Author Reveal 6
Six months, six issues and lots of celebratory cheers! We are so glad to receive feedback from our readers and writers that have been with us since the beginning. It feels like we are gaining momentum as we dig deeper into this little project of trying to understand the modern psyche and what drives us onward as human beings.
Writing is, and will be for a very long time, the best way to manifest the abstract in reality just by its sheer beauty and structural order. That is the Metric. So fasten your seatbelt and get ready to discover the eleven authors that was published in Issue 6.
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‘Fireway’ by Mark Blackbourn
Mark Blackbourn paints on clothing and skin, using a range of techniques from gentle spattering to bold smudges. Accidentally, while aiming for the canvas.
He paints to provoke reaction and revels in the observed:observer relationship. Loved or hated, the more people look at his work the happier he is. A tiny slice of your finite life spent in his world. A true honour.
The cover piece ‘Fireaway’ uses his semiauto technique whereby runny paint is dribbled onto the canvas, which is then picked up and held at varying angles while gravity and capillary action pull the paint to where they’d like it to be. The painter plants the seed of the image and encourages it to grow in certain directions but ultimately has limited control.
Mark paints under the pseudonym ‘Firm Gently’, a name representing the yin and yang of everything, stolen from the back of a seed packet. More of his work can be found at www.firmgently.co.uk
‘Fifty Sheets of Green’ by Hunter Martin
25 year old male. No desire to join the rat race. Always trying something new. Writes a lot but throws most of it away. Regarded as a bit of a nutter by some.
Can theft be righteous? Hunter Martin seems to propose something along these lines. Enter the mind of a modern Robin Hood. A character unwilling to participate in societies “rat race” as Hunter Martin self describes it.
Our protagonist doesn’t seem to perceive himself as a criminal, but rather someone superior to his victims, they are just targets for theft. They are rich and they support an unjust society that leaves the poor miserable and hungry. Fifty Sheets of Greens (obvious pun) touch themes that can be found in some of our modern social uprisings such as the Occupy Movement. It is an interesting take and works really well in its first person perspective journal-like form.
Hunter Martin has managed to distill the political sentiment of neomarxism into the weary bitterness of the commoner, filled with street smarts and intellectual dilemmas. Hunters story is compact, touches on a thinly veiled moral manifest, and maintain both theme as well as plot through and through in the ever so changing information age.
‘The Visitor of Room 213’ by Owen Bailey
A native of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Owen has always been a passionate reader bringing home more books than his many bookcases can hold. After he graduated from Washington College he returned just so he could read more, and took graduate classes for an English Masters Degree, which to him was a like a great book club that met every week to discuss the story and write about it. While taking classes he started to write poetry and in 2008 won third place in the Eastern Shore Poetry competition.
Hospital room 213’s final visitor becomes not only a comfort to 96 year old Marcus, but also a catalyst for his final moments of contemplation. With its specific eye toward language and linguistics, “The Visitor of Room 213” resurrects a wide range of subjects, from death to academia to western imperialism.
Bailey makes use of the time-tested technique of Death-incarnate visiting a man on his deathbed, and to good effect: the combination of well-written prose and an acceptance of life’s end strongly reminds the reader of a Dickinson poem, yet the short-story medium makes this much more vivid.
‘Of Tokoloshi And The Translator’ by Ndaba Sibanda
Ndaba Sibanda is a published writer, former National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) nominee, a writers` association chairperson, an English lecturer, an international ESL and EFL teacher and tutor, book editor, conference producer and researcher, and more recently, a freelance journalist . In 2005 his nationally acclaimed book, Love O’clock was published. In 2006, he edited a poetry anthology, IT`S TIME…
In 2007 he was in a team of young writers` editors/mentors on a British council project, Echoes of the Young. 2010 saw him contribute to an international edition – Poems for Haiti, a South African anthology.
This story does not open itself up to the quick glance-over or shallow read-through; instead, its idiomatic vocabulary and expressions make it clear that the author is going for something much deeper than a straightforward story. His exotic words are opaque yet intriguing, similar to Anthony Burgess’s famous use of language in A Clockwork Orange.
Touching on the past and present, and discussing themes ranging from family relations to the collision of modern English-speakers and locals who have difficulty in giving up their tongue, Sibanda creates a unique and memorable story, the kind that your brain will subconsciously pick apart days after reading it.
However, the unfamiliar language and syntax may prove too much of a barrier to understanding for some. The very traits that make it unique and multi-layered also render it resistant to a confident interpretation, which can understandably leave the reader wishing for something more satisfying.
