IBPC Winners (Web del Sol)
I’m drawn to this poem from the first line–the “brows of broken ashes”–and continue to be delighted and surprised line after line by the fresh metaphors. This poem is all poem. It holds me aloft in its language. The death of Federico Garcia Lorca is made present, a “sun imploding/ like a sack of rotten oranges.” I can only quote lines from this fine poem, which deserves not to be rendered into prose. The poem’s ending is brilliant, “but the sheets,/ the white sheets you sail on, / coming home.” How much more perfect can an ending be, for Lorca, and for us? —Fleda Brown
This poem is stunning in language, in image, in music, and in form. The title of the poem is immediately intriguing and a great risk in that the reader comes to the first line, already, with great expectation. The much over-used couplet finds a home here, creating a subtle dynamic which, paired with the sometimes other-worldly imagery, leaves the reader feeling, at the end of the poem, as if she has emerged from a spell. A sense of enchantment drives this poem quietly, with an elegance that could easily have degraded into the sentimental. To instruct is no small task. Here, the speaker directs us to “Graze the mouth with mango. Make time to blend/and take away,” to “Show what the light gave her,” “listen with the eyes,” and in each instance, I reader must believe and trust the transformative moment to be genuine. I am caught up so much in the language that, at the close of the poem, I very much want to go back to the beginning and read it again, and I feel to achieve this sense of intrigue and immediate longing in the reader is perhaps the most most imperative task of the poet. —Ruth Ellen Kocher
It’s hard to put ‘fate’ in the first line of a poem and make the poem work, but this poet does – by having fate immediately freeze to death to be replaced by the next god. So our expectations of something eternal, about fate, about gods, is immediately dismissed, which makes us pay attention What is this world we’re entering? From the clarity of ‘the way the peach tree takes on the sun’, to the surreal transition of a chair into rain, to the supposition that even gods can’t do much more than accept ‘the way it goes’ to the realization the poem contains a center where someone left, or died, or both, nothing in this poem is what it seems to be on the surface. A doctor is a preacher, feathers fall in a pattern of despair, fingers become flames, life is a ripe fruit that you can’t pluck, but you still attempt to to taste. The poem leaves you wanting to read it again. —Richard Krawiec
The apparent randomness of the four letters (R, T, A and G) this poem’s visitant picks on the Ouija board makes this seem like a poem “which really happened”; but this doesn’t, for once, weaken a poem whose confident trajectory is concerned with cleverly and evocatively re-telling the story of Lorca’s murder – but telling it not only “slant” but in Lorca-esque terms. A difficult feat, and especially hard to avoid this sounding mannered, but you manage beautifully. Some killer phrases – “the empty room of the body” – though I might have replaced the epigraph with a “for” or “i.m.” and would have fiddled with the grammar of “A is alone, how you never wanted it” – maybe “that”? – which I think you worry too much about matching to “green, how much you wanted it”. Especially given that the famous opening of that Lorca poem is a translation, in English versions!
“One very deep, very dark secret, not revealed in the interview, partly because she listens to others so selflessly, is that Lois is a very, very, good poet herself. I read her work before the interview and think her work wonderfully wild and original. One of our finest contemporary poets.” David Whyte
First is ‘Foal’ by Lois P. Jones (South Pasadena,USA), who has been longlisted in The Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition in the last two years. Liz Berry: From the moment I read this dark, extraordinary poem it haunted me. It’s mysterious, unsettling, blends the mythic with the real and is just so beautifully written. It’s full of emotional charge and is taut with intensity and violence. And that ending, oh my goodness that ending!
http://one.jacarpress.com/issue-12/#Lois P. Jones