Letter from the Founding Editor
If there is one thought that encompasses Rockvale Review’s second issue, these lines get my vote:
“. . . you wonder where the words came from . . . you being you, which is to say you being human, being worried about what it means to be alive.”
So says Jo Angela Edwins in her poem “Appellations.” And so say 26 other poets as they reveal, in 30 incredible poems, some integral part of what it means to be human. Issue Two contains poems about identity and death, about relationships and work, about loneliness and longing. There are poems about spring and the intensity of love. There are poems about place and how setting informs not just our past but the way we understand our future. I’m proud of this issue’s breadth of subject matter and width of poet geography – 23 poets from 17 different states and 4 international poets. I’m proud of this issue’s range and variety of form – from free verse to sonnet and pantoum, from prose poems to letter and list poems. Issue Two is alive and kicking!
I can’t write further without praising Issue Two’s Featured Photographer, the brilliant Michelle Casady. This was a test for RR, to see how we might integrate a visual artist’s talent with poetry. It was not a simple undertaking. Michelle read and contemplated every poem before pairing it with a photo. Several of the pairings required a specific staging of elements (and a trip to the store!) in order to capture the photographer’s interpretation of the poet’s tone and word choice. (See George Perreault’s “Mill Work” and Joan Michelson’s “Sprouts” as examples.) Michelle balanced abstract emotion and metaphor with a visual image as skillfully and delicately as any poet could hope to do with words. (See Melissa Greene’s “Curiouser and Curiouser.”) Please read the “Photographer’s Note” included with every photo to gain an even greater appreciation of Michelle’s creativity and attention to detail. I beg you, don’t miss that! I think you’ll agree her perception adds to the poems in substantial ways.
I’d like to point your attention also to our “What’s in a Name” page. Serendipitously, I met a Rockvale, TN native at a poetry reading who shared with me historical and anecdotal information about our namesake town, Rockvale. In order to show appreciation to the community from which our journal hails, we’re going to share a small story or tidbit of information about Rockvale in each issue of Rockvale Review. Huge thanks to Mr. Dana Lowe for sharing his memories with me.
Finally, I thank the poets who join our community of RR by sharing their poems in this issue. From Nick Bush’s comical interpretation of dancing at a wedding (“I Watch While My Sister’s White Husband Dances at Their Wedding,”) to Jennifer Judge’s wistful longing for something more than the mundane in life (“March Letter,”) to Georgia Knapp’s dreamscape of armadillos (“Looking for Armadillos,”) to Domenic Scopa’s contemplation on living in an world where uncertainty is a constant (“Faculty Meeting Morning after North Korea Launches ICBM”), these poems reach into the questions we all have about living in this world and provide a starting point for understanding. If there is one “reason” as to why we shouldn’t abandon our search for meaning in this life, perhaps Jill Talbot, in “13 Reasons Why Not,” gives it to us in her final two lines:
“13. Because 13 wasn’t enough, you could keep going
14. Because you could keep going”
I wish you the best, dear friends, as you keep going.
P.S. My heart-felt appreciation to my fellow RR editors: Nancy, Roseann, Christine, and Laurie. These women read a LOT of poems during the reading period and offer invaluable insight as we make our decisions. I am indeed blessed to work with this group of poet-editors.
If you wish to order a print copy of Issue Two, you can do so by clicking the red MagCloud link below. Print copies are $16 plus shipping. Digital issues for all your devices are free with the purchase of a print issue. Digital copies only are $4.00. For links to individual poems, just click on the poem titles below. Enjoy!
“Finding the Desert at Daybreak” – by Stacy Nigliazzo
“Diary Entry on the Run” – by Yvette Schnoeker-Shorb
“A Man’s World” – by John Stupp
“Mill Work” – by George Perreault
“Instagram” – by Heidi Seaborn
“Curiouser and Curiouser” – by Melissa Greene
“My Dad Always Hated Tattoos, so I Wrote a Poem Instead” – by Caitlyn Parris
“Front Porch” and “Late November Woods” – Two Poems by Suzanne Marshall
“March Letter” – by Jennifer Judge
“Zinnias, Onions, and Compost” – by Terry Savoie
“Night Visit” – by Nels Hanson
“Mother Nature” – by Ellaraine Lockie
“There is No News Cycle on the Trail” – by Mitchell Nobis
“Maria” – by Elizabeth Spencer Spragins
“one day in 1590” and “one day you say” – Two Poems by Kate LaDew
“City Boys” and “The Marriage Counselor Channels King Solomon” – Two Poems by Tania Pryputniewicz
“Lessons from James” – by Kelly Sievers
“Tablelands Sonnet” – by Kevin Casey
“Appellations” – by Jo Angela Edwins
“Looking for Armadillos” – by Georgia Knapp
“Because I Read too Much into Everything” – by Rebecca Macijeski
“Sprouts” – by Joan Michelson
“Beach Mix” – by Dan Morey
“Faculty Meeting Morning after North Korea Launches ICBM” – by Domenic Scopa
“Where Women Go in Middle Age” – by Barbara Black
“13 Reasons Why Not” – by Jill Talbot