This Week’s Editors’ Choice, “Being a Bishop,” by RC deWinter

Some fun and games, with a sly slice of parody by RC DeWinter. Chess, royalty, religion, and current events collide here in this insightful piece that might catch you by surprise. (You may need to turn up your volume, as the recording volume is a bit low.

yesterday
having discovered late in the game
i am no queen
only a pretender to the throne
i hocked my crown

which brought a pittance
it being nothing but gilted dross
studded with broken bits of colored glass
and paste pearls made
as it turned out
from powdered milk and plaster
neatly glazed with clearcoat

or so the jeweler told me

then burnt my purple
robes and cloaks and gowns alike
the ermine trim obviously fake
as it never flamed but melted
and smelled like nothing so much
as a conflagration in a tire factory

a huge bonfire
that when the wind changed direction
almost burnt down the house as well

the proof of my pretension
is in the way in which i move

all this time la-la-la-ing
thinking i was wandering at will
but when the table tilted toward the mirror
i saw myself sliding in diagonals
only changing direction when i hit a wall
and then caromed
into another narrow corridor
another x marks the spot
neatly demarcated in marble squares

so

no queen

just a stuffy cleric
rigid
orthodox
prescribed

RC deWinter’s poetry is anthologized in New York City Haiku (NY Times, 2017), Uno: A Poetry Anthology (Verian Thomas, 2002), in print in 2River View, Meat For Tea: The Valley Review, Pink Panther Magazine, Down in the Dirt, Scarlet Leaf Review, Genre Urban Arts and in numerous online literary journals.

Issue 12, Spring/Summer 2019

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Photo by Andrea Walker

Spring has sprung throughout North America. Trees have been in bud here in Pensacola for a few weeks now, the joy of rebirth and renewal. Our contributors renew our own spirits, and we hope they renew yours as well! 

Once again, we happen upon bunches of work that touch on certain themes. Coincidence is nearly a rule here at Panoply! Issue 12 features a clutch of poems about sex; another about family; another about home towns, both current and former. And of course, there are a host of other wonderful works on a variety of other themes, all flowing with art and wonder. We hope you enjoy the issue!

Issue 13, unthemed, is scheduled for publication around August 23, with our Call for Submissions, July 5-28. We’ll update our announcements as those dates approach. As usual, we’ll be posting our weekly Editors’ Choices starting before the end of May, followed by a chapbook review in late June. Thanks to all for submitting; thanks to all for reading.

Best wishes,
Andrea, Jeff, and Ryn, Editors

Contents

#38 – Brendan Connolly
Amid the Alien CornDavid Swerdlow
Among StonesJeff Hardin
April Snow – Ginger Dehlinger
Aqua PuraCharlotte Hamrick
Being a BishopRC DeWinter
Bewitched, Bothered, and BewilderedPatricia Carragon
Caminata Lorraine Caputo
Caught in a Snare – Gloria Nixon-John
County High PointCraig Finlay
Delphi Falls Ellen Austin-Li
Footprints In the SnowLindaAnn Lo Schiavo
GalahadPatricia Nelson
The HostagesNiles Reddick
How to Tell an Old Man He Can’t Climb a Tree – Brooke Schifano
I Saw MyselfJacquelyn Shah
I Didn’t Know Snow ThenLauren Davis
In the knee-high grass of Eastern Montana, Independence is a luxury few can afford – John McDonough
the irreversible futureMike Jurkovic
Japanese KitesPeter Scacco
The Joys of Sex – Ciara Dall
A Kind of Nothing is Prominently There Instead  – Nancy Jentsch
Lazarus ExplainsBruce McRae
LegendMax Heinegg
Like the Big BangCatherine Arra
Mother’s FudgeCL Sostarich
My First Death – Ellen Sander
Naive and Sentimental Sonnet #10Thomas Zimmerman
Newton CornerAndrew Furst
Night Eagle – Dee Allen
Night Watch – S.E. Clark
Noah’s ArkBetsy Mars
A Note on North StarsEmma Johnson-Rivard
The PatriotsTraci Mullins
Pleasant LaneJeremy Voigt
Promise #9Tony Burnett
Reconciling with Home – Brian Fanelli
A Ribbon at at TimeAnn Howells
Saturday Morning Remorse – Adrian Potter
Sex at Sixty – Cheryl Caesar
The Shape of Rain – Lois Harrod
Show Me the Way – David Lohrey
A Simple GestureRobin Wright
SmileBilly Thrasher
Sorrow BedKimberly Becker
Something There is that Doesn’t Love a Neighbor ~ – Ken Gosse
Special Carousel – Gary Glauber
Spend Less Time with Nightingales and Peacocks. One is Just a Voice, the Other Just a Color – Rebecca Macijeski
Spider CatchMark Youssef
Stenciled With Palm Trees and Flamingos – Francine Witte
SugarChristian Fennell
Summer FestivalPaula Kaufman
ThanksgivingJoy Gaines-Friedler
They’ll Call Me Deserter – Darwin Pappas-Fernandes
Tornado WatchCarl Boon
Tune – Gale Acuff
Wasco Woman – Penelope Schott
Without Speaking – Eliana Swerdlow
Your Son’s Birthday PartyKimberly Wright
Your City, My Unincorporated Town – Laura Voivodeship

