Posts Tagged ‘Ingrid Swanberg

15
Jun
13

On Ingrid Swanberg’s Ariadne & Other Poems

A version of this review (and a better edited version) may appear in the future issue of Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose issue 17, due out in fall 2013.//

Ingrid Swanberg – Ariadne & Other PoemsIn today’s poetry that is often self-conscious, ironic, clever, ambivalent about its self while trying to be serious about its self, and/or closed off, it’s a pleasure to find poems, “within their greeting song,” the honest and clear experiences of image and language. In Ingrid Swanberg’s Ariadne & Other Poems (Bottom Dog Press, 2013), there are many images. There are images with substance that satisfy the mind and the belly, images moving between intellect and intuition or existing in between, and complex images that stir emotion and thought.

The poem “the body of Dionysos” is an example of images moving between intellect and intuition.

   nowhere have I
   been so shaded

   than bearing your weight

   hidden from the world

The first line indicates the speaker is lost or homeless or without purpose, but in the next line this gets taken away, as the speaker is some place, and it may be a comfortable place as it has shade. The first two lines also move from a possessive and passive construct of being nowhere to a passive construct with the implication that the speaker is somewhere, but the place is the shade, which has no weight or substance. In line three’s active voice, we receive the “weight” with the implication of substance, but that substance is taken away in the concluding line. The experience is moving from things that don’t exist to things that do exist and in between. Additionally, in the last line the reader also realizes another movement. A movement of meaning.  The word “shaded,” the reader will realize, may also come to mean something like “deceived.” She lives under his (Dionysos’) shadow in both protective and deceptive realms. There’s also the movement between myth and today’s world. I personally like to read these poems with a deliberate ignorance of Greek mythology to ensure the poems speak to me today in my now experience, and they do. But with a knowledge of the myths, more meanings are had, new perspectives of the myths are created, and more movement is created.

In the poem “the river is rising,” the reader can experience this bridging of two worlds and experience the complicated image building I mentioned above, as well. The second stanza provides a good starting place to observe this complication:

   the white orchards
   of your city
   where you dream me
   bloom

What’s blooming here is “the white orchards.” Or that’s what at first seems to be blooming. When I leave that stanza, however, I feel overwhelmed because it feels like there’s more that’s blooming. In fact, the city blooms and the “me” blooms. It’s all blooming, which is why “bloom” is on its own line yoking the previous three lines into it. This complication continues into stanza three, which begins: “inside my heart”. Here, “inside my heart” acts as a pivot. It concludes the previous stanza – white orchards, city, and the speaker bloom inside the speaker’s heart – and it begins the third stanza:

   inside my heart
   rain pours neon calligraphy
   onto the night street

Inside the speaker’s heart, rain pours. Inside the speaker’s heart there is city imagery with neon lights and a street at night.  In fact, this poem keeps building like this. It’s able to build because there are only two instances of punctuation (both commas) after the opening line that ends with a period: “I have looked everywhere.” If this were a conventional poem, there would be more punctuation, but the poem limits the use to two commas to indicate time shifts or shifts in thoughts, like leaps. For instance:

   I have searched everywhere
   the syllables and unyielding ciphers of riverbanks,
   your name pressed into the bitter clay
   inside my heart

Here, the speaker’s searching turns directly inward because, perhaps, of the conscious leap into language: “the syllables and unyielding ciphers.” Here the image mixes abstract and concrete. And in the next stanza, the speaker finds the person with another woman:

   o leave her
   turning in her black dress
   where you lie adrift in her arms
   and you dream my
   blue

