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The Natural World by Judy Kronenfeld

North of Oxford

full-moon-taken-from
.
The Natural World
.
                        for DNK
.
A full North moon
glides up behind my shoulders
over the black lake
on which I dream I am rowing
whose shores are covered
in crusted snow—
like a radiant beneficence,
regal in beaten gold,
immense,
a powerful friend
who understands the comforts
of wordless closeness.
.
It silently swings
a censer of sheen,
flings purse after purse
of spangles and gleams.
And my oars drip gold
as I raise them to rest,
the gunnels drop stars
as the boat bobs
in the swells. How the liquid dark
spills awake, as if
warmed from within!
.
But my stark heart—even in
this dream brooding
on your frightening diagnosis—shivers
in my chest, and my cold hands unfold
only helplessness.
.
judy
Judy Kronenfeld’s most recent books of poetry are Bird Flying through…

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Three Miracles by Trish Hopkinson on The Penn Review

THREE MIRACLES

Trish Hopkinson

1) You can still taste.
You’ve been out of the hospital
for a while, but the vertigo is back.

The ENT says, It might take a few treatments
to shift the crystals of your inner ear, as he positions
you carefully on the table, directs the motion

of your bandaged head, up then down,
side to side. I read somewhere that animals
respond differently when they can’t smell.

Take mice, for example—they lose weight
when odor-deprived. Oddly, it has nothing
to do with smelling food, more with

metabolism. It’s simple to think
the loss of smell is minor—not like sight
or sound. Be mindful, the ENT says. Make sure

to turn off gas appliances; don’t eat expired foods;
always wear deodorant. Dolphins,
on the other hand, can’t smell at all—

they lack olfactory nerves but have more
taste-sensitivity and don’t have to worry
about asphyxiation, b.o., or soured milk.

You ask, Will I ever be able to smell again?
What happens is, when the head gets jolted,
neurosensors used to detect scents

get shaved off. Sometimes
they grow back within six months.
What happens if they don’t?

2) Your short-term memory
will be back to normal within a year.
3) You don’t remember the actual accident.

Trish Hopkinson has always loved words—in fact, her mother tells everyone she was born with a pen in her hand. A Pushcart nominated poet, she is author of three chapbooks and has been published in several anthologies and journals, including Tinderbox, Pretty Owl Poetry, and The Penn Review. She is a product director by profession and resides in Utah with her handsome husband and their two outstanding children. You can follow Hopkinson on her blog where she shares information on how to write, publish, and participate in the greater poetry community at http://trishhopkinson.com/.

— Read on www.pennreview.org/three-miracles

Sandra Cisneros opens up about her life in ‘A House of My Own’

Sandra Cisneros, seen at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC in 2014, is refreshingly candid in her memoir-in-essays “A House of My Own.” (Don Kelsen / Los Angeles Times)

By RIGOBERTO GONZÁLEZ

Sandra Cisneros has worked hard to surpass the reputation of “The House on Mango Street,” the tale of a Mexican American girl coming of age in Chicago. In the 31 years since that novel was published, she has written short story collections, books of poetry, a children’s book and another novel — but that early book continues to define her.

So instead of moving away from “Mango Street,” Cisneros has built an even bigger, more impressive structure around it with “A House of My Own: Stories From My Life.”

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This memoir in essay form includes personal stories about family and revealing travelogues detailing unexpected encounters as a single woman journeying solo. It also pulls together nonfiction writings that range from literary tributes to such greats as Eduardo Galeano to monographs highlighting visual artists who deserved “a few rose petals” in gratitude for creating work that moved the author, and keynote speeches punctuated by hard-won insights: “So often you have to run away from home and visit other homes first before you can clearly see your own.”

Home is a theme throughout, usually in the form of clever aphorisms (“A house for me is a space to reinvent oneself, like putting on a new dress.”), and Cisneros drops countless anecdotes about writing her famous first novel. But eventually home becomes less associated with the house on Mango Street, particularly when she applies it as a metaphor to other developments in her life, for example her literary activism: “We do this because the world we live in is a house on fire and the people we love are burning.”

