Interview with Simon Perchik

Library Journal called him the most widely published unknown poet. However, I’ve followed Simon Perchik’s poetry for decades. His newest book, THE ROSENBLUM POEMS (Cholla Needles), is 140 poems written in triplets.

This coffee is still learning, spills
sweetens night after night
the way fireflies flavor their legs


then wait for the rippling hum

that’s not a bat

And, one of my favorites:

You keep the limp, stoop
the way this cane
lets you pretend its wood

can heal

At almost a century old, Perchik’s work certainly deals with aging, but most deeply with perception. Those triplets give me, as a reader, a sense of motion, uncertainty, even possibility.

Miriam’s Well is very happy to have an interview from the poet that answers the blogs usual three questions:

1. What is your personal/aesthetic relationship to the poetic line? That is, how do you understand it, use it, etc.
2. Do you find a relationship between words and writing and the human body? Or between your writing and your body?
3. Is there anything you dislike about being a poet?

Perchik:
1. Enjambment is an important concern for me.The line should have a feel so that it’s not just chopped-up prose with wide margins. Not only the reader’s breath must be considered but surprise and the tension so necessary to the text.
 
2. If there is a relationship I’m not aware of it. I do know that in the process of writing I often find myself agitated and often find my heart beating faster and louder. I just consider that a cost of doing business.
 
3. I’ve never considered myself a poet; just someone who writes poetry. In fact, except for a few close friends I never told people I wrote poetry. I think the title “poet” is something others call you, not something you call yourself by.

Review of TO CLEAVE by Barbara Rockman

Barbara Rockman’s second book, TO CLEAVE, (University of New Mexico Press) takes the ordinary world and makes it extraordinary through observation. There are peaches on a plate, deer breathing, a locket, birds, often the color red…all of these arrange the world and the self. These poems have a quality of slowing down time. It’s as if there is a usual narrative—marriage, family, children—set against a series of timeless moments.

Chamber Music

Twice this summer the thrashers
produced young in the nest
under the porch eaves, and twice
the fledglings fled.

as the cellist melds
with two violins,
i am folded
into space,

opened
by two daughters,
twice departed,
(….)

I’ve followed Rockman’s work for several decades, and this collection feels like a sophisticated blooming of all her themes. “Absence of Wind’ moves into the magical realms of invocation-—“May the blossoms be given one more day to be praised.” These poems are intimate, the kind of quiet that makes you listen long and hard.

A beautiful volume—highly recommended.

Review of Luminosity

Poetry Review

Luminosity by Miriam Sagan
Reviewed by Karla Linn Merrifield

Miriam Sagan’s newest poetry book, Luminosity (Duck Lake Books, 2019, 80 pages), is an eye-opening poetic experience that will leave you wanting more from the poet’s distinctive modern Renaissance mind.  Most of us can remember the dramatic 2017 total solar eclipse, but I suspect none of us rendered the great celestial event into such wise, lyrical poetry as may be found in Luminosity. In “Woman, Sleeping I-20,” Sagan writes, “we are going to drive to Nebraska/ to see the total darkness” and we realize that by contemplating total darkness, we may also comprehend what it is to be bathed in total light, whether from the sun emerging from eclipse, or the moon—a recurring metaphor for light in darkness—or from Ceres and Orion’s belt in the night sky.

From the opening page, every poem brings its luminous reward. In the lead poem, “Book of Darkness,” we are told, “…light must close the cover/ on darkness.” Many are such quiet declarations we can ponder. In “A Funeral in Pawnee,” Sagan invites us to consider “the loneliness of beauty.”  She also asks questions we need to answer for ourselves. Again from “A Funeral in Pawnee,” she asks, “what did I expect/ to be betrayed?/ and what supplies/ did I prepare/ from this betrayal?” Which betrayal? What supplies?! I’m still mulling over the concepts she addresses.

Luminosity delivers many moments of pure delight. One simply must smile when reading in “every poem,” “every poem/ should have some fireflies”.

The book also touches us with bittersweet flashes. In “Dunkin’ Donuts,” we read, 
                                                         Each of us 
                                                         carries a map of the day,
                                                         sometimes creased 
                                                         in sorrow
                                                         or stained
What does your map of this day look like? Where lie the creases and stains?

Prepare to be uplifted and transported in revelatory light–and shadow–from without as well as within “your different selves.”  Miriam Sagan’s Luminosity invites you to contemplate not only the “loneliness/ of beauty,” but also “the architecture/ of suffering,” knowing, however, that “Buddha nature is everywhere” and that truth will always arise from “a fog bank/ of lies.” Luminosity is wildly, boldly illuminating.

Editor’s Note:  Luminosity is available in trade paperback for about $16.00 and as an e-book for about $4.00 from most major booksellers.
http://www.songsoferetz.com/

Irish Poets in Placitas! A Class with John Roche

Poet John Roche in Dublin with James Joyce statue, July 2018

Contemporary Irish Poets 5 week class with John Roche
Where: Jules’ Poetry Playhouse, Placitas, NM
When: September 4 to October 2, 2019
(Five Wednesday nights, 6:30-9:00 pm)
Cost: $125
(Class Limited to Twelve Students, plus one Scholarship)

http://www.julesnyquist.com/catalog/item/1420675/10411206.htm

***Scholarship info: email julesnyquist@gmail.com

A five-week course beginning with the legacies of Seamus Heaney and John Montague, then focusing on living Irish poets like Michael Longley, Paul Muldoon, Eavan Boland, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Medb McGuckian, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Mark Granier, and Paula Meehan. We’ll also consider three Irish poets who visited New Mexico recently, Kevin Higgins, Eamonn Wall, and Annemarie Ní Churreáin. This class will concentrate on reading and discussion. No lectures or tests. But we will try our hand at some poetry writing exercises.

About the instructor: John Roche is Associate Professor Emeritus of English at Rochester Institute of Technology (where he taught creative writing and literature courses, including Irish Literature), and Co-Director of Jules’ Poetry Playhouse. He holds an MA in Anglo-Irish Literature from University College Dublin, as well as a PhD in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Roche is also a poet who has published four books of poems and produced a number of poetry anthologies, including, most recently, the Poets Speak series.