Where one might expect hostility or resentment to follow after this discovery, the poem stays in its passionate tone because, as we soon realize, both the speaker and the other person are in the dream world. They were both looking for each other in their dreams, or at least the speaker was searching for the other person. We then realize the period in the opening line was the end-stop to consciousness. The poem turned inward after that, and at the end it blooms outward from the dreaming world into the conscious world:

   we will ride into the city
   of white blossoming trees
   under the night

This poem is also a modern-day re-rendering of Ariadne’s dream involving Theseus and Dionysos.  The reader should keep the Ariadne and Dionysos myths under consideration when they read many of these poems, especially the “Ariadne’s tomb” section, but the poems are written so well that they speak to two worlds: our world, especially those with limited knowledge of the myths; and the mythic world. The poems in this section exist in both those worlds, and I was caught in the middle like waking from a dream I didn’t want to wake from, but I did wake. When I did wake, there were more poems where I did not need the knowledge of myth but where “the door between worlds / swings open.” And that door is swinging between poem and reader and swinging between poet and poet creating the myth of a self. I enjoyed going in and out of all the worlds in Swanberg’s Ariadne & Other Poems, which often felt like contemporized deep image poems.//

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Swanberg, Ingrid. Ariadne & Other Poems. Huron, OH: Bottom Dog Press, 2013.//

30
Apr
12

Abraxas Press

ABRAXAS Crow smallWe at Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose just began a subscription swap with ABRAXAS. For whatever reason the swap didn’t happen at an earlier time because of miscommunications and whatever. And, oh, I wish those miscommunications had never happened because ABRAXAS is devoted to poetry and in a beautiful way.

When I received my package, it blossomed open with these 2″ high x 1.75″ wide poetry books. Some had paper covers, some matte, and some gloss. Inside each was a poem from poets such as Ted Jonas, D. R. Wacker, Julia de Burgos, d. a. levy, Ingrid Swanberg, Jack Spicer, and Vladimir Mayakofsky. The micro books were released by poems-for-all.com, which I first assumed was an imprint of ABRAXAS Press. Poems-for-all has this to say about their tiny, portable poems:

They’re scattered around town – on buses, trains, cabs, in restrooms, bars, left along with the tip; stuffed into a stranger’s back pocket. Whatever. Wherever. Small poems in small booklets half the size of a business card to be taken by the handful and scattered like seeds by those who want to see poetry grow in a barren cultural landscape.

There are 1071 of these little poems floating around the world giving people surprises and tiny bursts of joy. I wonder what the print run for each micro book was, especially when you consider that they must have been put together with a monk’s like meditative attention to detail.

Also included are some well-made, numbered, limited edition broadsides from Costmary Press. Is this another imprint? Anyway, the broadsides vary in size and in paper stock, but they are all consistently well made and, if I’m not mistaken, they are the result of letterpress printing, which means love, care, dedication, and quality.

Then there is the grass/grasshopper green eight-page pamphlet anthology titled Suzuki Grass. When you look at the color of the cover and text pages, you just know there’s going to be this Zen quality about the poems. The saddle stitched pamphlet is about 8.25″ high x 4.25″ wide.  This was released from Black Rabbit Press. Is this another imprint? I’m starting to doubt these are all imprints, but there must be a connection other than the love and beautiful presentation of poetry.

And they also included a few back copies of ABRAXAS.

ABRAXAS Crow

ABRAXAS publishes contemporary poetry, with a special emphasis on the lyric mode. We also publish poetry in translation, as well as essays, criticism and reviews of small press poetry books.

Abraxas was the name applied by ancient gnostic sects to the Supreme Being, who was, collectively, all the spirits of the earth. The magical “abracadabra” was derived from ABRAXAS.

How about that?! A journal with emphasis on the lyric mode in a narrative-driven-poetry America. Ah, it’s love. Based on my previous experiences with this journal and just thumbing through the back copies, ABRAXAS has an eclectic taste and likes the poetry that explores language. All this poetry is contained in 6.25″ wide x 9.25″ high journal. Some covers are gloss and some are matte-like. I kinda like the matte more, but the gloss brings out the color cover images better. One issue even has standard paper for the poems and some gloss paper for the color photographs. Now, there’s an editor (Ingrid Swanberg) who understands the printing world. Oh, and on top of it all, issues are only $4. I have no idea how they can charge so little. I want to know who there printer is. (Ha, they probably print it onsite.) And subscriptions are only $16. It’s a deal. You can order here: http://www.abraxaspressinc.com/Order.html. I suggest you do. They are luscious.

To learn more about them, visit their About Us page.//




The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

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