Blue Fifth Reviews – (March 2018 / #12)

Blue Fifth Reviews – (March 2018 / #12)

Any conscientious critic who has ever had to review a new volume of poetry in a limited space knows that the only fair thing to do would be to give a series of quotations without comment but, if he did so, his editors would complain that he was not earning his money.
               –W. H. Auden, “Reading”

The editors will select collections of poetry, flash, and short fiction to present to our readers. We will be heeding Auden’s advice, listing, without comment, key passages that we consider representative of the featured works. Our hope is that readers will also be moved, and will seek out the books.


March 2018

Sam Rasnake, ed.

I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast by Melissa Studdard
Saint Julian Press, 2014
39 poems, 70 pages

1.    There’s no mother’s milk
        the second time around,
        just a crescent moon
        floating in a goblet bigger
        than your own head, or
        maybe it’s really the world
        in there, shimmering and
        dark, ready to be consumed.

               (from “Nirvana”)
2.    Watching your mouth as you eat I think
        perhaps an apple is the universe and your body
        is an orchard full of trees.

               (from “We Are the Universe”)
3.                                         I was ketchup
        on my own sleeve, a rash on an otherwise
        clear face, a tainted, defiled disaster,
        stained by life, soiled and damn near effaced
        by that often unrecognizable prankster,
        my troublemaker, my doppelganger,
        that saucy vamp, grace.

               (from “Integrating the Shadow ”)
4.    You are the corpse in this off-key song.
        And my words are a pilgrimage
        bearing gifts. I brought you flowers.

               (from “I Dream; Therefore You Are”)

5.    And what is death to the dead
        when art gives wing to the living,
        when what was gauzy and frail
        presses its form to imagination’s
        human shores, there to be held,
        foam swept through quick passing days,
        there to withstand the turning of seasons?

               (from “Killing the Moth”)



Rubbing Elbows by DeMisty D. Bellinger
Finishing Line Press, 2017
20 poems, 34 pages
1.    This is how a crow is beautiful—
        kaleidoscopic colors, all concentrated in black.

        This is how she is beautiful—
        decaying bit by bit like a magic show.

               (from “Woman Slowly Dying”)
2.    I think she says to not call her lady or Lady aloud or in
        her head or in my head and I say aloud—maybe too
        loudly, “to your right, Miss Holiday,” and she does.

               (from “What Did You Mean To”)
3.    Monk’s goatee pointed somewhere over my shoulder
                I turned and looked where it was directing me and saw
                         floating in the café
                                half-tones and tritones and seconds bleeding through the air.
        I didn’t think they’d look like that.
                I had imagined music to look as it is notated
                         (fat balls with erect tails)
                                but music is fuller and amorphous and polychromatic.

               (from “Misterioso”)
4.                           Do not talk of awards or the coolness
        of bathtubs, the porcelain ungiven, the water
        hot as blood, the bubbles
        dissipating before the bath is

               (from “Conversations with Whitney over Colas”)
5.    I know enough to admire the beauty of:
                    uneven spaces on a page; punctuation creating patterns, creating ways, creating
                    paths; repeated words, implied sighs, colors contrasting on screen, on printed
                    page, between the white of the eye and the rest of it

               (from “A Treatise on My Ignorance, in which I Wallow Happily, Blissfully”)



Hourglass Museum by Kelli Russell Agodon
White Pine Press, 2014
56 poems, 96 pages
1.    Be lost.

        Be the howling stars or the quiet
        coyote. Arrive to the roadway
        without a plan, without knowing
        where you will go.

         Turn left.

               (from “Surrealist Angel”)
2.    To create is not enough.

        We must live with our hearts
        in our hands—like Mary.

        We must hold the blood-
        red heart and not be disappointed
        when others look away.

               (from “Self Portrait with Reader”)

3.    I asked about joy and you gave me
        your wound

               wasp in a wine glass
               lost chalice and planet sickness
               pocketwatch left on a grave

               (from “in the middle of predicting my life”)
4.    Andy tells me not to settle—
        we should have assistance when assistance
        is available, find our best kiss

        for a luxurious life, better
        than the satisfactory breakfast
        of nothing or none or no one.

               (from “Shadowboxing Andy Warhol”)
5.    To suffer beautifully is still to suffer

        on a bench, an unseen fog in the cracks
        and wings of the owl flying to the end
        of the sea.

              (from “Meaningless Consequence”)



About bluefifthreview

Blue Fifth Review, edited by Sam Rasnake, Michelle Elvy, and Bill Yarrow, is an online journal of poetry, flash, and art.
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