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Thursday, February 1, 2024

The Storm


 COMING SOON!

The Storm 

New poems 

by Mark Lipman

Pre-order your copy today at a special discounted rate.

Only $15.

 

There are two words that describe Mark Lipman’s book, The Storm, — engaging and compelling. His poems are also remarkable for their insight not only into the individual’s struggle to find the answers to surviving the stress and emotional chaos of daily life, but for their calming suggestions and influences—and all while maintaining the rhythm and soul of both the poem and the poet.

 

Whether addressing THE STORM within the soul of the individual, the senseless killing of a homeless man in STICKS AND STONES, the struggle between the rich and the poor, the inanity of war in PICKING SIDES, or the never-ending conflict or perhaps choice in AN ODE TO LIFE OR DEATH, Lipman’s poetry offers a perception that not only reveals the truth but possible solutions.

 

Lipman’s poetic style is obviously drawn from his world travel and experiences interviewing different people, seeking new adventures, and gaining an intimate knowledge of wide-ranging cultures and beliefs. This has given a unique perspective to his poems. While most poetry reflects the world through the eyes of a poet, Lipman’s marked empathy encourages him to remain just barely outside each poem just enough to be both objective and passionate at the same time.

 

Yet, as Lipman points out, one must not lose sight of WHAT CANNOT BE CHANGED in which he points out that “. . . There are just things / that cannot be done / no matter how hard we try, / that we must accept as they are.”  But even then, the poet cautions “. . . the journey continues every day . . . often uphill . . .” The trail, never-ending continues . . . /  at the top of the slope . . . rest and reprieve . . . beyond the common path . . . to THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HORIZON.”

 

Generally speaking, the more a poet explores the search for the meaning of life, love and tranquility, the more the poem becomes an expression of the poet’s techniques rather than a revelation of the poets insight and emotional susceptibilities. The poem, THE OCEAN SEA, expresses both this exploration and the richness of Lipman’s techniques, but the real treasure lies in the subtle portal into the poet’s sensibilities.

 

His “perfect moment of tranquility” is none-the-less highlighted by “that no matter how distant we may be, / with love in your heart, you can never be alone.” Turns out, it’s not this “. . . speck of dust / that we all call home,” but that it’s “in moments such as these” we may “. . .find that elusive peace.”

 

The ocean, seagulls, tide coastlines are integral element of Lipman’s poetic quest for paradise, both a place and a sentiment he expresses as an undiscovered place” in “Across the Blue Horizon,” where “the soul could truly fly,” it would in a dream “that stretches on forever” and “where the ocean serenades you / and puts your mind at rest.”

 

The title poem, THE STORM,” begins with the premise that “life is not complete / if we only live on sunny days / with tranquil seas to lull / us back to sleep.”

 

We do not wait / for ideal conditions / to raise our voices / to speak of revolution / to ask permission / to live.” As the poet says, we laugh and dance and cry but look the muse “right in the eye / and let her know you do not conform.” At the point, Lipman appears to step inside his own poem to reveal that he is the master of his own fate. “I don’t run away from the rain, / for I am the storm.”

 

While much of this work is an expression of Lipman’s skill in stretching the limit of contemporary poetry, it also embraces a poet’s appreciation and love for traditional rhyme and meter, and there’s no finer example of this that as TO LOVE LIKE A POET “…Thru the Passage of Time,” artfully uses both true and slant rhymes to capture the passage of both love and time.

 

Still, Lipman does not get far away from the sea, rather it a nod to Lawrence Ferlinghetti whose own “Door to the Sea” was both a painting and an abstract expression, incorporates the sea, tidal waves, cliffs, ships, oceans and shores, a full press to an unknown horizon. This poem is an excellent lead-in to two well-written poems, AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD and ODE TO THE ANCIENT MARINER.

 

In his Introduction to this collection, Lipman reveals the reasons for writing his reflections of and on the world as seen through his eyes, “. . . to set myself adrift and let the winds and raging waters carry me where they may.” And while his poetry is carrying him away, he remains cognizant of the indisputable truth, or in his words: ”… I’ve also come to realize that the storm is likewise an internal one, one in which I must create those calm seas within me, to find a true balance in life, to not only be active in this struggle we all fight just to stay afloat, but to use the time I’ve been given to truly make the most out of life.”

