Wilderness House Literary Review has taken four of my poems, all to appear in the April issue. This is a great source of joy, for I love this journal, the various memories it stimulates.
For instance, I often find the poems of Robert K. Johnson in its pages. For a long while, he edited Ibbetson Street Press, and accepted some of my earlier work. He was immediately encouraging and friendly, a much needed buoy in the oft-gloomy world of submissions. I will always be grateful to him for this. I keep up with his most recent publications by reading WHL. Decades of experience have honed his craft.
He has never seemed bitter or worn, even when writing darkly. For example, his latest chapbook (that I know of) is From Mist To Shadow. If any title suggests a sad soul, it is this one--but no. Somehow Johnson makes us cry while we learn from him, and even grow warm from his great wisdom and courage, reveling all the while in his precise lines. With a bard's fluent throat, he poignantly confronts the journey of his life from youth to late middle age. PoetryPorch, reviewing this chapbook, speaks well:
“These exquisitely cadenced poems, with their iambic and anapestic rhythms that seem to breathe so naturally within the speaking voice of the lines, remain open to a wide range of experiences even as they keep their distance, sometimes with wry humor, in the face of sickness and loss.”
A great poet and an extraordinary person.
The current issue of WHL (4.4) also contains familiar names I have long savored to read: Lynn Lyfshin, Christopher Barnes, Mike Amado, Howie Good, and Simon Perchik. All these folks are pushed to their intrepid edge by poetry editor Irene Koronas, a well-accomplished poet who is a true votary of stormy passion. Her latest chapbook, Pentakomo Cyprus, conjures a gamut of feelings. She is mercurially unveiled in her wonder, awe, and angst as she confronts the monstrous beauty of human/nature, using an obscure village as a philosopher's stone.
There is much more to be said about WHL, including its affiliation with the Wilderness House Retreat and the Bagel Bards; but tempus fugit for me, as always, and I am left regretting my weak mind and pathetic stamina.