‘She Follows Me’ by Cheryl Diane Kidder
Cheryl Diane Kidder has a B.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Her work, nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, has appeared or is forthcoming in: CutThroat Magazine, Weber–The Contemporary West, Pembroke Magazine, decomP Magazine, Tinge Magazine, Brevity Magazine, Brain,Child, Identity Theory, In Posse Review, and elsewhere. For a full listing see: Truewest – http://cheryldkidder.blogspot.com.
It is the stigma of childhood. Are we the product of nurture or nature? Whatever the answer might be, it is without a doubt that our biological parents and parenthood play a pivotal role in this complex equation. So when we doubt our own actions, is it strange that we look to them, their morals, their experiences in order to find ourselves again? I think not.
Cheryl Diane Kidder has created an interesting female take on the Oedipus tragedy. At the heart of this story lies the power struggle between an individual adult still revolting against the hereditary chains that always seem to remind us of our humble beginnings as a child. And just like in the Oedipus there is refusal and the dismantling of a power structure ultimately leading to a sexual encounter. And that is mankind. One of our longest withstanding tradition to sum up human civilization — we dominate and procreate.
Cheryl Diane Kidder makes an interesting choice as she puts the mother at the centre of her story. She’s the unwilling spectre from whose eyes we judge this story. She’s physically present and the constant critic of Kidder’s premise. Because parents never really leave, they are in our bloodstream, gushing in our veins, questioning our beliefs. And we honor them through dialectics, we honor them by fighting back.
At least that is what my Mom would advise me to write, that and doing the “bloody dishes”.
‘Friday Evening Visits’ by Martin Edwards
Martin David Edwards is a writer based in London. He publishes short stories regularly in the e-zines “Psychopomp” and “Bento Box” and is currently working on his first novel, “Vijay’s Last Complaint.” When not writing, Martin enjoys being walked over by his neighbour’s cats.
The keyword in ‘Friday Evening Visits’ is distance and not intimacy. Our protganist is unable to love but seemingly strives for it. He is afraid of touch but yearn for affection in the sense of some warped abstract and platonic variant.
And what is love? Martin Edwards hands us this take by employing a distinct style to mimic the protagonists autistic and asexual behaviour. The text is sterile. It’s lacking a libido. Almost list-like at its core. We see a character that trembles in thoroughness as he describes his preparation routines and the careful dialogue with the lady of the night. It’s a roleplay of the rolemodel 1950’s household. Is the character so completely lost and lonely in modern society that his only way to cope is to flee into a world that never really existed in the first place. Well Mad Men sure is a popular tv-serie. Why not?
It is the close relationship between prose and theme that makes Friday Evening Visits special. Think about how the text is written and how it reflects upon its main character.
‘The Wanderer’ by Alfred Lehtinen
Alfred is Bachelor of Philosophy currently studying for his master’s degree in English at Åbo Akademi in Turku, Finland. His mother tongue is Swedish, but he has always felt more comfortable writing in English.
One of our scholarly editors was particularly excited when he spotted this poem – a modern translation of the Old English poem of the same name – sitting in our inbox. Compared to the original Old English text, Lehtinen writes liberally of the opening lines ‘Oft him anhaga / are gebideð’ translating the line as referring generally to ‘the lonely’ rather than the individual ‘lonely one’ referenced in the original text. Perhaps Lehtinen’s aim is to make the old poem accessible to a modern audience by including them from the beginning within the direct address of the narrative itself, or maybe he needs to revise his Anglo-Saxon verb endings. Such are the pleasures of discussing creative translation.
Certainly, Lehtinen takes liberties with the wording of the text, but in a manner which preserves much of the original feel. In places, Lehtinen substitutes lines of original imagery for his own interpretation. These choices are occasionally surprising: the heart-stopping original lines ‘Eall is earfoðlic / eorþan rice, / onwendeð wyrda gesceaft / weoruld under heofonum’ (‘All is troublesome / in Earth’s kingdom / and the fate of events changes / the world below heaven’) become simply ‘the whole world is wretched and doomed’. In general, these changes retain the feel of the Anglo-Saxon language for the modern reader, and the the reintroduction of lost literature is always a fascinating centre of creativity and debate.
‘Untitled’ by Gwen Garnier-Duguy
Gwen Garnier-Duguy’s poetry was first published in 1995 in the surrealist-inspired review Supérieur Inconnu and continued to appear in the publication until 2005.
His poems have also been published in the reviews Sarrazine, La Soeur de l’Ange, POESIEDirecte, Les cahiers du sens, Le Bateau Fantôme, La main millénaire,Nunc, Les hommes sans épaules, Phoenix, Siècle 21. Ditch poetry (Canada), Polja (Serbie), The Enchanting Verses Literary Review (Inde). His novel, Nox, is published by the Éditions le Grand Souffle, and in 2011 Éditions de l’Atlantique published his first collection of poetry, Danse sur le territoire, amorce de la parole, with a preface by Michel Host, recipient of the Goncourt prize in 1986.
