My wife and I are into season 3 of Victoria, the Masterpiece Theatre series that seems as long as the queen’s monarchial reign. It’s a slow-moving narrative in which a tea cup is picked up, put down. Then, for dramatic tension, the camera pans to a terrier that, on cue, lifts a hind leg to squirt on the carpet—a barbarous display in the palace household.
Winnie’s 350-square foot studio that she called home resembled a submarine, she liked to say to strangers, to offer them a quick image of what it was like to live in small spaces. A submarine was dark and hollow, challenged by gravity. Her apartment was on the top floor of a walk-up tenement building in downtown Manhattan, and got afternoon light. But at night she could squint and conjure the resemblance. Not that she’d ever set foot inside of a submarine.
The image evoked by the title, The Fire Lit & Nearing (Indolent Press, 2018) is both micro (a match flame inching towards your fingers), and macro (a forest fire jumping the fireline). It also summons the spark that lights up when we are about to fall in love. You know you can’t stop it; you know it will damage you; and there’s not a thing you can do about it. Like folks who rebuild on fire-prone land, this is not the first time you have been burnt and won’t be the last. So why? Perhaps it is so we can make art of it.
It is believed that the arrow that caused Ötzi the Iceman to bleed out on a mountain in the Alps had been used to kill two other people, probably by Ötzi himself since there’s murderous evidence on his knife as well, and I’m sure there’s a moral here or a handy metaphor, but what really fascinates me are his 61 tattoos. CT scans have shown he must have suffered physical pain, and the black line tattoos were an early form of acupuncture and meant to treat his ailments, ashes of old fires turned to ink that could draw his pain to the surface of his skin.
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.
Slow Burn: Two Polar Novels: The Big Bang Symphony by Lucy Jane Bledsoe and The Still Point by Amy Sackville
Whether drawn to the cold, white expanse or to the log books and diaries of explorers, writers keep finding ways to explore the polar regions.