Tuesday, November 4, 2008

more on the fall issue...

I’m always amazed at poetry’s ability to shift my attention in new directions. Here I am moving along, taking in my life and the world, and of a sudden, I’m shifted in another direction, encountering places I’d never been to, listening to voices I hadn’t heard. And I’m enriched, finding myself on new journeys of the mind – and sometimes, of the physical. The new Fall 2008 Issue of Blue Fifth Review has that power.

The poetry of Melissa Buckheit, this issue’s featured poet, is astounding. The form finds its own pace. There’s a fresh ease in her work that is both inviting and startling – a wonderful paradox. She writes in the opening lines of “Always One Direction”:

If I could I would walk right out of here

the hundred lives we are meant to live

and can’t
won’t forgive the moment of death
even in elation

the gauze wrinkles up against the chin,
the skull sways,
a clear grip from behind.

This poem is a call to survival, a cry to move off center, to do the work that must be done – and that work is one’s life. You give yourself to that life. There are so many paths, so many lives – and here’s the hard edge: those lives “won’t forgive the moment of death / even in elation”. That is a powerful vision.

The poetry in Buckheit’s feature will challenge the reader. There is a wonderful physicality in these poems, a believable and intricate world that the reader is given access to. The poems unfold their intimate drama that is dreamlike but very real. It’s as if the reader becomes the casual eavesdropper to the moment. But here’s Buckheit’s gift – what I learn is about myself.


Many of the writers in this latest issue – writers whose works I’m very familiar with – are appearing in the pages of BFR for the first time… Amy Lemmon, Kenneth Pobo, Amy Riddell, Steve Meador, Jon Ballard, and Yun Wang. There are many others, and I hope you enjoy them all.


A poem from the pages...

Karen Head

“The muse says”

come to Chartres when the half-moon rises
wind your way up the tertres from the Eure,
pause only to pluck a peony for the Sancta Camisia.
Meet me on the sinners’ bench, last row on the left,
where cobalt light falls in shadows.
I’ll prop open the door beneath the archivolt
with the Seven Liberal Arts, Pisces, and Gemini.
Slip inside, shake loose your shoes,
glide across the labyrinth in your stockings.

And I ask,
isn’t it dangerous, this kind of devotion?
I know my feet will burn, no matter
how cold the ancient stone beneath us.
I know too, because I trust everything
you tell me, that the beauty will surpass
my capacity to describe it,
which is why you will embrace me,
press your open lips to mine,
ardent breath inspiring in me an approach –
the rapture so soon upon us.

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