Welcome to Issue # 26 of Plume.
As one shies from turning on the oven these hot days (so I’m told), I conserve energy now, and spare you as far as possible the little hell that is this Newsletter, to some, no doubt. Consider this installment then a cold salad, a smoothie, a long, tall cocktail, to nibble, to sip.
Still: I feel I must say a few things, starting with this: thank you. For your continued email comments regarding our little adventure (that has grown to a steady 6,000 + “unique IP’s” or individual readers, each month). Much gratitude, too, for the many poets who send in their work via our Submishmash system — and apologies for the wait period: longer, sometimes, than I would wish, and for which I alone am accountable, as I read each and every submission. So — though I am not one, myself, to take this advice easily or be particularly sympathetic to the circumstances which motivate it — please: patience. I will read your work, and send a word or two regardless of its final disposition. We receive, I think, oh, 98% of the time, work that is of very fine quality, which could and should be published somewhere: if not Plume, only because in the end it is a matter of my personal taste, and what “feels” right for us (me). Which almost certainly will not be the case for other editors.
But to the current issue: David Cudar is taking the month off to catch his breath. In his place, we have reading recommendations from Molly Lou Freeman, who lives and works in Paris. Some of the books can be found in translation, some not. Molly Lou was quite generous to take time from her summer to do this, and we are grateful. Expect new poems from her as well, in a future issue. See her list below.
Our cover art this month, “Expired,” comes from Bill Carner, an American-born photographer, recently retired as a long-time photo wrangler from the Photo Archives at the University of Louisville. He’s just back from an extended stay in Paris.
Our recently introduced “Featured Selection” continues to attract new poets: recent signees as it were include D. Nurkse and Bruce Smith. Both projects are splendid — and I think you’ll enjoy Bruce’s self-interview/introduction: a poem in itself. Dennis’s introduction is still in the works. In this issue you’ll find, under the Featured Selection, a collaborative poem — “Poem Cycle,” by Denise Duhameland Maureen Seaton — dizzying and sharp and beautiful. As is my habit, I urge any interested parties with longer work to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org: we’re open to just about any form and subject, as evinced by previous incarnations.
Aside from the above-noted Featured Seduction by Denise and Maureen, this issue consists of new work from Bob Hicok, Carol Frost, David Huddle, Grace Shulman, Kirk Nessit, Lawrence Raab, Linda Pastan, Meighan Sharp, Page Hill Starzinger, Paula Bohince, Peter Jay Shippy, and Ron Slate.
Finally, for new work received, please see our Editor’s Note this issue.
Molly Lou Freeman: Five most beautiful French books on landscape and imagination
In Les eaux étroites, Julien Gracq, perhaps the greatest French prose writer of the last century, reflects upon how a waterway wends also inward, describes the phenomena of thinking, and locates the heart–a short text of sublime awareness and unprecedented beauty (José Corti, 1976, American translation, The Narrow Waters). A love song to a lonely woodland, un balcon en forÃªt by Julien Gracq is some of the most gorgeous writing I’ve ever read (José Corti, 1958, A Balcony in the Forest in American translation). The novel describes a soldier’s strange, dank, war-torn woods of the Ardennes, haunted by a blonde angel of a girl–a pearl of timeless brilliance.
Three more recent books on habitating landscape as an act of art have marked my thinking–Le Jardinier de Versailles, L’esprit roulette and dans les forÃªts de Sibérie. The first, by Alain Baraton is an enchanting series of contemporary essays by the master gardener director of the grounds of the most extravagant palace in the world. It’s a tribute to some of the quieter, secret history of Versailles’ trees and flowers, tableaux of lovers, poets, painters and day dreamers (Grasset, 2006). L’esprit Rouletteby Stéphanie Caumont, with photographs by Frank Fouquet and Camille Moirenc, is a magical picture album celebrating the history, craftsmanship, contemporary allure and timeless passion of French gypsy caravans (Rustica Editions, 2008). With its descriptive texts and ample bibliography, L’esprit roulette inspires reverie of horse-drawn travel and tiny homes. In the essay, dans les forÃªts de Sibérie, the geographer, adventurer, Sylvain Tesson, hides out for a winter in an old warden’s cabin on the shores of Lake Baikal (In The Siberian Forest, Gallimard, Prix Médecis for the essay in 2011). He eats spaghetti, reads books, writes, skis, drinks and dreams. As winter and isolation stare him down, he aspires to happiness in the present tense. For as long as there are cabins deep in the woods, writes Tesson, nothing is completely forsaken. An essay of troubling, moving intelligence.
As always, I do hope you enjoy the issue!