METAPHOR AS SEDUCTION, a Craft Essay by
Cleaver Magazine
by thwack
2d ago
Henrietta Goodman METAPHOR AS SEDUCTION It sounds ridiculous—the first person to seduce me was T. S. Eliot. I was fifteen, in 11th grade English. Most of the poetry we read that year required a process of “translation” from antiquated to contemporary language. In “Thanatopsis” by William Cullen Bryant, I uncovered the appealingly morbid idea that because the world is so old, and people have been dying for so long, everything is made of dead people. This was kind of punk rock, but Bryant’s voice didn’t feel relevant. That spring, the journey through poetry-time stopped in 1915 with Eliot’s “Pr ..read more
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YOU CANNOT FORBID THE FLOWER, a novel by Elizabeth Lukács Chesla, reviewed by Benjamin Selesnick
Cleaver Magazine
by thwack
2d ago
A novel by Elizabeth Lukács Chesla, reviewed by Benjamin Selesnick YOU CANNOT FORBID THE FLOWER (Tolsun Books) Elizabeth Lukács Chesla’s hybrid auto-fiction novel, You Cannot Forbid the Flower, includes three different voices, each looking through the same historical period: in Hungary, from the decades leading up to World War II up through the communist occupation in the decade afterward that led to the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The narrator is a daughter born to parents who each experienced the revolution and immigrated to the United States soon after. Her parents ‘voices come through, t ..read more
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WELL BEGUN IS HALF DONE: A Writing Tip by J. Bradley Minnick
Cleaver Magazine
by Layla Murphy
5d ago
J. Bradley MinnickWELL BEGUN IS HALF DONE Estimated reading time: 3 minutes Okay, so this writing tip is not going to be very popular—particularly in a culture that yells “go-go-go-do-do-do” and imagines that people can attend to more than one thing at a time (which, by the way, we can’t—very well). My mother was infamous for her “Rise & Shine” lists, which began with the item “rise & shine” (two items really). The first of the compound easy to cross off; the second, for many of us, not so much. (Of course, my father, the cockeyed optimist, always said it was an A+ day when you woke up ..read more
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BUILT AROUND THE FIRE, Poems by Nathan Lipps, reviewed by Dakotah Jennifer
Cleaver Magazine
by thwack
1w ago
Poems by Nathan Lipps, reviewed by Dakotah Jennifer BUILT AROUND THE FIRE (Stephen F. Austin State University Press) “Mourning doves linger beneath the basket of seeds waiting, discussing applications of empathy or economics, what poverty means” Miles to go before I sleep in Frost’s poem is like an echo in the woods. It is not just about a snowy wood in the evening, it evokes exhaustion, desperation, peace, and pain. I’ve never been one for nature poems, mostly because I feel there are better ways to say, we have miles to go. But sometimes, there is no other way. My favorite works are authorit ..read more
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THE DEVIL FORM: A Writing Tip by Rob Greene
Cleaver Magazine
by Layla Murphy
2w ago
Rob GreeneTHE DEVIL FORM Estimated reading time: 4 minutes As a graduate student, my preparations to teach poetry to undergraduates made me hyperfocus on craft, and I ultimately decided to begin with teaching how to make an image. My full understanding of the makings of lists within poems—as exemplified by Etheridge Knight, Dorianne Laux, Joseph Millar, and Lucille Clifton—came after I developed what I call the devil form. Poems written in the devil form total thirteen words, including title, and must have a six-syllable title, six-syllable first stanza, and six-syllable second (and final) sta ..read more
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ZORAN by Alex Barr
Cleaver Magazine
by thwack
1M ago
Alex Barr ZORAN Even in the distance you looked foreign. Hair frizzed up above a frown, clown’s blob of a nose. Going very slowly, considering the relationship of the bicycle to each building you passed. Yes, a frown—you were always worried. Your lodgers (had they locked up?), your job (they only tolerated you), your mother (dying and incontinent). But there was more to it. A deep, deep worry. About the universe. Had it been put together right? Did anyone know? If not, how could they make a plan? You approached. For a few seconds you rode straight, then wobbled. The wobbles had different ampl ..read more
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ACCIDENTAL ROOMMATES by Elaine Chekich
Cleaver Magazine
by thwack
1M ago
Elaine Chekich ACCIDENTAL ROOMMATES I hardly knew Quibble when I started sleeping on his couch. We’d served under Lt. Pablo in Afghanistan, but mostly we were on different details and didn’t hang much. Lt. Pablo was a hero in living color, a guy with stormy eyebrows and careful hands, a good guy whose voice soared when he talked about his pregnant girlfriend; he couldn’t wait to marry her and bounce the baby on his knee. There were times he covered soldiers with his own body. I know, I was one of them. He loved to say everything was connected, you, me, and everybody. We had to look out for ea ..read more
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CREATION MYTHS by Harrison Candelaria Fletcher
Cleaver Magazine
by thwack
1M ago
Harrison Candelaria FletcherCREATION MYTHS 1 –Coyote grasps at straws within adobe. careful as threading. an eye of a needle. seeking a key. within river clay. opening a door. finding a face. where to belong. where to rest. beating. yearning. hammering chest. prying a way in. through cracks outside. nose to terron. warmth of fire. never understanding. the path of the clock. looking back. broken lock. turning again. toward home left behind. knowing the gnawing. echoing mind. ghost he sees. reaching hands. whispering loss. kissing sand. leaving  him howling. reflected moon. awakened from a ..read more
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BEDSIDE by Victoria Korth
Cleaver Magazine
by thwack
1M ago
Victoria Korth BEDSIDE When I say darkness, I mean everything I don’t understand, my mother’s breath in mine before I was born. In the dark, her breath pauses and mine goes on, pacing in its neutral candor. Can it be mistaken for hers? Shape, interval, depth, even tone, green branch, sun’s heat, balsam when she ran, while I hid beneath her heart. Now my heart disowns her, my breath tastes of mint, gone wild. Victoria Korth’s poems and reviews have appeared in Stone Canoe, Broad River Review, Ocean State Review, Tar River Poetry, LEON Literary Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Barrow Street ..read more
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ARE THEY OR AREN’T THEY? by Meg Yardley
Cleaver Magazine
by thwack
1M ago
Meg Yardley ARE THEY OR AREN’T THEY? Leah was standing in the feminine products aisle. At least, she had always thought of it as the feminine products aisle until just now, when she realized it was also the condoms aisle. Now she was surveying racks of condom boxes hanging from black wires, trying to figure out whether her teenage daughter and her teenage daughter’s boyfriend were having sex. Leah had read a study saying that four out of five teenagers wanted to learn about sex from their parents, but maybe Chloe was that fifth teenager. Chloe had always been self-contained; as a child, she w ..read more
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