Vallum Poem of the Week: “Ranked In Order” by Mary Lee Bragg

Mary Lee Bragg

Ranked in Order

Most important are the ones we tell ourselves.
    Everyone does it.
    It’s not that big a deal.
    No one will know.

Then the ones we tell the people we love.
    Of course I love you.
    No never.
    I wouldn’t dream of it.

The ones we tell our friends.
    I was caught in traffic.
    What a cute baby.
    I’ll email you and we’ll set something up.

A special set for our bosses.
    Yes, I’ll have it done on time.
    No I don’t know who took it.
    Yes sir.

And for people who see us walking down the street.
    One foot.
    Another foot.
    Always looking forward, never looking back.

Mary Lee Bragg spent her childhood in rural southern Alberta and was educated in Calgary. She now lives in Ottawa, where she had a career in the public service focussing on official languages. Her award-winning poetry and short fiction have appeared in literary magazines and ezines in Canada, the United States and Cuba. She has published the novel Shooting Angels (2004) and two poetry chapbooks, How Women Work (2010) and Winter Music (2013). Her debut poetry collection, The Landscape That Isn’t There is forthcoming from Aeolus House in the summer of 2019.

To view other content published in this issue, 14:2, please visit Vallum’s website.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE!

Download the FREE APP and FREE SAMPLE EDITION for your tablet, kindle or smartphone through PocketMags OR iTunes.

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Spotlight on Bhanu Kapil’s entre-Ban and the Vallum Chapbook Series

by Jami Macarty

Content Note: The following post has a brief mention of sexual violence.

Happy Poetry Month! I’m celebrating by reading poetry from the Vallum Chapbook Series, which published its first volume 14 years ago. I started with No. 1, Fanny Howe’s cosmic and contemplative Tramp (2005), read on to Nicole Brossard’s inquiry: “how do you remove time from / meaning” in A Tilt in the Wondering (2013), and continued to Yusuf Saadi’s Sonnets on a Night Without Love (2016 Vallum Chapbook Award winner)—a nod to Pablo Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, Saadi’s chapbook features poems of longing for connection in the time of “Twitter, Tinder, Tumblr.” I wound my way to The Weave: A Work in Progress (2018) from co-authors Thurston Moore and John Kinsella, then finished the first round with Zach Pearl’s Ladybird Bug Boy (2018 Vallum Chapbook Award winner), a treatise on the “niche between” impersonation and I-ness, desire and impermanence, and the way the personal contributes to the global—crises of migration and the environment. Had I the word-count quota, I’d eagerly share more about what I find special in these books, and the five others I’ve read so far in the series (the month’s young!). Until that grace comes, let me say that what I appreciate about these chapbooks is how each is pulled together according to a particular theme or motivation; each is its own unique, sustained, and intimate expression; each takes artistic risks intrinsic to its subject and form.

bhanucover copy

No. 23 in the Series, Bhanu Kapil’s entre-Ban (2017), deserves special mention as a collection that seeks to acknowledge, even embrace, that which has been left out — “These Notes are for anyone who is…existing beneath a dominant gaze.” According to Kapil, “To be entre-Ban is to be “Ban-like.”” The word Ban, defined expansively within the poems, as noun and verb, is “an historic…residue washed off by rain,” is what or who is left after, is temporal — “Delete, delete, click,” is a woman raped, is a person of color with “racist colleagues,” is action and to be acted against with misogynistic or racial bias —“which nevertheless affirmed the increment, the part of being here that was a trap. That kept me in my place.” Ban is an “encounter with a boundary,” where human beings are “a site and repository of imperceptible transformations.” To create a collection that undoes deletions is to “delete the deletions” and to include that which has been excluded. “There’s no guarantee that you, nor I, will feel less homesick by the end of this book,” but this book will bring to the fore such topical and important questions as “Who is frightened of whom?” and “Who can’t at the end of the day, go home?” To take in these questions, and others Kapil poses, is to become aware of privilege. It is privilege, mine, here, to write about poetry I’ve read in the Vallum Chapbook Series; I take this privilege seriously, and acknowledge the freedom it conveys to my intellectual and spiritual life.

—————————————————————————————————————————————-The deadline for the 2019 Vallum Chapbook Award is April 30th. Submit your manuscript today for the chance to win $300 and publication alongside the chapbooks highlighted here.

