Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Irresistible, Seductive Bookstores and Why You Might Want a Print Copy of Gyroscope Review


Some of us go on vacation to unplug, hike, enjoy a different landscape. Writers tend to notice all the bookstores.
Our editor Kathleen Cassen Mickelson recently visited Ireland and kept seeing wonderful little bookstores that invited readers to curl up with a good book.
Where would you like to curl up with a good book this summer? Or, even better, a print copy of Gyroscope Review?
Did you know that any monies we receive from the sale of our print copies goes entirely back into the cost of running Gyroscope Review?
We do not ask for reading fees, nor do we ask for donations. But you can support us by buying a print copy of our journal and rest assured that the money you spend will help keep Gyroscope Review going for poets and readers everywhere.
Where you curl up to read is entirely up to you.

























































































If you would like to purchase a print copy of the summer issue of Gyroscope Review, please click HERE.


Free Verse Is Not a Free For All

Since today is Memorial Day, and Freedom is on my mind —

Free Verse Poetry, what’s that all about?” A question from a friend who is often bewildered by modern poetry in general. She likes reading it, but was raised in the grand tradition of Poetry That Rhymes. Don’t get me wrong, I love Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti and a plethora of other rhyming poets. I’ve just learned to widen my scope and dig for other influences. Most poets don’t spring forth from the head of Zeus, fully inspired. Neither do poems, although it would be grand if they did.

Wild Nights—Wild Nights!
Emily Dickinson

Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile – the winds –
To a heart in port –
Done with the compass –
Done with the chart!

Rowing in Eden –
Ah, the sea!
Might I moor – Tonight –
In thee!

Western poetical tradition (As opposed to Eastern or Oriental tradition) has a keen interest in poetical meter down to poetical feet per line. In the English language each foot usually has a syllable with a stress and one or two without a stress, presented in a pattern. Other languages may vary depending on the length of the vowels and the number of syllables in a word. Up until the last hundred years or so Iambic Pentameter was one of the most popular forms of meter in the English language. For examples, read Shakespeare. If you’re not interested, read him anyway, for the pure joy of how language should look on the page and sound in your mouth, or fall on your ear. At least listen to a good recording done by a British Shakespearean actor. Talk about rapt attention. Or maybe that’s just me.

Sonnet CXV
William Shakespeare

Those lines that I before have writ do lie,
Even those that said I could not love you dearer:
Yet then my judgment knew no reason why
My most full flame should afterwards burn clearer.
But reckoning Time, whose million’d accidents
Creep in ‘twixt vows, and change decrees of kings,
Tan sacred beauty, blunt the sharp’st intents,
Divert strong minds to the course of altering things;
Alas! why, fearing of Time’s tyranny,
Might I not then say, ‘Now I love you best,’
When I was certain o’er incertainty,
Crowning the present, doubting of the rest?
Love is a babe, then might I not say so,
To give full growth to that which still doth grow?

Popular opinion blames Walt Whitman for the downfall of rhymed poetry or the schism that occurred when he published Leaves of Grass and liberated poets to embrace free verse as a style. There was freedom to use poetry and language in a brand new way. Whitman wanted poetry to be ‘natural’, without the constraints of traditional meter and rhyme. I see the influence of Whitman on the Beat poets, on Ginsberg, and reading one then the other is an eye opening pleasure. We cannot escape our past, and as poets we need to mine the past for inspiration as much as we observe what is around us.

From a Wikipedia article: “Free verse is a term describing various styles of poetry that are not written using strict meter or rhyme, but that still are recognizable as ‘poetry’ by virtue of complex patterns of one sort or another that readers can perceive to be part of a coherent whole.”

Free verse is not totally without rules. Free verse poetry still has to hold together internally, to have cohesion and coherence, to make a point, to follow a pattern. In its own way, free verse is as rule bound as a sestina or villanelle. If you want to create a good free verse poem that is.

by Walt Whitman

WHO includes diversity, and is Nature,
Who is the amplitude of the earth, and the coarseness and sexuality of the earth, and the great charity of the earth, and the equilibrium also,
Who has not look’d forth from the windows, the eyes, for nothing, or whose brain held audience with messengers for nothing;
Who contains believers and disbelievers—Who is the most majestic lover;
Who holds duly his or her triune proportion of realism, spiritualism, and of the aesthetic, or intellectual,
Who, having consider’d the Body, finds all its organs and parts good;
Who, out of the theory of the earth, and of his or her body, understands by subtle analogies all other theories,
The theory of a city, a poem, and of the large politics of These States;
Who believes not only in our globe, with its sun and moon, but in other globes, with their suns and moons;
Who, constructing the house of himself or herself, not for a day, but for all time, sees races, eras, dates, generations,
The past, the future, dwelling there, like space, inseparable together.

