Sunday, June 18, 2006

Editor's Note

Volume 1.2 of Blood Orange Review is now available.

17th century haiku poet Chigetsu has a poem that seems similar to how I felt while compiling the new issue of Blood Orange Review:

Bush warbler: I rest my hands in the kitchen sink.

Often, we move through our day forcefully--rushing, pushing, and working to finish everything we need to finish. But the submissions that arrived in my mailbox over the last month were like Chigetsu's birdsong; they made me pause and listen.

Leave the dishes in the sink: they won't go anywhere.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Creative Writing Prompt #5

At a Christmas party this year, I received an intriguing party favor--a diamond shaped thing about the size of a walnut labeled "Princess Towel." The instructions simply said "sprinkle with warm water." A few seconds later, the thing blossomed open into a normal-sized washcloth decorated with Sleeping Beauty's demurely smiling face. There was something strangely entertaining and tricky about that party favor--the slightly vague labeling piques a child's (or even admittedly, an adult's) curiosity, the semi-magical unfolding fills little girls with tremulous anticipation as they wonder what it will be when it finishes opening up, and then, the let down: it is a washcloth, something you use to clean behind your ears--how more disappointingly "useful" can you get?

This semi-magical princess towel reminds me of a short poem. Short poems can be surprising, intriguing, and funny. They can be deceptively obscure or deceptively simple. Sometimes, short poems, like the zen koans that Buddhist teachers give to their students to "solve," can leave the student a tiny bit more enlightened.

Marvin Bell said, "A short poem need not be small."

Consider A.R. Ammons' poem, "Coward":

Bravery runs in my family.

Or David R. Slavitt's one word poem:


Or Buson's haiku:

Violets have grown here and there
on the ruins of my burned house.

Even with a stringent economy of words, the poems tumble forth and open kaleidoscopically. There are different techniques poets use for a short poem:

1. juxtaposing two unexpected or paradoxical things
2. building on an image that elicits an emotional impact
3. arranging words in a way that shifts or emphasizes an unexpected meaning

Most of all, the short poem requires playfulness. Give it a shot.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Where in the world is Blood Orange Review?

Since our inaugural issue in April, Blood Orange Review has welcomed visitors from all over. We're very excited that the work we're featuring is finding readers far and wide. On this map, nearly every state in the union has found their way to us -- come on, now, Alabama!

Our international visitors (not shown here) include Korea, Belgium, Costa Rica, Japan, Ireland, Switzerland, England, and others.

You won't want to miss our next issue, which is truly outstanding. The expected publication date is mid-June. If you'd like to receive email notification of its arrival, go here.