Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Under the el by David Stone

David Stone’s chapbook, Under the el, is produced by Alternating Current and is filled with all things Chicago and city life moving through its pages. It is a smart, gritty, just like Chicago. Whether you’ve ever been to Chicago or are a native, you’ll enjoy this collection of poems—and I urge you to read it twice in a row because you’ll pick up more insight on your second round. Here are a few that caught my eye:

The Fire Engine

The fire engine
skidded through
the intersection
& crushed
a compact car.

Earth whisked
wizardous rants.

Breathers reiterated
the aroma of death.

The cell counters
in Socrates’ tank.

While the first stanza tells you the story, it’s the following stanzas that bring you the depth of the experience watching it happen. I find the lines “Earth whisked/wizardous rants” intriguing and wonder how Mr. Stone wants us to imagine what he means. I imagine the awed gasps of onlookers. The “Breathers,” which I take to mean onlookers again, can smell the wreckage and so can I as the reader. The whole poem is tragic and wondrous thanks to the lines Mr. Stone provides.

The Morning Pace

The Commuter
counted five bills,
placed money
on the counter,
left the diner fed,
passed a taxicab,
dreamed at a stop light,
pushed the pedal
past the legal limit,
heard a nearby scream
but pedaled on
ahead of schedule.

I like the idea of an “everyman” in Chicago going through these exact motions. Seeing as my husband is from this grand city, I can tell you he can relate to this poem exactly. The fast pace, the dreams and tragedies flowing through in the background, the Commuter going about his day despite the flow around him.

Dedicated to James Liddy, 1934-200

In the observatory,
a yell,
the plink
of foreign

in rotation
the land.

In prison,
and thirst
crack rock.

I like how David Stone streamlines this poem so that each word takes on added meaning. What I gather from it is the sad plight of the prisoner, the constant in and out of jail and the experience of jail. It is brief but powerful. I also looked up James Liddy and found out he is an Irish Poet, I’d like to learn a little more about how David Stone created and dedicated this poem to James Liddy, wouldn’t you?

If you enjoyed this sample of poems, you can purchase a copy for $5.00 + $2 US or $3 out-of-US shipping by mailing a check or money order to Alternating Current, PO Box 398058, Cambridge MA 02139. You can also e-mail for information at alt.current@gmail.com. Remember, Alternating Current is one of the few small press publishers that is able to pay their poets so be sure to learn more about them at:

Thanks always for reading!
We will meet again January 4th, I’ll be inundated with family and festivities for the next couple of weeks and won’t have time to put up posts or carry my computer with me while visiting family. I wish you all safe and happy holidays, please drop in again on Monday, January 4th…

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lit Kicks

This blog talks about reviews, conducts reviews, and talks about shocking news regarding books and other reviews. I found it interesting and entertaining, lots of good links that had me traveling down the deep literary rabbit hole. I urge you to check it out at:

Thanks for clicking in, please drop in tomorrow for another featured poet…