...In-between sets from poet Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow

October 31, 2018

Poem Acceptances Are the Best Candy


McCall's vintage pattern for a "Poet Shirt" costume
What's better than chocolate and candies? I used to think nothing, but things do change...this morning I received not one but two poem acceptances, one from an outstanding annual anthology, and the second from a well-read and much-respected literary journal, so I'm good if I go put on an old white nightgown, wrap a black leather belt around it and swashbuckle my way into throwing something in the skillet tonight for dinner. Eye patch, I need an eye patch. I can't help it; it looks more like a "pirate" than a "poet" shirt to me.

Bring two eye patches, please. Keep one for yourself.

October 23, 2018

October 2018 Poetry Book Exemplars, you say? 'Bout time you asked!

Ms. Grace Cavalieri

This is the lovely and gracious Poetry Book Reviewer, Grace Cavalieri. She has a monthly column with the above-bannered magazine called Poetry Book Exemplars, further indicated by pertinent year and month. This month's is called 2018 October Poetry Book Exemplars, and I have the amazing great fortune to have had my new collection, Horn Section All Day Every Dayselected as one of October 2018's outstanding books for review. It's a thing like delicious freezing ice cream mouth shock when I think of the magnificent company my book keeps among its fellow exemplars. Listen, and I don't go around prefacing sentences with single words like "Listen" or "Look" at all, ever, but this time, this time, let me tell you....
It's funny, because in Ms. Cavalieri's review you can see down below--I reprint the whole thing for you, that is the size of my overwhelmed state--she has a sentence that is more than precious. She says, "This girl's got game...." Girl. I love that. There's something about me that people sense doesn't get old. I can't deny it. It's not a deniable thing. I wear the lingerie. I dance the dance. Heck, I'm the one pulled over getting the speed ticket. And tomorrow's my birthday. I can't help it, it's my favorite day of the year. It's a very special day to me! Yours should be to you! Sixth decade and counting. Harry Winston, you can keep that flawless 15c. Burmese ruby. This is a birthday gift priceless to me. I'm overthrilled about this review because something like this has never come my way during my poetry career--my plus-forty-year poetry career.
So I'll sing a little while, and then I'll get back down to lacing up these word-boot Redwings, and climb on up those word-trees, have me some more looksee around.
Thank you for all time, Miss Grace. They named you exceedingly well.

Horn Section All Day Every Day by Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow. Salmon Poetry. 80 pages.

“Super Dan,” a hero from outer space, comes to Edlow’s consciousness to observe our humanity. These thought shards are in the form of “Super Dan Comics Question Box Series,” and they number 88 poems. Super Dan poems are interspersed with others: riffs on music, animals, brothers, baton twirling, policemen, drummers, and even a love poem to bison. What I’m telling you is this is encyclopedic high holiday where Edlow romps with language, risks everything, uses dialogue as if she invented idiom, and writes with high-octane energy.

Edlow houses her imagination in couplets, haiku, narratives and all respectable versification, but the end result is the same. The words burst at the seams with insistence to be original and incorrigible and seem to say if poetry isn’t fun, who needs it. This poet is in her own lane, and manages structural success with unconventional methods. It’s intense reading because Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow believes velocity is trajectory. The girl’s got game. She brings it, and her verbal connections are skill, not coincidence.

 Baton Twirler With Horns

Only the trumpeters and Sharon
drink the peppermint schnapps

under the bleachers.
Good thing half-time is over.

Two-inch white-heeled go-go boots
on a spongy grass field don’t jive

with a flying metal rod
above the head. Keeping the free hand

L-shaped, and pretty all the time,
the non-stop smile even as her head is

thrown back to gauge
shimmering rotation against the overcast

sky. Blue skies disorient the game out of her.
Through a soft chilly schnapps fog

her mind revives the crown of her routine—
the forward bending at the cinched, spangled waist,

her mom rising out of her seat. Dad, silent.
She catches the descending baton

with her right shoulder blade. The wand jumps high, still
in revolution and on the arsis

she grabs it from the air like an oriole. Then kicks on.
Which is when the tassels finally get their due.

[end of review]