As I mentioned in my last post, Pedestal Magazine, Issue 76, is available. It was published June 22, 2015. I have a piece in it called “Gaunt,” which is about the creature I consider to be my muse. When I first got access to the magazine, I posted about its availability on my blog. Then I began reading the other poems and was blown away. I realized I wanted to do a longer post and review. This is one of the best collections from varied poets that I’ve ever read, and I feel very lucky to have my piece in this mix. Bruce Boston and Marge Simon, who served as editors for this particular issue, deserve a lot of credit. I don’t normally do reviews of magazines like this but felt compelled to in this case. Here are my capsule thoughts on the poems, without any spoilers:
1. Lewis Carroll Knew My Family: A Series, Diana Smith Bolton: The Red Queen, The White Rabbit, The Cheshire Cat. They’re all here. Alice’s Adventures are such surreal works in their own right, and here we have the surrealistic elements taken to another level. The resonance here is intense.
2. Miracles, Ken Poyner: Genetics gone wild. This is a poem of ideas, touching on one of the biggest scientific advances of our age.
3. Critique of Car Accident Art Museum, Ross Wilcox: The melding of the machine and human. The stanzas consist of “exhibits” described. Each alters your reality a little further.
4. Lunar Eclipse by the Chitose River, December 10, 2011, Stephen Toskar: My favorite poetry often revels in contrast. Here we have such contrasts as warmth and cold, sex and fear. The last stanza is perhaps my favorite in the collection. I won’t quote it; you have to read it with all that’s gone before.
5. And Then the Stars… Mack W. Mani: Very grounded piece. A poem about reality, though it has the stars. Lots of subtext. I’m sure I didn’t catch it all.
6. Time Capsule, Rose Blackthorn: What comes after. The post-apocalyptic world as a time capsule.
7. Tourists Do Not Touch the God, Andrew Pidoux: What happens when even the Gods grow old. I liked the humorous images in this.
8. Venetian Red (for Michael Nathan), Steven Ratiner: Images of the old world’s beauty. An invocation to a past age, and a present.
9. Tether, Christina Zawadiwsky: a free for all of beautiful images and thoughts. Not quite free association. A stream of resonant consciousness. Perhaps my overall favorite of the pieces, although my favorite also seems to change with every reading of these works.
10. Gaunt, Charles Gramlich: The shortest poem in the mag.
11. The Dark Side of The Force in Relation to Art (Remarks by Lord Vader), Frederick Pollack: If Lord Vader gave a commencement address, what might he say?
12. Whatever Happened to Scott Carey?, Richard Bruns: Metamorphosis. Why me? Why not you?
13. Selenites, John Philip Johnson: How many will know that word, “Selenites.” I know it. So alien this piece, and yet familiar to us from the history of philosophy.
14. Crow Mother (for Frida Kahlo), Linda Rodriguez: The juxtaposition of beauty and the grotesque. Great fun to read aloud.
15. Schizophrenic Conversation at the Four Winds Bar: A Poem of Blues-Rock Numbers, and Crap-Game Numerology, Fred R. Kane: Reads like your favorite drunken night in an old blues bar. It happened, if only you could remember more than snatches. At the right moment, this one could be my favorite too.
16. Analog Reincarnation, Gary Singh: Life captured by a camera, and then by words. We step back two paces from reality to get a better view.
17. The Alien Ruins, Daniel Ausema: My favorite title. It already evokes my imagination. What will we find when we first make contact? A living race, or a lost one? And how will we come to know them?
18. Copernicus, Dane Cervine: Life and death and wonder.