Gwen Garnier-Duguy and Matthieu Baumier founded the online magazine Recours au poème ((www.recoursaupoème.com) devoted to international poetry in May 2012.
Not one, but two translated poems in a single issue. This time, though, the source text is a little more contemporary. In its style, Garnier’s poem reads like a Dali painting made language – it reaches toward the impossible and inexpressible, its beauty made real by the silhouette of an image it can never form. It speaks of the necessity of its own failure to describe, and the basic value of the task, where the invisible ‘becomes the soil’ in which the seeds are sown for terror to change ‘into the flowers’.
In its own surreal way, then, the poem is a comfort to the mind of the visionary. It calls for a naturalisation of the impossible, and argues for the fecundity of imagination, both beautiful and implicitly grotesque. Though much is often said of the impossibility of translating poetry effectively, the mere effort here reinforces the poem’s content and enhances its context. After all, there are things that cannot be described in any language, no matter how well we write.
‘Theory of Essential Storage’ by Patrick Williams
Patrick Williams is a poet and academic librarian living in Central New York.
‘A meltdown already in the works is our introduction’
A gorgeous, Borroughs-esque collage of original poetry and home improvement advice, Williams’ poem is a superb demonstration of the modern obsession with the poetics of space. Indeed, the cry to ‘feel the walls’ in the very centre of the poem rings well beyond its borders.
With its mixed roots in the mind of the poet and the sourced text, we are given a fractured glimpse of a life and its problems in conjunction with a rosy optimism of mid-20th century techno-enthusiasm. That the house looks set to outlast the occupier puts dark spin on how the reader might view the concept of a home – for the woman on the text’s periphery, at least, it becomes more of a cage, and one we become willing to upgrade, at that. And with all the value we inevitably ascribe it, we become obsessed with a ‘glimpse of the furnishings’ beyond the life within.
‘Ashgrove’ by Thomas Costello
Thomas Costello is a sophomore Psychology student at Skidmore College from Hastings on Hudson, NY. This feud he’s having with my(him)self isn’t even original. But goddamn it is thick and rooted. He misses you most days.
What is a hero? How do they live? Costello’s Ashgrove seems to get beneath the skin of the inevitable war heroes of life and literature (‘are oppenheimer and shiva’), for whom ‘alive is not the default state’. Those whose acts of violence and destruction, fictional or otherwise, are immortalised and repeated on the page for ‘an emaciated infinity’. Irreversibility becomes the heart, as the poet damns the subject with the proclamation that ‘once is the only route’
While the premise alone is enticing, it is Costello’s conveyance of an eternal heroic guilt which leaps from the page. ‘Every footsteps a holocaust’ and talk of ‘genocide under your neurons’ both highlight the traumatic tragedy of the heroic position, yet maintain a blamelessness we struggle to reconcile. The opening words suggest the only real approach to this position – ‘stoic’ in tragic acceptance of the ‘labrynthine’ psychology of becoming the written enabler of violence. In the end, there is no salvation for the character already written – text remains, and ‘everything is fractal so eat your words’.
‘Waitress’ by Allan Johnston
Allan’s work has appeared in Poetry, Poetry East, Rattle, Rhino, Weber Studies, and more than forty other journals. Among other awards he has received a Pushcart Prize Nomination and First Prize in Poetry in the 2010 Outrider Press Literary Anthology contest. He has published one book of poetry, Tasks of Survival, which appeared in 1996, and a chapbook, Northport, published in 2010. Besides writing poetry, he is president of the Society for the Philosophical Study of Education, and teach writing and literature at Columbia College and at DePaul University, both in Chicago.
A curious experiment in metrical style, the equally fragmented structure of Johnson’s poem into three lines of six syllables each per verse creates an effect of timelessness in its descriptions, despite the continuous action in the narrative. This, coupled with its attention to minutiae, makes for a verbal portrait of the scene – a semi-frozen glimpse into a working day, carefully segmented and organised for analysis. In short, a creatively methodical exploration of the everyday, with fascinating results.
‘The Sound of Thunder’ by Dylan Townsley
Primarily a fiction and poetry writer, Dylan often writes non-fiction ramblings and essays that seldom see the light of day. Previously rejected from the The Metric, he decided to try again from another angle.
This is a great introduction for anyone who wants to understand what Noise music is all about. Dylan Townsley has written down some of the core tenets of this music genre understandable even the most casual listener.
He presents his case with a clear form and outline its philosophical ideas, the necessary historical background and packs it with modern culture references. Sure getting into Noise is really hard but reading this essay might just ease the initial pain for a rewarding experience that will allow you to create a wider base of what music can be and will become.