One surprising element of “A House of My Own” is the author’s openness about her struggles before and after her literary success, shattering any romanticized perceptions her readers might have about her fame or fortune. She doesn’t hesitate to mention “the year of my near death” — a depression following the triumphant rerelease of “The House on Mango Street” that she dubbed “Hell’s basement” — and the times she would accept any dinner invitations because she was “subsisting mainly on French bread and lentils so that my money could last longer.” But she’s quick to reassure us (and perhaps herself): “Despair is part of the process, not the destination,” proving there’s even a lesson to be learned from a writer’s low points.

Cisneros is refreshingly forthcoming about many of the people in her life, yet she only hints at romantic relationships — lovers are not as present as friends and family, her critical support system, who are deservedly celebrated. “Those remembered in stories never die,” she writes.

Two figures, however, who show through clearer than all the others are Cisneros’ parents. It’s hard not to beam at the mention of her mother’s trademark malapropism “Good lucky!” and at the love Cisneros exudes for her father, despite a complicated relationship. It’s when she writes about Don Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral that her poetry shines most brightly: “There is stored in my father’s Spanish, the way a spider might be sealed in amber, a time and place frozen just out of reach, but that I can still hold up to my eye to make the world more golden.”

Although she claims she never wanted to be a teacher, first because she didn’t feel confident enough to be one, and later because she had sacrificed so much to become an author that she didn’t want to compromise her writing time, Cisneros makes plenty of observations about writing that read like notes on craft. When she’s musing on the art of the memoir, for example, she states: “Perhaps all memory is a chance at storytelling and every story brings us closer to revealing ourselves to ourselves.” But the true gems in the book are the personal introductions that precede each nonfiction piece. These become opportunities for Cisneros to offer corrections, to admit to getting her facts wrong and to own up to a lack of knowledge or even to immaturity at the time of the writing.

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“I had to live a life first,” she explains, “and then ask the hard questions later.” It’s a level of honesty that endears Cisneros to the reader.

At the end of the book, after retelling the widely known controversy of her “purple house” in San Antonio, Cisneros also explains why she sold her famous home and moved to Mexico. Her life-changing decision comes with yet another personal insight: “I am not my house. Therefore, I can let go everything I’ve built.”

This statement also resonates for her as the author of “A House of My Own,” a dazzling essay collection that is part artist statement, part declaration of independence from “The House on Mango Street” as she closes yet another chapter in her writing journey. After all, Cisneros declares, “The book is the sum of our highest potential. Writers, alas, are the rough drafts.”

González is a writer and critic living in New York City. He’s also a professor of English at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey

https://www-latimes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.latimes.com/books/la-ca-jc-1004-sandra-cisneros-20151004-story.html?outputType=amp&amp_js_v=0.1&usqp=mq331AQECAEoAQ%3D%3D#origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com.ar&prerenderSize=1&visibilityState=prerender&paddingTop=36&p2r=0&horizontalScrolling=0&csi=1&aoh=15493816779256&viewerUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com.ar%2Famp%2Fs%2Fwww.latimes.com%2Fbooks%2Fla-ca-jc-1004-sandra-cisneros-20151004-story.html%253foutputType%3Damp&history=1&storage=1&cid=1&cap=swipe%2CnavigateTo%2Ccid%2Cfragment%2CreplaceUrl

Review of Lauren Davis’ Chapbook, “Each Wild Thing’s Consent”

panoply, a literary zine

ewtc3Poetry Wolf Press, poetrywolf.press
24 pages
$10 in print, $8 digital
Physical format is handmade. Stapled. Printed using French Paper Company paper.
Partial proceeds go to a local Jefferson County nonprofit called The Dove House.
Author website: LaurenDavisPoetry.com

Submitted by Jeff Santosuosso, November 2018

Book titles guide us. In Lauren Davis’ breathy debut chapbook, we’re taken through a series of journeys to a conclusive observation. We live in a natural world and are part of it. We exist, participate, and partake with the consent of what surrounds us, tacit or deliberate. In fact, we ourselves grant our consent to each other. At our heights, we are intimate, sharing our vulnerabilities and desires. Yet we risk physical injury, even death. We also risk spiritual decline. But the risk is worth the reward as these intimacies reveal the power of the metaphysical. In her effort to “describe the feminine divine,” Davis…

