Notes on the Poetry Selections

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July 17, 2018 by The Citron Review

 

Happy summer. For the last few years, our summer issue has been “Citron Six” —six picks vs. four. Why? Maybe it is the longer days or the flood of quality submissions we receive when school, in its many forms, lets out. To be sure: we receive quality submissions whenever we are open, so thank you.

The poetry picks commence with Dan Veach’s translations of the Chinese poet Wang Wei. At Citron, we embrace translations and international voices—from any era, and it is a pleasure to read his adroit handling (spontaneity; precision; voice) of the eighth century Chinese poet’s work. Veach was also courteous to append a note to “Gold Dust Spring” for context. Apparently, Wei was an influence on William Carlos Williams, H.D., and the Imagist movement as popularized by Pound, which makes sense. Because where else would that economy of language and image-driven verse have originated? Looking back through Pound’s Personae, I see similarities between the two poets.

Tim Lindner’s work reminds us that nostalgia is more than fondness for past events. Typically, the word connotes happy memories—but not always. “Florence Avenue Notebook” starts innocently enough, with memories surfacing concurrently on a July afternoon, with people who might have been our neighbors: “Mike’s sister sat on the curb and sold lemonade // to the boys with dirty feet, burnt foreheads, we / told time by the speed of clouds over rooftops.” This poem is a vivid compression of time and sound, and by the time we get to the grownups in the next poem, divorce hits us with the weight of “those same squares of injured grass.”

Geoff Anderson concludes the set with “Siren” and “Circle Game,” two muscular, yet tender poems… investigative poems that want answers—even if those answers might be unattainable. Check out some of the lead lines in “Siren”: “I fell asleep…” “I used to believe…” and then “Look out the burnt window…” Frankly, I do not want to comment further on his poems. As one of my teachers, Dr. Mario Padilla, once commented: “You know you are in the presence of good poetry when… “ and I cannot remember how he concluded that sentence. But I know I am in good hands with Anderson’s poems.

 

Eric Steineger
Senior Poetry Editor
The Citron Review

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