Full-flavored, intense, layered with a hundred different shades of sweet sour salt bitter, a thousand spices. This rec post comes on the heels of a long period of illness, exhaustion, and general unwellness, and the vibrant, blade-edged beauty of it just shattered through all that gray. I luxuriated in the feel of all this poetry — sometimes without being able to grasp concretely the shard of story the poet wrote on, but– experience is enough. That taste. Such richness of fruit.
- Proserpina, Going Deeper by Jack Hollis Marr. So much Persephone-themed (Persephonic?) writing is caves, forests; this one is of the sea, salty, full of light, shape-shifting, utterly gorgeous. It drowns, goes deeper. It had me from the first line: “In shallow waters stolen coral fish eggs burst”… Yes, salt. Sweet.
- The devil riding your back by Gabby Reed. Raw and rich with a rhythm that cannot be denied. This piece’s imagery comes up before my eyes as I read, as if in a movie of earthquakes and city streets and shadow. And that finale! Struck me to the core.
- Dark Light by John Serreno (John Reinhart? -not sure, as the names in byline and bio are different! anyway). My poem Ahas, tala appeared in the same issue as this piece, and when I first saw the latter I went, damn, that’s how to write interstitial poetry. Again and again I return to the structure, the way it tells the story, the way it is the story, and find ever more beauty in it and each vivid image of a scene.
- The Monkey Climbs the Tree, as the Turtle Watches by Isabel Yap. I have this wishful kind of dream that I’ll be able to rec all my fellow issue…ees in Stone Telling 11: Reverberations (they are all amazing and yes yes yes I recommend them all) and this, this is what I want to start with. This story from my childhood, one of the first stories I was told, wrapped in graceful language that encloses the entirety of a story in beautiful economy of form. This poem read, to me, clear as glass and sharp as a knife-edge. So sharp, in fact, that you only realize you’ve been cut after the poem ends. (Still, if this were a fruit, it would be bananas, because. Pagong and matsing, okay!)
- Salamander Song by Rose Lemberg and Emily Jiang. I was rooting so hard for Strange Horizons to reach their fund drive goals, motivated in part because I so badly wanted to see this piece! And hear it, as it turned out. Woven in fire, a story, a life, a salamander a song a sun– Just magnificent. These words and the beautifully sung music intertwining with them, make me think of golden glory, and for a moment I see a world radiant with light. If this were a fruit this would be mango, golden heart. How are people so good, how? I don’t know. But give this a read, and a listen.
- Chant for Summer Darkness in Northwest Climes by Neile Graham. This is the kind of poem I adore reading: each line a painting, a work of art created with exquisite, seemingly effortless skill. I don’t think that’s where I go, myself, but every time I see such mastery I feel honored. Breathtakingly gorgeous and alive, sunset to morning. Plums, berries, beautifully ripe stone fruit. I have read it– I don’t know how many times, trying to learn from it as much as I can.
- You Are Here by Bogi Takács. My jaw quite literally dropped when I first read this — and hung open for a good five seconds, I’m sure. This piece pushed past the limits of what I thought poetry was, showed me what poetry can be. What poetry is! This fluid, joyous interplay between words and word-reader, between sight and understanding, and always: memory, place, mirrors, breath, moments elusive and indelible — such an experience. Augh! This is freaking brilliant, read read read!
(I don’t know why my recs are getting longer! Maybe because I am drinking tea and feeling better, from earlier. The length of my squee is not proportional to its intensity or sincerity, okay, just proportional to my wellness at the moment. Anyway, let us have more!)
In closing– so much awesome stuff, what the actual eff. And there is still so much more I want to mention. But yes– Read! Immerse yourself! Enjoy!