Kirby Wright has been a regular contributor to The Conium Review, with work appearing in our Spring 2012, Fall 2012, and Spring 2013 issues. His latest poetry collection, The Widow from Lake Bled, has just been published by Moon Pie Press.
He has published several other books, including Punahou Blues, Moloka’i Nui Ahina, and Before the City on Lemon Shark Press.
Our Associate Editor, Tristan Beach, had this to say about The Widow from Lake Bled:
Whether it be a Hawaiian beach or an attic in eastern Europe, each locale is rendered in precise and empathic verse. Wright’s poems are wrought with such care and intelligence — testaments to his mastery of craft.
Congratulations on the new book, Kirby!
Written by Michael McGriff
Copper Canyon Press, 2012
Home Burial (Copper Canyon Press, 2012) exposes the Pacific Northwest poet Michael McGriff knows inside out with a stunning forensic lyricism. His knowledge of the backwoods, the quarries, the bay “shaped like a rabbit / hanging limp / from the jaws of the landscape” is downright chthonic, haunted by spirits of place, the departed, and the old junkers they left behind. His poems track movement shapeshifting through his rural routes/roots, personifying Midwinter as a woman who “lets the darkness / sit down beside her” here, pointing to glimpses of reeds–or is it human hair– waving from the bottom of the pond in another abandoned wreck there. His unflinching reports are detailed with a poetic grace that does not betray the bleak realities of life, as, say, a four-legged predator, an obese dead man removed by a crane through a shattered chimney, his grandfather’s will found on the back of an invoice in the shed, a woman about to die on the job at the mill.
McGriff presents the hardscrabble vignettes in forms as natural as weather, in language at once harsh and beautiful, shitkicking and prayerful, but never off pitch. This, his second full-length collection, is a Lannan Literary Selection. In its thirty-one poems, the poet’s response to the natural world and the ultimate fragility of all its inhabitants hardened by necessity ties these cautionary tales, remembrances and elegies together like #50 Heavy Cougar Genuine Leather Logger Laces. Imagining McGriff creating his poetry in the tough guy settings of his titles: the break room, the Oyster Bar, or sitting – like Midwinter – at the kitchen table, is grainy, cinematic. Anyone who knows this heartbreaking country knows Home Burial nails it; anyone unfamiliar is shown its beating heart, the lay of the land, and what lies beneath.
Review by Susan Lynch
© 2013, All Rights Reserved
Mark Jackley’s second full-length collection of poetry, Hello Hello Hello, was recently released on Blurb Press. You can read a review of the collection at Linden Avenue Literary Journal, or you can purchase copies at Amazon.
His first collection, There Will Be Silence While You Wait, was published in 2009 by Plain View Press. Mark was a contributor to our Fall 2012 issue, and his work has appeared in a variety of other literary journals.
In mid-September, our Managing Editor announced our small press’ latest project on Burdock Radio. And now we’re ready start the pre-order for High Art & Love Poems, a chapbook by Keith Gaustad, scheduled for release in early December!
The pre-order period starts today and lasts until November 15th. To encourage early pre-orders, we’re offering signed copies and a discounted rate when you bundle High Art & Love Poems with the first issue of The Conium Review. To pre-order the chapbook, or browse our other publications, visit our Online Store.
Jim Chapson, author of Scholia (Syracuse University Press) says “In these amulets against despair, the poet Keith Gaustad inoculates the reader against the follies of our age . . . ”
And Paul Vogel, author of The Empty Quarter (Teppichfresser Press) raves “Gaustad serves up a fin de siècle salad with a side of weltschmerz . . . creating lyric paroxysms that fall like fiery plops of spittle . . . “
The special bundled rate and will only be offered as long as supplies last, so claim your copy of this chapbook and The Conium Review today!
On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths
Written by Lucia Perillo
Copper Canyon Press, 2012
follows up her 2009 Copper Canyon Press
collection, Inseminating the Elephant
, a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and Bobbitt Prize Winner, with another skein of tightly braided magical acts of mesmerizing creative force, beautifully bound. Critics never fail to mention this kaleidoscopic ability Perillo has to raddle the sacred and profane, the deeply personal and mythic universal, the Kotex and the ayahuasca. Raddling, in case you don’t know the word, is the art of weaving. The raddleman was the guy who went ‘round the English villages making those charming wicker fences as seen in Room With a View, although the word also references the quaint practice of tupping, having to do with marking the back end of a ewe after the ram’s done his duty. Perillo doesn’t neglect any reference. She raddles ‘riding the wacky noodles’ (those foam floats ‘old ladies’ use in swim class) with stark renderings of how many of them are shy about their mastectomies in the changing room. And then titles it Proximity of Meaningful Spectacle. She ruminates on her love-hate relationship with death while describing dahlias hit by a killing frost by way of a man looking up from his electric chair mid-execution to announce ‘This isn’t working.’ Raddling.
In forms exact, iambic here, indented there, slant rhymed, eye rhymed, she interrupts classical proportions with a perfectly placed ‘huh, you know’ and a ‘doesn’t that feel a little ostentatious?’ Only Perillo could have written “Freak-Out” – a three-pager in sectioned couplets, and trump the hefty line ‘what passes through the distillery of anguish…’ with ‘not the monster potion but the H Two…oh, forget it…’ She can wax lyrical with the best of the best, then suddenly grab you by the lapels and get in your face. Or in her own face.
In short, Perillo knows just where to go when and how to get back, like Odysseus, or Homer writing the Odyssey
. In fact, he’s in here, or rather, his dog, as is Achilles, Carlos Casteneda and Perillo’s father. His shirt label, which she ‘sees is a haiku […]Traditionalist / one hundred percent cotton / made in Mauritius
,’ inspires a raddle of Bashō, scungilli and her father’s ‘death poem,’ Soon I must cross / the icy sidewalk. / Help. There goes my shoe
This is a book to own, to touch, to treasure, to marvel at, to peek under the dust cover and appreciate how the juxtaposition of the cover art (Giotto’sThe Last Judgement), the plain brown woven hard cover and the red end papers accurately mirrors the virtuosic braiding of Lucia Perillo. A poet who knows her raddle
Review by Susan Lynch
© 2012, All Rights Reserved