Readers: Welcome to Plume Issue # 53 –
December: Yes, and of course: Paris. Where when I first stepped foot there many years ago, felt…home. A sensation that has never left me: I was born in the wrong place. And now: Unthinkable cruelty. One watches television in utter disbelief, and yet: not. The familiar horror, the facile explanations, the received narrative. Streets and neighborhoods many of us have walked at one time or another. Hard to imagine this won’t give succor to the likes of Mademoiselle Le Pen, not to mention certain politicians here in the US. Emails back and forth to friends convince me they are well — as well as can be expected. But I have no illusions that when we return to Paris for a Plume reading in May, it will not be the same city it was just these short months ago then, if ever – certainly not for the families. In any case, I think, perhaps it will be good to turn to the personal perspective of Pierre Joris, in his essay in Nomadics, and Margo Berdeshevsky, Plume contributors who has lived in the city for years. Margo’s column Letter From Paris appears in Poetry International.
And from this, where? Perhaps a nudge 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 Kate Falvey offers her thoughts on a poem from Gerard Manly Hopkins.
Also: many thanks to Spalding University’s lo-res M.F.A. Program and especially Kathleen Driskell and Sena Jeter Naslund for inviting me to speak to their students this week – on the subject “Why Write? Poetry and the Writing Life.” A harrowing experience as public speaking always is for me, but made considerably less so by the general good cheer of all and the astute and lively audience there.
What else this month?
The print Plume Anthology of Poetry V 4 now is perhaps nearly – but not quite –filled. I continue to be astonished by the quality of the work and the, oh, let’s say it, renown of the poets (along with some truly remarkable poets lesser known). And the new design team has done beautiful work: a new cover, fonts, layout. Due to be released at AWP in March. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Mrc Vincenz at
I should thank, as well, those of you who have taken up the print anthology as a text in your creative writing classes. This gives me great pleasure, needless to say. I hear that it has been well-received – and, remember, the new anthology, like those before it, will be offered at a bulk discount rate for those likewise considering taking Plume into their classrooms.
Our Featured Selection this month comes from Christopher Buckley, preceded by an illuminating – and fun! — interview with our Associate Editor for Special Projects, Nancy Mitchell. It’s…well: read. Astonishing.
Last, an echo of last month’s trumpet-flourish: the announcement that Plume has been very fortunate indeed to acquire the services of a new Reviews Editor – Adam Tavel. Adam was featured in our last issue, and you can read his biographical note on our Staff page. His reviews will make their first appearance 1 January 2016. (I’ve seen the first section and – well, I think you, too, as I was, will be delighted by both the books selected and the analysis: fascinating, unexpected, elegant in conception and writing that appeals to both the academic and the “general” reader – in both instances, whoever those might be. Again, I cannot help but believe this will be an invaluable addition to Plume – something we have long considered, and now coming to life. For the particulars of our venture, here again 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 email@example.com, 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
Our cover art this month comes from Nicolas V. Sanchez. Mr Sanchez received his BFA from Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, MI and his MFA from the New York Academy of Art. While at the Academy, Sanchez was awarded the 2014 New York Academy of Art Post-Graduate Fellowship. He has been selected for artist residencies in China, Dominican Republic, and Venice and has been featured in VOGUE Italia, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, Drawing Magazine, and Fine Art Connoisseur. Sanchez has been in solo and group exhibitions in New York, China, and Italy including an exhibition in Venice during the 2015 Venice Biennale. Sanchez currently lives and works in New York City. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for available work.
Of his work, the artist notes:
In my work, I explore ideas of inheritance, and how identity is simultaneously lost and gained through preserving a legacy. Extracting from my bi-cultural experiences growing up, my family’s rural Mexican history and the American Midwest are used in layered narratives that are expressed through both imagery and process. This activates a personal sense of uncertainty yet a familiarity of space in my work. By extracting from memories that seem to be slipping through my fingers, an illusion is created for myself and then for the viewer. Linking different worlds by means of family photos, rural animals, and varied materials, a new identity is simultaneously created and lost through the preservation of traditions, myths, and legacies of past generations. The choices to protect or disregard pieces of my family’s history are on a continuous loop while I am constantly finding a balance between past and present. Like an archeological dig, the suggestion that memory can be unreliable charges my work as well.
Inspiration for my work comes from many directions. While identity is a major focus in my work, a connection to nature strongly influences my work as well. As a child I went outside and ventured into the woods beyond our backyard collecting bugs and teaching myself about nature. I always had an affinity for animals. I recall those times in my work when finding links and overlaps to my family’s history.
New Work Received this month will not appear as usual in this space as so much work has poured in in response to the print anthology, there simply is not space to identify all of the poets – suffice to say I am very grateful to all for sending work, and that it has been a dizzying delight to read these poems – wildly diverse in approach and style – these past weeks. Onward, to the anthology!
As always, I hope you enjoy the issue!