Cloudbank 4 includes poetry and flash fiction by Kurt Brown, B.T. Shaw, Christopher Merrill, Francine Witte, Dan Lewis, Deborah Buchanan, Henry Hughes and others. All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song by Rebecca Foust, God, Seed: Poetry & Art About the Natural World by Rebecca Foust and Lorna Stevens, and Aspects of Robina
son: Homage to Weldon Kees by Christopher Buckley are reviewed.
Issue introduction by Michael Malan
Mirrors and Windows
Ashbery is one of my favorite poets. When I look into his poems, I like what I see. Other readers may find this sort of writing inaccessible or difficult, particularly if they resist supplying meaning to a poem and prefer that the poet paint a picture or describe a scene.
Window poems present a somewhat different perspective: looking out instead of looking in. In a window poem, “The Moon Losing Its Color All Over the Street,” Marianne Boruch describes “A woman [who] is taking off her clothes and putting on / feathers. Darkness fools / a town like this. Her watch, her shoes / lie glowing on the grass. / I am living / in an attic heart across the street.”
In Boruch’s poem, the narrator is observing her neighbor from an upstairs window. In fact, she seems to desire a clearer view: “I’ve cleared the window soot,” she writes. We can identify with what the watcher sees, but the scene she describes is her own. Rather than looking in—at our own feelings and impressions in a mirror—we are looking out, at someone else’s world.
PRIZE WINNING POEM
by Francine Witte
Every midnight, we’d end up
tromping the cobbled streets,
shardy old shoes and pumpkin
guts under my nails. Grab on!
he would yell, as if this time
the spell wouldn’t break. Can’t
we just buy a carriage? I would
say. But that wasn’t the point.
Truth is, he’d gotten hooked
on the magic. Adrenaline pop
of watching the footmen turn
back to mice. Some crazy
addiction to sparkle and poof.
While I just wanted the simple
things, a reedy broom, the honesty
of dust. In time, I got him
to give it up, go to bed early.
But that didn’t stop him from
sneaking out, digging my slipper
out of the trash bin, tiptoeing
past the fireplace and searching
the town for the girl I used to be.
Poets and writers in Cloudbank 4
Gale E. Hemmann
Lawson Fusao Inada
Oz Hopkins Koglin
Penelope Scambly Schott
James K. Zimmerman