“Stay Afloat Inside”, by Cord Moreski

“Stay Afloat Inside” Poetry by Cord Moreski, published by Indigent Press in 2016. Posted by Elynn Alexander for Full Of Crow Press.

We all have a floor
                   to rise from

Cord Moreski is a New Jersey Poet, host of Words On Main in Asbury Park and a frequent performer who brings a balance of power and composure to his readings. He is forceful, passionate, he throws himself into the delivery- but he is also a laid back, unassuming guy. He is, in person, like his poetry. His poems are straightforward, but read them twice.  This poetry chapbook from Indigent Press is white, stark, with a simple sketch. And a simple mantra: Stay Afloat Inside. 

Cord Moreski's Poetry Chapbook "Stay Afloat Inside"

Many of these poems return to themes of rebuilding, recovery, pushing through and kicking off from the past and making sense of the walking present with reminders of the people and places of steps past. 

flying back to four years ago

where if I close my eyes
I can still picture
those nights

The poet remains humbled by the past, the vulnerability, vigilance. He can’t go back. He has to confront his choices in the present. In one poem, he chooses club soda and lime instead of a drink:

We all have a floor
       to rise from
I place the sour fruit wedge 
between the blades
of my teeth,

bite down,
and sip the bitterness 
from the pith,

chewing
on what’s left
until I break the rind.

Continue reading

The Non-Herein, Michael McAloran

Poetry by Michael McAloran The Non-Herein, by Michael Mc Aloran, published by Lapwing Press. Reviewed by Elynn Alexander for Full Of Crow. 

Of the non herein
Ash upon drought as if

It could be uttered
Set to light

Broken cleft absent
In whip of

Spinal affluence
Dragging out the magus

Pulse of futile
Again once again

Till none
Asked of without quarter

(In Abacus)

Michael Mc Aloran’s collection “The Non Herein” from Belfast publisher Lapwing Press invites the reader to anomie and paradox, what lies within is self-negating. His poems mirror back life, (“opiate’s glass” . (Traceless of), “naught of the sheet glass” (Never Once) reflected as decay, vitality that reaches to extinguishing, the “jugular ash”.  (Into Echoing) Continue reading

“White Vases” by John Swain

“White Vases”, John Swain. Discussed by Elynn Alexander for Full Of Crow Press.

Poets navigate with labels. It is just a part of the deal as people try to make sense of their associations and perhaps figure out their own sub-sects. What we find, however, is that poets surprise us and like all artists, poets evolve. We have to challenge ourselves to suspend the need to define one another because when we do, we stay open to a fuller catalog.

To put Swain’s work into a box (nature) is to minimize what he is doing, what poets do, and doesn’t speak to the question of WHY he brings up nature or birds or anything else.  It ignores the scope of what he accomplishes, and constitutes a cherry picking of themes that is a common practice with poetry and poetic criticism, this pursuit of labels and categorization.  It keeps the reader in periphery, and ultimately leads them away from “White Vases”.

As a reader of John’s work for years now, I would like to encourage people that read his work to resist the temptation to typecast him and to force associations.  I hope that I can at least make the case for the rewards of digging deeper, as there are few poets on my radar that bring me to the point of study the way he does. The beauty of his writing makes me want to sit with his poems; their resonance makes me want to understand why they touch me. Their brevity fools me into thinking that they are simple and then I embark on an experience that becomes more layered with each read and with each book I find myself taking what he is willing to share and adding it to the experience of him, and when you have that relationship with a poet’s work it is an appreciation that is difficult to convey.

I may lack the words to convince you, but I won’t stop trying. Continue reading

“Dinosaur Ditch” by Tim Murray

‘Dinosaur Ditch’ is a new chapbook of poetry from CFDL Press, available now, by Tim Murray. Discussed on the Literary Underground by Elynn Alexander

“Dinosaur Ditch” was the neighborhood lot of the speaker’s childhood, a place where kids played and climbed trees and got away from their houses in a neutral, outdoor space.

“where boys spend summers pissing from trees

In Dinosaur Ditch.”

Many kids can think back to a similar place in childhood and like Tim, have discovered that they now sit beneath suburban homes. (He describes it in the Project U show, give it a listen) Our Dinosaur Ditches were never as big as they seemed in our memories and like those perceptions, much is necessarily left there. We grow up, we move on.

In this way, Dinosaur Ditch is established as the childhood lost when confronting the “real world” tragedies that erode innocence.  Part of us ends up buried under a suburban home as well.

The “real world” is a town in Indiana: “Where the mercury-laced waters of Lake Michigan lap in the north”, a place of industrial accidents, pollution, generations of plant workers, “where Red Cunningham lost his arm to the alligator machinery of industry.” These were not terrible childhoods, this is acknowledged. There were jobs and families had some security, their needs were met. (pork chop dinners, etc.) Continue reading

“Watching The Windows Sleep”, Tantra Bensko

Lynn Alexander for Full Of Crow on “Watching The Windows Sleep”, a chapbook produced by Naissance, written by Tantra Bensko.  A review by Spencer Dew appeared in decomp in January as well and you can check that out here. Find out more on Tantra Bensko at her website and at Naissance Press: Official Tantra Bensko Web Site and the Official Naissance Chapbooks Web Site.

“Whimsical ridiculous meets explorations of consciousness.” Bensko is known for her experimental poetry and fiction, work that is strange and surrealist. It seems fitting that she begins this chapbook with the poem “Non Containers”, as this is not a collection that can be easily defined, a mix of poetry and fiction that tantalizes the imagination: Continue reading

"A White Girl Lynching" by Elizabeth P. Glixman

Cover, A White Girl Lynching“A White Girl Lynching” by Elizabeth P. Glixman is an offering from Pudding House, an independent publisher of poetry with a reputation for selecting manuscripts from poets who “do right” by their art, meaning poets who give dutiful consideration to the process in terms of poetry as craft. Glixman’s commitment is apparent in this chapbook, as she accomplishes what she set out to do: explore “our ‘feeling’ natures as symbolized by poetry”.

In particular, Glixman looks at human dignity, and how the affirmation of dignity relates to her hopes for a more just and united world where people are better able to coexist peacefully mindful of the validity and benefit of our differences. When Glixman speaks of “lynching” she is no doubt aware of the historical context of the word and it’s connection to violence, persecution, violation. She seems to have chosen the word to suggest in a very powerful and forthright way that lynching is both a physical act and a social act, whereby people are stripped of an “important element of individual dignity”.(Preface,Glixman) Continue reading