3rd Wednesday’s Poem of the Week is a preview of our summer issue due out in a few days. It comes to us from Ellie Anderson of Bellevue, Washington, a hotbed of contemporary poetry.
Coming in June:
The Wild Severance delivers on its title. Pelicans, crows, gulls, fireflies, robins, cardinals, bluejays fly from its pages messaging time, illuminating our lives “in the falling darkness.” But it’s not only the natural world this poet loves: he writes of literary and mythological figures, elevating them to existence with language. There are people to remember, too: where a second child fits; how coffee brings a mother and father back from memory; present-day family encounters, “while I watch from my chair I see five generations.” This is a book rich with what is true and what lasts; V.P. Loggins makes us believe that there’s sanctity enough in this cold world to make poetry that honors the glorious.
— Grace Cavalieri, Maryland Poet Laurate
With his newest collection of poems, The Wild Severance, V.P. Loggins startles us like crows taking flight after a gunshot. This book wraps around the human heart in all of its moods, reflecting the melancholy of late in the day, when “The sky beyond is changing violet,” the unease of “night / when the moon is burning,” and the hope that comes when “light / outside the window hardens / the black morning into blue.” The poetry here is astonishing. Light spreads throughout these poems like sunrise through opened curtains. They are written with the meticulous and patient gaze of a birdwatcher.
— Stephen Roger Powers, Author of All Seats Fifty Cents
V. P. Loggins is the author of The Green Cup (2017), winner of the Cider Press Review Editors’ Prize, The Fourth Paradise (Main Street Rag, 2010) and Heaven Changes (Pudding House Chapbook Series, 2007). He has published one book of criticism on Shakespeare, The Life of Our Design, and is co-author of another, Shakespeare’s Deliberate Art. His poems and articles have appeared in The Baltimore Review, Crannog (Ireland), The Dalhousie Review, First Things, The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, The Healing Muse, Poet Lore, Poetry East, Poetry Ireland Review and The Southern Review, among others. He has been a finalist for the T. S. Eliot Prize, the May Swenson Award, and the Tampa Review Prize. His work has been featured in A Universe of Dreams, poetry and music performed nationally by Neal Conan of National Public Radio and Ensemble Galilei. V. P. Loggins holds a Ph.D. in English Renaissance literature from Purdue University and has taught most recently at the United States Naval Academy.
Title: The Wild Severance – Genre: Poetry – $16 – Author: V. P. Loggins
Publication Date: April 20, 2021 – Publisher: Bright Hill Press – Product Number: 9781892471949
ISBN: 978-1-892471-94-9 – Binding: Paperback – Pages: 92 – Weight: 10 ounces
Third Wednesday contributor Buff Whitman-Bradley’s new book, At the Driveway Guitar Sale: Poems on Aging, Memory, Mortality, is available from Main Street Rag Publishing Company. A few of the poems in the book were originally published in Third Wednesday. He podcasts at thirdactpoems.podbean.com
At the Driveway Guitar Sale can be puchased from Main Street Rag.
I’ve read this author in many publications over the years, and listened to his own gently cadenced readings on his podcast, and I love his poetry. Wit, imagination, a perfect ear, and an effortless touch (not to mention knee-slapping punchlines) mark all of Whitman-Bradley’s work, and the poems in this book are no different. The poet is forgivingly and unforgivingly self-aware, somehow finding all the poetry in life’s least poetic moments. ~Roger Stoll, essayist and poet
For all of us, even though we may continue to climb stairs and eat our vegetables, the ever-expanding past continues to nip at our heels. Buff Whitman-Bradley reminds us in these poems that we are not alone, that we participate in a common project with its pitfalls and distractions. He calls attention to the gifts and graces that accompany a seasoned perspective, and that there is a special liveliness and wise humor that comes with age that is both balm and elixir. ~Gary Crounse
With his signature grace and economy, Buff Whitman-Bradley tackles the unimaginable; the body’s elemental breakdown and the proverbial leap into the unknown which awaits us all. Never settling for abstraction or platitude, these poems are as rugged and beautiful as the California landscapes humming in the background. And though he may have given up on his plan ‘to be an ancient Chinese poet’, something of their wild humor and gem-like clarity shines on every page. ~Seth Jani, Publisher and Editor of Seven CirclePress, Author of Night Fable
A Zen master of my acquaintance
Once said that when he died
He wished to leave no trace.
All the backpackers I know
Say the same
About their sojourns in the wild.
No messes, no unfinished business.
It’s a good idea to tidy up
Before all of our little departures
And our impending Big One –
Douse the coals, strew the ashes,
Bag any food scraps,
Bits of paper, foil and cardboard,
Erase all footprints,
Be forthright, apologize, forgive –
So that what remains of us in memory
Is not a squalid little campsite
Full of trash and debris
And tangled disputes
That will cause great consternation
To those left behind,
But is instead
An expanse of mountain grasses
Beside a high cold tarn
Where ones who loved us
Might like to pass a little time,
Pitch a tent,
Build a fire.
3rd Wednesday’s poem of the week is a fun list poem with an engaging title. It’s by Maryland poet, Kurt Olsson, and comes from our spring issue, which is available free online.
