Notes on the Poetry Selections

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September 25, 2018 by The Citron Review

 

Happy fall. As summer concludes, I am happy to finally feel a chill at night in Asheville, and soon, the colors we associate with the season. As I anticipate a colorful mountain landscape—here in the Blue Ridge Mountains—I think of apple cider, and my wife and I playing around with our daughter in the leaves (I also think of dark beer and heavier foods, but that’s a different story). Just as these mountains are an amalgam of color, so too are the poetry selections this issue: colorful in style or mood, narrative, meter, syntax, and more. The poets whose work was chosen hail from different corners of America: the Mid-west, Oregon, Massachusetts by way of North Carolina, and New Jersey; their ages and experience levels vary too; the common denominator is the presence of fine poetry/prose. These poetry selections feel very “Citron” to me in that they are eclectic but accessible, full of memorable images and angles of approach. But we can say that about many published works, right? Maybe the word vector comes closer. Merriam-Webster defines vector as “a quantity that has magnitude and direction.” Yes, that. Rogan Kelly’s “Dreams of Alexandria” takes me back to Lawrence Durrell’s Justine in its exquisite depiction of Alexandria and the characters who live there, while “Corner Store” captures a tender exchange, the kind that often go unnoticed, during a morning coffee rush. Gwen Jensen affects me in only a few lines with “I Love The Lace.” There’s something Merwin-esque about the luminosity of the poem and its syntax. As I write this note, it occurs to me that some might be embarrassed by these associations to famous writers, but when composing these notes, I try to think of some-thing I have read for context. Carolyn Supinka’s “Woolgathering” is formatted as prose but reads poetry with its smooth transition from title to first line, variance of rhyme and pacing, and atypical approach to a confessional poem. To say that it operates from a Surrealist POV misses the mark. Finally, we have Kelly Samuels’s “Petrichor,” which is the first poem in our fall issue. The word petrichor denotes the smell of the earth after rain, which I knew from before after listening to a Phish song with my wife. I don’t know if I want to preface the poem any further, but I will say that I liked it enough to lead off the issue, and I will comment on its sound. At times, poems that move at this speed seem forced and fail to balance power with restraint. I would like to see “Petrichor” in a collection she is working on.

 

Eric Steineger
Managing & Senior Poetry Editor
The Citron Review

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