Whenever I Saw You I Handed You a Bouquet, and
By Sharon Olds

what about those nosegays?! If you were to return
I would give you more, for all you have given us, for
your going first. Those posies might have a
peony, a freesia, a tulip — an eye snack
and nostril snack, I could not get enough of
giving you coronation bundles, handing them
and almost bowing, tongue-tied with
respectful adoring, with gobbling
the sight of you the sound, the bouquets saying mother-
— we would not be here, without your song, your eye.

Source: Poetry (February 2017)


The End of Another Reading Period

We hope everyone is getting into holiday mode! At Gyroscope Review, we are in get-the-lead-out mode as we go through the poems we’ve accepted for our January issue, organize files, create covers, write editorials, and, if we’re lucky, eat fudge.

This just-completed reading period, which technically ends at midnight tonight, had over 350 poems submitted and slightly over 50 accepted. Thus, our January issue is going to be packed with good stuff, which is just what we hope our readers want for that chilly time of year around here.

And now a special holiday poem/recipe, because a little silly does us all good sometimes.


(with apologies to James Pierpont, who wrote Jingle Bells)

Standing in the kitchen
wooden spoon in hand,
the roll of foil glistens
as it lines the pan.
On the stove I mingle
sugar, milk, and butter,
make it boil and jingle.
So much stirring, I mutter.

Oh, making fudge, making fudge,
making fudge for Christmas.
Oh what fun it is to cook
in a kitchen that is warm!
Making fudge, making fudge,
making fudge for Christmas.
Oh what fun it is to cook
in a kitchen that is warm!

After five whole minutes
I have to add some stuff:
chocolate and vanilla – shoot!
Forgot the marshmallow fluff!
Take it off the burner,
stir till things all blend.
The perfect dish for winter,
a great gift for my friends.

Oh, making fudge, making fudge,
making fudge for Christmas.
Oh what fun it is to cook
in a kitchen that is warm!
Making fudge, making fudge,
making fudge for Christmas.
Oh what fun it is to cook
in a kitchen that is warm!

Outside the ground is white.
Inside I lick a spoon,
warm fudge a tasty sight
in this lovely cooking room.
I’ll wait until it sets
then cut it up for all
their appetites to whet
at the Yuletide ball!

Oh, making fudge, making fudge,
making fudge for Christmas.
Oh what fun it is to cook
in a kitchen that is warm!
Making fudge, making fudge,
making fudge for Christmas.
Oh what fun it is to cook
in a kitchen that is warm!

(based on a real recipe from the back of the Kraft Marshmallow Creme jar)

(No, we would not accept this for our own journal, but feel free to sing it aloud.)

Happy Holidays to all and to all a big

thank you for your submissions this reading period.


Happy Mother’s Day from Gyroscope Review

Mothers. Everyone has one somewhere. So we hope you celebrate yours, or celebrate you if you are a mother, this Sunday.

And here, for your poetry pleasure, is a sampling of some of the poems we’ve published that offer pieces of what mothers do, feel, long for, and mean. None of these are traditional celebrations of motherhood, but they do dig beneath the idealized vision we are used to. We invite you to have a look once the Mother’s Day celebrations are over, when you have a quiet moment or two.

Crooked Pinkies by Laurie Kolp, Gyroscope Review issue 15-1, page 23.

Now We Will Speak in Flowers by Micki Blenkush, Gyroscope Review issue 15-1, page 25.

A Poem About Maria Theresa by James Graham, Gyroscope Review issue 15-1, page 27.

Chorus by Terry Jude Miller, Gyroscope Review issue 15-1, page 37.

Fried Bread by Patricia Frolander, Gyroscope Review issue 15-2, page 26.

The Starving Wind by Steve Klepetar, Gyroscope Review issue 15-3, page 7.

Long Lost by Oonah V Joslin, Gyroscope Review issue 15-3, page 22.

Never Forget Why Your Wrist Throbs by Alexis Rhone Fancher, Gyroscope Review issue 16-1, page 26.

Olive Oil by Julianne DiNenna, Gyroscope Review issue 16-1, page 39.

When You Think You’re Ready to Pack Up Your Grief by Alexis Rhone Fancher, Gyroscope Review issue 16-1, page 40.

Dead Line by Claire Scott, Gyroscope Review issue 16-2, page 15.

My Sister Tells Me by Kathleen McClung, Gyroscope Review issue 16-2, page 17.

Ten O’Clock, The Day Already Threatening by Kari Gunter-Seymour, Gyroscope Review issue 16-2, page 20.