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Remembering Mary Oliver

North of Oxford

maryoliver

By Stephen Page

Oliver as Nature

            This afternoon, I am rereading Mary Oliver’s American Primitive for the sixth time.  I first opened the book yesterday, and every time I reopen it, the poems make me forget the reason I am reading the book.  I am supposed to be looking for an interesting topic to write an essay about.  Each time I get a thread of an idea on what to write, the poems carry me to the place the narrator is, climbing a tree, eating blackberries, standing by a pond, watching a bobcat walk by, feeling large snowflakes land on my upturned face and melt on my cheeks.  I am immersed in the poems.  Being of quick mind, it took me only six readings of the book to understand why.  This is Oliver’s intent.  She immerses the reader into the poems by immersing herself into the narrator who immerses…

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munching on “Short-Order Cook” by Jim Daniels

Jama's Alphabet Soup

“Man who invented the hamburger was smart; man who invented the cheeseburger was a genius.” ~ Matthew McConaughey

“Cheeseburger” by Tjalf Sparnaay (oil on linen, 2012)

SHORT-ORDER COOK
by Jim Daniels

An average joe comes in
and orders thirty cheeseburgers and thirty fries.

I wait for him to pay before I start cooking.
He pays.
He ain’t no average joe.

The grill is just big enough for ten rows of three.
I slap the burgers down
throw two buckets of fries in the deep frier
and they pop pop, spit spit  . . .
pssss . . .
The counter girls laugh.
I concentrate.
It is the crucial point —
they are ready for the cheese:
my fingers shake as I tear off slices
toss them on the burgers/fries done/dump/
refill buckets/burgers ready/flip into buns/
beat that melting cheese/wrap burgers in plastic/
into paper bags/fried done/dump/fill thirty bags/
bring them…

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Ally, aka Advisor, Resigns by Stephen Page

glass

Ally, aka Advisor, Resigns
by Stephen Page
.
You have exchanged the blue coat we gave you
For a red one; or is it just reversible?
.
Don’t snarl at me, you are not a lion,
You have the eyes of a glass serpent.
.
You taught me how to be a Godfather,
Not a father, or a leader.
.
You taught me how to destroy land,
Not build a ranch, or a reputation.
.
You think only in percentages,
Yours of course, not ours.
.
It’s no wonder you stink of cancer,
You are rotting from the inside out.
.
Don’t project yourself into me,
I am not your lost pocket mirror.
.
You shaped yourself through self-debasement,
But I will not lose my edification.
.
You will never spark cognitive dissonance,
For consensus on your chagrin.
.
You weighed the cows wrong, admit it,
Your florid three names will not save you now.
.
Trenchant are the ineligible, who wish
For nothing more than what they work for.
.
Your resignation was up for reprisal,
But only half-heartedly.
.
In the end you have saved me,
You have engendered my independence.
.
You are like a senator who asks a general
To win a war, then banishes him.
.
Empirically I have judged you
From the throne of my office.
.
Stop whispering in my ear,
I will not listen anymore.
.
I would like to name you Rasputin,
Except, you did not succeed.
.
Stephen Page phot with muse (1)
Stephen Page is the Author of The Timbre of Sand, Still Dandelions, and A Ranch Bordering the Salty River. He holds two AA’s from Palomar College, a BA from Columbia University, and an MFA from Bennington College. He also attended Broward College. He is the recipient of The Jess Cloud Memorial Prize, a Writer-in-Residence from the Montana Artists Refuge, a Full Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, an Imagination Grant from Cleveland State University, and an Arvon Foundation Ltd. Grant. He loves his wife, reading, travel, family, and friends.

https://smpages.wordpress.com

view original post on https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2019/01/14/ally-aka-advisor-resigns-by-stephen-page/

North of Oxford

glass
.
Ally, aka Advisor Resigns
.
You have exchanged the blue coat we gave you
For a red one; or is it just reversible?
.
Don’t snarl at me, you are not a lion,
You have the eyes of a glass serpent.
.
You taught me how to be a Godfather,
Not to be a father, nor a leader.
.
You taught me how to destroy land,
Not build a ranch, or a reputation.
.
You think only in percentages,
Yours of course, not ours.
.
It’s no wonder you stink of cancer,
You are rotting from the inside out.
.
Don’t project yourself into me,
I am not your lost pocket mirror.
.
You shaped yourself through self-debasement,
But I will not lose my edification.
.
You will never spark cognitive dissonance,
For consensus on your chagrin.
.
You weighed the cows wrong, admit it,
Your florid three names…

View original post 187 more words