Introduction to Issue 29 Poetry

by John C. Mannone

johnm1As a bonus to celebrate new beginnings into our second dodeca, please enjoy a larger-than-normal slate of great poetry. By way of introduction, I’ll mention a few words about the artwork I had found and manipulated* to give a fair complement to the poems.
Sara Backer (Hollis, NH), After the Circus Leaves
Bruce Boston (Ocala, FL), Royal Visitation
John Grey (Johnston, RI), The Exorcist
John Grey (Johnston, RI), During the Depression
John Reinhart (Wheat Ridge, CO), The Humaniverse
Holly Walrath (Seabrook, TX), Powder Keg
Akua Lezli Hope (Corning, NY), Lost Streets
Fabiyas M V (Kerala, India), My Mom and Her Home
Denny E. Marshall (Lincoln, NE), Quark Sample
John Reinhart (Wheat Ridge, CO), angels dream up the wildest excuses
Else Lasker-Schüler/Amelia Gorman (translator) (Minneapolis, MN), Sphinx
Else Lasker-Schüler/Amelia Gorman (translator) (Minneapolis, MN), Love

The fanciful poem, After the Circus Leaves by Sara Backer, opens Issue 29. The scarecrow image by Adina Voicu (Pixabay) superimposed by stock photos of crows in flight, captures the sentiment.

Royal Visitation by Bruce Boston invokes the use of hands quite differently in his dark poem. A similar mystery and macabre are also depicted in the photographic work of Sarah Jayne.

Increasing darkness follows with two of John Grey’s poems: The Exorcist, a narrative poem complemented by a surreal drawing, “Drowning Silence,” by TehLookingGlass (Anna Kehrer) in Deviant Art; During the Depression,    which gives an interesting look at the homeless, is characterized by the Bill Ebbesen photograph of Rob Zombie performing on Orange Stage at 2014 Roskilde Festival in Denmark. The image was further enhanced as a chalk sketch and recolored (accent color 2 dark) for the horrific effect.

In contradistinction, John Reinhart’s The Humaniverse speaks of humanity interestingly put by Ralph Waldo Emerson in the epigraph of the poem: an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I can imagine no better complement to this poem than the Italian painting, “Vertumnus” (“Vertumno”) by Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527-1593) (Vertumno).

Powder Keg by Holly Walrath is part of her collection-in-progress on historical narratives. This is a timely piece on slavery since February is National Black History Month. The pathos is also captured in two images for this poem: The painting, “The Slave Ship,” by J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851) is a representation of the mass murder of slaves, inspired by the massacre aboard the Zong; and the 1898 photograph (Library of Congress, Washington, DC) of black sharecroppers in Georgia by T. W. Ingersoll (1862-1922).

Akua Lezli Hope’s fantasy poem, Lost Streets, brings the reader to that Scottish place, Brigadoon. The structural discipline of the poem simultaneous goes to both construction and deconstruction of the magical city. The impressionistic lines brought Claude Monet’s (1840-1926) ethereal work, “Thames,” almost immediately to mind, despite the fact the New York river, the Chemung is in the poem.

My Mom and Her Home by Fabiyas M V has a bit of fancifulness, too, but there is something very dark lurking in the subtext. That mystery, and the haunting red color are combined in a composite image of a stock photo of red brick-walled property with an ominous opening into the structure, and the growing red lava texture image in the background by Studio Freya (tatanya).

Denny E. Marshall writes a blend of science fiction and fantasy in the short poem, Quark Sample. The compactness of this work could allude to the compactness of quarks, or of all cosmology on a head of a pin, so to speak. The two images—the crystal ornament and the assemblage of glass blue ornaments—are overlaid to produce a surreal celestial ambiance.

In another poem by John Reinhart, angels dream up the wildest excuses overlaps with Marshall’s on a couple levels. The Cern image used for the creation of the Higg’s Boson in the Large Hadron Collider seemed appropriate.

The issue closes with two selections for our speculative poetry in translation feature. Amelia Gorman translates the German expressionist writer, Else Lasker-Schüler (1869-1945). Her work is often dreamy, surreal, and fanciful, as well as poems about love and spiritual matters. Two images have been provide to complement the mood for each of the two poems (arbitrarily one for the German text and the other for the English translation). The first poem, Sphinx (both a German and English word), might go more to the enigmatic nature of the subject in the poem rather than the typical winged monster of Thebes having a woman’s head and a lion’s body. The artwork of a moon woman by Spanish artist, poet and blogger, Gladys Calamardo, is also seen on her blog (Desatame al amanecer) associated with her poem “El rezo del sol.” The art has all the markers of Schüler’s style. The other piece is another overlay: a photograph of the flower, narcissus, by J. Arlecchino and the creative photograph by Steve Bidmead photo of the a lady in sillhouette celebrating the moon. But for the poem Love, the impressionism of Frederick Carl Freiseke (1874-1939) is displayed. Both “Hollyhocks” and “Cherry Blossoms” have a sheer sensitivity and tenderness to go with the mood of the poem. Be sure you read the translator’s notes for further insights.

John C. Mannnone
Poetry Editor

* Most of of the images appearing here were located using Google’s advanced image search tool (, with “free to use, share or modify” selected. A few images were combined in PowerPoint using the transparency feature, while one was enhance using Microsoft Word picture format tools. But in every case, the work is free to use without attribution (though made anyway), free to use under Creative Commons Licenses, or used with permission.