Newsletter Issue #53 December, 2015

Newsletter Issue #53 December, 2015
December 7, 2015 Plume
Nicolas V. Sanchez “Bloodline”
Welcome to Plume, Issue 53
December: Another Thanksgiving passed and the strings of lights balled in some box or other await. Can it be? One thinks of Umberto Boccioni’s, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space at MOMA: Italian Futurism in which 1913 looks remarkably like 2015. Yes, hectic month of portfolios and final grading for some of you, gift-shopping and meal-planning, trips here and there for others — or merely the sensation of movement in one’s thoughts against paled backdrops and blurry good cheer. So, I’ll be brief today, that you might turn your attentions to more interesting things — the “secret“ poem below, for example: from Gerard Manly Hopkins, introduced by Kate Falvey, a recent Plume Contributor:

Spring and Fall

to a young child
Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Hopkins’ “Spring and Fall” — that achingly lyrical cautionary ode to mortality — has been one of my “pocket poems” since the 80’s when I first recited it, as if it were my own, for a poetry class. I studied with Galway Kinnell, who insisted that his students commit a poem a week to memory. I “have” most of those poems within mental reach — rhythmic blanks filled with just a little jostling. My teacher knew what he was about. Make the words a part of you and they’ll well up willy nilly — but mostly when you need them. So I court this image of a dreamy, wandering kid picking up curiosities in her path whose pockets are stuffed with poems. And Hopkins’ words spill out regularly, a constant reminder of the melding of beauty and grief, the gulf between youth and age, and the inevitable numbing of the heart against prolonged exposure to life’s chills.

The depths of this poem are reassuring and tantalizing, the succulent sounds at odds with the metaphysical message of evanescence. Hopkins does this in all his poems — the luscious soundscape thick with sensual life as the numinous “ghosts” around each word. There’s something in the sound itself that blazons life — the worth of it all — the beauty that we grown-ups are wont to disregard, all those irritating fallen leaves raked carelessly away.

Margaret’s lament over the losses in the Goldengrove means she’s been disturbed by change — but also that she’s registered the intense beauty of the leaves. I imagine Shakespeare’s “bare ruined choirs” — the austerity of the “unleaving” branches, the brilliant colors curling and dropping in brittle resignation. The voice of experience knows that all grief has one source, the coming loss of self. As I age, “the things of man” blur with the things of nature and I long for the “fresh thoughts” that signal pure feeling, free from self-consciousness and the compensatory “philosophic mind” Wordsworth offers as anodyne to maturity in his great Immortality Ode.

The poem asserted itself a few years back as I watched my young daughter sob — literally sob — on a transatlantic trip. My heart seized and I reached for her, not knowing what was wrong. “The clouds,” she whispered. “The clouds are so beautiful.”  And I thought: Margaret. And, then, how much we do forget, to our everlasting peril.

–Kate Falvey, November 2015

A good fit for this month, I think, and I thank Kate for resurrecting Hopkins for me — many years and so many poets…

What else?

Yes, this, too: much gratitude  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.

And can I sound the trumpets again, signaling the arrival in January of the first book review from Adam Tavel, who has agreed to become our formal Reviews Editor? The books in question are two, though other than identify their titles and authors —Cyclorama by Daneen Wardrop and Bastards of the Reagan Years by Dwayne Betts, I’ll say no more about them, leaving the pleasure of reading the piece itself with fresh eyes next issue.

For those considering sending new nooks for possible review, perhaps a useful reminder of our policy is in order, from the desk of  Mr. Tavel himself:

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, 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



Poetry by: Christopher Buckley

Interview by: Nancy Mitchell

Again, too, when the January issue is released, and for subsequent bi-monthly reviews, look at the bottom of the homepage, where it and they will find their place alongside the Featured Selection.

Speaking of which — the Featured Selection — we continue to receive fascinating submissions from a wide variety of poets: Christopher Buckley — with an introductory interview conducted by our Associate Editor for Special Projects, Nancy Mitchell  —  this issuewith work from Cynthia Cruz, Richard AllenBrian Swann, and Emmanuel Moses (translated by Marilyn Hacker) recently received.

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 for available work.
The print Plume Anthology of Poetry V 4 is all but completed —though we have yet to settle on a Featured Poet, and both the preface and introduction remain unattended. The release date, once again: March, in LA, at AWP. As noted, Plume will be represented there, and we have scheduled a reading for the book. Anyone interested in reading, please send me an email at

Once more, Plume in conjunction with Bob Devin Jones at Studio@620 organized a monthly series of poetry readings in Saint Petersburg, Florida. The Studio is a wonderful site, near downtown (suddenly hip, if you can believe it), and the readings I have been to there in the past have been well-received. The remarkable Jay Hopler will kick things off in late September.  So a heads up to any area poets, or poets touring in our vicinity, on the lookout for a venue, please keep us in mind, and contact me at to get on the calendar.

That’s it for now.
Happy Holidays! I do hope you enjoy the issue!

Daniel Lawless

Editor, Plume