California Quarterly, Vol. 49, No. 3 (Fall 2023), edited by Nicholas Skaldetvind
Cover Art: Little Gland (Pulp Painting on Handmade Paper)
by Nicholas Skaldetvind (July 2022), 10.5” X 8”
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Toppled Statues — Jim Dunn 7
In the Cathedral — John Grey 8
Unhomeliness — Paul Schreiber 9
A Father’s Death — Paul Schreiber 10
Tonight I’ll Dance — Paul Schreiber 12
Brineflight — Jeff Graham 14
In Praise of Blue — Ruth Bavetta 15
The 1970s — Charles Rafferty 16
I Like to Think of Myself as Having Goals — Charles Rafferty 16
Purses — Charles Rafferty 17
East Ridge, Ascot Hills — Gregory Cecil 18
Mais Où Sont Les Neiges D’Antan? — Rick Anthony Furtak 19
Tumult — Lauro Palomba 20
Snow — Susie Meserve 21
List — Susie Meserve 22
Hiking in Tilden Park on the Last Day of Summer — Susie Meserve 23
Hopland Overhead — Susie Meserve 24
Homeward Over Sonora Pass, August 2020, Listening to a Podcast About the Painter Egon Schiele, Who Died of Spanish Flu — Susie Meserve 25
Pieter Brueghel The Elder’s Fall of Icarus — Kevin McDaniel 26
Window Magic — Dianna MacKinnon Henning 27
Inchanting — Rhea Krčmářová 28
Anamnesis — Anthony Caleshu 29
Το Αιώνιο Μάτι Τησ Σιωπήσ — Γεράσιμος Σωτ. Γαλανός 30
The Eye — Nicholas Skaldetvind, transl. 31
Promesa Aérea — Almaguer 32
An Airy Promise — Margaret Saine, tr. 33
Eigentlich Sollte Man — Karl Greisinger 34
Actually One Shouldn’t — Margaret Saine, tr. 35
Evening Tree — Edward Garvey 36
57 The Fox God’s Shrine — Jim Ellis 37
Lost in Stockholm — Thomas Lavelle 38
Any Wonder — Thomas Lavelle 39
The Muse — Craig Cotter 39
Night Hoops — Thomas Lavelle 40
Saturn’s Children (After Goya) — Cary Barney 41
Broken Bird (c. 1988) — Cary Barney 42
Broken Bird II (2023) — Cary Barney 43
Tête à Tête — Carolyn Jabs 44
January — Mathias Toivonen 45
Arctic Circle 1 — John James 46
Arctic Circle 2 — John James 47
Arctic Circle 3 — John James 48
Spring — Edward Garvey 49
Watching the Garden Embrace Light — Beau Beausoleil 50
A Movement — Adam Day 51
Night — Adam Day 51
Isolation Songs — Karla Kelsey 52
A Summer Day Dislogic — Brandon Rushton 54
FROM MOTION STUDIES (VOL. I, FOUR PARTS) — Brandon Rushton 56
Suddenly — Peter Gizzi 58
I’ve set out to present an example of poets’ vertical investigations abstracting from the muck and confusing murk a clattering of time, of place, of history, making the reader giddy with notions of the numinous, names, theories, dreams, dates, legends. A good poem rewards this kind of looking. These poets place themselves at the center of all time in that self-perpetuating way great mythic-figures have always done without border, age, limit and within a labyrinthine wonder. Fresh and clean verse, pure and naked of pretense, as the wild waters and unmoored light which bathes the Ionian Islands’ and California’s dazzling coast alike.
The content of these featured poems possesses an intimate quality veering towards a self-involved disposition bordering on narcissism or, in a better-fitting locution of our time, an encroachment on the autism spectrum. The inherent lyrical structure bestowed upon these works imparts a sense of coherence and unity, steering the reader to believe this was a preconceived notion of collaboration.
Seekers of light and truth go beyond the California world. They’ve roused me from a bedazzled stupor marked by a sense of inner-defeatism characterizing the better part of the last three months as I scoured after the alchemical “what” of the submitted poems, how to articulate my rationale in selecting a poem and then to sequence the thing. Rather than “editor” I began to consider myself auditor of the human experience. The principal reason they’ve been selected is pleasure. As Peter Gizzi stated elsewhere about editing o•blék: a journal of language arts, “the discourse around poetics comes second; the poem has to lead.” Each of these poems is its own incarnate statements of poetics.
The reward is this terrific group singing the relationship they share with the world. Certain poets have widened my eyes with their singing: Dianna MacKinnon Henning, Jim Dunn, Karla Kelsey, John James, Susie Meserve, Charles Rafferty, Paul Schreiber. Songs in which there is the recognizable sound of a human voice inducing you to continue reading. I will also wager that if you are like me, you turn to poetry as a means of revealing that which pertains to yourself, for the possibility that another poet out there will open a window for you that you didn’t before trust was there. Faith.
