From the poetry editor’s desk: an introduction to our inaugural issue…

The three authors selected to run in Parhelion’s premier issue present some things that I most admire and crave in poems.

In Brandt’s work I find the position of the voice is always at the edge of things. It’s almost as if she is singing to me as I fall asleep, the narrative going along nicely, soothingly with interesting detail only to break sharply, taking me seamlessly through to a new liminal reality without disturbing the cadence or believability. I go with the dream, or will it be a nightmare? Some poems are written entirely in this voice, as incantation, but I am always amazed to find myself so quickly through a doorway and navigating a deeper world.

In Shelton’s selection, there is an exotic, old-world purity of perception distilled and unbothered by modern noise. This has the effect of collapsing time, the present and the past, and creates a space for lucid observance among unique characters that seem completely native to his landscapes. There are moments he reminded me of Seamus Heaney, the Irish Nobelist. The language itself is an indelible aspect of the landscape and reflects a particular way of knowing and being that is just slightly beyond the narrator’s ability to fully claim as his own. It is the newness born out of the ancient and this gulf of longing between that I find so enchanting.

Pobo’s poems are also well peopled and focus on character inhabiting a particular time that is gone now and, therefore, elegiac but without being overly nostalgic or sentimental. The voice is often removed and lists catalogues of observance without adding explanation. He leaves it up to the readers to piece collages together and say finally, this is a type of life or intimate experience, and we make the meaning. We are not spoon fed, and it’s a pleasure to do the work.

Collectively, these are poems that cast spells and surprise. The best poems are more than well written, are more than just the right words in the right order, do more than perform some trick or another, and are more authentic than clever. The best poems are filled with tangible experience and intrigue. The best poems echo back that nameless thing we have felt, give it name, and place it on the tongue. When I accept a poet for publication, the work, after my initial read, has already transubstantiated and changed me, and my own imagination is expanded and engaged.

Darren Morris
Poetry Editor
Parhelion Literary Magazine