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Book Title: Milk and Honey Siren|
The author of the book: Kallima Hamilton
Edition: Nostrovia! Poetry
Date of issue: February 1st 2013
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 311 KB
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Reader ratings: 5.7
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Rimbaud as a youth ran away from home to write, putting his poems on bits of paper. Poetry, for him, was the way to salvation. Rimbaud was a hooligan in his time, a Bad Boy when young poets were celebrities.
Well, poets are no longer celebrities in that sense, but youth poet Jeremiah Walton, manager of the press, Nostrovia! Poetry is attempting through edited anthologies, a guest blog, and other means to grab the attentions of young people and to fix them once again on poetry. His anthology, Milk and Honey Siren is a part of that effort. "Poetry," Walton writes, "has been labeled by young people 'whiny and annoying.'" He wishes to bring to his peers works that will elicit another point of view toward the literary arts and has largely succeeded in this collection.
There is no single style promoted in Milk and Honey Siren. The only criteria for inclusion in the anthology were quality and ability to address young people. Both active poets and emerging poets were included and they are not necessarily all young themselves.
This is not a transgressive collection. There’s some anger, but largely not. The concerns of the writers in this anthology are relevant even to those working hard for good grades in school. In the very entertaining "Doug Complex" by Lance Manion, one of a few short prose pieces in the anthology, the 17-year-old Doug worries that he will be grounded for obliterating the stars in the sky (one for every girl who has rejected him).
A set of "Invisible Monkeys" poems by Kyle Hemmings in particular caught my eye. Hemmings has written other invisible monkeys poems (prose poems) from a fantastical perspective. They evoke James Tate, but relate experiences of meeting a girl, pizza, pinball. There's even a critique of the literary establishment (called "Literary establishment") written in rhyme, but using it effectively, by Ben Saphiro, who has written several Kindle books.
A short poem I found particularly compelling was Nathan Hondros' "Migraine," with its imagery and fine last line:
it was a revelation
that knife I carried
behind the eyes –
if she had seen me clearly
she would have known how I carry death
in a hot iron
between the temples.
later, she was knee deep
in the Aegean. a sort of siren,
calling me in, her hands above her head, and
naked from the waist up.
instead I fell face first.
I lay in bed all day imagining this for her.
Also, Mike Murphey's "Blue November" sonnet, reproduced here in its entirety:
Where has my Nora gone? I do not see her
in our white painted room where her crucifixes
hang above the bed. I do not see her
in the garden where the blue rhododendrons
clamor for light. Where is my only girl
who makes the moonlight my midnight friend?
In this pitch less room, I must wait
with the antique barometer, the dried out roses
and the porcelain angel for the common crow
to break the silence of my nightly vigil,
claim my fitful sleep, claim my broken schemes.
Blue was her dream, blue, always her color
when she took handfuls of barbiturates,
when November rain returned with its idle words.
There are many references to pop culture in here, as would be expected in a collection designed to appeal to youth: Disneyland, comics, flat screen TVs. These work well in the collection. But there are also references to the Arab Spring, genocide, The Great Gatsby, Marc Chagall.
The reader can find poems to like here, from the aesthetic sparseness of Lauren Frament's "The Boy With Pomegranate Flesh Between His Teeth" or John Flynn's "Seismic" to the visually evocative “Release of the Cabbage Looper Moth” by Kristen Berger, to Adam Steiner's densely packed "The Waters Come Alive."
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