Author Archives: Versification

Cinderella Jump Rope Rhymes

Cinderella Jump Rope RhymesCinderella Jump Rope Rhymes
Multiple authors.
This is a Cabinet des Fées Production.
Published by Papaveria Press, 2012
27 pages.
Reviewed by Alexandra Seidel.

One might call this little book of jump rope rhymes a revival, but that would suggest that these childhood rhymes were — at some point — dead. Looking at the examples in this collection I find that very doubtful. With the originals still very present in the poets’ minds, Cinderella Jump Rope Rhymes presents itself as a string of re-imagined children’s poetry, going through a spectrum of lemon to flame in the process. The poets involved didn’t just bring a rainbow arsenal of crayons to the table however, they also added a pinch of wickedness, something dark, something mean, and something silly; the result is really quite enjoyable. read more »

Fairy Tales for Writers

Fairy Tales for WritersFairy Tales for Writers
by Lawrence Schimel
Published by A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2007
Reviewed by Alexandra Seidel

I absolutely love to see fairy tales of old develop new twists in the hands of new writers, I love to see these familiar stories re-invented and re-imagined so they can shine in a new light. Thus, when I got this title for review, I was very much excited about it. read more »

Stone Telling Issue Six: Catalyst

Stone Telling 6Stone Telling Issue Six: Catalyst
Edited by Rose Lemberg and Shweta Narayan
Reviewed by Erik Amundsen

I am not an editor. When I attempt to understand the editorial mind, either in the service of reviews or in the throes of rejectomancy, I have to speculate. I know editors, I have worked with them, but I have always been on this side of the big desk, as it were. Sometimes when I try to know the editorial mind, I guess right. This time, I did not have to guess. I read the introduction for Stone Telling, Issue 6 last, and it confirmed everything I knew to be true from reading what Rose Lemberg and Shweta Narayan selected.
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The Doors of the Body

The Doors of the BodyThe Doors of the Body
By Mary Alexandra Agner
Published by Mayapple Press, 32 pages
Reviewed by Francesca Forrest

This collection explores the experience of womanhood through twenty-two distinctly voiced poems. There are voices out of classical and more recent literature and history, as well as voices from folk and fairytale tradition. Two poems, “The Doors of the Body” and “The Harvest I Desire,” speak in entirely new voices.
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Stone Telling Issue 5: First Anniversary Issue

Stone Telling 5Stone Telling Issue #5: First Anniversary Issue
Edited by Rose Lemberg and Shweta Narayan
Reviewed by J. C. Runolfson

Since its inception, Stone Telling has been explicitly committed to showcasing diversity in speculative poetry, often by featuring work from underrepresented perspectives and voices traditionally silenced in the ongoing English narrative. It is appropriate, then, that their fifth issue, marking the first anniversary of the publication’s birth, is full of such a wide range of poetic subjects, styles, and passions. That there is passion here cannot be doubted, for the very cover image of this issue speaks of it, in the wild colors illuminating a bard and that bard’s bone-carved instrument, both caught in a moment of intense movement. The stated theme of this issue is “Myths,” and it is clear this bard is truly ready to build a world of words. It’s a promising prospect for what the issue holds.
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Dreams & Nightmares 87

Dreams & Nightmares 87Dreams & Nightmares #87
Edited by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
Reviewed by Erik Amundsen

This is my second of three forays into the speculative poetry magazine Dreams and Nightmares. This outing, I am reviewing issue 87. My last look at D&N turned out a little mixed, and I’m intrigued to see what will be in store for this issue. Not much in the way of preamble, but let’s get into it.
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Private Worlds

Private WorldsPrivate Worlds: A Revised Atlas
By Scott Green
Reviewed by Francesca Forrest

This is an intriguing and ambitious concept for a speculative poetry collection: a series of short-form poems that comment on the oeuvre of a novelist in the field of science fiction, horror, or fantasy. This edition, which expands upon an earlier edition of the collection, also contains poems on other types of work (films, artwork) and additional creators in the field.
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Dreams & Nightmares 86

Dreams & Nightmares 86Dreams & Nightmares #86
Edited by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
Reviewed by Erik Amundsen

Criticism is, as you may have gathered, a little new to me. I have dabbled at it here and there, trying to rehabilitate teenaged poets (myself included) in the Chimera, Bolton High School’s annual literary magazine, offering critiques and getting my dander up about some silly thing here or there in the other half-my-life-and-then-some since, but the resumé is brief and the stages of professional development are still a mystery. One of them I did not anticipate is this sense. It’s not dread, but it is of the same root; a reluctance. I look at my assignments and hope, hope that I do not have to say mean things about them, hope that I don’t have to consider lying and saying a poem is fine when it’s not only not fine, but not really a poem (I promise I never will, but the temptation is always, always there). I am reluctant to trot out that word cliché, which is starting to feel like a cliché in and of itself, coming out my fingers as the serpent swallows its own tail. As someone who takes great joy in occasionally saying mean things on the internet, it turns out that saying mean things is actually the hardest part of criticism.
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“Ragnarok”

Ragnarok by Park Anderson“Ragnarok”
By Paul Park
Tor.com, 17 April 2011
Reviewed by Francesca Forrest

This is a tour-de-force, an epic poem in Anglo-Saxon style, with Icelandic saga subject matter, set in a postapocalyptic future Iceland. It’s brilliant; it’s breathtaking; I wish my old Anglo-Saxon professor were alive to read it. It’s like the Battle of Maldon or Beowulf, but with a Glock Nine gun; it’s like Njal’s Saga, only the throne of the cruel enemy king is made of

Shards of glass,
Upturned cars, chunks of concrete

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Bull Spec Poetry Issues 4-6

Bull Spec Issue 4Bull Spec Poetry Issues 4-6
Edited by Dan Campbell
Reviewed by Erik Amundsen

Last time we took a look at the first three issues of Bull Spec, an SF magazine that has been around since Spring 2010, which left me with the impression that the poetry content was something of an afterthought. Good and poor were mixed together in a bit of a layout salad which diminished the good slightly and made the bad harder to read. Let’s see if the second three issues does anything for the issues raised in the first three.

The short answer is they have, though not as much as I would have liked. The quality of the poems has improved, and the layout does get a little less confusing, though no less crowded.
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