Jami Macarty is the author of Mind of Spring winner of the 2017 Vallum Chapbook Award and No. 22 in the Vallum Chapbook Series, as well as Instinctive Acts (Nomados Literary Publishers, 2018) and Landscape of The Wait (Finishing Line Press, 2017. She teaches creative writing at Simon Fraser University and edits the online poetry journal The Maynard. For more information: https://jamimacarty.com/

Vallum Poem of the Week: “Aubade” by Pamela Porter

Pamela-Porter-web

Aubade

We scattered his ashes from the bridge into a northern river, the
rapids below, as logging trucks pounded the bridge, the sun fierce,
brief. Weeks before, we’d sat together as I read a poem aloud about
a man, a death, the words caught in my mouth, something in me
sudden, that knew he was about to go. This I could do: the ceremony,
the bridge, the ashes wind-gleaned, eddied into the trees, fallen
fallow, carried off on the river. But you, you are not the one who died.
You, alive, and will not see me. I listen to air and what stories the
small birds tell. The remainder of last night’s rain clings to barbed
wire, the lichened branch, turns the world upside down. The weight
of this world that longs for a sleep deaf and blind beneath the snow.
But you are alive, and will not, will not. At this bend in the year we
burn the deadfall in rain as ravens hurl their arguments on the wind.
Each day I play the piano, its long black body a bird caged behind
high windows. I brave Bach’s unresolved questions, Beethoven’s
insistence. My invitation to you to hear me play yet unanswered. I
set my hands to the keys, the music rising for no one, for me alone,
for the few who walk by on the quiet road. I know that music heals,
repairs in ways that words have not. You alive, and I afraid of your
death. Nights I dream a river between us. The sound of wings in the
night. And wonder how far the music can fly.

Pamela Porter has won more than a dozen provincial, national and international awards, including the Governor General’s Award for her novel in verse, The Crazy Man, and the Vallum Poem of the Year Prize. Her poetry been shortlisted for the Pat Lowther and Raymond Souster Awards, as well as the CBC/Canada Writes prize. Her twelfth poetry collection, Defending Darkness, was released in 2016 by Ronsdale Press. Pamela lives near Sidney, BC with her family and a menagerie of rescued horses, dogs, and cats. Find her on Facebook.

To view other content published in this issue, 15:1, please visit Vallum’s website.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE!

Download the FREE APP and FREE SAMPLE EDITION for your tablet, kindle or smartphone through PocketMags OR iTunes.

Vallum Poem of the Week: “Words Are Poems and Poems Are Poetry” by Klara du Plessis

Klara du Plessis.jpg

Words Are Poems and Poems Are Poetry

Each time I phone home
I hear about the conclusive water
the lack of rain
how the dams are drying up
how the supplies are ending in a matter of days.

Here the rain has been unremitting
for a month straight
busying itself with green
leaning against the wind or retaining
itself, refining the definition of rain to a continuity
not a sheet of water
not a deluge
but the soft splintering of the sky itself

Klara du Plessis is a South African Canadian poet residing in Montreal. Her debut collection of multilingual long poems, Ekke, was released from Palimpsest Press, Spring 2018, with a second collection forthcoming Fall 2020; and her chapbook, Wax Lyrical—shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Award—was published by Anstruther Press, 2015. Klara is the editor-in-chief for carte blanche magazine, and pursuing a PhD in English Literature at Concordia University. Find her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

To view other content published in this issue, 15:1, please visit Vallum’s website.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE!

Download the FREE APP and FREE SAMPLE EDITION for your tablet, kindle or smartphone through PocketMags OR iTunes.

 

Vallum Poem of the Week: “Sky Burial” by Peter Gizzi

peter gizzi

Sky Burial

The robin that lives in my yard
also lives in me. This is the interior,
while the state unwinds across
a vast expanse splitting the sky.
It is all of it and more;
these things were passages
of the light-born afternoon
cascading then expanding
like a flange around the day.
Yes, the day, staccato
in its azure and gold banner;
then one learns, as one learns
from twilight, how to look
through here, and not here, grinning.
The wisteria out my window
is waving up, down, up,
it’s so far away though, outside.
I’m in here where the word is opening.
There are distances, the whole
tonal range blooming,
clarity of attenuated looking,
a payload delivering meaningful dust.
It’s a good day to die.

Peter Gizzi is the author of seven collections of poetry, most recently, Archeophonics (finalist for the 2016 National Book Award), In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems 1987-2011, and Threshold Songs. He can be found on Facebook and Instagram.

To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE!

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Vallum Poem of the Week: “Floats To The Sky” by Mary Gilliland

Mary Gilliland


Floats To The Sky

Initially I did not plan

a painting of a ladder

faithful to phantom

noises before sleep

wearing a clean chemise

beneath dirty shorts

under a worn abaya

in my pink slippers

with my red cheeks in the shop

for spots of vitiligo

and smoothing of their

plump ragged history.

………..
……………….

The canvas came bare

as a bell before it’s struck

by brisk forced air

on open waters

or the blue wasp

that loved me

when I was a child

with a sting to the pineal

scattering bars through light

all the way to dark

faster than brush

leaks down my hand.

Mary Gilliland has poetry in four recent anthologies: From the Finger Lakes, Like Light, Nuclear Impact: Broken Atoms in Our Hands, and Strange Histories. Other recent poems appear in Healing Muse, Hotel Amerika, Notre Dame Review and online in Matter and TAB. Among her honors are a reading at the International Al Jazeera Film Festival, a Stanley Kunitz Fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center, and a Cornell Council on the Arts Faculty Grant. With her husband of forty years, she has transformed a rocky acre of the Six Mile Creek watershed in Ithaca, NY into a woodland garden, and more than once faced a newborn fawn in one of the mass plantings. Mary’s poems have much to say about such things. They also swoop, growl, psalm, flex, fight, love, alight, allude, howl, dance, and laugh with the dakinis. “She is not afraid of delight, neither does she shirk the hard tasks of anger, pain, and deep caring,” said Mary Oliver about Gilliland’s letterpress collection Gathering Fire.

