Welcome to Issue # 34 of Plume.
April: National Poetry Month – for which we turn to two April-born masters, the Canadian poet Margaret Avison (23 April 1923), and the equally marvelous and quite different Chilean Nobel Prize winner Gabriela Mistral (Lucilla Godoy Alcayaga – 7 April 1889) ) for our “13th poems”:
The World Still Needs
~ Margaret Avison
Frivolity is out of season.
Yet, in this poetry, let it be admitted
The world still needs piano-tuners
And has fewer, and more of these
Grey fellows prone to liquor
On an unlikely Tuesday, gritty with wind,
When somewhere behind windows,
A housewife stays for him until the
Hour of the uneasy bridge-club cocktails
And the office rush at the groceteria
And the vesper-bell and lit-up buses passing
And the supper trays along the hospital corridor,
Sore throat and dusty curtains.
Not all alone on the deserted boathouse
Or even on the prairie freight
(The engineer leaned out, watchful and blank
And had no Christmas worries
Mainly because it was the eve of April),
Is like the moment
When the piano in the concert-hall
Finds texture absolute, a single solitude
For those hundreds in rows, half out of overcoats,
Their eyes swimming with sleep.
From this communal cramp of understanding
Springs up suburbia, where every man would build
A clapboard in a well of Russian forest
With yard enough for a high clothesline strung
To a small balcony …
A woman whose eyes shine like evening’s star
Takes in the freshblown linen
While sky a lonely wash of pink is still
reflected in brown mud
Where lettuces will grow, another spring.
(from the first volume of Always Now, the collected poems of Margaret Avison. Originally published in ‘Winter Sun’ (Routledge, Kegan Paul, 1960 )
Song of Death
~ Gabriela Mistral
Old Woman Census-taker,
Death the Trickster,
when you’re going along,
don’t you meet my baby.
Sniffing at newborns,
smelling for the milk,
find salt, find cornmeal,
don’t find my milk.
Anti-Mother of the world,
on the beaches and byways,
don’t meet that child.
The name he was baptized,
that flower he grows with,
forget it, Rememberer.
Lose it, Death.
Let wind and salt and sand
drive you crazy, mix you up
so you can’t tell
East from West,
or mother from child,
like fish in the sea.
And on the day, at the hour,
find only me.
(from Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral, translated by Ursala K. Le Guin, University of New Mexico Press, 20003)
Ah: one wishes these poets were read more often.
But: business calls…
As I write, the Plume Readings are underway – two will have taken place, with another on the agenda.
So, with a (trepidatious and uncharacteristic – not to mention wholly imaginary) optimism, I report from the ever-conditional future that the readings in New York and in Cambridge went well – that the weather was fine, the readers on time and in good spirits, the audience transfixed, the books sales impressive. Many thanks to Alex Cigale and his host of readers at Housing Works in New York: Tom Sleigh, Grace Schulman, D. Nurkse, Rachel Hadas, Nicole Cooley, and Sophie Cabot Black; much gratitude as well to Josh Cook at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, who so ably emceed (and read in) the program of Ciaran Berry, Martha Collins, David Rivard, Clare Rosinni, and Daniel Tobin.
A remaining reading, in the unlikely event you are in the neighborhood: the Palladium, in Saint Petersburg, Florida – featuring Tess Gallagher with Lawrence Matsuda, on 21 April, headlining the second annual Plume Poetry Series Readings.
Others yet to be finalized: New Orleans, and perhaps Los Angeles, Asheville, Chicago, and Berlin. Watch this space.
(On the off chance that you, poets, are interested in reading at one of the above sites, or might want to organize a reading in your own neighborhood, please, again, email me at email@example.com – we’ll make every effort to accommodate you, I promise.)
And finally, bear with me if you can while I repeat last Newsletter’s rather obnoxious trumpeting of our work – and how tiring it must be to see my name so often! Yet: for that unexpected eventuality I am grateful, I assure you. And utterly abashed.
Still, I am told books must be sold…so…
The Plume Anthology of Poetry 2013 is out! Should you be so moved, you can purchase a copy at our STORE on the PLUME Website or through our publishers at MadHat and at Amazon and the usual other sites.
What The Poets Are Saying
“Plume continues to publish amazing poets in beautiful formats—both online and in-print. The magazine has an exciting vision, embracing a broad gamut of poetries, including collaborations. The work has a consistently intriguing quality about the joys and unsettling aspects of being alive.”
