SECOND ISSUE (WINTER/SPRING 2015)
Below are some excerpts from our Winter/Spring 2015 issue, beginning with a remembrance of our late benefactor Joseph David Young. This is followed by a selection of poems from the current issue by Anya Silver, Richard Meyer, Christine Swint, T. S. Kerrigan, Jessica Wiseman Lawrence and Walter Griffin, as well as a translation by A. E. Stallings of Modern Greek poet C. P. Cavafy's poem "Kalamaro" ("To the Inkpot") and a translation by Joseph David Young of "Notturno" ("Nocturne") by the Croatian poet Antun Gustav Matoš.
Our current issue also includes poems by Lee Passarella, Jean Syed, Michael Walls, Karen Paul Holmes, Don Thackrey, Megan Sexton, Charlotte Innes, Brendan Beary, T. L. Hensel, David Landrum, Jan D. Hodge, Jill Jennings, Andrew Levi Wood, Kevin Heaton and Jean L. Kreiling.
In every issue Calamaro brings attention to a poet not sufficiently known or honored, hoping its readers will delve deeper into the work of the featured poet. In this issue we profile Anglo-Welsh poet Edward Thomas (1878-1917), a close friend of Robert Frost, and reprint his poems "Thaw," "If I Should Ever by Chance," "As the Team's Head Brass," "In Memoriam" (Easter, 1915)," "The Cherry Trees," "The Owl," and "Out in the Dark."
Joseph David Young (1945-2014), In Memoriam
With the printing of our second issue we remember our generous benefactor Joseph David Young who died suddenly before seeing even the first issue.
He was born Jozo Hunjic in 1945 in Yugoslavia, on the Dalmatian Coast of the Adriatic Sea. He grew up in poverty during Soviet rule. After his education at a Jesuit high school, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics at the University of Zagreb. He then came to the United States on a Fulbright scholarship. As a mathematics graduate student focusing on topology, he took courses at the University of Maryland, the University of California in Santa Barbara, and the University of Georgia. For about 25 years he lived in Atlanta and worked for the Kroger supermarket chain, as well as teaching part time at the Job Corps, Atlanta Metropolitan College, Brandon Hall and elsewhere, until his retirement in 2014. In the mid-1990s he became a U.S. citizen and changed his name to Joseph David Young.
Joseph loved poetry. He could recite poems while spontaneously translating them in his head from Croatian or Russian into English. He was an avid and generous supporter of the poetry readings at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta, including donating money for a portable sound system and supplementing the pay for featured poets visiting from out of town.
The first of the featured poems below is his translation of the poem “Notturno” ("Nocturne") by the Croatian poet Antun Gustav Matoš.
Warm night in the village.
Dogs barking late.
Night birds and butterflies. Love of flowers,
scent strong and clear, celebrating a secret wedding.
From the dark tower the clock
is counting the hours (sleeping clock).
Mild light arrives from the sky.
Through the emptiness and silence
the breath is even more silent.
A train is vanishing far away.
by Antun Gustav Matoš, translated
from the Croatian by Joseph David Young
Kalamaro/To The Inkpot
True inkpot, sacred to the poet,
A world emerges from your well,
Each form that nears you, comes to dwell
In a new grace, and you bestow it.
Where did your ink find wealth past measure?
Each drop that falls upon the sheet
Is one more diamond to complete
The glittering of fancy’s treasure.
Who taught you all these words you’ve hurled?
Our children’s children yet will read them,
And the same warmth will fire and lead them—
Words you have launched among the world.
Where did you find these words, words rife
With newness, that we hear as change,
And yet not altogether strange;
We knew them in another life.
The pen you dampen in your bowl
Is the hand that sweeps the soul’s clock
And tells our feelings, tick by tock,
And the changing hours of the soul.
Inkpot, to the poet true,
A world emerges from your ink,
But suddenly it makes us think,
What world, what words, would stay in you
Lost, if one night a deep and quiet
Sleep took the poet. What stranger’s pen
Could fetch for us those words again?
True to the poet, you would deny it.
by C. P. Cavafy, translated from the Modern Greek by A. E. Stallings
The One-Half World
How it was then: Lying there in the early-morning
midnight of the day after the Fall, wrestling over
how to bridge a rift that had spread so wide it finally
split the earth into its two unequal halves—His
and Hers. Or failing that (since there was only failing now,
in this new world of Not-Ours), how to graciously toe
the fault line here, on the night-plunged half
of the globe where the remembered whole,
turned incubus instead of memory, is less
than the sum of its broken parts:
It has become my entire study,
my half-life’s work.
by Lee Passarella
the common stuff
that makes us up.
The periodic chart
accounts for every part,
including head and heart.
Where in this elemental whole
resides the postulated soul?
by Richard Meyer
Child’s blood-soaked sneaker,
raised on a palm for the camera,
what controversy you incite!
Experts write notes about you:
"No, this photograph isn’t from here,
It’s from that other massacre,
or from a drone strike last year.”
During all the talk, your tongue
has clotted and dried, rusty,
and can’t muster a defense.
Lost forever, the nameless girl
who slipped you on in the morning
before running to school, not knowing
how closely the wings of the Angel
were dipping, or how methodically
men dropped bullets in their rifles.
by Anya Silver
Anthony's Temptation Speaks
Without temptation, no one can be saved.
–Anthony of Egypt, c. 300, C.E.
I’m the plate of bread, the sliver of cheese
the dram of Sicilian wine in your glass
the latticework shadows beneath the trees
cool breezes riffling the riverbank grass
near the home you left for this darkened cell.
I’m a sheepskin blanket on a cold night
a seat by the fire, the enchanting spell
of stories, banter, songs in the moonlight.
I’m a gold band snaking a slender arm
chains and bangles riding the curve of hips
a sweet body to spoon, to make you warm,
the taste of orange and clove on my lips.
I’m the last candle, the crook of the cave
the bliss of sleep that washes like a wave.
by Christine Swint
Fragile winter sunbeams
warm his cheek
through the window.
The wintered trees don’t want to,
but they obey the bitter wind.
Thin shadows twitch against
and his plate.
He picks up his fork.
She is not home yet.
by Jessica Wiseman Lawrence
A Scribbler's Ruin at 74
Whatever the losses were,
they are totaling up now
in the tide receding into
itself outlined by my own
shadow erasing me from
my memory. The yellow
lights of all the hallways are
collapsing into a heap of
notes and papers on the floor,
paths, traces of where I have
been. I am pathological
now, half-bent toward ruin,
the rest of me toward sleep.
Nowhere is there solace,
not even in my words, my
brief flares in the dark. I
shall make a bed with them
to lie in, their creased and
folded scribbling, things
I have only dreamed.
by Walter Griffin