To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE!

Download the FREE APP and FREE SAMPLE EDITION for your tablet, kindle or smartphone through PocketMags OR iTunes.

Vallum Poem of the Week: “Eighteen Hesitations” by Bo Niles

Bo Niles.jpg

eighteen hesitations bo niles.jpg

Bo Niles is a former magazine editor and writer who concentrated on home design. She began writing poetry in her retirement at 92nd Street Y workshops in New York City, where she lives, and is now a member of its senior poetry group. Her poems have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, as well as in three chapbooks – intimate geographies, natural causes, and crescendo| decrescendo – published by Finishing Line Press in Kentucky. Recently widowed, she has two grown sons, one married, and two grandchildren.

To view other content published in this issue, 15:1, please visit Vallum’s website.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE!

Download the FREE APP and FREE SAMPLE EDITION for your tablet, kindle or smartphone through PocketMags OR iTunes.

Vallum Poem of the Week: “Memory” by Adele Graf

adele graf.jpg


Memory

how can my brain remember
to close my lips for the m

lower the tip of my tongue for the s
touch the roof of my mouth for the d

so I can utter the words
my sister died

after my sister’s brain forgot
how to breathe

Adele Graf grew up outside New York City and immigrated to Canada in 1968. She has worked as a writer and editor, and taught writing in the public and private sectors in Halifax and Ottawa. Her first book of poetry, MATH FOR COUPLES, was published this spring by Guernica Editions. More than half the poems in her book had been published in Canadian journals including The Antigonish Review, CV2, The Dalhousie Review, Room and Vallum.

To view other content published in this issue, 15:1, please visit Vallum’s website.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE!

Download the FREE APP and FREE SAMPLE EDITION for your tablet, kindle or smartphone through PocketMags OR iTunes.

Vallum Poem of the Week: “Becoming History” by Blaine Marchard

blaine marchard

Becoming History

History is a cyclic poem written by Time upon the memories of man.
—Percy Bysshe Shelley

1.

Your breath almost imperceptible,
the burr of hummingbird wings,
as your chest rises and falls
like the tubular flowers
they scour for nectar.
Then it stops
and you become history.

2.

As I walk home along Wellington
night succumbs,
light blanches the sky,
the waning moon is a figment,
birds in the trees
fuss a cappella,
a far off ambulance
keens on its way,
the wind reaches a callous finger
under my shirt tail, lifts it,
shivers distress my body.

3.

I turn down Warren,
no one awake
to what has passed.
I unlock the door, enter
a room where your likeness,
a photo taken at 100,
looks off to the distance—
eyes vivacious with laughter,
impish grin animates your face.
All those years—a lifetime so long
vanished, now so short.

Blaine Marchand is a writer whose work has appeared across Canada, the US, Pakistan and New Zealand. He is working on a full-length collection, Where You Dwell, a series, Finding My Voice, and a collection of short stories, Nomads.

To view other content published in this issue, 15:1, please visit Vallum’s website.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE!

Download the FREE APP and FREE SAMPLE EDITION for your tablet, kindle or smartphone through PocketMags OR iTunes.

Vallum Poem of the Week: “10-8” by Candace de Taeye

candace de taeye

10-8

in service
on air
en route

the Knowledge …………………………………….. supplemented by a screen

the speed limits prescribed under this section do not apply to

       two waspy women jogging
       “I just registered for the death race”

plan to align
with the single corner housing
the elevator that descends to track level

nod to Intersectionationalities

the ghost of little Malta
                                   is a bakery

                                   the first step in gentrification

                                   Pape and Danforth
                                   Dundas and Spadina
                                   Greenwood and Gerrard
                                                                       Geocode 09063 D5

where the paramedic is
unable to locate the address

proceeding through red lights
a complete stop before
slowly pull forward
when it is safe to do so
blocking the first lane of traffic
but stopping short of the next lane
repeat the above point
until the intersection has been cleared

Candace de Taeye has had poetry most recently published in BAD NUDES, CV2, Carousel, Grain, Joypuke, Meat for Tea and Vallum. Her chapbook, Roe, was published by PS Guelph. For the last 11 years she has worked during the day, and more frequently at night, as a Paramedic in downtown Toronto. She lives in Guelph with her husband, two young sons, two dogs, two cats, four elderly tree frogs, and a very large tortoise.

To view other content published in this issue, 15:2, please visit Vallum’s website.

Vallum magazine is also available in digital format. Featuring additional content such as: AUDIO and VIDEO recordings of selected poets, further poems, interviews, essays, and MORE!

Download the FREE APP and FREE SAMPLE EDITION for your tablet, kindle or smartphone through PocketMags OR iTunes.