A Note About Anonymity

Issue 12’s content is set. We’ll be completing notifications to contributors later this week. Look for Issue 12 on May 3.

Please note that in our effort to read blind, we are now tightening our policy regarding the inclusion of identifying marks in submissions. We focus on the submission, not the submitter. That enhances diversity and helps new voices be heard. In the past, we’ve overlooked identifying marks on submissions if they did not interfere with our blind review.

That is changing. Please do not place any identification anywhere in your submission. Submittable allows for a cover letter and third-person bio. That must be the only place your name or other identifying information should appear. Here are examples of identifying information that will disqualify submissions:

  • name, etc. as header or footer on a submitted page (attachment)
  • cover letter as part of the body of the submission (attachment)
  • name, etc. in the title (e.g. – Panoply Submission, Ezra Pound) You can use initials if you must.

Thanks for helping us concentrate on the quality of the work! And thanks so much for submitting such wonderful art.

Andrea, Jeff, and Ryn, Editors

This Week’s Editors’ Choice, “Bitter Vision,” by Wendy Vergoz

Wendy Vergoz takes another look at childbirth and child-rearing, not always all it’s cracked up to be! We can relate.


Standing at the mirror, my son’s harsh
whine piercing, my daughter’s sharp wail jarring,
I brush my hair, silken, smooth.

I will myself: remember the downy circle
of crown first seen.
But gaping flesh births not just child.
The twisting, blue-black cord
wraps around my neck.
Neck snapped, still do brick-red nipples
offer—marble-cold, my body yields
warm milk.

Wendy VergozWendy Marie Vergoz is the recipient of a Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis, an Individual Artist Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission, and a Service Engagement Grant from Indiana Campus Compact. She teaches writing at Marian University in Indianapolis and a writing workshop at the Unleavened Bread Cafe for women survivors of incarceration, domestic violence, and addiction. She is the editor of two books: The Unleavened Bread Cafe: Twenty Years of Living Water and Voices Unlocked: Soulful Stories from 30th and Central. Her full-length poetry manuscript, The Unbinding, is under consideration. Her poems are forthcoming in Mothers Always Write, and they have been published in Cleaver Magazine, Flying Island Journal, Ground, The Christian Century, Literary Mama, and Anglican Theological Review. They have appeared in exhibitions at the Harrison Center for the Arts, “Spirit and Place,” “Art of the Moving Image & Spoken Word,” “Wrestling with the Infinite,” and “Religion, Spirituality and the Arts.”

 

To read previous Editors’ Choices (and contest winners), please visit:
Artisan – Karen McAferty Morris
At The Scottish Gallery a Baobhan Sith Takes a Pass on a Local Vicar – Linda Kennedy
Untamed – Dianalee Velie
A Further Response from the Hornet’s Nest – Robert Okaji

Issue 11, Winter 2018-9, “Untamed” Theme – Including Our First-Ever Contest Winners

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Welcome to Issue 11, our “Untamed” issue. What a treat it’s been to read the wild rambles of our contributors. We’ve got lots of work related to relationships, not one but two references to a garrote, some super-quirky humor, LGBTQ work, hippies, women’s consciousness/ascension, childbirth, end-of-life issues, and more! Our contributors sing.

This is our first-ever contest, one that’s brought us all some fine work. We thank all who submitted and congratulate our prize winners and all whose wonders appear here.

Best wishes to everyone for a wonderful 2019! Thanks for reading Panoply.

