Wednesday, 2 June 2021

"Acumen 100"

Acumen has reached a milestone. I've been in it a few times - poems, articles and letters. The poems are more accessible than in most other magazines. I've always admired the reviews, and the articles can be instructional - this issue has articles on Ihor Pavlyuk as well as Denise Levertov. Here are some points that caught my eye -

  • Levertov's "The Rainwalkers" is quoted from by Fred Beake - "An old man whose black face/ shines golden-brown as wet pebbles/ under the streetlamp is walking/ two mongrel dogs of dis-/ proportionate size, in the rain,/ in the relaxed early-evening avenue". She "learned to move away from the metrical while writing with precise controlled musical phrasing, related very closely to the breath and its movements", though I don't understand the line-breaks in the quote.
  • Elaine Jarvest Miller's "How important it was" is a poem about jigsaws as therapy and a source of analogy. I've written such pieces too. Importantly this poem begins with "When I offer you the jigsaws in their faded boxes,/ I won't tell you when I bought them". I should try to add more interest to my analogy-poems in this way.
  • John Miles' "Pandemic Pantoum" is a neat idea - no doubt used before, but fun.
  • Gordon Scapens' "The Weight of Time" ends with "Time will tell you/ when it's time", which I like
  • Jeremy Young's "The Temptations of Boars Hill" looks like prose
  • Shanta Acharya poem has "If we accept the world as a gift,/ not take the gifts of the world for granted,// we may still learn to cherish what we have, thankful for things we never had, never needed" sounds too pat to me. Several other poems have similar pearls of wisdom
  • Sean Hewitt uses "Short, powerfully propulsive lines whose ending cut against the grain of the syntax" - Edmund Prestwich

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