Unless otherwise indicated, all illustrations are the work of our
Art Editor or taken from "royalty-free" open internet sources.
Terri Lynn Cummings
"Scraps of Letters and Lace"
"The Morning Meditation"
"The Sunshine Couple"
Steven Wittenberg Gordon
"Goodbye Old Friend"
Stephanie L. Harper
Karla Linn Merrifield
"Dance Card in Tanka"
John C. Mannone
"Unseen Words for the Goddess Venus"
Vivian Finley Nida
"The Nature of Love"
"Don't Fall In Love with a Writer"
James Frederick William Rowe
"Widows from the First"
"Navigation, A Love Poem"
Charles A. Swanson
"If One Day"
Reviewed by Sylvia Cavanaugh
Frequent Contributor News
I believe you will find the poems contained in this "Love" themed issue of Songs of Eretz Poetry Review to be enjoyable and emotive, if not always entirely fresh and new approaches to the poetic expression of love. Many of the poems here solve the cliché dilemma by approaching the subject tangentially, resulting in a perhaps a deeper and more organic experience of what it is to love. Where clichés are unavoidable, readers should find enough nuanced language and unexpected twists to forgive them, albeit perhaps with a wry smile or slightly raised brow.
Steven Wittenberg Gordon
|"Eros" | Ink & Watercolor on Paper | Jason Artemus Gordon|
Poet’s Notes: I'm interested in the ways in which we experience and perceive love as we grow older. More and more, I see love in small everyday actions. I also find that as I grow older my feelings of love are intertwined with my encounters with the natural world and my sense of wonder in each of the four seasons.
About the Poet: Joanna Friedman's fiction and poetry has appeared in a variety of anthologies and on-line publications. She works as a psychologist in the San Francisco Bay area and lives with her husband, twin girls, pug, fish, tortoises, and gecko. Follow her on twitter, @j_grabarek or her website, https://joannafriedman.wordpress.com/.
Poet’s Notes: The eyeballs exist under pressure, usually 10 to 20 mmHg above the blood pressure, so as one begins to pass out, one’s sight goes first, commonly called a “black-out.” The unwritten final line should be “And almost passed out,” hence the title of the poem. When I saw my bride walking down the aisle toward me, I almost fainted--it was a near mishap. Fortunately, I steadied my nerves and broke the glass and kissed the bride and all that. Twenty-seven years and counting...
Artist's Notes: Most painting teachers tell their students never to use black and instead to make black by mixing several dark colors. This is usually good advice. However, one of my favorite painting teachers taught me, "You don't need to stop using black; you just need to know how to use black." Black has its time and place. This illustration started black and white, but partway through, I could not help but add some subtle color, which I see as representing the "radiance" hidden beneath the veil. JAG
|"The Going Merry" | Digital Photograph | Steven Wittenberg Gordon|
my faithful steed.
Poet's Notes: I bought my Taurus GL new in 1996 and drove her into the ground in 2016 twenty years later. Although "only" a machine, that car was everything a friend should be--faithful, reliable, always there when needed, comforting, forgiving, supportive, and self-sacrificing. That car lasted way beyond the norm for its make and model. In the end, although she still could run and I had always garaged her, time and salt and weather had taken their toll, and she was declared unsafe to drive.
When I drove her one last time to the car dealership, she gave me one final gift in the form of $700 for a trade. I knew she would be cannibalized for parts and sent to the junkyard--an ignoble demise for such a faithful friend. Is it crazy that I wept and mourned her loss as I would a departed beloved family member or friend? I am not ashamed that I did. I miss her to this day.
|"Liquid Heat" | Watercolor on Paper | Jason Artemus Gordon|
Artist's Note: Creating a visual for innuendo that is not either too explicit or too "on the nose" was a challenge. How does one depict the feeling of intercourse with such limitations? I decided some warm ripples would be a good middle ground. JAG
|"Olives Blossom" | Ink & Watercolor on Paper | Jason Artemus Gordon|
|"Olives Ripe" | Ink & Watercolor on Paper | Jason Artemus Gordon|
|"Olives Decayed" | Ink & Watercolor on Paper | Jason Artemus Gordon|
Poet’s Notes: Each time I witness the night sky with a crescent moon and Venus, I wax romantic. The poem is one long sentence, so this could have worked well as a prose poem with a slightly more fluid rhythm, but I’d be giving up a couple of good enjambments.
|"Offer" | Watercolor & Ink on Paper | Jason Artemus Gordon|
You’d find beauty in everything
I rolled my eyes.
Poet’s Notes: Manipulative people are all around us, and it’s easy to fall under their spell. In “Don’t Fall in Love with a Writer” the speaker is taken on a rollercoaster of emotions during a meeting with her lover. At first, you can sense the speaker’s reluctance, with the eye rolls and scoffing under her breath. For a moment she gets sucked in and you see her eyes light up as she falls “deeper in love.” The speaker realizes she is being used, and the poem ends. There is room to question whether she was strong enough to leave or not.
Poet’s Notes: I wrote “Widows from the First” a few years ago. The germ of its premise came to me in reflecting over a comment made in Dune--that old men use young men to fight wars that they might keep the women for themselves. When young men go off to war and die before fathering children, they may as well have never been born, at least as far as posterity is concerned. This thought led me to imagine a society that understood this sacrifice and took it seriously.
|"We used to Walk" | Watercolor on Paper | Jason Artemus Gordon|
|"Bond" | Ink on Paper | Jason Artemus Gordon|
Poet’s Notes: This is one of the few love poems I have written in the last decade, and is dedicated to my wife.
Are you the author or editor of a poetry collection, a poetry magazine, or other long poetic work? If you would like to see a review of your work published in Songs of Eretz Poetry Review, please see our "Review Guidelines" section for details http://www.songsoferetz.com/p/review-guidelines.html.
New FC Charles A. Swanson will address a class of high school seniors in February, reading from his own work, and discussing strategies for successful essay responses to the poetry analysis question on the AP Literature exam. During February and March, he and fellow teachers will exchange AP essays for a mock exam practice. Each teacher will evaluate the essays of students from fellow teachers’ classes and provide feedback.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
|Lana the Poetry Dog|
The original paintings and drawings (and prints of them) created by our Art Editor Jason Artemus Gordon and used for the illustrations in Songs of Eretz Poetry Review are available for purchase with and without copies of the poems that inspired them. Please visit our "Artwork Store" page for details http://www.songsoferetz.com/p/art.html.