Arsenic Lobster poetry journal
Issue Seventeen
Summer 2008
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Issue Seventeen,  Summer 2008
Marooned He Cried Marooned

           Oh, their hearts were moved. Who wouldn’t be moved to pity by that sad, sad voice? Who wouldn’t let a tear roll down her beak to hear of the grief which this voice had to tell? All the world seemed a lonely place at the sound of this voice, it wept so pitifully. This voice could make even the stones to cry—which became a particular problem for some thirty Chickens who were trying hard to be stones.
           “Marooned,” he cried…

                                 --from Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin, Jr.

           It is about this time every year that I ask myself why. Why am I still writing? Why am I still publishing an anthology that few people buy? Why do I read through hundreds of submissions each month? Why do I ask so many people to volunteer so much of their time? Why should we continue?

Q: Why am I still writing?
A: To turn the burning blood-snarl into art is sometimes all I can do to keep the duende from strangling me.

I write poetry for the same reasons I read poetry; it changes me. It is the challenge of creation that drives me to write—the idea that the poem moves the heart—creates a new and living voice where there was nothing before—records life. Without the voice of poetry, the world would be a lonely place.

In this issue, nothing gives voice to the strangling as well as Talia Reed’s Shiver:

           as birds are often crushed
           so we swallow
           the lemon, tomato, the orphan.

And what could be more marooned as six giant combines pushing through wheat in Chet Gresham’s poem Here from There.

Q: Why publish a printed anthology when all the poems are on the web?
A: Because it is beautiful, I enjoy creating it and it offers a collected voice to the world that exists nowhere else.

The 2008 Arsenic Lobster Anthology is now available. The book itself is handsome—glossy cover, perfect bound, archival paper. And it is only here that you can hold the exasperations of the duende. As Lorca reminds us, she is no muse but rather the mercurial, sassy, hell-bent— the farouche. Where else can you travel the road in a lonely man half of which turns into a bird, discover our bellies full of heat and eggs, walk a broom of moths past a furnace? Download an order form, order your copy today and help support the Lobster.

Q: Why do I read through hundreds of submissions each month?
A: Because I am startled & delighted by the quality of the poetry in my inbox.

When I discovered Potato Eyes by Joshua Diamond, it was like accidentally walking into your best friend on the street. Really, who could resist such lines:

           Yes. Cabbages and potatoes and toes
           like eyes and nails like moons—sliver
           and white and oh so silvery bones.

Ray Succre’s, We all slop wakeward with heads in February and fertile crests, and Jonathan Reeves’, your slender signature on a diaphane of stained-glass peacocks woke me from an email-glazed dream.

Cooked Lobster by Elizabeth Fraser
Cooked Lobster by Elizabeth Fraser
About the Artist

Q: Why should we continue? Are we wasting our time?
A: One can easily discover the answer by reading through our current issue.

I am certain that no other editorial board would have selected the poems/poets that we have; no other webmaster would have designed such a clean website. I am fortunate to have so much support and happy that we are all in this together, creating something new and alive—offering an OH SO tasty Lobster to the world.

And when I say “happy that we are all in this together” I mean the contributors too.

Joe Machetto, making a second appearance in the Lobster, is brilliant with his short, concise poems; they are packed with imagery and energy.

I was immediately drawn in by the first lines of Joseph Olschner’s poem:

           For a time,
           they scattered
           like cotton
           popped from a shotgun,

Carand Burnet’s, The Anointing, roars with haunting beauty, homes dispelling fog like boats, these howling/ sirens, children/tracing trenches.

Melinda Wilson’s, Star-Nosed Mole & Arlene Ang’s Alopecia and the grizzly bear are both poems that move the heart.

I am certain that we are not wasting time—we are using it to its fullest! Please, crack open another issue of the Arsenic Lobster and be startled—delighted.

Susan Yount
Editor and Publisher, Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal

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