Newsletter #125 January 2022

Newsletter #125 January 2022
March 23, 2022 Christina Mullin

Diane Arbus (1923-71)
Xmas tree in a living room in Levittown, L.I. 1963

January, 2022

Welcome to Plume Issue #12

January, and to all our readers: Happy Holidays! — although as you might infer from our cover art his issue, a salutation I cannot offer whole-heartedly, for all the usual reasons, private and public.  But, what to do? Aside from giving Joseph Campana a well-earned break from his regular essay-writing duties for this space, not much, I thought. Yet then I was reminded of last year’s newsletter. … and, a few days later, after buttonholing some Plume staff members – thank you! — Bob’s your uncle. See below, their (and my) recollections of some books that enjoyed a prolonged stay on their nightstands in 2021. Joe will return next month.

Sally Bliumis-Dunn, Associate Editor-at-Large

Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout, Random House, 2021
A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders, Random House, 202
Dickinson by Helen Vendler Harvard University Press, 2010
Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose, Harper Collins, 2006
The Witness of Poetry by Czeslaw Milosz, Harvard University Press, 1983

Amanda Newell, Associate Editor, Special Features and Social Media

Heard-Hoard by Atsuro Riley
Our Cancers by Dan O’Brien
Come-Hither Honeycomb by Erin Belieu
Her Read: A Graphic Poem by Jennifer Sperry Steinorth
Yellow Rain by Mai Der Vang

Chard deNiord Editor, Essays & Comment

Field Music by Aalexandria Hall, Harper Collins, 2021
Snakes and Babies by Jules Gibbe, University of Syracuse, 2021
Constellation Route by Matthew Olzmann, Alice James Books, 2022
Blue Collar Sun by Lucas Ferrell, Green Writers Press,2021
In The Lateness Of The World by Carolyn Forché , Penguin-High Bridge, 2021

Nancy Mitchell. Associate Editor, Special Features 

All of It Singing: New and Selected Poems by Linda Gregg

As my copy is on back order, from its Table of Contents I cobbled together a selection from my own collection of Gregg’s books, Too Bright to See, Alma, The Sacraments of Desire, Chosen by the Lion, Things and Flesh, In the Middle Distance. As always, I was fortified and inspired by the unequivocal voice, the stark, singular images of the intractable, inconsolable heart against the backdrop of a staggeringly beautiful and indifferent universe.

Driven by John Skoyles
In this beautifully written, evocative and bittersweet travelogue of his last 24 commute from Cape Cod to Boston where he taught, his two dead parents and the lost love of his life as passengers, Skoyles muses on the memories triggered by familiar landscapes. I was put in mind of Tomas Tranströmer’s sister ship/life:  “Every life has a sister ship, one that follows quite another route than the one we ended up taking.
Cemetery Ink by Michaela Moscaliuc’s

In Mocaluic’s brilliant third book, these tactile, palpably sensual poems speak to “the animal within our animal,” and with are felt in the ear, on the tongue, as skin against skin, and breathe and smell. Like the speaker in “Wandering womb borrows language from Aretaeus, 2nd century,” these poems are not “averse to fetid smells, /do not flee from them, unless it’s my heart / you’re baking, butterflied with a blunt knife /without bay leaves, wine, or cured olives.” Fecund and dense, these poems return us to “the land of our making.”

I Will Pass Even to Acheron by Amanda Newell
In this Rattle Chapbook Prize winner, Newell’s potent poems bear witness to a former student’s will to survive the physical and psychic trauma of war, as they question the speaker’s own complicity in the broader cultural narrative that perpetuates war and war-making. Powerful.

Amy Beeder, Editor-at-Large

The Wild Fox of Yemen by Threa Almontaser
What It’s Like to Be a Bird by David Allen Sibley, Knopf
Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by  Rivka Galchen, Macmillan
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. Vincent Mantel, HarperCollins
The Sympathizer by Viet Thang Nguyen, Grove Atlantic

Daniel Lawless, Editor

Tous les hommes n’habitent pas le monde de la même façon by Jean-Paul Dubois [S.I.] POINTS
Within the Context of No Context by George W.S. Trow  Grove Atlantic
Stupeur Et Tremblements by Amélie Nothomb  Éditions Albin Michel
No Longer Poetry: New Romanian Poetry, ed David Morley, Adrian Urmanov, et al  Heaven Tree Press
A Critical History of Schizophrenia by Kiernan McNally, Palgrave Macmillan UK

Anything else? Ah —  Plume Poetry 10. Solicitations have been sent, acceptances recorded, and many contributions already received – including, for example (I wish to tempt you), Shamar Hill, Linda Bierds, Gregory Orr, Ramon Garcia, Major Jackson, Robert Pinsky, Juan Felipe Herrera, Lidija Dimskova, Ye Mimi, Toi Derricotte, and Jane Hirshfield – and their chosen poet/partners, whom they will introduce.

That referenced cover art is, of course, Diane Arbus’s “Xmas Tree in a Living Room, Levittown, L. I.” (1962).  For more information on the artist, a good start might be made here or here (with a documentary video). There is a fine essay by Anthony Lane in The New Yorker but it is available only to those with a subscription.

We’ll return, as well, with recent books from Plume contributors next month.

That’s it, for now.

I hope you enjoy the issue!

Daniel Lawless
Editor, Plume