~ Denise Duhamel
“I’ve never seen a literary magazine become so important so quickly. I have no idea how Daniel Lawless does it, but I dare anyone to find another journal that contains 1) the high quality of the individual poems, 2) the wide range of voices and styles, and 3) the large number of leading voices in contemporary American poetry. I would love to see all these poets in the same room, but I’ll take them here, all in the same book.”
~ Jim Daniels
“Plume’s apparent lack of a narrow editorial policy (except a fondness for interesting poems) makes for lots of strange bedfellows, but when was the last time that was a bad idea?”
~ Billy Collins
“The list of contributors to this second Plume anthology is testimony to editor Danny Lawless’s open secret: He’s highly selective and thrillingly inclusive. His brilliance lies in assembling a community of poets and celebrating the glorious literary freedom of their work. Plume keeps giving us back what we always wanted from poetry—the voice of the human heart speaking to us with passion, intelligence, wit, ferocity,and imaginative aplomb.
~ David Huddle
“Plume is one of the most exciting, eclectic gatherings of writers on the web. Editor Daniel Lawless has a knack for putting together voices that create surprising neighborhoods of words, related in complex ways that only gradually reveal themselves. It’s one of very few webzines that I always read.”
~ Chase Twichell
“Plume is rapidly becoming one of the best places in America to read poetry, on-line and in print, thanks to the untiring efforts of Danny Lawless. It’s where to find dazzling work by new and established writers, and, thanks to the new technology, it is available instantly to readers by the millions. Plume proves once more that poetry is essential to our lives, and that ‘Men die every day for want of what is found in it.’”
~ Grace Schulman
“Plume magazine, and now the second volume of its Plume Anthology of Poetry, is a beautifully edited and stylishly presented cross-section of what is alive and well in contemporary poetry. I always feel honored and a part of a distinguished family when Daniel Lawless selects one of my poems.”
~ Diane Wakoski
“I usually hate to read poems on the computer but Plume has changed my mind. It is attractive, well-edited, and possesses the compelling virtue of being concise—not too many poems, not too few. Since I always end up wanting to print out one or two, I’m grateful for Danny Lawless’s equally exciting, good-looking, and well-chosen, Plume anthologies.”
~ Lawrence Raab
“Plume is a gem—in the rare-and-wondrous-find sense. Each issue is a hand-plucked, precisely curated composition, tended with great care, full of mystery, and delivering batches of the freshest, most provocative, and necessary writing around. Danny Lawless’s vision is exquisite.”
~ Lia Purpura
“Blurbing a book you’re in is like telling people where to find the baby in the King cake. It’s not fair, but if the cake is good, the baby’s lagniappe. The main thing is the cake.”
~ Andrei Codrescu
“Plume is a new force in the poetry world, bringing together, in its online zine and in this anthology, a unique, eclectic and impressive group of poets.”
~ Rae Armantrout
“Of all the things that might claim one’s attention, and they are in the multitudes! Plume is well worth making time for since it isn’t just another magazine. Its difference? Wonderful work, on the edge, room for play and dash, new forms, a great discerning editor in Danny Lawless!”
~ Tess Gallagher
“It’s a fantastic poetry magazine. A selection of work from American and International poets, emerging and established.”
~ Anzhelina Polonskaya
“Like all the poets who appear in the Plume Anthology of Poetry 2013, I’m delighted to be included in this dazzling collection of U.S. and International poetry. The range of poems is stunning in its breadth, depth, and variety; running from Catullus to Jorie Graham, from New Orleans to Taipei. Editor Daniel Lawless has an unerring eye for selecting and publishing complex poetry filled with aesthetic surprises.”
~ Mary Mackey
“Plume, the most exciting online magazine of the decade, has consistently surprised and delighted readers, attracting the best contemporary writers of the day. With every issue I am reminded of the early Muslim tale that Allah’s first invention was the pen, or as the French might say, un stylo a plume. With offerings from acclaimed American writers as diverse as Denise Duhamel, Lydia Davis, Sharon Olds and Billy Collins as well as from International heavy-hitters Yves Bonnefoy, Cees Nooteboom, and Karl Krolow, the second anthology of Plume is nothing short of a must-read.”
~ Nin Andrews
“The first word I remember using to describe Danny Lawless’s online Plume was the word elegant. And now I discover that the word derives from a Latin verb for to select. Plume endeavors to select and showcase—yes, elegantly—the best poems of the twenty-first century. Plume not only encourages, it honors poetry.”
