Issue Three

July 26, 2018

Jericho Brown, “If God Is Love”

“I want to call Housman’s poem a religious one and not just because its music is hypnotic in its consistent rhythm and rhyme. The poem believes in a God who is omnipotent and omniscient. It wants to fill its well-formed space with as many ideas and as much material as possible. And it wants us to know it is larger than it looks. It uses “and” because it is a poem about joining the provincial to the worldly. And it uses “and” because it is a poem about life and death. And it uses “and” because it is a homoerotic poem about how a man can find space for the affection of another man where masculinity only allows for shepherding and soldiering. In other words, every “and” in the poem mounts and mounts until they join things that seem opposite.”

“A Conversation with Shara McCallum”

“I was trying to engage with this cultural figuration of woman in relation to parts of my own experience, mythological figures we tend to read as ‘mad,’ and historical or ‘real’ women who have stood outside of the dominant culture’s modes for what a woman should be and how she ought to behave. I wrote many of the poems that turned into [Madwoman] to try to answer some questions for myself: What are the various sources of Madwoman’s ruptures of self? Who is this Madwoman, again in relation to my autobiographical self as much as to the selves of other women I have known personally or through storytelling (literature, myth, history)? Where does she end and I begin, and vice versa?”

Sandy Solomon, “On “Adlestrop”

“All of Thomas’ work earlier in the poem has set up these lines — the contrast between sentence stress and metrical stress, between rising and falling rhythm, the contrast between the hesitations and the go-aheads, the presences and the absences, the silences and the sounds. We’ve been on an express train that stops, but the stop is the signal for the imagination to move quickly up and out and into the countryside. What is still and what is moving? What is still and what is noisy? What is uninhabited/empty and what is inhabited/full of life and sensory detail? The poem is setting us those problems in its very fabric and attaching our feeling to those problems as we read. A small miracle, in fact.”

Sherraine Pate Williams, “The Upside of Sincerity”

“This type of poetry, rather than simply using language and imagery to liken an abstract idea to something concrete, develops a conceit (metaphysical poetry’s most common identifier) by equating the intangible to something actual. The reader then experiences the abstraction acutely and achieves an understanding that is not only conceptual or semantic, but also emotional, palpable.”