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Visible poets, vibrant poetry
"Island Quintet," edited by Julie Kimball. Westmeadow Press. 2006. 47 pages. $12.
Whether tucked into the leaves of a favorite novel, secreted into daybooks, or saved into files in cyberspace, poems without publishers remain mostly-and sadly-invisible.
Complex meditations that journey deep into the consciousness of their respective speakers define the emotional heart at the center of Maureen D. Hall's most compelling poems. "Firstborn" expresses the guilt and seeks some form of expiation as the speaker metaphorically moves back in the world of the poem to apologize for the failures of loving, or not loving, a child. In another poem, "1967," the speaker discovers something new, something about life and time, while discussing whether an old calendar should be thrown out or saved. In terms of the poem's theme, it resonates with the Romantic Age poets such as Robert Burns who, in "To A Mouse," for example, finds places where small and apparently insignificant experiences can - for those open to them - reveal unexpected truths about life.
In early morning fog, spiders
Magical rhythms and inventive rhymes send off many of Laura Roosevelt's six poems in "Island Quintet." Mixtures of end and near rhymes in "Picking Through Rice Before a Post-9/11 Airplane Trip" chillingly evoke both the emotional and literal turbulence of the fear of an anticipated flight as it embeds itself in the mind of a woman picking worms out of the food she wanted to cook. The imagery echoes the same irony, the same epiphany of a changed life, but a life prepared nonetheless to move toward its destiny, as many have supposed Hamlet felt while staring down at the worms in Yorick's skull. Another elegant poem, "The Rest," evokes that unsettling fear felt by a young daughter who needs her closet doors closed at night in a home where few doors shut the way they should because
It's not what sneaks in
Gerald Blake Storrow wrote the final six poems included in Quintet. Although the longest is only 13 lines, each unfolds with its own surprises, insights, revelations, and intelligence. "Take Two," for instance, interrogates the nature of a world after Armageddon and concludes, ironically, that
from archetypal Eden's memory
Two lines from the beginning of another of his poems, "The Edge," might serve well as an invitation to this entire volume for any reader who wants to... "stand upon the edge of poetry / the way a diver does above the sea."
Since 1979 Dan Sharkovitz has taught English, journalism, and creative writing at Martha's Vineyard Regional High School. He serves as faculty advisor to the school's student newspaper, the High School View which is published in The Times. His essays, poetry, reviews, photography, articles, and short stories have appeared in numerous publications. He lives in West Tisbury.