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Zone 2 edited by Kat Peddie & Eleanor Perry

Zone 2 edited by Kat Peddie & Eleanor Perry

http://www.zonepoetrymagazine.com

The second issue of Zone magazine, the poetry collective of writers and critics from Canterbury, edited by Kat Peddie and Eleanor Perry, is a cornucopia of poetic delights richly illustrating the diversity of contemporary poetry.

The house style of presentation of this A4 publication mostly eschews uniformity in favour of a random mixture of fonts and point sizes. This works effectively with the diverse and colourful text art to produce a visually exciting journal with a sense of the chaotic. The position of the author’s name in large point at the top of each page tends to undermine the approach through its loudness and uniformity. The poem should matter far more than the poet’s name.

There are many fine contributions from Sarah Kelly’s text sculpture, Sean Bonney’s short essay on Amiri Baraka, via six Petrarch sonnets by Peter Hughes, Ian Brinton’s translation of Francis Ponge’s ‘Snail’s to Iain Britton, Stephen Emmerson, S.J. Fowler, Mendoza, Dorothy Lehane, Duncan Mackay, R. T. A. Parker, Nat Raha, James Russell, Marcus Slease, Dollie Stephan, and Robert Vas Dias.

Amongst the work that caught my eye were sean burn’s ‘spell / check © sean burn 2013 c.e.’ simple, playful approach and Laurie Duggan’s ‘from Pensioners Specials’ with its quirky, aphoristic humour:

The Art of Poetry

don’t write when you have ‘something to say’
write when you have nothing to say

*

smaller than the syllable
the Silliman

*

Universal Toilet

This train has,
says the ‘onboard manager’
a ‘universal toilet’

Rae Armantrout’s extraordinarily condensed poems employ multiple voices and divisions to explore contested spaces. Here her four poems seemingly skirt the boundaries of plausible meaning and imply connections between each stanza, which are not entirely evident on first reading. They invite reading of the relation of part to whole, stanza to stanza. In this way, more possible reference and meaning comes into play. They insist upon both slow and wide reading, and force the reader into wider focus.

Run Time

Hidden redundancy
equals logical depth.

*

up next,

the pumpkin carving contest
under the sea

*

You talk to yourself
as if somebody cared.

Clearly an event of some kind, as yet only implied in the title and first three stanzas, is in process. The third stanza perhaps holds more than its terseness. The narrative voice is in the act of ‘talking’ to herself ‘as if somebody cared’. When placed in the context of the preceding stanzas much more possible reference and meaning comes into play. Voices are running, possibly imploring, exhorting for this onwardness towards the second half of the poem and whatever may lie within its boundaries. We could be in the world of someone in a state of loss or deprivation, or in need of care. Key words, such as ‘hidden’ send the reader off in search. Certainly the range of possible meaning gradually begins to expand. The reader is taken on a journey and there is more than a hint of implied disjunction, loss and unrest, which serves to take the reader forward.

Such poems make Zone a joy to return to.

David Caddy 22nd November 2014

Pansy Maurer-Alvarez’s In A Form Of Suspension

Pansy Maurer-Alvarez’s In A Form Of Suspension

Tears in the Fence contributing editor, Pansy Maurer-Alvarez’s new poetry collection, In A Form Of Suspension (Corrupt Press, 2014), which is being launched at Carr’s pub, 1 rue du Mont Thabor, Paris on Friday, 28th March, explores sexual impulse through a series of lush and throbbing sound patterns.

 

My altitude wavers so rasping, it slips a ring raining onto hands

and hisses words between two spongy blue tides

Like daily loose grammar despite radiance, I soar

and improvise on paper a rapid page pressed to hinge;

sliding open a rusted gap, I sway and pitch my limbs

averting rows of loss that diminish the rewritten labyrinthine chill

 

Maurer-Alvarez’s poetry combines succulent musicality within a full poetic line and avoids the pitfalls of over-determining the line. She is the mistress of the measured longer poetic line, of the line break, and of being able to manage lines of differing lengths in one stanza. She excels in this collection. It is quite a different skill to say the likes of Rae Armantrout or Shannon Tharp, who excel with the short line and have great depth through brevity. Here the poet is more divergent and produces a beguiling journey for the reader. It is utterly pleasurable taking the reader to unusual places and thoughts, demanding repeated readings. I am reminded of the famous Dr. Niles Crane line, ‘An exquisite meal with one tiny flaw we can pick on all night’ in that there was, at times, insufficient modulation in relation to abstraction. Others may disagree. There are a wide range of sub-texts and language play that bite and that one can chew on for some time. In some cases, I was in awe and at others annoyed. Such are the many pleasures of the poems.

 

– the history of rainstorm is a naked door

– the waiter will be back, scuffed and literary, granting the acceptable

– a knife recalls blue humidity as a family instrument

– mimosa is composed of Seville

– the ingenious often chant arm in arm with tentative cymbals

– sincerity is equally rated with chamber activity

– the oboe is the flamenco’s counterattack

 

This section from ’39 Fragments On A Pebble Beach’ illustrates some of the rich diversity in this collection and her neo-aphorisms.

 

At the book’s core is a clear narrative voice gleefully indulging in gestures and speech acts:

 

I firmly think that unless this luster of excitement is not withdrawn

from the breast cavity, the jutting out acceleration of surprise will

indicate a double hollow of indulgence. I may collapse. Or a

beautiful avant-garde discourse might ensue and pulsate joy

beyond belief.

 

The book’s title is apt as a number of meanings of suspension come into play throughout. There are at times discord and dissonance as well as the sense of something being discontinued, the condition of being suspended, and a chemical mixing and the state of being dispersed. It is a collection where the sub-texts, often unsaid, outweigh the main theme albeit anchored by an incisive physicality and reverberation. It is an undoubted strength and part of the book’s abiding pleasure.

 

David Caddy 27th March 2014

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