Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Wishing for a Broadside?

Click Cover to Purchase
If you're looking for a handful of good poems gathered together in an attractive format, try Wisconsin poet Karla Huston's beautiful broadside, What To Wish On. This arrived in my mail the other day and was a delightful surprise, a gift sent by Karla. I've seen broadsides before but always with one poem set against  a decorative background. This is different. More like a hybrid, a cross between a broadside and a chapbook. I was immediately charmed by this lovely and special way to put together a small collection of poems.

The publisher began with one 11" x17" piece of blue paper. In one quadrant on the first side he put the cover, in another he put the blurb, and in the remaining two he put one poem each. He then laid out 5 poems on the other side, folded down once from top to bottom and then sideways to get something that looks like a chapbook. The publisher's own pen & ink drawing is on the cover. 

R. Chris Halla, the publisher, lives in Wisconsin and came up with this project a few years ago. Karla's is #14 in the invitational series.

The poems are all previously unpublished, all strong poems individually but also nicely and subtly connected to each other. Blurber Mariann Ritzer says these poems "take me on a journey off the interstate and onto the backroads, the country roads where I can hear the  wonderful sounds of assonance and consonance in the lines and phrases that take me up and down hills, around curves--quickly, slowly. . . You don't want to miss the narrative these seven gems tell collectively about love and sex (and the abyss between.)"

Here's the title poem:

What to Wish On

Not the breastbones of birds, forgotten
and drying on a shelf, nor the fairy seeds
of cattails and dandelions taking flight,

not the Evening Star, Venus’ light,
as the night flips its dazzling switch.
Don’t wish on your child’s lost tooth,

clippings from tiny nails or the umbilical root.
Don’t wish on the green flood
of four-leaf clovers at your feet

nor candle flames – for some are tricks
that steal your breath.
In fact, don’t wish on fire of any kind

nor the little piggies of your toes,
not the soft moles on your grandmother’s chin.
Rather, wish on the blue moon who comes

so seldom, you forget about her.
Now she’s returned to steal your conceit
as her mouth opens to your petitions.

What To Wish On can be securely ordered online via PayPal for a mere $4.50 which includes postage. Your broadside will arrive signed by the poet.


1 comment:

  1. So happy to find your post, Diane! Sounds like a nice little piece of art to read!


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