Arsenic Lobster poetry journal
Issue Fifteen
Winter 2007
| Home | Issue Fifteen | Contents | Contributors | Order | 2007 Pushcart Nominees | Archive | Submission | About Us | Contact Us |
Issue Fifteen,  Winter 2007
How to Write a Poem Over the Winter

In Oklahoma I was the oven door your enamel the scattershot radio dial anything with a chrome handle. The manufacturer’s initial. Waiting by the hotplate coil your lit wit in a hairnet. Here. Toing and froing the Airstream in your OTB absence. Waiting for my shift at the Superette the blip of the scanner. Okay.

~ Caroline Noble Whitbeck from the poem OK, Our Classical Heritage

In Chicago the Sears tower is the rifled barrels of stars the juniper trees underwater the sun slipped behind the boardwalk. Not under a bell or a horn, but, the scapular I wore until it rotted off so I tuck the sky inside itself; He cleans his teeth of stars. In here. Throwing stones into the waterfall— out there the ticket man doesn't care about the numbers. Breathing is a hole. Dimly, I remembered whispers about plans of escape into the forest.

~ Susan Yount, A found poem from Arsenic Lobster issue 15

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to our 2007 Pushcart nominees, Ted Lardner, Penny Dyer, Regina Smith, Jess Wigent, George Kalamaras and Andy Trebing! Navigate over to the Pushcart tab and take another look at the poems.

How to write a poem? According to ‘wikihow’, writing a poem is all about observing the world within you or around you. Here are five suggested steps.

Step 1. Read and listen to poetry.

Richard Loveland’s poem, Sleeping on the Roof at Night, is filled with a musical and eloquent emotion that can be heard even at the lowest of whispers. Look up into the evenings. / Look up into the mouths of tigers, / the rifled barrels of the stars. And one must read all of Laura Hirneisen’s poems to discover the truth behind her line, Unsaid words matter not.

Step 2. Find a spark.

Certainly, Sari Krosinsky is compelled to write. Her spark will take you from death to birth. In one poem, Death was six months old. Me, six years. And in another, I hung over the edge of the birthing pool / nibbling almonds between contractions. These poems, inspired by the human condition, simply blaze with truth.

Drama In Tank by Kim Rody
Drama In Tank by Kim Rody
About the Artist
Step 3. Decide what poetry style suites your subject.

Carina Gia Farrero’s delicate and airy style makes her poems sing. In rosette, the lines:

road in a lonely man
half of which
turns into a bird

look and feel like a knotted ribbon and the last line, how to wear a song, nicely pins the rosette to the poem. Barton Smock’s long slices of heavily-quirked free verse never fail to move, at times, propel the reader forward—gracefully; it’s old. this / what have I done, this / dark ship. And Yermiyahu Ahron Taub elegantly writes, Dimly, I remembered whispers about plans of escape into the forest. His chunky, prose poems deliver.

Step 4. Choose the right words.

In the poem Procedure, Claudia Burbank chooses the right words, I hid the best I could behind a black pearl, / Pictured, I think, a pinto pawing air. One cannot help but notice the alliteration; cannot help but feel like panting—even panicky. And who could pass by a poem titled, gomorrah, gomorrah, gomorrah, gomorrah? Kyle McCord’s poem opens night like beds of topsoil and reveals the harrowing. In Lance Stemen’s, fait accompli, each word is a stone.

Step 5. Use concrete imagery and vivid description.

It is easy to experience the smeared mud on the bottom of their brown-cow boots and a dark like southern skin; Jon Boulier writes vividly in his poem, Out There. Laura Hirneisen’s poems chirp with imagery, pigments spit like bird bones. And Lance Stemen is popping bumble bee wombs.

So get to it. Step one is only a click away. Read this issue aloud and tell me you are conscious.

Susan Yount
Editor, Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal

| Home | Issue Fifteen | Contents | Contributors | Order | 2007 Pushcart Nominees | Archive | Submission | About Us | Contact Us |