Michael Boldizar Reviews Able Muse’s Winter 2014 Issue

After reading through some previous poetry highlights from the Able Muse website, I decided to give the entire Winter 2014 Review a read. As I expected, I found a handful of thoroughly enjoyable poems, including “Sunny,” by Catherine Savage Brosman, and “Gyroscope,” by J. P. Grasser. “Sunny” catches the attention of the reader with a setting,  placing the reader in the time of grandparents and great-grandparents: 1920’s America. Brosman, in the final stanza, captures a sad, honest moment with particular beauty:

“She’d watch the evening gold and salmon play

across the sky and wonder if next year

she’d see them still.”

“Gyroscope,” on the other hand, focuses on specifics, pulling the view outward into surreal existentialism. The key shift is visible over three lines, though it reads smoothly, showing Grasser’s skill in this piece:

“… It’s useless now, rendered

obsolete without the thread – frayed, cut short

by years of force.”

Is the narrator sympathetically detailing an old gyroscope, or are they projecting their personal woes and worries of age onto it? In both cases, these poems deal with aging, the effects of it, and musings over the inevitable in beautiful ways.

Well-written, typically form-oriented poetry was expected, as New Formalism is a significant part of the publications that I encountered on the Able Muse website. Though I was aware they published across mediums, I was unaware of how many non-poetry works were included in the Winter 2014 Review, including multiple pieces of fiction, photography, works of art, and even an interview with

R. S. Gwynn, a poet writing and publishing as a New Formalist. For those interested in multiple mediums, yes, Able Muse’s focus is literary, never subscribing to any particular genre, medium, or style. They want to publish quality art in all mediums, and they succeed in doing so.

Some of the included writing may, on the surface, seem like light reading, like a little break from the “dense” moments, but there’s always something to chew on beneath. Looking at the poem “Squirrels on Skis Star Performer Dies” by Roy Bentley, for example, the reader is given a musing on death and the weight of living after the passing of a YouTube sensation: a skiing squirrel. In the included fiction, too, the story “The Tire Swing of Death,” by Thomas Dobozy, also looks at the contemporary obsession with internet fame and the bizarre, cult-like following surrounding it. The piece, unlike our musing over a squirrel, takes a darker, surreal turn, acting somewhere between a cautionary tale of fame and a discourse on supernatural power.

The editing has a visible quality to it, where we’re taken through arcs of literature and placed into a new medium once the arc is completed. Readers will return to the realm of the real, exiting the ivory tower offered by the featured poets and authors, and are guided toward interviews, essays, photographs, and paintings, featuring pieces from Gustavo Thomas, showcasing a variance of themes and settings. His range is both impressive and thought-worthy, moving from the National Monument of Scotland on a cloudy day to a human egg, illuminated and isolated.

In all chosen works, across mediums, Able Muse’s collections walk the border between archaic and contemporary, selecting artists and authors with publications that freshen up the old, whether that’s through style and content or by taking on older elements in a contemporary setting. For readers seeking a hybrid publication that specializes in refreshing classical elements, then Able Muse would be right up your alley. Collections, such as the Winter 2014 Review, are all accessible via their website. No matter your tastes, so long as you seek quality in art, you’re sure to find something enjoyable in these collections.[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://minotaursspotlight.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Boldizar-Image-not-Thumbnail.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Michael Boldizar is currently a graduate student at Arcadia University, taking his M.F.A in Poetry. He has a deep appreciation for the classics in literature and, upon graduating, seeks to begin a career in teaching at a college level.[/author_info] [/author]