Andrea, Jeff, and Ryn, Editors

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Contest Winners
First Prize – A Further Response from the Hornet’s NestRobert Okaji
Second Prize – UntamedDianalee Velie
Third Prize – At The Scottish Gallery a Baobhan Sith Takes a Pass on a Local VicarLinda Kennedy

Additional Contents
450Frances An
Apologia for a FetishBingh
ArchangelSteve Deutsch
ArthritisPat Hanahoe-Dosch
ArtisanKaren McAferty Morris
At the EdgeGloria Nixon-John
Ballet: The Second Lesson – PliésVictoria McGrath
The Bear in the LabyrinthCarol Flake Chapman
Bitter VisionWendy Vergoz
Bride of Porcupine Kathryn Almy
bull marketAnne Casey
Child’s PlayNeil Flatman
Dress Code – Brad Garber
FeralGabrielle Langley
FlightChristopher Wang
Four o’clocksRobert Nisbet
The GarroteAaron Brame
Good MorningNeil Harrison
The Heart of the MarrowEva Rosenn
How to Be a Leopard SealCarla Myers
In Praise of ReasonStephanie L. Harper
Just SupposingJames McKee
OpossumJulie Stewart
The other we eat is the tale we know bestKelli Allen
the pegasus clock in ICU15AM Roselli
Persephone Coaches HadesM.S. Rooney
Pine Twig Nest with Reindeer MossGail Comorat
Reuven Rubin’s Orange Groves near Jaffa 1928Mare Leonard
Scene #3Thomas Dedola
Train Ride with Hair on FireMartha Kalin
We were once menJack Ritter
What If They Could Be Wild?Irene Fick
Wolf CallChristy Wise

Announcing Panoply’s Nominees for the 2018 Pushcart Prize

Such a joyous occasion! We’re constantly rewarded, constantly grateful for the wealth of artistry we receive. It fills our spirits. At this time, we get to recognize our favorites among all of the treasures. Here are our nominees for 2018. We thank them – and all contributors – for the chance to feature and share their work. Have a look and join us in congratulating them all.

Biscayne Bay Lies Still, Like Glass – David ColodneyDavid Colodney

The Hail – Jacob ButlettJacob Butlett

The Harrow – Bill NewbyBill Newby

Monet’s Portrait of His Wife on Her Deathbed – Robin Wright

Robin Wright
A New Hope for a New Zion – Charles McCaskillCharles McCaskill

 

Red Wallpaper – Ron BurchRon Burch

Review of Lauren Davis’ Chapbook, “Each Wild Thing’s Consent”

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Poetry Wolf Press, poetrywolf.press
24 pages
$10 in print, $8 digital
Physical format is handmade. Stapled. Printed using French Paper Company paper.
Partial proceeds go to a local Jefferson County nonprofit called The Dove House.
Author website: LaurenDavisPoetry.com

Submitted by Jeff Santosuosso, November 2018

Book titles guide us. In Lauren Davis’ breathy debut chapbook, we’re taken through a series of journeys to a conclusive observation. We live in a natural world and are part of it. We exist, participate, and partake with the consent of what surrounds us, tacit or deliberate. In fact, we ourselves grant our consent to each other. At our heights, we are intimate, sharing our vulnerabilities and desires. Yet we risk physical injury, even death. We also risk spiritual decline. But the risk is worth the reward as these intimacies reveal the power of the metaphysical. In her effort to “describe the feminine divine,” Davis shows us that in sharing, after earning consent, we make spiritual connections and reach plateaus we could not make or reach alone.

A good chapbook follows a theme, a great one delivers that theme in all its multi-faceted roundness. It echoes and reverberates, reveals the depth of the theme, sometimes linearly, sometimes discursively. Wind-blown references uncover the hidden. And so it is with “Each Wild Thing’s Consent.”  The theme develops organically, beginning with physical love and sensual stimulations.

Her starting point could not be clearer in the first poem, “Volvodynia.” From the initial religious imagery, Davis pivots to the bodily, the female. She’s set her tone: The feminine divine will be discovered with courage and boldness, but also reverence. “My Body Incapable” laments just that. As her speaker recovers from the pain and exposure of a gynecological exam, her mate manages the tricky task of collecting and tossing broken glass, the images juxtaposed clearly. But already the bonding has begun, the consent given and received. “Forever, you say, we have forever to wait.”

