Ilya Kaminsky’s second poetry collection, Deaf Republic, is an exhilarating and anguished poetic narrative. Sixty poems tell the story of an unspecified event wherein, “SOLDIERS—arrive in Vasenka to ‘protect our freedom,’ speaking a language no one understands.” The chilling poems that begin and end the collection suggest an acceptance of the preposterous—an all too familiar, yet distressing reality in today’s Unites States of America.
I turned to the breath-steamed window, parting a pane with my ungloved hand. There among the ornamental maples of the cemetery, I could just make out the wise men: bulb-lit, clustered, faces in prayerful repose. They appeared the day after Thanksgiving and stood through late January, long after we’d packed the plastic mistletoe in tissue, dragged molting trees to the curb. I never found out where the extension cords led.
I can indeed conflate the convincing pieces that led to the conclusion Lonnie took part in the Elaine Race Massacre, but I cannot reconcile my love for Lonnie and his apparent views about and role in racism, as practiced in the Arkansas Delta by whites during the first part of the 20th century.
It’s hard to read Marcus Pactor’s Vs. Death Noises without thinking of J.G. Ballard. The crime-scene labeled portrayal of character in “The Archived Steve,” the incantation-based narrative in “Spell Compendium,” the number-tagged dialogue in “Loss? Found?” and others–many of the stories in this collection defy traditional story structure in favor of forms we (and the characters) encounter in the less-than-literary aspects of our technology-ridden lives.
OLENA KALYTIAK DAVIS is the author of And Her Soul Out of Nothing and Shattered Sonnets, Love Cards, and Other Off and Back Handed Importunities.
Mike, thirteen, steals a can of Coke from the cooler in back of the old store. That night, he dreams he is caught, but the next morning he can’t remember his dreams. It’s summer. The can of Coke is at his friend’s house, on the ping pong table. He didn’t leave it there on purpose. He wasn’t thirsty when he stole it.
We are thrilled to announce that U.S. Poet Laureate and GMR past contributor Natasha Trethewey has chosen Green Mountains Review as one of the seven small press publications that she will focus on and promote as she spreads the holy gospel of poetry across the country.
TERI YOUMANS GRIMM is the author of Dirt Eaters, published by the University Press of Florida. Her writing has also appeared in Prairie Schooner, Indiana Review, Connecticut Review, South Dakota Review, Sugar House Review and Homegrown in Florida: An Anthology of Florida Childhoods, among other publications. She currently teaches in the low-res MFA program at the University of Nebraska.
This moment, like others throughout Dark Square, holds the reader under the present tense of distress. Reading these poems one is in the clutch of some painful admission, then abruptly distanced from it.
Submit now for Green Mountains Review‘s 2013 Neil Shepard Prizes in Poetry and Fiction. First Prize winners will receive $500 and publication.