Bust – Pomegranate # 11
Pomegranate has gone a long way since its first issue. It is no longer a modest online website but a fully fledged Arts Council funded flashy one with forums and everything, but it hasn’t sold out. Its purpose is still to publish online great poetry, articles and reviews. So how does its 11th issue stand to scrutiny?
Well, it’s a fairly small issue: 15 poets and 3 reviews. So I’ve decided to shoddily summarize each poem in fifteen words. I’ll count S and T apostrophes as words only when it suits me.
A. Erwin ‘Relica’
The morbid tale of a man’s battle to keep his body, an eyelash is lost.
A. Erwin ‘Stages of Decay’
X-Rays can’t show what is really hiding inside your ribcage – even when you decay.
Alex Gabriel ‘Gustave Courbet Paints the Virgin’
Origins of the World can’t be virginal – Madonna’s whoring. Subtle ekphrasis of Courbet’s pubic painting.
Cara Brennan ‘Freight Train’
You tagged your name on a freight train and it is travelling 200 miles now.
Chris Marr ‘The Visitor’
Mr Mandelbrot catalogues tube carriage passengers and thinks about general elections before returning to light.
Daniel Payne ‘L’Inconnue de la Seine’
Payne takes the story of a mysterious woman’s death mask and fills it with cake.
Edward Sibley ‘Dream of a Plumb Line’
I dreamed of a plumb line …and then I didn’t wake up from the flatlands.
Hannah Tuson ‘The Routine’
The narrator plays along with an old woman’s fantasy every day. He’ll never come.
J.M. Conrad ‘Breaststroke’
What have you done to her – the chlorine still wins when she swims it down.
James Coghill ‘Pinocchio’
Geppetto is in love with a fabric doll and kids himself sometimes- mannequins aren’t real.
Joe Dresner ‘God’
Snail carries a chapel on its back and when destroyed could almost turn an atheist.
Josh Turner ‘Harbour’
A day at the seaside, a peephole pebble, swallowed children and a jellyfish fighting death.
Mohsen Jabbari ‘Biking’
A wild bike ride through rainy streets, his heart stutters like his bike on potholes.
Sarah Chapman ‘An Account’
Irish uncle with a gunshot hole in his hand likes to piss with the door open.
David Tait ‘Ayuthaya’
In praise of a head and its journey after it has left its original shoulders.
Phil Brown ‘Taba’
Travel diary of a border sham town, photo-shopped authenticity for tourists, he realizes nothing.
Issue #11 is overall impressive, particularly so when considering that many of its authors are under twenty and may not have had opportunities to workshop or test out their writings yet.
‘Bust’ as a body part appears to have encouraged a certain sense of fragmentation in the writers. An aspect is picked up by a poet and examined, as is the snail (by Joe Dresner), relics (by A. Erwin), a puppet (by James Coghill), a head (by David Tait) or a painting (by Alex Gabriel), through which the poet plays with the uncertainty of being. Others take a quasi-narrative through which they drop bombshells, as is the case in particular with Phil Brown and Hannah Tuson. Overall there is a running theme in this issue of religion, ‘creation’ and its counterpart ‘destruction’ –handled deftly by already mature hands.
There is still a sense of painting-by-the-numbers. The poems are good, often surprising, sometimes exciting, but none quite generate that sheer bewildering insanity or hold you in your palm only to crush you. It’s all there though, it won’t take much to push them over the edge – does someone want to lend me a hand? Just a hand will do. Thanks.