Book Review: Time Frames: A Speculative Poetry Anthology edited by Terry A. Garey
Poetry related to the various genres of speculative fiction (SF, fantasy, horror, etc.) is pretty common. You can see samples by ones or twos in many magazines and spec-fic collections. But full hardback anthologies of speculative poetry are rare. So Rune Press in Minnesota brought out one in 1991, and I recently got my hands on a copy.
The slim volume features eleven poets; the only name I recognized immediately was Ruth Berman, who starts the volume and has a couple of nice pieces involving the Oz books. From her “Wizard’s Road”:
Home in Omaha at last
It was hard to believe
In a probable world.
To be honest, most of these poems are the modern free verse stuff I don’t fully understand, and don’t know good from bad. There are a few exceptions with more formal rhyme and scansion, and one attempt at a rare Welsh form called a “toddaid.” It’s not very good, but I appreciate the poet’s effort to stretch. I did like Roger Dutcher’s “The Smart House” about an AI-run domicile that learns from other houses’ mistakes.
The book ends with John Calvin Rezmerski’s “Challengers”, a memorial to the Challenger disaster of 1986. I do not know if the poem moved me of itself, or because of my lingering sorrow over the event.
As is often the case with poetry, those who are trained in its ways may enjoy it much more than I. It is, I understand, quite rare, so you may have trouble tracking down a copy.
Magazine Review: The Blueroad Reader: Stardust and Fate edited by John Gaterud
Yes, this is yet another literary magazine; I picked up a bunch inexpensively at the book fair. This one seems to take its title from Jack Kerouac’s writing; this first issue was published in 2007.
The index is unusual for this kind of magazine. Rather than a linear index, or arranged by subject or type of literature, it’s by author. It also doesn’t distinguish between fiction and non-fiction–while some pieces sound more fictional than others, you will need to make up your own mind.
Insert my usual comments about modern poetry here. The most interesting ones for me are “Postcards to Mike” by Ed McManis, a set of verses describing a school trip to Europe, the small disasters and odd moments of traveling with students.
A couple of the pieces are very much written in 2006, and feel dated now with their jabs at the Bush administration. Deserved jabs, but still. “Letter from Iceland” by Bill Holm and “Letter from London” by Donna R. Casella are both most interesting as time capsules, I think.
Best of the prose pieces from my point of view was “O Mary, Where Art Thou?” by Suzanne Lillian Bunkers. It’s an examination of the various appearances of Mary, mother of Jesus, with an emphasis on the sites that the author has personally visited. One of the qualifications for authenticating a visit by Mary, it turns out, is conformity with Catholic doctrine. If your vision of Mary has her advocating ordination of women, you’re out of luck officially.
Overall, the theme is of road trips and journeys. Many of the pieces are sad or bittersweet; others are nostalgic. I do not know if any further volumes were published by Blueroad Press.
As with other literary magazines I’ve reviewed, it seems decent if this kind of literature is your thing.