I am an unrelenting, completely immersed, hopelessly addicted consumer of the poetry of John D. Robinson. The fix I get is exquisite. When I read a John D. Robinson poem, I so often experience a powerful rush of the most potent concoction – a mix of uncompromising honesty and painful empathy; a sweet and deadly solution of brutal expose and unconditional love . John’s poems deliver to me what I am always, without apology, and with admitted compulsion, seeking from life – truth and love. The poems in these books, like the poems in every John D. Robinson book, are dangerous. Prepare yourself. Make sure you have uncovered your most courageous self. The one that is willing to see things as they are and to feel the most penetrating anguish at their state. Find and sharpen the only weapon that will get you through Johns’ books whole to the other side – Love. If you can do this, you will be following after the author. John is fearless. John is courageous. John does not compromise. His books are not decorative art. His books are not the exercise of the commercial artisan. His books are stripped of 21st century consumer bullshit. His books are a way in to what matters. Getty ready to deep read. It is going to hurt. And you will love it.
ANNOUNCING THE PUBLICATION OF “BLACK ICE AND FIRE” BY JAMES ROSS KELLY
A finely crafted James Kelly poem is born of knowing. When you read a poem from “Black Ice and Fire”, you will unequivocally NOT be reading about a thing. You will read a poem from within a thing; you will be imbibing presence from outside and all around a thing; you will be gathering all of it up in your arms and you will embrace a thing. You cannot be mild, indifferent, cavalier. You must give of yourself. Engage.
James Kelly’s’ poems demand intimate participation. You are required to join Kelly’s inner circle where you can not indulge in the superficial. The poems are tender and brutal, generous and challenging, broad in scope but also full of small, important detail. As reader, you are James Kelly’s neighbor, friend, family-member, and companion. You will be asked to join with the writer/narrator in facing and grasping profound loss, cruelty, anger, evil, as you will also be invited to admire and experience the most exquisite beauty, friendship, understanding and compassion. This is life resonant with all its incomprehensible, glorious meaning. And, when you participate in this way, give the book all of yourself, the experience of Kelly’s artistry will be moving and relevant and deeply satisfying. The poems are resonant and impactful both because of the polished tradecraft and because they come to us from the rich depth and breadth of total, fearless immersion.
“Black Ice and Fire” is breathtaking in its conjuring. You cannot avoid reading it.
The older I get the more I find I am blown away by some of the systems the human body deploys to meet the demands of our daily lives. (Especially since some of them are beginning to break down.) Last night I spent 20 minutes in our kitchen searching my wife’s back for a miniscule (to my eye mostly microscopic) hair that had been tormenting her. She was wearing a sweater she calls “Brown Wooly” which is an exquisitely warm, dense and complex, interwoven mat of hairs – essentially a pelt. How could she feel so desperately one tiny hair under all that wool? And, this morning, leaving for the studio, I inadvertently spilled a few beads of millet seed into our key drawer. In the dark, casually and easily, my fingertips found and removed each tiny sphere.
The miracle of Touch.
And then, this morning, sequestered inside of a rolling box made of glass, steel, plastic, rubber and iron (among other elements), I negotiated a massive, expertly engineered machine (which next to the human body is no more than a Legos construction) right up against the concrete curb. Wrapped up in 4 layers of clothing, including a double layer of gloves, sitting comfortably in something that is pretty close to an Anechoic Chamber, I deftly negotiated the rolling box within 1/4 of an inch of concrete that threatened to drag off some rubber.
The miracle of Proprioception.
Unbelievable. I found myself sitting in my car outside my studio in that state of awe and astonishment often reserved for much bigger displays of of overwhelming power – like a mountain or an ocean or a god.
What a way to start the day – over come by a little mysterium tremendum et fascinans.
The brilliant and intense poetry in Joel Peckham’s tour-de-force, MUCH, can not fail to move us. The poems are so rich and deep with meaning that they resonate emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and even physically. The use of long lines and overflowing enjambment moves our reading along at an exhilarating pace and is done so artfully that the pure act of reading this book delivers a palpable pleasure. This book is brimming with novel use of language, but never to the detriment of feeling and understanding acutely the details of the poetic epiphanies, as well as the reverberating fulcrum at each poem’s heart. The imagery is vivid and tactile, securely situated in recollection that is at times tragic and painful and at other times joyful and ecstatic. This is such a good book. I loved it. I have read it at least a dozen times. So, grab something soothing to drink, sit back in the overstuffed chair and prepare yourself for a read that, with its insights and compassion can’t fail to transform your mood, your day and perhaps your life. The miracle of exceptional poetry.
Today I made the difficult decision NOT to submit a batch of poems to a publication that required me to reformat my poems to double-spacing. For me, modifying my poems with double-spacing significantly changes their impact. The primary argument for double-spacing seems to be an editorial one – double-spacing makes the writing, in particular prose writing, easier to consume. It is easier, for example, to distinguish between a period and a comma when reading double-spaced lines. I don’t believe it is the artist’s job to accommodate the editor’s job. It is not the artist’s responsibility to facilitate the job of editing for the editor. Especially when our submissions include a reading fee.
At the Raw Art Review we do not require you to reformat your submissions. In fact, we want to see them exactly as you devised them.
The poems in Gary Beaumier’s elegant book, Dented Brown Fedora, are enlivened by specters. But, Dented Brown Fedora is seldom a book of terror. It is a book of resonating and quietly ecstatic love. While there is haunting and loss, sometimes painful and powerful sorrow, the poems are fundamentally a celebration. The language and imagery are so refined and artful that even the most difficult memories and retrospections sing out with the kind of optimism that only Fine Art can manage to deliver. The poems in Dented Brown Fedora have achieved a kind of superb, elevated alchemy. They convert everything – all of the poet’s experience, whether joyful or melancholy – into beauty. As readers, as seekers, we will be led deep into each thing by these poems. In there, within this book, within each poem, at the poetic heart of an experience or a place or a person, somehow we find what we have been longing for.