Abigail B. Calkin
Protocol in Bed
Soon to fall asleep again
I said Lovely. Thanks.
He replied Yes Ma’am.
Yes Ma’am. In bed.
To his wife.
A second of silence and I
burst out laughing. So did he
till we cuddled to sleep.
It never evaporates.
from SOUL OF MY SOLDIER by ABIGAIL CALKIN. poetryrepairs #211 15.04
POETRYREPAIRS #216 v15,08:085
John Horvath, editor
20 Years Online!
During the past 20-year publication run of POETRYREPAIRS we've published popular poets from print and online sources; we also cherish the early work of new poets found on our pages. Many continue to write for a public enthusiastic about poetry. That enthusiasm is found at all levels of education: in academic journals and local newspapers; it is profoundly universal and local with an impact of varied degree upon the hearts and minds of its readers. As an editor, I recognize the difficulty of making the 'perfect' issue for readers of varied levels of maturity and interest in the art of writing. I am always faced with the question "what is vernacular" for international readers with international interests. How does a poet know how and when to address that other, the global reader, when so many dialects and languages appear "pronincial" on the "interewst". Given the internet reality, the measure of one's success can only be longevity -- no one issue can fire the imagination of everyone in a magazine's audience. and no one year-run will distill the patience and tolerance of an audience.
POETRYREPAIRS is proud of its first twenty years online. We've reached an international audience of readers and writers. Our first issue contained work from a poet from India studying in California; Anjana Basu has continued to write in her native Kolkot. Meanwhile, Swedish, German, Greek, African, and Arab writers have graced our pages generally filled with English-speakers from Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zeland and US poets. We've had a great lasting relationship with Jan Oskar Hanson - a Norwegian living in Portugal, and writing in English. We were early advocates for new voices - particularly Elisha Porat from Israel and Hoosier historical poet Ward Kelly. These writers don't always tell our Western readers things they'd like to hear. But our writers are honest and thoughtful in detailing their views of the world. We can say that for all our poets and -hopefully- for our readers too.
We listen to our readers and often republish a poem at their request. When we do so, we match those poets with new peoms by others. It helps create new perspectives and new interpretations. We like to say we are reader and writer centered. Insofar as having a "center" is concerned, we welcome comments on individual poems (see Laurie John's critique of a poem by me, John Horvath, in this issue). Scholars have remarked on the poetry of MERCEDES WEBB-PULLMAN and poets have remarked on their own efforts (as Sue LITTLETON did so eleqquently in stating her understaning of the "proper" haiku form. Our cover artist is also a well-heeled traveller, giving us pictures of the quotidian in sundry places. Others have discussed trends popular and unsatisfacory.
We try to avoid politics and other forms of pornography that color the typical with false realities. As the world changes, so too our 'world-view', its values, and our way of being in the world - in the family, with neighbors good and bad, with the things and the people that interest us for the moment or over time. Poets give us snapshots of their own world-views; they suggest to those of us mature enough to care and understand, that these attempts to remake the world for our betterment do not come lightly - but even with humor- they are important messages from the reporters and prophets of our time. They make a unique record of who we are and how we are, our foibles and follies along with our hartreds of injustice and intolerance.
POETRYREPAIRS thinks the record of us in our time is about the best, the strongest, message we can leave our inheritors. So we hope to collect that record, to document our varied paths, to simply be as honest, thorough, and satisfying that any such endeavor as ours can be.
We'll do so as long as there are readers and writers, and as long as we are granted the good grace to enjoy what we do.
Thank you for reading POETRYREPAIRS
POETRYREPAIRS #216 v15,08:085
The more informed is the reader about a writer's persuasions and point of view, the better the reading experience can be.
About the Editor
It is customary for writers to offer a short autobiographical sketch to the publisher. Something brief in third person, like mine, will do:
Southside Chicagoan and second-wave immigrant John Horváth Jr. now lives in Mississippi;
he has published his poetry nationally and internationally (in European, Asian, and African journals)
since the 1960s. With degrees from Vanderbilt and Florida State universities, "Doc" Horváth has taught -
primarily at historically Black colleges - creative writing, literary criticism, literature, poetry,
and theory courses. An online mentor to new and emerging poets, John Horváth began in November 1997
and continues to edit poetryrepairs.com, a zine dedicated to promoting contemporary international poetry
and its poets [http://www.poetryrepairs.com].
Basically, it's the who-what-where of a writer's background and may include a few references to previous and/or recent publications.
Self-revelation is the weakest form of egotism; yet, be wary, as it is akin to an entry-level drug. At times, the sketch can focus on one unique characteristic. In my case:
I am the father of seven children.
Since returning to the States I have married twice. (I am not a bigamist.) The twins came soon; Lake, a girl, and Snake, obviously a boy. In the second marriage we produced Tree of Life, Rock, Moss, and Woodrow. I might add two adopted children - An (also known as Any) who has grown into a very particular young lady; and, Jesus LeRoy (as in "Jesus, Leroy, stop that"!). Lastly, the black sheep of the family, Mohammed Bob ran away to join a cult of travelling Sephardic icthyologists somewhere in the Amazon basin; They believe that air is simply a thinner level of water and that the world goes round on 'eat or be eaten'.
The oldest was born late during my first tour with the military. His mother was of the local civilian population in a 'third world' country. His name translated from the local vernacular is "As-sure-footed-as-a-mountain-goat,-he-leaps-from-one-precarious-peak-to-another. Peak." This follows a pattern familiar to Western readers: a longer followed by a shortened version as in "Nathaniel. Nate". I prefer to call him "Peak". We haven't kept touch as it was a short tour. And I am certain his need of English is nil. However I am fairly certain that Peak is a Yezidi.
A Yezidi holds that God's harmonious earth is Paradise; that evil-doers disrupt the harmony and/or despoil the earth. The purpose on earth for a 'good' Yezidi is to oppose evil-doers and preserve the earth. Simply put: there's us and there's them; leave us alone and do not mess with the earth. Many Yezidi, and Peak may be one, are animists: they believe that everyone and everything visible or invisible has spirit; we should recognize the spirit and be grateful for any connection. Thus 'Thank you, Sharp Rock, for suggesting that I walk elsewhere." or "Thank you, Thistle, for reminding me to look before I sit." To avoid indigestion or poisoning, one should always recognize the spirit and show gratitude. "Thank you, Slow Squirrel, for becoming part of my Brunswick stew" (don't forget to thank the spirits of the other ingredients- 'thank you, little Radish,' etc). For the animist Yezidi the world is full of gratuities and life is a cycle of gratitudes. Thank you, pen, for your ink; thank you, Ink, for adhering to the page; thank you, Paper Page, for being so level with me; thank you, Tree, for providing the pulp for paper page to be; thanks, Air and Rain, for helping tree to grow; thank you, God, and so on.
I am a family man
from SOUL OF MY SOLDIER by ABIGAIL CALKIN. poetryrepairs #216 15.08
POETRYREPAIRS #216 v15,08:085
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SOUL OF MY SOLDIER by ABIGAIL CALKIN. poetryrepairs #211 15.04
Only occastionally, like this introduction to the 20th year of POETRYREPAIRS online, will you find an editorial comment. I let my work speak for me.
BUT we like to include the traditional biographical sketch, particularly when introducing a new poet. Here are some likely examples.