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“Young Woman Writing” (1908) by Pierre Bonnard (3 October 1867 – 23 January 1947)

 

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Year 3. Thank You.

Dear MHR aficionados and aficionadesses, 

It’s been such a deep pleasure to do the work for MockingHeart Review. Just sublime. 153 poets. All worthy. All of the poems struck me as deeply meaningful and well-crafted.  It’s not just a one-woman operation. It’s a collaboration of our poet-contributors and readers, too.

MockingHeart Review loves you. Love us back with a donation, if you can, to help defray costs. We have a new LOVE BUTTON on the sidebar if you feel so inclined to show your appreciation to keep the flow going.  Like our Facebook page, too. 

Really, thank you for this, and for devoting yourselves to and supporting the vital work of poetry.

~Clare L. Martin
Founder, Editor of MHR

P.S. Here’s a full list of our Contributors so far– asterisks for those who have appeared more than once.

MockingHeart Review Poets:
Candelin Wahl
Meggie Royer
Kristin Berger
M. Stone
Karla Linn Merrifield*
Sarah Dickenson Snyder
Judith Skillman
Martin Willitts Jr
Tyler Robert Sheldon*
Howard Faerstein
Jeffrey Zable*
O Mayeux
Anne Leigh Parrish
Cliff Saunders
Connie Post
Jordan Sanderson
Jennifer Martelli
John Warner Smith*
Zofia Provizer
Jack Bedell, Featured Poet
Ellis Victoria
Jon Tribble
Megan Burns
Allison Joseph
Devon Balwit*
Carolyn Gregory
Tom Montag*
Brittney Corrigan
Sarah Bigham
Lynne Burnett
Robert Okaji*
tanner menard
Alec Solomita*
Karen Craigo
Claire Donohue Roof
Michelle Reale*
Jeremy Hight
Featured Poet: T.M. De Vos
January Pearson
BD Feil
Stephen Frech
Roy Beckemeyer
Kelli Allen*
Stella Nesanovich*
Catherine Arra*
Michael Dwayne Smith
Anne Elezabeth Pluto*
Kayla King
Jim Zola
C. Wade Bentley
Jared Pearce
Margarita Serafimova
Gary Beck
Beate Sigriddaughter
Featured Poet: Debra Bailey*
Paul Ilechko
David Spicer
Ronda Broatch
Beth Copeland
Ace Boggess
Ira F. Stone
Anja Benevento
Ava C. Cipri
Nolan F. Meditz
William A. Greenfield
Joel Fry
Richard King Perkins II
Byron Beynon
Tree Riesener
Simon Perchik
Phyllis McLaughlin Nauman
Larry D. Thacker
Howie Good*
John Riley
James T Blanchard
Elizabeth Kirkpatrick-Vrenios
Edilson Afonso Ferreira*
Denise Rogers
David Ishaya Osu
Carolyn Gregory
Bessie Senette*
Ashley Mares
Annie Bien
Amanda-Jane Terlesky
Featured Poet – Mary Carroll-Hackett*
Andrea Wyatt
Aden Thomas
Katie Manning
John Grey
Robert Crisp*
Kelli Simpson
Bill Yarrow
Helen Losse
Diana Raab
Kevin Dwyer
Jeremy Spears
Inalegwu Omapada Alifa
Christine Beck
Meredith McDonough
Charlotte Hamrick
Karen Corinne Herceg
Arlene Ang and Valerie Fox (collaboration)
Nicole Scott
Ajise Vincent
Terri Kirby Erickson
Susan Ferraro Prevost
Sheryl St. Germain
Sandra Sarr
Samuel J. Fox
Richard Krawiec
Rachel Dacus
Lisa Ludden
Lindsey Royce
Laurie Kolp
Kimberly Ann
Juanita Rey
Genaro Kỳ Lý Smith
erin wilson
Elizabeth Burk
Yuan Changming
Darrell Bourque
d. n. simmers
Christine Swint
Tim Suermondt
Sally Stevens
Stacey Balkun
Jason Jones
J. Bruce Fuller
Nicole Melchionda
M.S. Rooney
Alessandra Bava
Charles Bane, Jr.
Arlene Ang
Seth Jani
Mathew Pereda
Keith Nunes
Domenic Scopa
Patrice Melnick
Sam Rasnake
J. K. McDowell
Melinda Palacio
Cathy Safiran
Gina Ferrara
Amber Edmondson
Carl Boon
Kenneth Pobo
Mary Wallach
Susan Tepper*
Hillary Joubert
Alisha Goldblatt
Charles Garrett
Lisa M. Cole
Rich Boucher

An interview with Amber Edmonson

lostbirds(1)

MHR: First, l I want to congratulate you on Lost Birds of the Iron Range. The collection is exquisite and the poems are pristine. Can you give us some of the backstories of birds/mines which work to structure the poems?

