The Color Symphonies
BlazeVOX Books (2014)
Reviewed by F.T. Donereau for Rebecca’s Reads (9/14)
5 stars Universes Colors Running Through Deep Layered Poems
When I first realized Wade Stevenson's book of poetry, “The Color Symphonies” would use the world's colors as a motif running throughout the collection, I wondered how, without straining too hard and breaking the thing, it might be possible to accomplish this feat, manage to find ways to keep it interesting and bring forth ideas in poem after poem, while adhering to such a self imposed restriction. The collection, after all, runs two hundred and eighty-four pages. Imagination and heart are wonderful advantages though. When the creative mind is engaged, and a deep flow, a wide-open vision, is at hand, bright lights can be left on the page, landing from any number of angles.
The triumph of these poems is, indeed, the imagination and heart of Mr. Stevenson. There must be a well-tended core to any poet, if he or she is going to be able to grab hold of a reader's mind and soul and make them feel. Here we have works of art rendered with brushstrokes similar to a great painter. Colors explode forth in almost every piece, splashing the eye and engaging the senses. Luckily, they are not one note wonders, all feeling and no substance. The author builds descriptive layers that, at least seemingly, lay down tangible place settings. The esoteric rides over these works. But also, there exists the concrete. It is a feat not often accomplished, but still yourself a moment and read these lines: “Orange is dying and it roars.” “Just don't stand there like a pig/routing your snout in a slimy/ under-water hardly good enough for the fishes.” “A sudden surge of black,/tornado vortices, a web/of powerful deep lines...” Tremendous. Full. Visceral. A poetry of shimmering worlds, alive at the side of your vision. Yet solid too, the sense of earth and human endeavor coursing in them. The poet that cuts both ways, making you stand up and see.
There is something of the novel to Stevenson's “The Color Symphonies.” You feel at the end, as if you have been told a story. Beauty. Color. The human soul. It is laid alive here. You understand a little more about your everyday walk upon the earth after coming to the end of this cycle of poems. I think you will be intensely aware of your surroundings, the depth of life on earth, after taking in Mr. Steven's Symphonies. Because we're a fallible animal, the gist of such won't last. The great blessing though, is that these poems don't fade upon the touch. You can return to them, as I have, read them over again, ingest them anew. Each time brings a new color to the pallet. More resides between the web of lines on each page than a first reading allows you to know. It is a pleasure when a poem can give you more than one answer, one sensation. Here, Wade Stevenson manages to do it again and again. Open your heart, your eyes, and your ears. Dive in and enjoy.
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Check out The Color Symphonies by Wade Stevenson here
Sophisticated Contemporary: a Chat With Susan Lewis, Editor of New Online Magazine Posit
Celebrating their third issue and working hard on their fourth coming out in November, 2014, Posit is a journal soliciting accomplished pieces that have an immediate and direct impact on the reader. Posit publishes poetry, very short fiction, and visual arts, and takes in submissions through Submittable.
Interview by Martin van Velsen
Posit is a journal very much in between established genres/formats and cutting edge or perhaps thought-provoking. First of all does this characterize the journal accurately and if so how did this come about?
Yes, very much so. We are all about publishing work we can’t NOT publish – work that commands our attention and continues to reward it with layers of implication, innovation, and artistry. It’s worth pointing out, though, that subtlety can also take our breath away. We’re not all about shock value. Posit’s goal is to provide an aesthetically pleasing showcase for carefully curated, highly innovative work that is not circumscribed by affiliation with any particular poetic movement or aesthetic clique.
For any journal featuring pieces that are perhaps a bit hard hitting, thought provoking or perhaps even shocking is always a risk. How has this worked out for the journal so far?
Well, so far we feel rewarded rather than punished for taking those particular risks! We’re thrilled and grateful for the response we’ve gotten to our first three issues – as gauged by reader responses, of course, but also by the number, quality, and style of the submissions we’re getting. As a result, our next two issues (Posit 4 and 5) are already closed, and we’re on the way to filling issue 6!
Read the whole interview here
Preview Susan's forthcoming book, This Visit, here
Interview with Susan Lewis: Is it Poetry, Prose Poem, or Flash?
Book Review: Kristina Marie Darling's Requited
by Georgia Kreiger
In her characteristic style, Kristina Marie Darling blurs the already tenuous lines we draw between literary genres in her book Requited. Composed of a series of thirteen prose poems appended by an epilogue consisting of fragmented images, the book is defined by Darling as a work of fiction and includes the conventional disclaimer regarding coincidental resemblance to actual people and events. A concluding note reveals that lines are borrowed from two primary texts. These authorial remarks prompt us to search for a narrative progression in a book that is simultaneously poetry, prose, and fiction, and that, like an academic essay, includes synthesized material from primary sources.
The effectiveness of Kristina Marie Darling’s book Requited lies in its ability to remind readers that it is human nature to crave to be what we are not. To crave what we don’t have. Darling treats poetry as a truth-telling mechanism. This is a book that is aware of itself, its truths, and how it wants to tell them. The self-referential nature of this text urges the truth to make itself known. It enables the use of poetry as a truth-telling device, and reminds the reader of fundamental truths.
The book is the chronicle of a couple’s relationship, and their eventual parting. We begin the story in a garden, which might be a nod toward to the Garden of Eden, and what it symbolizes for us: a clean slate; new beginnings; fresh starts. Gardens and forests are so richly associated in Western literature with emotional truths, and the unfettered psyche. This trope was a clever one to utilize for the story of a romantic relationship because this draw that humans have toward the new, the fresh, the undiscovered, is what makes new relationships so intoxicating, but it is also what makes the end of relationships so difficult, because in breaking up with someone we acknowledge that a part of our innocence has been irrevocably lost.