contributing editors

William Wallis, Ph. D
Los Angeles Valley College

wallis William Wallis Biography
Sonnet for Dick Wimmer
One Moment More
Stroke
On Your Leaving

 


Poet’s Corner

I don’t know much about poetry in Los Angeles. I don’t attend many poetry readings, correspond with poets, or belong to any organizations of poets or publishers of poetry. Perhaps this publication will change all that, simply because it takes a community to publish a magazine. My state—alone in my work, but not lonely—reflects, I think, the necessary mode of creating poetry and—though history is full of poets who correspond, meet regularly, and even travel and create in close proximity to each other (consider Basho and his fellow travelers—the act of creation seems to me a necessarily lonely one, because it involves metaphysical exploration, deep emotionality, and lovely struggle, requiring hours alone. Each poet is different, an accidental dreamer who awoke one day in a world of rhythm and rhyme.

In addition to this opening and exploration of self, poetry involves, it seems to me, tremendous knowledge and curiosity about the uses of knowledge. Poets are people who roam the universe of literature looking for lightning within themselves to inspire their own verse, as well as to connect with the poetry of those who inspire them: Sappho and Shakespeare, Catullus and Chaucer, as well as Thomas Kinsella and Timothy Steele. Acquiring such knowledge can be estranging, for in truly educating ourselves, we must embrace both our gifts and limitations. I, for example, am a traditionalist who is most at home with poetry that is carefully shaped and fashioned firmly on a page—pulp or electronic—so I can read it again and again, until I have the poem fully in mind. Yet I also feel that poetry must be read aloud, recited, or sung to be fully brought to life.

The poetry of the past inspires and delights me; but the poetry of the future gives me hope. To future poets, I offer four poems in this initial electronic embossment of word-spinning, which can be accessed in the links at the top of the screen, titled Sonnet for Dick Wimmer, One Moment More, Stroke, and On Your Leaving. They are for me living pieces of my lettered mind and reflect my admiration for music and word play. The sonnet was shaped in January and February of 2011; the others are somewhat more seasoned. I hope they will prompt the readers to consider shaping verse of their own; I also hope their own captured observations (recollected in tranquility) and self-explorations will lift them beyond imitation to record something of their own, something they wish to share with others within the confines of this new and hopeful magazine.

 


An Introduction to Louise Martin Brown, Poet

Louise Martin Brown's inherent charm is in the gentle confines she sets for her poetic weaving. In the fourteen lines of "The Thought" Louise' persona muses from a singular point in time, an instant of simple action--"As I lay my glasses on the table here"--of unerring specificity. In this moment of surrendering rational clarity, the persona is able to embrace the "Vast darkness" of chaos and imagine an order based on "striving," surrender, and a simple act examined. This seemingly simple piece caresses the ear and mind with the quiet music of its acrostics and parallelisms; and it establishes a poetic order in which the creation--not creatio ex nihilo, but from considerations as simple as despair before enlightenment--of light within darkness can occur. And so we have Louise' wisdom, black on white.

In addition to what Eliot calls the musical qualities of poetry, I am attracted to two elements--gentle irony and a list--that Louise offers the reader in her second poem, which is a spicy list of worn out and discarded language ironically arrayed as treasures of the past. It reminds me that the Watts Towers are divine structures because they rescue us from finding the new absolutely necessary, from embracing heroic consumerism and built-in obsolescence as necessary facts of the capitalistic dream. Neither do these structures worship junk; they transform it. The essential urge of creativity in steel or words lies in the possibility of transformation. Let us sing these five fine verses and wink merrily into the vast, braying countenance of oncoming, double-dip recession.

Young writers can learn from Louise, but they will find their own quite music, surrender to dreaming, and word play. I do so look forward to reading the verse submitted to West. Don't be shy--send us your loves, your dreams, your wordplay.

 

Louise Martin Brown

About herself, the poet writes: “I was born in Commerce, Georgia December 14, 1920. I graduated from Commerce High School in 1938. Thanks to the GI bill I graduated from the University of Georgia School of Journalism, Athens, GA., in 1948, after attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant in the U. S. Marine Corps where I served from August 1943 until December 1945 (WW ll). I completed a correspondence course with the Institute of Children's Literature, Redding Ridge, CT, and studied Theatre Arts, at Utah State University, Logan, UT. I have had stories published in The Herald Journal, Logan, UT, The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, and Utah Science Magazine, USU Press. My twenty-page manuscript Memories of a Marine is part of the Oral History Program at Headquarters Marine Corps and at Women in Military Service for America. I have completed a collection of stories (approximately 250 pages) entitled When We First Begun (the last four words of the last verse of the hymn, “Amazing Grace”). It is a memoir that includes history, genealogy, and folktales.” She still attends several writing groups, one at the Sherman Oaks Library and others around the San Fernando Valley.


The Thought

The Beautiful French Word Cliché