Sparrows and Dust, Poems by Zilka Joseph – The Ridgeway Press
Is this the bird way? Where is home? What is the fate of wanderers? Have we all been “elsewhere”? Will truths be revealed to us in the end? In this finely tuned chapbook, the poet uses free verse and form to sing her stories, her history, her geography, her experience as an immigrant who finds rest after loss and upheaval with imagination and passion. With deft use of imagery, language and the senses, she travels and shape-shifts. She weaves in science, mysticism, imagination and myth. We fly from India to Michigan and back, from this world to other in-between states where memory, death, loss, the present, the search for home and the self all sing through several voices, and become a miniature symphony. As Attar tells us through his bird characters in his allegorical rendering of Sufism— “the way is long” so we must persevere to find the truth. We are but “water mixed with dust”. The bird-soul can only rest briefly, then it must move on.
Zilka Joseph is an educator, editor and a widely published poet. Her chapbooks, Lands I Live In and What Dread, were nominated for a PEN America and a Pushcart award respectively. Her book Sharp Blue Search of Flame (WSUP) and was a finalist for the Foreword INDIES Book Award. http://www.zilkajoseph.com
The poems in Zilka Joseph’s Sparrows and Dust are separate skies—each a wrought song woven with a world of birds: mynah, grackle, swan, sparrow, hoopoe, heron, kingfisher, and dozens of others. From Mumbai and Kolkata in her native India to the yard outside her house in Michigan, this bird-crossed world is made smaller and more beautiful, as Joseph watches the skies and the breadth of her blue heart for the migration of the spirits of her parents and other ancestors. “Leave me a feather to dream on, a map to follow…” one poem sings. As I read and listened to these soaring, gorgeous poems, I felt the dust shake loose; I found myself more open, more buoyant, and more alive.”
—Robert Fanning, author of Severance, Our Sudden Museum, American Prophet and The Seed Thieves
Song and flight, which all poets aspire to achieve, are evident here, there, and everywhere, in this collection of Zilka Joseph’s poems. Her language sings. Between bird-beat and heart-beat, it’s an instrument exquisitely attuned to her love of depths and flitting surfaces. In poem after poem, we return with Zilka to who we are—a gift, a mystery, a wound seeking salve, light-bearers, dipping and swerving through passages of open air, sky and soul, in and out of memory and loss, anxiety and joy, arrival and parting, to settle and nest in the now.
—Ralph Nazareth is the author of Ferrying Secrets; Between Us the Long Road; & Dropping Death. He is the Managing Editor of Yuganta Press and the President of GraceWorks, Inc., an international nonprofit.
When I look up from these poems, I agree with Zilka Joseph that “I have been somewhere else,” perhaps in the mind of a bird. In these remarkable pieces, she explores the dust baths of sparrows–indeed, the behavior of many “life-birds”– as symbols for existence and wonder. Her words wing through family ancestry, migration, and the journey to a place called Michigan where the metaphors shift—hawks overhead, loss and death, but the dust still may, and finally does, shimmer. These are poems of memory and insight the color of saris and feathers, of meaning that rises from origins and resilience and high-flying beauty.
—Anne-Marie Oomen is author of Uncoded Woman, a tale in poems, and Love, Sex and 4-H, winner of the Next Generation Award for Memoir, among others. She teaches at Solstice MFA at Pine Manor College.
Zilka Josheph Poems published in Third Wednesday:
The Geese Who Came to Nest—Winter 2021
Once Upon a Snow Bunting
Purchase Sparrows and Dust from Small Press Distribution.
3rd Wednesday’s annual George Dila Flash Fiction Contest is open for entries:
From the sping issue of 3rd Wednesday, this poem was an honorable mention in our annual poetry contest.
Infinity Standing Up by Drew Pisarra
A DELIGHTFUL COLLECTION OF LOVE SONNETS
“A stunning collection of unique and eclectic observations of modern love which I’m sure Shakespeare himself would be pleased to see is ‘holding a mirror up to life.’ If Wes Anderson and Miranda July had a Queer love-child, they’d write like this.”
– Anna Girvan, Creative Fellow with the Royal Shakespeare Company
“Rhyming and skipping his way through jaggedly sexualized and playful, formal sonnets with serendipity and style (“Devour me! Think me not some crazy nut.”), Drew Pisarra has written a rousing and unusual collection of poems that respond with see-saw emotion to a lover who comes and goes, with difficulty and love. Puns abound; titles tease. These sonnets will knock you out, and you’ll return to them again.”
– Diane Mehta, How to Write Poetry (2005)
“These poems navigate the rapids of desire in a form that was made for twists and turns of feeling, from the derangement of lust to rueful self-reflection. Drew Pisarra honors the Shakespearean sonnet’s tradition of wit and economy, while simultaneously delivering the pleasurable shock of 21st-century idiom.”
– Joan Larkin, Cold River (Lambda Literary Award)
About Drew Pisarra: The author once toured his monologues around the country and even had a ventriloquist act but has since retired from the world of dummies. His short story collection Publick Spanking was published by Future Tense some time ago. More recently as part of the installation art duo Saint Flashlight (with Molly Gross), he’s been finding inventive ways to get poetry into public spaces.
About Capturing Fire Press: This independent publishing house was founded by Regie Cabico and seeks to promote politically charged performance and experimental poetry of the highest quality by diverse queer poets from around the globe.