Believing in magic in the sequence of poems, I was made aware of the reconciliation of one poet’s words weaving with another’s in sympathetic magic in the loose form of journey as they progress. My aim has been to sequence them into a shape of communal feeling. And, as with any decent anthology, you are able to open at random and Dame Fortune will enfold you in the language’s sheer beauty of resonance.
Lastly, thanks to Aviva for encouraging me to try along the way. Thanks are due to The Board of The California State Poetry Society for trusting my judgment. Thanks also to the keen Maja Trochimczyk for drawing my attention to poems I might have otherwise overlooked and for every little thing she does, and to the Ionion Center for providing me a peaceful place to write. Thanks to the poets for offering such a rich assortment of verse. And thanks are due to you, dear reader. We are in society.
California / Greece / New York
We are eagerly awaiting the results of the 2023 Annual Contest from the contest judge Anna Maria Mickiewicz. She will be selecting the best poems from the batch of anonymous submissions forwarded to her without any identifying information. The three prize-winners will then be published in the last CQ of 2023 while the Honorary Mentions will be considered for publication.
The Poetry Letter obtained its ISSN: Online ISSN 2836-9394; Print ISSN 2836-9408. It is distributed in PDF format and posted on the website and the blog. The second issue of 2023 featured the list of monthly contest winners for 2022 and all poems, illustrated with colorful abstract paintings by Janusz Maszkiewicz, the founder of Vienna Woods Gallery, a proficient craftsman, sculptor, painter, and a member of Krakart Group of Polish American artists that exhibit their works together in the U.S. and Poland. Michael Escoubas’s review of Desert Flow (artwork by Adrián Caldera and poetry by Charlotte Hart) was illustrated with Caldera’s digital art. He also reviewed Hayley and the Hot Flashes by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer and Crystal Fire: Poems of Joy and Wisdom, edited by yours truly, with artwork by Ambika Talwar (14 paintings) and 144 poems by Elżbieta Czajkowska, Joe DeCenzo, Mary Elliott, Jeff Graham, Marlene Hitt, Frederick Livingston, Alice Pero, Allegra Silberstein, Jane Stuart, Ambika Talwar, Bory Thach, & the editor. All poets are CSPS members and several serve on the Board. The final review in the Poetry Letter No. 2 was of Joel Savishinsky’s Our Aching Bones, Our Breaking Hearts: Poems on Aging by Nina Miller. Due to the editor’s error, William Scott Galasso’s review of Distance by Mariko Kitakubo and Deborah P. Kolodji, was omitted from this issue. The poets will have to wait for the Poetry Letter No. 3. Apologies.
The two issues of the California Quarterly’s vol. 49, No. 1 (by Konrad Tademar Wilk) and No. 2 (by Maja Trochimczyk) continued to receive favorable comments from readers, praising the beautiful flow of poems in each issue and the artworks on their covers. During the CSPS Board Meeting on 22 April 2023, Nicholas Skaldetvind was confirmed as guest editor of the CQ. Skaldetvind holds a B.A. from St. Louis University in Madrid, Spain and M.A. from Stockholm University in Sweden. He is a double citizen of Italy and the U.S., fluent in English, Spanish, & Danish. He also speaks/reads Swedish, Portuguese, Italian and French… and he edited the CQ during his residency in Greece. At the same time, we said farewell to William Scott Galasso who edited CQ Vol. 47, No. 4, but had too many other poetry obligations, in the haiku world and publishing his own books to continue his work as a CQ Editor and member of the CSPS Board. He will be missed and we wish him success in all his projects.
The Treasurer Report for 22 April 2023 Board Meeting listed the starting balance of $8,649.44 and 2023 YTD Balance of $10,324.32. The Treasurer noted that this was the best financial status of the organization in at least twenty years (since then, we spent funds on printing/mailing of the CQ, our largest expense). The online presence of the CSPS also continued to grow, with the blog having had overall 58,822 visitors by April 2023, and featuring 14 posts in 12 months. As expected, most of the readers last year came from the U.S. (6,360); they were joined by poetry lovers from Russia (763); the Netherlands (721); Belgium (443), Canada (424); the U.K. (343), Germany (301); and South Korea (249). It is amusing to see the strange statistics that machines collect for us. Our Facebook group had only 176 followers, so there’s room to grow.
Member News. Sunland/Tujunga Poet Laureate Alice Pero had a six-page feature in "Cholla Needles 76" and a feature with Brendan Constantine at Village Poets in Bolton Hall Museum, Tujunga. She received a Commendation for her work with students this year at Fair Oaks School in Altadena.
The National Federation of State Poetry Societies has a new president, Paul Ford. It held its Annual Convention, Catch Poetry: Stage & Page, on June 21-25, 2023 in West Des Moines, Iowa. It also organized the Blackberry Peach Spoken Word Poetry Competition and the National Slam, as well as 50 other poetry contests. Our Board decided that our interests focus on “printed” rather than “spoken” word—but do tell us if you think otherwise, and, please, volunteer for the NFSPS opportunities. More information in NFSPS Strophes: www.nfsps.com/Strophes2023%20-%20Aug.pdf
~ Maja Trochimczyk