[Digital Photograph | Steven Wittenberg Gordon]
"The Beach Cities Enigma"
Steven Wittenberg Gordon
"Loon on the Kennebec"
Karla Linn Merrifield
"Sonnet, So to Speak, for Boyo"
Vivian Finley Nida
Charles A. Swanson
"Driving Home on a Rainy Night, after a Troubled Visit"
"On Sweetness, Pie, and You"
Reviewed by Alessio Zanelli
Desecrations & Other Poems by Jesse Van Horne
Reviewed by Howard Stein
Frequent Contributor News
Vivian Nida provided the only Shakespearean sonnet to make it into this issue among the dozens that were submitted. Not only is her adherence to the form impeccable (an absolute requirement for consideration for publication) but her chosen topic is refreshing. Not a single attempt at a Petrarchan sonnet made the cut, although many were submitted.
The other six poems presented are interesting modern takes on the sonnet form. Some were obviously inspired by the Shakespearean or Petrarchan. Others, including mine, maintain the fourteen-line framework (an absolute must in order to be considered a sonnet) but not much else. Yet, these are sonnets--not just poems of fourteen lines. There is still some form within them that echoes the traditional, whether it be rhythm, assonance, chorus, or organization.
The spots granted to the poets herein were dearly won and represent the finest examples of what may be done with the sonnet form. Although short, this issue is jam-packed with real gems. Enjoy!
Steven Wittenberg Gordon, MD
Poet's Notes: As loyal readers already know, I recently changed from enjoying semi-retirement in Overland Park, Kansas (recently recognized as the best place in the United States to raise a family) where I enjoyed ample free time and controled my own schedule to working full-time in Downeast Maine where I enjoy little free time and have almost no control over my own schedule. I had to leave behind in Kansas almost all of my worldly possessions, my house, my children, and my dog.
Maine is beautiful--much more so than the "flatland" of Kansas where, I am fond of saying, "you can watch your dog run away for three days." The countryside of Maine is well-forested, well-watered with rivers and lakes, near or on the sea, and is home to the gorgeous Appalachian mountain range. The Common Loon (pictured) can be found on or about the fresh waters of Maine and is known to be most active around dusk. The call of a loon is indeed "haunting."
This poem was inspired by my first sighting of a loon in Maine. It was dusk along the Kennebec River when he silently glided over the water, landing in it to hunt for a meal. His cry was spellbinding. It was a magical moment. For me, the wild loon represents the freedom that I recently had to trade for security. SWG
Van Horne ends his book with an ecstatic vision, “Lost Inside the Dream,” which, as he writes earlier in this concluding section, will corrode, decay, and disintegrate “for artists trapped/ in blocks of stone/ I sharpen my chisel/ for you”. This final poem sends the reader off in rousing hope. But in earlier poems in this same section, darkness, doubt, and desecration pollute triumph and hope. Reality undermines the poet’s imaginative rally.
I heartily recommend this intense volume of poetry that is at once personal odyssey, social criticism, and universal experience. Desecrations & Other Poems is available for $12.95 from Barnes & Noble.
Frequent Contributor News
Beginning with our "Hallowe'en/Horror" themed issue due out toward the end of October, Songs of Eretz will be accepting unsolicited submissions for cover art as well as poetry. Submissions for that issue are open now and will close on August 31. Our Associate Editor, James Frederick William "Edgar Allan" Rowe, the Dungeon Master himself, will be taking the lead on this issue, so send in only your most disturbing, haunting horror poems--he does not scare easily...
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.