Tag Archives: contemporary poetry

Issue 17-3: Summer 2017 is Here

We are pleased as can be to offer our latest issue of Gyroscope Review for your reading pleasure. This issue offers several thoughtful reactions to the state of world affairs as well as pieces that provide respite. Poets tackled difficult topics, teased apart what is sold as fact, and gave us poetry that shows just how engaged, enraged, and enlightened literary artists can be.

The poets included in this issue are:

Linda Baldanzi
Ace Boggess
Michelle Brooks
Yu-Han Chao
Barry Charman
Dan Darrah
Holly Day
Michael Wayne Friedman
Marissa Glover
James Graham
Lois Marie Harrod
Sue Howell
Jeff Jeppesen
Oonah Joslin
Mike Jurkovic
Stepy Kamei
Charles Kell
Steve Klepetar
Sandra Kohler
Susan L. Leary
Jenny McBride
Ashley Memory
Lyndi Bell O’Laughlin
Ken Poyner
A.R. Robins
Claire Scott
Mary Sesso
Marian Kaplun Shapiro
T.J. Smith
Sarah Dickenson Snyder
John Vanek
Sally Zakariya

To read this issue online, click on the cover below below. This PDF version may also be downloaded into your iBooks app if you have one.

GYROSCOPE REVIEW ISSUE 17-3 SUMMER 2017

We hope you will consider buying a print version of our summer issue. Just think: you don’t have to charge it or plug it in, just open the pages. Linger. Enjoy. Think. Perhaps respond in some way.

A print copy can be purchased through CreateSpace at https://www.createspace.com/7293869 or CLICK HERE.

You can also find us on Amazon.com and Amazon.uk. Just search for “Gyroscope Review fine poetry” and any issues, past and present, that are available as print copies, should pop up. In fact, you can CLICK HERE for our search results. (For digital back issues unavailable in print, please CLICK HERE.)

If you care to engage with others who read Gyroscope Review, visit our Facebook page and start a conversation. Find us on Twitter. We’re on Instagram, too. Poetry can be the spark. Let it burn brightly.

 

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Book Review – Billy Collins “Ballistics”

Book Review – Billy Collins “Ballistics”

Ballistics

 

 

Ballistics

by Billy Collins

Random House 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4000-6491-5

 

An interesting book of poetry from former poet laureate Billy Collins (2001-2003) is titled “Ballistics”, perhaps as a warning to the reader that a careful analysis is in order. Wikipedia defines ballistics as “the science of mechanics that deals with the motion, behavior, and effects of projectiles”. Collins throws a lot at the reader in terms of history, poetics, and profound ideas disguised under subtle word play, continuing the precedent he set in a previous volume, The Trouble With Poetry. The poems in Ballistics are deeper, more introspective, and in need of repeat readings to grab all the nuances not obvious at a first read through.

The sly humor of previous volumes is still present, just not as ‘in your face’. It’s a testament to Collins’ growth as a poet that he feels free to engage the reader with a more intellectual style of humor, one that counts on background and experience to carry the twists. Collins’ work, is as always, readily accessible -which makes those that believe good poetry should be pretentious – uncomfortable, to say the least. How dare this guy recount experiences that we all can understand and share in? Isn’t good poetry supposed to be as dense as Aunt Mary’s Christmas fruitcake?

An interesting undertone permeates the poems in Ballistics. Although many run over 40 lines, there is a very ‘haiku’ like quality to the work. After carefully setting the scene and leading the reader in one direction, Collins takes pleasure in offering up an ‘aha’ moment that is startling in its clarity.

In ‘Aubade’, the reader wonders along with Collins why he is up at 5:00am, sitting on the edge of the bed. The reason, in the last stanza, is profound in its simplicity, and makes perfect sense in the grand scheme of things.

In the poem ‘Ballistics’, the underlying tone of dark humor is helped along by Collins’ self-deprecating style. When he twists the knife into the hapless hero of the poem, you can’t help but feel a guilty rush of glee.

In ‘New Year’s Day’, it’s Collins’ wonderful touch with description that carries the day.

“as I lowered a tin diving bell of tea leaves into a little body of roiling water’

and

‘an X in a square on some kitchen calendar of the future’.

In ‘On The Death Of A Next-Door Neighbor’, we get yet another take on Collins’ personification of death. Just like all Collins’ poems where Death is a character, we find out Death is not someone to be feared, but a regular Joe with a job to do. It might not be the type of employment Death wanted, but if he’s going to do a job, he’s going to do it well.

It’s no big secret – I’m a fan of Billy Collins, even more so now that I watch how his poetry evolves. It’s a risk to move beyond what you know people like and will buy, to something that embraces growth, not only for yourself, but for your readers as well. Ballistics is recommended, not just for fans of Billy Collins, but for those who want to carry a poem around in their head for days after and wonder, “Why have I never seen things this way before?”.

This is what we are looking for in submissions to Gyroscope Review. We want to see poems that go beyond the ordinary, that dig deep and serve up an offering that’s different, unique, or just plain out there. Surprise us, delight us, disgust us, but move us somehow. Study Collins, study other poets you admire and see how they deftly handle language, imagery, and imagination. Be subtle, be outrageous, but above all, be you. We want to hear your voice, shouting down a thunderstorm.

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