From the Ether
On the noble and the reptilian
Poetry. Is there a better time for it than when our public speech is filled with
insult and destructive hyperbole? Is there a better time for poetry than when
our civic discourse creates a sense of outrage, shame, and division instead of
understanding? Is there a better time for poetry than when we simply don’t see
the time or place for poetry?
Here at DMQ Review we answer No, there is absolutely no better time than this crazy cultural moment to turn to poetry for what we have always looked to it to provide: a mooring, a momentary respite from the daily newsfeed and work grind, a reminder of who we are, of who we aspire to be. In poetry we recognize what it is that connects us. Our common humanity is laid bare. We join a conversation about human being-ness that extends beyond our brief lives far back into preliterate history and somehow forward to the unknown.
Poetry—in its earliest expression performed as a group chant—united people in story, rhythm, and dance. We mourned losses in poems. We celebrated victories in poems. Together we recalled our higher aspirations. There are worse things a society might do.
Poetry speaks of the best and the worst within us, of the noble and the reptilian. In poetry we confront our better and our worst impulses. Poetry stops us in our tracks. We hesitate. We listen. We reflect. Poetry makes the world look like what it feels like, my teacher Harvey Birenbaum used to say, in all of its vicissitudes. A poem might arouse, warn, comfort, entertain—it might simply flood us with yes, some beyond-words recognition.
Then we look up from the screen or the page to resume the daily in whatever way each must, perhaps renewed or simply more cognizant that the confusion that envelopes us from time to time as individuals or as a society is part of being alive, and it has been somehow captured in these brief, framed words, given a name. When something can be captured and named, we take strength from it.
Anyone can read a poem. Let’s do. Lets find and keep some memorable words in a pocket of our minds, within reach, so that in our living, in our shared speech, in our going forward, we bring the weight of well-chosen words, a bon mot, to bear against that which presses in against our better selves.
It’s with such good will that we at team DMQ Review pull together issue after issue. We are proud to present these assembled poets and the artwork of Sarah Awad in our Fall 2016 publication.
* * *
We are also quite proud to announce our team-selected nominations for the Best of the Net awards for this year, appearing alphabetically:
Beverly Burch, “Vanishing Acts”
Douglas Collura, “Half Fish, Half Dog”
David Ebenbach, “The Peacocks of East Ridge Retirement Village”
Jessica Goodfellow, “Across a Crevasse, My Uncle”
Ken Haas, “Pluot”
Sarah Lyn Rogers, “Drones”
Congratulations, poets, and much appreciation to all of our contributors for making these selections so difficult.
Thanks for reading~ Autumn on!
from the Ether,
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