 

Of course, IF ALL ELSE FAILS . . . “. . . and there’s no greater poetry than the look of love in a woman’s eyes.” Now, that’s what I call seeing the world through the eyes of a poet.

 

Dan Speers, CitizenPoet
Poet Laureate, Haverhill, MA

 

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Dissent


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Vagabond is pleased to announce that the selection for our upcoming anthology, DISSENT (an anthology to end war and capitalism) is complete and contains over 90 poets from around the world, to be release later this year.
 
Support this urgent work from the most powerful voices on the planet, as they call for a lasting peace and economic sanity, over a system that is imploding and leading us all into the abyss, by pre-ordering your copy today.
 
(Currently Out-of-Stock) ORDER your copy today for only $25

 
 

They say you need a great opening line/ opening scene to grab your audience and keep them reading. Dissent: an anthology to end war and capitalism from Vagabond manages to do this multiple times. The opening quote from Greta Thunberg not only stuns but accurately captures the theme, from which this collection never wavers: ‘The one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere.’

Editor Mark Lipman then rips into his introduction, asking: ‘If a poet’s job is to seek out and expose the truth, we are then left with the most relevant question of all, which is, “What is truth?”’ That is a question that this diverse collection of contributors returns to, again and again. No matter what issue they engage with, the images (both visual and verbal) confront and reveal facets of the truth, no matter how sharp.

The opening poem is accessible, universal, and wickedly intelligent. From v.f. Thompson, So It Goes:

i am staring down the barrel of my future

waiting for the bombs to fall

 

regardless of verdict

i am already a prisoner of war

 

i think of Lot’s wife and how i love her

because to turn around and look

is so human

 

I have to comment here that I am currently taking a workshop on the strength of the line in poetry. Not only is this a powerful message but the form of the poem is a lesson in enjambment. It was wonderful to see the quality of the pieces selected for this book.

And so I was hooked. There were so many memorable snippets that it was difficult to cull a set to share here. For example, from Aleksey Porvin in  Ukrainian:

 

an army tunic sewn

as if to leave room for future holes – medals or bullets,

the fabric doesn’t care

 

I stopped for a few minutes after reading that. Declared war, undeclared, the unremitting slaughter of innocents by guns all around us. The fabric doesn’t care. But maybe we should care.

 

Sometimes it’s the simplest images that prove so powerful. The first line from Howard Friedman, They Can Never Take Our Love, is both refreshing and haunting:

 

When the rain hits the refugee camp it still feels like a gift from god

 

Or this, from Beppe Costa, The Slaughter of Gaza:

 

the most equipped army in the world

fears stones and rising brains

 

And there you have succinctly captured the power of uprising: stones and rising brains. Youth and those who are fed up have always been the agents of change in the world.

 

Florence Weinberger paints a scene of watching the news on TV at dinner time in If You Want To Talk About Your Hatred Of War:

 

do you really need a word by word translation?

You know she’s pissed or scared or sick, maybe all of it,

and she’s holding

 

this skinny kid, hard to tell how old it is,

and it hurts yet you keep eating

and you keep watching; you have to.

 

It’s a scene both visceral and a cool remove away. And that’s the challenge, as we are bombarded by information from all sorts of media. We both want to see and to look away.

 

Several other poems stood out in this massive anthology: Proper Terror, Robert Priest; 6,250 Miles Away in Afghanistan, Nan Ottenritter; Ode to a Psychological Operations Officer in Vietnam, Tom Ferrebee; Sunday: Late- Stage Capitalism, Gerard Sarnat; Pandemic Dreams, R. B. Simon; Eight of Swords, Robert Beveridge; News Feed, Lee Eric Freedman. The artwork also deserves a shoutout. Mark Lipman has proven again to be a master at providing images that complement and accentuate the poems.

 

I’d like to end this review with a quote that speaks to the root cause of so much of the strife discussed within: fear. Fear can unite or divide us. Let’s take the time to read these words, absorb the messages, and act to solve the problems we face. From Isabell T. VanMerlin, Gimme Shelter:

 

So gimme shelter – gimme shelter from the fear:

the fear that makes people call the police

the fear that makes people want to be police

the fear that police live on

the fear that war is all about

the fear that makes the weapons for war

the fear that gives soldiers and shooters and suicides purpose.

 

Yeah, gimme shelter, would you?

Just lookin’ for a place to sleep.

All of this in only two words: Highly recommend.

