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2006 issue


A poem, it can be said, ambulates or moves from place to place on ‘metrical feet’, aspiring to exceed the limits or bounds of place. That place, for starters, is the page. If in the act of writing the poet inclines her or his ear towards the blank page and hears the voice within that says: “Now it’s your firecracker of a world to ignite, as all things get ready to dance!” and in the process feels a spark of language, a dynamic in words that hopefully, mysteriously will be set in motion in the reader as well, then indeed we may say the mental, emotional, or spiritual horizons a poem can open up are truly boundless. Such a poemユs ambit, its circuit, its compass– its “sphere of action, expression, or influence,” to borrow from Webster’s definition of ‘ambition’–is evidence of how the personal may spark the political.

A poem’s sparks of verbal energy can cause us, then, to hear questions rising up within us, such as: How do we stop a poem bent on taking us to a new place, that tends toward the great unknown, that uses its fear and knows its power? How do we know when a poem’s not a message in a bottle but a ship carrying free men and free women to a free world? If the poet transacts his or her business in words, at times spending money like water (not blindly), how does he or she know replenishment is always at hand, knowing when to catch the wave when it crests? And, when a poem succeeds in speaking to us from the depths of our aliveness, how may we learn to live beautifully from those depths, splashing like dolphins in the sea through the waves, swimming safely in and out of the currents?

Among the voices of the poems offered here in the following pages, you will not find Sirens lulling unsuspecting seafarers toward rocky shoals. Rather we hope you will find these poems to be more like lighthouses of a vast mental ocean. Maybe, with luck, sparks will fly from these pages. Gracious reader, get ready to dance.