book out from University of Nebraska Press (http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/product/Darkened-Rooms-ofSummer,675819.aspx); it’s titled Darkened Rooms of Summer: New and Selected Poems, and includes a foreword by Ted Kooser. Biblioasis is publishing formalist-poet contributor (and yet another TCE Featured Poet) Catherine Chandler’s second book, Glad and Sorry Seasons; out this spring. (http://www.biblioasis.com/catherine-chandler/glad-and-sorry-seasons)

New from another long-time contributor, Walter Ruhlmann, is his two-in-one book, The Loss followed by GMO (Great Moments of Oblivion), which can be ordered from Lulu Press (http://www.lulu.com/shop/walter-ruhlmann/the-loss-gmo/paperback/product21449331.html).

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Back Issues 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 59 for details). During the past 5½ years, all but one of our issues have also been made available as print-on-demand editions through Lulu.com. If you’d like to peruse our archives or pick up print copies, please visit these sites: Archives http://home.earthlink.net/~centrifugaleye/index.html

Centrifuge/Special Projects http://home.earthlink.net/~centrifuge/

TCE Storefront/Lulu Press

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/centrifugaleye

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. Submission Guidelines http://home.earthlink.net/~tinyviolet/thecentrifugaleyepoetryjournal/id5.html

Back Cover Art: Sun, Surf, and Screaming . . . Don’t You Wish You Were Here? By Illustrator Tyler Smith The newest art assistant to join The Centrifugal Eye, Ty hails from Beaverton, Oregon. He studied art at Boise State University, and he specializes in pencil and ink drawings and digital artworks. He especially likes to sketch monsters. Ty says, “I love to draw — mostly creatures and weird things and such. I wish I were a werewolf, and I practice karate in the hopes that I will one day shapeshift into one. Nary a day goes by in which I don't drink 1-2 pots of coffee, but I'd give it up if I could have a lemur tail."

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“Sun, Surf, and Screaming . . . Don’t You Wish You Were Here?” By Tyler Smith, 2014

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Profile for Eve Hanninen

Tcewinterspring2014 postcardese  

The Centrifugal Eye - Winter/Spring 2014. An online poetry journal of literary force to experience: poetry, essays, interviews, book reviews...

Tcewinterspring2014 postcardese  

The Centrifugal Eye - Winter/Spring 2014. An online poetry journal of literary force to experience: poetry, essays, interviews, book reviews...

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