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by Jack Alchemy and David Gershator

STONECUTTER: A Journal of Art and Literature. Katie Raissian, Ed. Brooklyn, NY. Issue 3. 2012. Biannual. $15.00.

Coming out of Brooklyn, an avant-garde powerhouse these days, is a beautifully produced literary mag whose most striking feature is its art. In this issue, the paintings, drawings, photos, and woodcuts are by artists Asher Katz, Bri Hermanson, Naomi Kamat(plus interview), Hél¸ène Akouavi Amouzou, Pat Perry, and Chris Russell. The art alone is worth the price of admission. The poetry stands out, too, with an international cast. Facing page translations of Coral Braco (from Mexico) and Dunya Mikhail (from Iraq). A sample from Mikhail's work:

           A song from another time
           survived with me.
           It follows me wherever I go.
           It runs after me.
           I crumple it into a piece of paper
           and throw it away.

           I unfurl the paper,
           smooth it out,
           whenever I remember
           a dead friend.

All in all a rich 144 page issue, with an excerpt of "Phaedra Backwards," a play by Marina Carr, a translation of "The Pianist," a short story by Ricardo Piglia, and poetry ranging from the experimental language of Christopher Middleton to the linked sonnets by the late Nicholas Moore. Originally published in 1944, here's Sonnet VII:

           The woman on the shore weeps in her mind.
           It is a mind of diseases. Birds
           Fly from her hair. There are no words
           She knows that have not been unkind.

           It is a stolid mind. If, as she weeps,
           She dreams of any heaven, it is
           A heaven where the whole world sleeps.
           She has no other thought of happiness.

           Children? A man? A man lies, children
           Die. And war. And pestilence. And promises.
           The soft winds brush the shore. Her eyes are hidden
           Under her hair and her hat. She never is

           Anything more than a phantom of flesh, a great
           Rhapsodic image of the world's defeat.


FROGPOND: The Journal of the Haiku Society of America. Haiku Society of America, PO Box 31, Nassau, NY 12123. Vol. 36:3, Autumn 2013. $14/back issues, $35/3 issues and membership.

Poetry is a small world & haiku is its smallest poem. FROGPOND, along with MODERN HAIKU (, are good starting points for discovering the form, going well beyond the artificial strictures of 17 syllables and 3 lines. Here's one by Tom Tico, a whole novel in 11 syllables:

           her letter...
           I'd forgotten
           paper can cut

And one liners on aging by Margaret Dornaus:

           hide and seek the ring around her memory

and Haiku Elvis:

           hole in my hourglass i slip in a little more sand

The mag also offers a section of haibun (prose plus haiku), book reviews, announcements re haiku competitions, and articles/essays such as John Stevenson's "Haiku as Dimensional Object" and Michael Dylan Welch's on "Getting Started with Haiku." 148 pp.


LIVE MAG! Jeffrey Cyphers Wright, Editor. PO Box 1215 Cooper Stations, NYC 10276. Issue 9, 2012. $5.00, or read on-line:

A shout out for the spirit of LIVE MAG! Thirty six staple bound pages, about a third of them black and white art repros, including an aluminum sculpture by Carol Ross and a painting from the "Menopausal Series" by Elizabeth Cope. No notes on contributors, but a few stalwarts of the NYC poetry scene are represented. Jack Alchemy envisions Bob Holman's "Water Man" and David Kirschenbaum's "daily poems" read aloud on stage: performance poetry is a focus of LIVE MAG'S activities (see the website for performance videos, artwork in color, plus Issue # 10). Poetry selections run the gamut from Janet Hamill's surrealism to Hal Sirowitz' punchy short takes. An excerpt from Hamill's "Ashes":

                      Sweet bird flushed with arrival
                    how high can you fly in a lifespan
                                 a ready nest is built
                           flame up in desert crimson
                           coded letters on the stars

Hal Sirowitz has a fan in Jack Alchemy, dead or alive:

           "Playing Dead"

           Looking through
           old family photographs,

           There's a good one
           of me playing dead.

           Was I practicing
           for the future?

           Or was it my one opportunity
           not to be photogenic?