~ Ron Smith
“Though I’ve been known to shy away from on-line publications, I’m an avid reader of Plume, a beautifully designed monthly periodical featuring an international selection of works by some of today’s best poets. Hard to beat that.”
~ William Trowbridge
“Plume (Noun): An anthology or journal of fine writing edited with passion and immaculate attention to detail.
“Plume (Verb): To erupt with energy, enthusiasm and poetic spirit. To dazzle.
“Derivative of Plume: Plumelike (Adjective): As fine as down and as lively as peacock feathers.
“Origins of Plume: American, but with an internationalist bent, some time during the 2000s.”
~ John Kinsella
“Plume magazine is an anomaly of taste: any literary dwelling that can shelter under one roof a family of poets as distantly related as Rae Armantrout, James Richardson, Kim Addonizio, Jorie Graham, Linda Pastan, G.C. Waldrep, Grace Schulman, Carl Phillips, Sharon Olds, Billy Collins, and more, must be both capacious and odd. What in the world unites these writers, one thinks? And then one reads an issue of Plume with the dawning recognition what they have in common is Danny Lawless, the founder and editor of this superb new journal. Lawless has the audacity to choose the poets he loves, and believes are writing good poetry, no matter on what wildly disparate branch of the family tree he finds them. And then he gets these poets to send him poems. Plume establishes its place on the literary scene somewhere above fashion, apart from all questions of Hipster vs. . . . Whatever. The work within its pages has the unpredictable, idiosyncratic strength of things that haunt, and may endure.”
~ Jeffrey Skinner
“Always astonishing and diverse in content, Plume is one of our most elite and essential online journals and a roving museum of contemporary poetry curated by Daniel Lawless. ‘Glancing blow’ after glancing blow, it makes me hungry, ad infinitum, for the strange and beautiful—and the annual anthology is a sumptuous feast of enduring American poetry.”
~ Mark Irwin
“In less than three years, Daniel Lawless has created, in the online journal Plume, an exciting outlet for contemporary poetry, including translations. In this second annual Plume Anthology, he continues his practice of gathering a wide-ranging group of aesthetically diverse poets, almost all of them represented by previously unpublished poems.”
~ Martha Collins
“Like Antaeus and Ironwood, two of the greatest American poetry magazines of the past fifty years, Plume is eclectic in the most purposeful and pleasurable of ways. In a very short amount of time, Danny Lawless has made it a ‘must-read’ like no other. Plume is one of my favorite sources for new poetry—online or in print. Thoughtful, entertaining, capacious, with no use for aesthetic axe-grinding, its highly-enriched oxygen will add energy to your life!”
~ David Rivard
Will you now drive a ten-penny nail into your head if your read the name “Daniel Lawless” one more time? I don’t blame you.
Again this reminder: Nota Bene: Unfortunately, PLUME is not getting through to many of our Facebook followers. There is a reason for this. Facebook has changed the way you receive updates from the Pages you have Liked. If you want to receive daily updates from Plume you will need to simply go to our page, hover your cursor over the word “Liked” up at the top and then click “Get Notifications” once the Get Notifications option pops up.
Our cover art this month is from Chris Maynard once again – his work appeared in PLUME Issue # 21. Chris worked for many years for the New York Times, and as a freelance photographer specializing in editorial photography for clients as diverse as IBM, Massachusetts General Hospital and Old Stone Bank. He exhibited widely, but is perhaps best known for his New York gallery shows. He died in November of 2102.
Next up, after this issue’s piece from Hank Lazer, a Featured Selection from Amit Majmudar. New in the pipeline are Andre du Buchet, translated by Hoyt Rogers and Paul Auster, and Linda Pastan. Others on tap have been mentioned previously, but look for Brian Swann, James Richardson, Chris Kennedy, Linda Pasten, and Nin Andrews soon. (Here, too, again, let me add as always: those with projects that might be suitable for the Featured Selection, please do contact us with your proposal at firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Finally, new work received this month includes pieces from Kazim Ali, Daniel Bourne, Stuart Friebert, Jeffrey Greene, Michael Burkhard, Karl Kirchwey, Gail Mazur, Tadeusz Dziewanowski (translated by Daniel Bourne), Katie Ford, Ron Smith, Andre du Bouchet (translated by Hoyt Rogers and Paul Auster), Dorianne Laux, Chris Shipman, Emmanuel Moses (translated by Marilyn Hacker), William Trowbridge, Stephen Gibson, Joseph Millar, Linda Bierds, Arthur Vogelsang, and Mary Ruefle.
As always, I do hope you enjoy the issue!