AE: Thank you so much! This collection started as a love letter to the wild landscape of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where I live. The area has a history of mining and logging that drew large numbers of European immigrants to the area in the 1800s, so the book is also a love letter to migration: the places we are from and the places we go, the things we bring with us, and what we leave behind. And that’s what I imagine the mythological birds to be—the objects of both the old and new lands, one always ceding to the other as cultures arrive and change and merge.

MHR: Can you speak to the imagined historical time that these poems would take place? What land encompasses the Iron Range as you envision it?

AE: The real-life Iron Range spans much of the Upper Peninsula and all along Lake Superior. In the U. P., the peak of modern mining was the mid-1800s, which is when I imagine much of my book’s history to occur. This is the time of the birds and the young woman whose journey we follow.  I have also included poems from the perspective of The Historian and the Historian’s Apprentice, who are from the present, looking back on the past and speculating.

MHR: What are your ideas of why poets are attracted to writing about birds? Do you believe myth plays a part in this? How were you drawn to write these poems?

AE: Oh gosh, birds are so common but also so otherworldly, aren’t they? I know “poets writing about birds” is a cliché, but I also think cultures have been exploring the idea of birds for millennia, so I doubt any of us are giving up soon! (When Nicci Mechler at Porkbelly Press sent me my acceptance for this book, she noted that it was one of several bird collections she had received. Eek!) I hadn’t intended to write a collection initially. It was just one poem (I forget which one, or if that one even made it into the final draft), but after the first poem, they just started flowing, each one inspiring the next.

MHR: Were any of these poems inspired by dreams?

AE: Only the waking dream of living in this place! I am answering these questions half a mile down the road from a place literally called The Yooper Tourist Trap, which boasts a giant chainsaw out front, as tall as a house. The chainsaw’s name is Big Gus. And then there are the ethereally beautiful stretches of wilderness: waterfalls and winding trails through cedars and the untamable shore of Lake Superior. And then there’s the way the wilderness is interrupted by the eerie, terraced mines on the horizon. So, none of the poems were inspired by actual dreams, but there’s something very surreal about living here.

MHR: There is a line in “The Historian’s Apprentice Shares a Secret,” that reads “what is written removed from what is true.” What guides you to remove language to uphold structure and sense in a poem?

AE: Oh, that’s a great question! I often find that I tend toward too many words when my core words aren’t quite right—when they aren’t “what is true.” If my noun is off, or my verb, then I try to nudge them into the right direction with adjectives and adverbs and metaphors. Lately, my goal has been to cut away all of that, to cut down to the barest essence of what I am trying to say. My poems have gotten very small lately, something closer to silence.

MHR: Birds seem to take on mystical qualities in these poems. Did this liberate your language and enable you to be visionary while grounding the work in the various narratives? Did you find that the mystery of birds allowed for the poems to transcend the mundane?

AE: It really did. A few years ago, I read an essay by poet Fleda Brown where she lamented that her poems often stayed too close to the shore, and I wanted to use these poems as an opportunity to explore the more “out-there” waters for myself. The poems let me take more mundane elements—the scent of cardamom found in traditional Finnish bread, for example, or the mending of clothes—and couple them with these mythological birds. It was such a freeing exercise.
MHR: You have two poems, “Motherland I” and “Motherland II” What is the journey to which you allude?

AE: These poems follow a young woman as she leaves Finland with her husband so he can work in the Upper Peninsula’s copper mines. Those were some of the last poems I wrote for the collection (I think I originally had twenty-seven before paring it down for Porkbelly’s micro-chapbook contest), and I hope they helped to ground the themes of migration and home with the experience of one specific character.

MHR: How can someone purchase your chapbook?

AE: Lost Birds of the Iron Range is available through Porkbelly Press: https://porkbellypress.com/catalog/micro-chapbooks/2017-series/edmondson/

MHR: Thank you for taking the time to respond to our questions.

 

Edmondson

Amber Edmondson is a poet and book artist who lives in Michigan’s
Upper Peninsula. Her work has appeared in publications such as Diode
Poetry Journal
, Menacing Hedge, and MockingHeart Review. She is the
author of two chapbooks: Darling Girl (dancing girl press 2016) and
Lost Birds of the Iron Range (Porkbelly Press 2017).