From the Ether
It is February and winter is relentless. We have a new issue of DMQ Review and the Weather Channel is full of blizzard alerts and photos of highways covered in snow and abandoned vehicles. Winter Storm Pax is descending on the northeast and Mark Liebenow offers a portrait of the exotic warmth of other people’s houses, of those cold houses we return to at the end of a snowy day. My Facebook newsfeed is full of reports from my friends about school cancellations and power outages and comparisons of their workday commutes to Shackleton’s arctic expeditions. Tara Skurtu reminds us that sometimes “Shit happens,” that sometimes it threatens to drown us.
My friends in Seattle post pictures of their kids’ snowmen to the Internet,
misshapen bodies withering under warming temperatures and Jonathan Cook warns us
about winter’s sometimes violent aftermath. Here in Grand Rapids, Michigan where
we are reported to have had ninety-two inches of snow so far this year, the
local paper is posting articles about how to prepare our houses for the eventual
flooding once all the white stuff starts to melt.
Our Featured Poet this month is the late Wanda Coleman. We pay homage to her with a short list of links to her poems and tributes to her life in various places on the web. Throughout her Poet’s Bookshelf essay, she remarks on her contentious relationship with the work of those poets she admires, those she feels she is supposed to admire, and those she does not admire. Sometimes all of these poets seem to be the same poet, and I can’t help but relate her feelings to my own relationship with poetry, one fueled by a short temper and a phobia for “the pretentious dreck and sappy pseudo-philosophy” that Coleman rails against. I am heartened by what she says in her poem “In That Other Fantasy Where We Live Forever” when she says “we sprouted wings, / crashed parties on the moon, and howled at the earth / we lived off love. It was all we had to eat.”
I think this is precisely what the poems in this new issue of DMQ Review try to do. So many of these poems are about glimpses of warmth amidst skies darkened by bleakness and isolation. From Sue D. Burton’s haunting demons and melons on strings to the impossible sky lives that preoccupy Kathleen Boyle to Laura Marris’s futile attempts to remain untouched by weather—these poems fight for their lives. They are hungry and I am thankful for that.
In “Customs,” Jim Daniels suggests that it’s impossible to become completely lost on the familiar roads of home, even though we sometimes do our best to drive as fast and as far away as possible. He compares driving to playing a game of drawing boxes: “We always knew where we were, and that all of the boxes were ours and none of them were.” In “Crash Landing in the Plaza of an Unknown City,” Jia Oak Baker paradoxically tells us “What I didn’t know was I was already here.” Wanda Waldera’s artwork echoes this sentiment as she takes us into familiar places to find alien images, as she creates weird glimpses of recognizable lives.
Here is this new issue of DMQ Review. Go read some poems. Do your best to lose yourself.
From the ether,
W. Todd Kaneko, Editor
Table of Contents
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