Though an expression of spiritual love, physical love can have its limitations, the expression of which is dramatized in “Vaginismus.”

“…Nothing can touch the way
you could if I could
take you without pain….”

Our speaker prays to the sky, receiving the spirit she yearns for, the body’s limitations overcome by the spirit’s fulfillment. The theme is well underway. Later, she revisits the physical agony, well worth the rewards of her mate, in “To My Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist.” Then, in “Cave Study,” she teases us with double entendre, making the joys of physical love perfectly clear. “Land Not Required” just keeps rolling the theme:

“…My body
unaccustomed to the sway of water,
first rock me back and forth on sand.
Train me how to hike the mast….”

“Pilgrimage to Saint Sara” takes us through the crossroads, down the path of wonder to be fulfilled by the remainder of the writing. The religious setting is no accident. We follow our speaker on a holy passage, downward into a crypt, seemingly inaccessible. Only a kiss unlocks the puzzle, makes the connection. Our speaker touches the statue’s lips, then her own, a charge passing between them. Uplifted, she entreats this same energy from her partner.

In “I am a New Caledonian Owlet-Nightjar,” the speaker’s mate saves her from extinction. Vulnerable and frail, she relies on the heroism and protection of her mate,

“…ready
to be collected beneath
your breast…”.

For the bird, truly a matter of life and death, of extinction, no less; for the speaker, another loss, just as deep. Her mate provides sanctuary.

 For all the wandering through physical and metaphysical love, Davis turns the entire work in “I Will Cocoon You.” While this is quite a common theme, the transformation is freshly worded with pauses to satisfy. They have created new selves – both as individuals and as an indivisible couple in which they transcend themselves:

“…When I am finished
friends will call you
stranger…”

She is able to satisfy her physical desires, arousal beginning gently in “On the Deck,” where she asks to “shave the soft hairs/above your collar line.” This piece echoes water imagery which flows through the entire work. “The Rented Room in Mount Shasta,” switches from one element to the next, where “there is more cedar/and so much heat.”

“Native” brings it all home, voicing the work’s title, as the speaker and her lover find their place, sharing love in the natural world, keenly aware that they are as much object as subject:

“…You said, It’s beautiful, but do we really belong here,
where creatures hide? Then an elk herd stomped across

the dirt road, and you braked, shocked. The fattest turned
to stare over his long beard. To know or warn us?

Yes, my love, we belong, but on soil-stained knees,
asking for each wild thing’s consent to stand….”

The revelation is confirmed with great peace and alacrity in “But Most of All,” as she affirms, “But most of all I am/ a woman in communion, her ear to the wall.”

Her journey complete, her identity clarified, she realizes that physical things are impermanent. But she remains steadfast, closing with “Mountain, Incidental.” A victim of a minor accident, she confirms her fidelity: “Have faith, I am only temporarily mislaid./I tread down the mountainside in the rain.” This title carries us subtly, the great rising symbol, the almighty natural setting which she has embraced, for all its pains and pleasures, limitations and transcendence. And yet, it’s incidental, her own power towering above all that surrounds her, the constraints of the physical world eclipsed by the supernatural power of the spirit, fired in awareness, acceptance, will, and faith.

Concluding at the top of Maslow’s pyramid, the couple surpasses their physical love and emotional bond to unite with the greater natural world. In that sense, the work is one of maturity. Moving from one phase to the next, Davis never forgets the roots of this elevation. On the contrary, she reveals for us the notion that this consent has been there all along. At first, it was human. As she concludes, we realize that while the consent is now human, it’s elemental, inseparable from the human world. Just as our bodies are inseparable from our spirits, as we as individuals are from each other, so are we from the natural world. As wild things ourselves, we grant our own consent, inviting others to connect with our very core. That is the most generous invitation of all, the greatest risk, the supreme reward.

While this fine work achieves its goal related to the “feminine divine,” it embraces us all, independent of our gender. With our consent, it describes our human divine.

Lauren Davis (2)Lauren Davis is a poet living on the Olympic Peninsula in a Victorian seaport community. She holds an MFA from the Bennington College Writing Seminars, and she works at the Tishman Review and the Writers’ Workshoppe and Imprint Books. She recently received a residency from Hyapatia-in-the-Wood.  Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Spillway, Split Lip Magazine, Ibbetson Street, Ninth Letter and elsewhere.

 

To read previous chapbook reviews, please visit:

Previous Chapbook Reviews