Tag Archives: Joannie Stangeland

Out of Season
by Joannie Stangeland

When I did not move to the country,
I let my lawn meadow,
fevered season like sweat

prickling, trickling down temples
to weeds I could not name,
and pastured on the sofa,

thought back—my first husband,
a hydrangea by the steps
ripped out. Season of temper,

the mercury rising.
What did not survive, and who.
Season of loss

(a small plot of annuals
at the cemetery
until plantings were banned).

Dead head what’s done,
my mother said, to keep up,
but I leave these lace-cap

blooms to dry the winter,
their skeletal filigree
one way to feel age,

another: sore elbow, trick knee,
tight back—how to flower still?
Season of rest

and then the roses—
the wildly green rambling
over dead cane and thorns,

each year harder, drawing blood.
Season of neglect
and one ladybug.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 2.

Joannie StangelandJoannie Stangeland’s most recent book is Into the Rumored Spring from Ravenna Press. She’s also the author of two chapbooks, and her poems have appeared in Superstition Review, Tulane Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and other journals and anthologies. Joannie helps edit The Smoking Poet and Cascadia Review.

See all items about Joannie Stangeland

Visit Joannie Stangeland’s contributors page.

Review of Grayling, by Jenifer Browne Lawrence

Reviewed by Joannie Stangeland

Grayling
Grayling
Jenifer Browne Lawrence
978-0979458286
(2014 Perugia Press)
$18 Paper

In Grayling, poet Jenifer Browne Lawrence invites the reader to enter a world between woman and fish, a realm below the surface where being is swimming, sometimes catching, sometimes being caught. These poems both plumb the depths and trail through the water like fingers dangled from a boat.

This play between surface and under the surface—what’s felt or intuited—is braided throughout the book, starting with the first poem, “Casting,” where “her shadow / swam into a fish / spooled from her reel” and later “her legs refused / to fuse into a tail / as planned.” On the surface, the poet is fishing with her father. Under the surface swim questions of identity and security: “Kneel at river’s edge / if the father you love / has been drinking / again.”

Lawrence skirts the narrative, inviting the reader to generate the connections, to make the story. In some poems, the title sets the context while the poem zooms in on the details. “On the Day of Her Father’s Funeral, Six Birds on the Line” goes on to describe a memory of fishing at age six, “nobody / wading to set her free.” “To Moclips with No Ash to Scatter” etches a shoreline where the one mention of death concerns the firs.

“Whose Hair Swings Like a Wind-Coarsened Mane (prelude),” which lopes across the page in three-line indented stanzas, speaks of a wrecked barge making
“a fine barn when the tide was low

shelter for a foal, beachgrass

bedding piled inside, seaweed pawed and popped”

then asks the reader “Who knew / the track would bruise with blood, / the swell of water draw horses out to sea.” Lawrence lets the images stay open, doors through which the reader can plumb his or her own past, and does not explain the track, the wound, or even the horses’ departure, the ocean’s lure.

Readers can look for clues in “Whose Hair Swings Like a Wind-Coarsened Mane (reprise),” but will find no obvious connection. The poem talks about watching, with a sister, a black-and-white movie of a village girl being suffocated by a “ring of white- / hatted women” who “look down at her, each of them / wearing the same unreadable face.” This poem is set in a narrow prose block, and although prose poems came out of the surrealist movement, this is one of the most narrative poems in the book. The unsettling comes from the title—its relationship to the earlier poem and its mysterious association with the rest of the poem.

Other poems speak of a father, his drinking and his death, of a mother, and of becoming a mother. The sister in “The Sister Next to Be Born” is possibly the same sister in “Year of the Dog,” which refers to “the shirt she’d been wearing when / the driver didn’t stop—.” The reader can create the history of this family or let the images stand or race on their own. Either choice fulfills.
 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 2.

Joannie StangelandJoannie Stangeland’s most recent book is Into the Rumored Spring from Ravenna Press. She’s also the author of two chapbooks, and her poems have appeared in Superstition Review, Tulane Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and other journals and anthologies. Joannie helps edit The Smoking Poet and Cascadia Review.

See all items about Joannie Stangeland

Visit Joannie Stangeland’s contributors page.

CPR Best of Volume 16 Now Available

CPR Volume 16 Front CoverAfter more than a week of stuffing envelopes, the hard-copy “Best of Volume 16” Cider Press Review is on its way to contributors, subscribers, and former Book Award contest entrants.

The “Best of” issue features poems by Rebecca Baggett, Carol Berg, Jennifer Jackson Berry, Maggie Blake, Ace Boggess, John Bradley, Christine Butterworth-McDermott, Sharon Chmielarz, Lisa J. Cihlar, Joan Colby, Michael Collins, Gemma Cooper-Novack, Jimmie Cumbie, Carol V. Davis, Paul Dickey, Iris Jamahl Dunkle, Carol Ellis, Sarah Estes, David Eye, Evelyn Clark Farbman, Shawn Fawson, Janice Greenwood, David Hathwell, Gary Hawkins, Sara Henning, Brian Patrick Heston, Louisa Howerow, Ann Hudson, Amie Keddy, Heather Lang, Susanna Lang, Mercedes Lawry, Bernadette McBride, Amy Meckler, Colleen Michaels, Nancy Carol Moody, Carolyn Moore, Mary Moore, Susannah Nevison, Amy Newday, Autumn Newman, Sharon Olson, Mary Elizabeth Parker, Lynn Pedersen, Kevin Phan, Katherine Rauk, Geri Rosenzweig, Michael G. Smith, Heather Sommer, Sarah Sousa, Joannie Stangeland, Kelly Terwilliger, Lisken Van Pelt Dus, Ryan Vine, Donna Vorreyer, Chelsea Wagenaar, Mark Wagenaar, Marq Wilson, Laura Madeline Wiseman, Anne Harding Woodworth, Matthew Zingg. Book reviews by Ken Hada and Gary Leising.

To order your own or extra copies, please visit the CPR Bookstore.