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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Review of Phantom Drift, a Journal of New Fabulism

I admit that the first few pieces that I read in this curious journal I did not like very much. The introduction editorial intimated that many of the pieces therein “may well be indescribable," and given what I had just read that seemed about right. Then I read Stephen McNally’s poem, Rabbit. The poet relates in glorious detail how he befriended a long-eared fettuccini eating rabbit, who knew secrets about stone lions and spirits, who have lost their way. In fact it turns out that the very existence of the poet is dependent on the rabbit,

So he imagined a train, and a train pulled up before him.
Once inside, he imagined a railroad that shot into the fish eye of time, and
there was a railroad.
He imagined a journey so impossible it would lead him to a land of hard
bricks and gravity, and he found my world.
Then he imagined a man with blue rings of fire in his brain and he
found me.

Predictably enough, the rabbit caused the poet to drink heavily and indulge in sympathetic drugs in an effort to erase the rabbit’s hold on his fragile world.  It didn’t work but something else happened,

Sober, I was about to take up religion
when, one evening, his words (for reasons you wouldn’t understand)
seemed reasonable and clear.
Like a waterfall, it all crashed down on me, but lovingly.
He was my friend…

Okay I get it now. But how could I possibly review this journal, where, in the rabbit’s philosophy,

Art is a game of killers
and life is nothing but swamp gas, a flash in the summer sky.

In desperation and despair I went out for an evening walk.  I turned the corner at Nursery Street and there he stood, looking at me with not a little interest, somewhat larger than a normal rabbit and, yes!, he had long ears. We had a great conversation. I told him how I had stopped writing poetry thirty plus years ago—writers block big time, and how lately things seem to have turned around. He explained McNally’s next poem called Moon to me.

For more of my review go here: http://www.dougholder.blogspot.com/2012/03/phantom-drift-journal-of-new-fabulism.html

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