I haven’t yet had a chance to read the full issue, but have instead sampled here and there as fancy took me. There’s a new poem by Catherynne M. Valente – the first in nearly two years! – that makes me want to amble on the range and shed fierce tears and laugh in the seized grasp of truth. “The Secret of Being a Cowboy” is powerful, and the accompanying audio recording by SJ Tucker in an Arkansas accent brings that point well home.
Sonya Taaffe’s “Persephone in Hel” is a paragon of macabre beauty and leaves me both delighted and creeped out. A startling juxtaposition to be achieved by one poem, but it’s true! Jo Walton’s “The Weatherkeeper’s Diary” is a slow little bit of cloud-gathering, equal parts pragmatism and whimsy. The timbre of Walton’s poem suits this issue of Stone Telling entirely, and adeptly strokes the reader’s imagination.
Beyond these, there’s a pantoum inspired by mathematics, a haunting prose poem concerning Lot’s wife (who deserves a name), kaleidoscopic poetry invoking the chaos of cities, and several other pieces as unlikely and surprising. The accompanying images are deftly chosen by Rose Lemberg, and there are audio recordings of the poetry where available.
Stone Telling is also unique among poetry zines in its inclusion of nonfiction columns. In this issue, you can find an article by Nin Harris on Muhammad Haji Salleh’s Sajak-Sajak Sejarah Melayu, as well as one exploring the pantoum that I am honored to have contributed.
In “There is That Line Again: Revealing the Pantoum in Context,” I explore how the pantoum emerged into the Western poetry scene from the Malay pantun. I included quite a few examples of Malay poetry, French poetry, and poetry in English, along with the historical context and an expanded definition of the pantoum form. If you have any interest in poetry, I hope you’ll read it – if you do, tell me what you think!
After you’ve read this fantastic issue of Stone Telling, be sure to continue on to the roundtable led by Julia Rios – this is another unique aspect of Stone Telling, and one that never fails to foster important conversations.
This issue of Stone Telling can be discussed at stonetellingmag, the zine’s Livejournal community. Also, if you’ve enjoyed the publication and are interested in supporting the arts, please consider leaving something in the tip jar at the bottom of this page.