Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Magazine of Speculative Poetry

Last year at some point arrived the Spring, 2011, issue of The Magazine of Speculative Poetry. At the time I had not too much cluttered the front porch -- for I remember sitting in the venerable stuffed chair out there, reading the issue in the morning sunshine with interest; and out there today in the frigid January cold, when moving around this item and that, I found my copy.

I was about to say this is an excellent issue, but stopped myself, since my contributions were several. Other contributions than mine are excellent, though.

I was, and am on re-reading, particularly taken by the two works by Joanne Merriam: "Tender Aliens (after Gertrude Stein)" and "Love in the Time of Alien Invasion." Both are fresh and direct in their language; and both are informed primarily by everyday and colloquial speech rather than poetic structure or a traditionally poetic sense of language. The Stein-esque poem shows its influence, even for those of us who, like myself, have read less Stein than they would like to do some day. The borrowing is creative, insofar as the approach to language yields up an approach to ideas. It is an "invasion" poem, much as Merriam's other entry in this issue.

Both poems are pessimistic -- the former one more cheerfully so. The latter takes a more jaded if not bitter tone.

And other contributors? ... Andrew Nightingale, Ann K. Schwader, David Greenslade, Robert Borski, Yoon Ha Lee, Mike Alexander, Jessy Randall & Daniel M. Shapiro, P.M.F. Johnson, Geoffrey A. Landis, and Holly Day. Cover, as it happens, by Mark Rich.

The poems of my own in this issue are ones I will not disown. I mean to say that I can re-read them with interest, which is not the case with all my poems, once they see print. The poems are "Falsebook," "Winter in Mirasea" and "As Here, Out There." "Mirasea" remains my favorite of the set, however conventional it might seem, or be.

"Falsebook" should begin:

Careless again -- leaving my face
in an open drawer.
And I have had this face
all my life.

In print the first word appears as "Carless" -- which would aptly describe me for most of the course of my life. The intended word was "careless," even so.

Line 25 of "Winter in Mirasea" I believe should begin with "above" instead of "about," although the reader's eyes likely skim over the difference.

In "As Here, Out There," I find I penciled in a line change, not a correction. The last line of the second section, "any direction but straight," I changed to, "any way there but the straight one." The nature of roads here in the coulee region of Wisconsin helped inspire this piece.

The useful information: five dollars, sent to editor Roger Dutcher at P.O. Box 564, Beloit, Wisconsin 53512, will get you a copy.

Cheers ...

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