Readers: Welcome to Plume Issue # 54 –
January: And why not bid farewell to the holidays, happy as they have been – stuffed with gifts (a box of rapidly staling pfeffernusse, anyone?) — or unhappy as the case may be (see: already-effervescing rehearsals of familial lore, for which read childhood slights and long-simmering animosities brought to the boil) — with a little quiz? A diversion, with a literary bent. You know, the “fun facts” type: “In this month the following occurred” — but oh what the hell let’s dispense with the month or, no, just pretend the following occurred in January – and all did — except one. Which is it?
- The Beatles approach Stanley Kubrick about making an adaptation of his novel The Lord of The Rings, starring John Lennon as Gollum, Paul McCartney as Frodo, George Harrison as Gandalf, and Ringo Starr as Sam.
- A 1852 edition of John Milton’s Poetical Works is released, bound in the skin of a murderer, George Cudmore.
- Robert Burns becomes the first ever person to be featured on a commemorative bottle of Coca Cola.
- Marianne Moore is asked by the Ford Motor Company to come up with names for new cars. One of her suggestions is ‘Mongoose Civique’.
- Upon the rapid-fire publication of Stanyon Street and Other Sorrows, Listen to the Warm, and Lonesome Cities among other best-sellers over a career spanning half a century, Rod McKuen is officially recognized as the best-selling poet in American history.
(Answer at bottom of this page, though I rue the fact I couldn’t figure out how to print it upside-down.)
And so, whence from these heights?
Why, to announce the much-anticipated arrival of our first Plume Book Reviews, by the estimable Adam Tavel. This month he considers “race, history, and memory” in Daneen Wardrop’s Cyclorama and Reginald Dwayne Betts Bastards of the Reagan Era. Look for Adam’s work at the bottom of our homepage, side-by-side with the Featured Selection. These reviews will appear bi-monthly; in the alternate months shorter notes will take up residence in that space. Again, I cannot tell you how much this pleases me: Plume – the poetry world in general – has long been in need of such reviews, and we are fortunate indeed to have acquired Adam’s services. Already, books are piling up in the rented P.O. Box. For the particulars of our venture, here once more are a few words from Adam:
We are excited to broaden the mission of Plume to include reviews, criticism, and book notes by members of our staff. While we will not consider unsolicited submissions in these areas, we invite presses and authors to submit complimentary copies of poetry collections, chapbooks, verse translations, and studies on poetics—published within the past twelve months—for possible review. Diversity and inclusiveness are among our core values, so we are particularly interested in receiving titles from small presses, first-time authors, and poets from underrepresented backgrounds. Books will not be returned and receipt of materials in no way indicates an intent or obligation to review. Works that fail to pique our interest will be donated to local schools and charities. Please direct queries to Adam Tavel, Reviews Editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and direct review copies to the postal address below. Magazine submissions and extraneous correspondence sent to either address will be deleted unread.
Adam Tavel, Reviews Editor
P.O. Box 80
Quantico, MD 21856
Speaking of the placement of the reviews on our homepage next to the Featured Selection: Our feature this month, “The Chinese Menu Poems” is a stunner. It comes from Dick Allen, and is introduced in a short essay by the author.
Shall I remind you, as well, to subscribe to our Newsletter, for there, every month, aside from bits of business and upcoming Plume-related events, you will find a marvelous feature: a poet selects and introduces his or her “favorite” poem (or simply one that is held dear to the heart for one reason or another). These have found an enthusiastic audience over the last year or so, and this month’s issue I am sure will be no exception, as Plume contributor Frannie Lindsay had kindly taken up me up on my offer to say a few words about one of her – and my – favorite poems, Mark Strand’s Elegy for My Father.
What else this month?
An update: The print Plume Anthology of Poetry V 4 now is this close to being quite — filled. Work remains on the Preface, the Introduction (my dubious contribution), and lining up the Featured Poet. It is due to be released at AWP in March. Once again, a reading in support of the anthology should be getting revved up soon: those who might feel moved to join a group of Plume readers – we usually have five or six, so a ten minute gig that has worked out remarkably well (not to mention the interesting after-reading drink/gabfests) – please do contact me at email@example.com or Marc Vincenz at firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, Plume makes – god, I cannot believe I am saying this – a fine Christmas gift. Also, as some are discovering, a useful text for Creative Writing classes. Again contact the above if interested – a considerable discount is offered for bulk or student purchases. There, I’ve done it and now must retire.
Penultimately, we are in the process of putting together readings in support of the anthology. Terese Svoboda will be coming to Studio@620 in St. Petersburg in March, and we have tentative dates in Cambridge and New Orleans. Anyone who finds this of the slightest interest, please email me at email@example.com
Last but most decidedly not least our cover art this month comes Steve Page. Mr. Page attended Youngstown State University where he received a B.F.A. And later attended Hunter College where he received his M.F.A in painting while being awarded the Provost Graduate Award. He has attended the Yaddo Colony, School of Visual Arts Summer Residency and the Yale University Summer Program. He was a visiting artist to Skidmore University and received the Russel Madick award for experimental work. He has also received the Jon M. Naberezny drawing award, the Christopher Stanazak Honors award, and the Clyde Singer Prodigy Award. His work has been exhibited in shows across the country, including the 2008 Biennial Southwest Exhibition at The Albuquerque Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico, also included in Reconfigured at the Basement Gallery in Knoxville, TN. and Papers in the Wind, curated by David Gibson at the RealForm Projet Space in Williamsburg, NY.
Yes – and this — as was the case last issue, New Work Received this month will not appear as usual in this space given the number of poets who have sent work for the print anthology and our online iteration – a great kindness for which I remain grateful. And by which astonished.
As always, I hope you enjoy the issue!
Answer: No, it’s not Kahlil Gibran (my thought), either, or Frost, or Whitman, but Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi. Not considering the Bible, Shakespeare, or Lao Tzu.