 

                                                                    - Elizabeth Wolf

 

Elizabeth S. Wolf’s recent books are A Collection of Partings (Kelsay, 2022) and I Am From: Voices From the Mako House in Ghana (editor, 2023). Elizabeth’s poetry appears in multiple journals and anthologies and has been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes. Rattle Summer 2022 featured her Prisoner Express Chapbook Project. Elizabeth is a member of the Scheherazade Project 101 Artivists.

 
(Currently Out-of-Stock) ORDER your copy today for only $25
 

“Dissent: An Anthology to End War and Capitalism” emerges as a poignant and timely collection, interweaving the poetic voices of anticapitalist visionaries from across the globe. In an age marked by the ascendancy of ruling elites who manipulate power to foment wars and steer humanity towards the precipice of climate disaster — all fueled by the unrelenting mechanisms of capitalism — this anthology serves as both a clarion call and a reflective mirror to our times.
 
In a landscape where the majority remains entranced by corporate news and the comfort of apathy, these voices are a rare and refreshing departure. Amidst the prevailing silence or the clamor of complacency, these poets use their words to awaken the masses. Their courage to rise against the status quo set them apart. In a world where dissent is often stifled by the allure of ease, these poets bravely bear witness to the unvarnished truths that lie hidden beneath the veneer of complacency. Their verses urge us to question, to reflect, and to join the chorus of those who dare to seek change.
 
Across a spectrum of styles and tones, “Dissent” showcases the resolute spirit of those unafraid to challenge the entrenched doctrine of capitalism. Amidst the cacophony of a profit-driven consumerist culture, these poets strike back with the language of the oppressed to address systemic inequities.
They collectively channel a shared ethos of resistance. They reveal the ceaseless cycle of exploitation and conflict. The ruling class manipulate the gears of power, steering humanity toward self-inflicted ruin. As the looming specter of climate change darkens the horizon, the poets underscore how capitalism’s insatiable hunger undermines the very bedrock of our existence.
 
The anthology’s potency lies in its collective voice against the absurdities of our era. It transcends geographical confines, as poets hailing from diverse corners of the world contribute their verses to this symphony of dissent.
 
In a world scarred by capitalism’s destructive reign, this anthology stands as a testament to the enduring strength of human creativity and the unwavering resistance to surrender. Through its verses, we are reminded that while ruling elites may wield fleeting dominion, the collective voice of dissent resonates with unwavering clarity, guiding us toward a future anchored in peace, justice, and equity.
 
Jay Ponti
 
Author and Activist
 
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Monday, August 28, 2023

Re-Beat


 COMING SOON

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Vagabond is happy to present, RE-BEAT (new and selected poems), by Igor Costanzo, for publication later this year.

I first met Igor Costanzo 20 years ago, while I, a traveling poet, based out of Shakespeare and Company in Paris, happened upon Verona, Italy. This was to join with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who was presenting in Fluxus art event, Back to Beat, curated by Francesco Conz. I was staying with Francesco at the time, and Igor, a young and budding poet, still in university was Francesco’s assistant for the event, and even participated with his own poetry in this multi-media performance, also involving myself, the great Italian musician, Omar Pedrini, and likewise the famous San Francisco poet, Jack Hirschman.

Igor and I, both young poets at the time, made an instant friendship that has now lasted for two decades.

When meeting Igor for the first time, I was struck by his deep connection to the beat poets and how Ferlinghetti had already written the introduction of Igor’s first book, I Wish to be Light, with poems translated by Hirschman.

Since that time, Igor Costanzo has grow to be a leading voice for poetry in Italy, with his work known around the world and translated into several language, and not only that, but Igor has also become known as the “environmental poet,” a title that I became aware of when visiting Italy in 2017, to participate in the Monigart Festival a Moniga del Garda, which he organized.

In the last years, as all great poets do, Igor has started building those international bridges between poets, poetry and communities around the world, introducing some of the most important poets from every corner of the globe to the greater society as a whole, with his weekly poetry column, Traces of Poetry, which appears in the newspaper, Brecciaoggi.

It’s clear to me, both as a poet and publisher, that Igor’s voice is an important one for this new generation of poets that’s springing up from the footsteps of legends to carry on the work of being the voice of our collective human consciousness.

For these reasons, it’s with great pleasure that I, and the press Vagabond, present Igor Costanzo to you and welcome him into our publication family.

~ Mark Lipman

editor-in-chief, Vagabond 

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 Only $15

 
 
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