Monday, June 6, 2011

Dreams And Nightmares #88 (January 2011)

Reviewed by Alexandra Seidel

Dreams and Nightmares promises fantastical poetry. The magazine delivers. There are vampires and dragons, dead things, sentient moons, Merlin, and more. Bruce Boston's 'I Met a Woman in the Shadow City' is a beautiful prose poem that also appeared in his collection 'Dark Matters' (a review of which can be found here), but it mixes well with the crowd of poems assembled in Dreams and Nightmares' 88th installment.

"The kind necrophiliac proposes marriage / after a long courtship." begins Nathan Whiting's 'A Secret Would Decay If I Told'. It is a deeply dark poem this one, and ends as these things must, glassy eyed, dead, delusional as their beginnings.

There is more of death and plague in 'Yellow Wallpaper' by Elizabeth Lee, in which death walks on the silent feet of fever dreams. This poem has strong imagery which Lee contrasts masterfully with the hard realities of the plague that is delivered in plainer words. The impact on the reader is immediate and strong.

Further along, Lorraine Schein lets Nimue tell us about Merlin in her 'Nimue, Enchanted'. It is, of all the poems in this volume my favorite for its use of rich language that I find positively addictive: "Merlin's hands are the thinnest dry white shells. / His beard feels like the silkiest gray cattails. / Salamanders flame in his voice." But there is not just language to be liked here. Schein draws a picture of fickle love, of love that can be strong, and of love unrequited. The truth in this makes the poem so strong.

Sentient celestial bodies can be found in Kurt MacPhearson's 'Io's reality check'. If you don't know your Greek myths, this poem might be a good place to start.

Almost at the end you will find 'Gavage' by Robert Borski in which there is a dragon and a cook, a combination that should strike anyone as unusual. This poem is beautifully sinister and if I hadn't been a vegetarian already, I might be very much considering it now.

There was also the promise of the undead, if I am not mistaken. Well, the issue features two vampire poems, but don't fret, they do not sparkle. Both mention poetry though, and I'll leave it to each reader to figure out what's up with that. For your reference the poems are 'Sign Language' by Gary William Crawford and 'The Heaven of Vampires' by Hillary Lyon.

Enjoy the dreams; enjoy the nightmares. Happy reading.

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