Introduction to Issue 23 Poetry by John C. Mannone
Silver Blade is proud to present a slate of highly accomplished poets for this issue. We hope you savor every poem in this rich meal of words. Many of the poets here demonstrate what is meant by lifting prose into poetry, sometimes by filling our ears with a rich complex of sounds and rhythms. Virtually all of them take risks with conversational language, but turn the line with well-placed images, surreal elements, and daring structures and innovative styles (and I’m not talking about spreading words all over the page, though when done skillfully, can be very effective).
Our featured poet, Sue Brannon Walker, a former Alabama Poet Laureate (2003-2012), starts us with an edgy batch of work: “What is Found There,” a found poem (a cento) whose title is taken from the famous Adrienne Rich poem; “Bathsheba Bathing on the Roof,” an ekphrastic poem inspired by both music and a painting; “Committee by Fiat,” a poetic rant with linguistic delights; and an unusual prose sestina, “Nature like Mother is an Improper Name (Shillyshallying Sin).”
Marge Simon’s haunting piece, “Awaiting Another War in D Minor,” changes the direction of the thrust but sustains the energy from Dr. Walker’s poems. The deceptive simplicity of Mel Goldberg’s poem, “Weakling,” is also haunting, but in a very different sense. Adele Gardner’s “Everything and I,” might look like prose, but do not be deceived by this surreal piece. “Greek Fire” by Darrell Lindsey has many textures (perhaps even a spiritual one, at least for me it did). “All worlds meet at Happy Nails” by Emily K. Bright is playful, yet wrought with precision, light as a feather and heavy as lead. The series is concluded with Vanessa Kittle’s “The Nap Between the Worlds.” This is another deceptively innocent poem leaving me longing for more—the poem lives beyond the last line.