Read This, Too!
The first installment of Read This, Too! begins with a poem by Michelle Menting, a contributor from Issue 9: Night and Day.
The poem you should definitely read is called “Effigy Mounds (A Poem of Breasts)” and it appears here, in The Ampersand Review.
I’m just going to say it: I love poems about body parts. They’re dangerous, even, as Menting’s poem is here, when they’re soft and subtle, mildly, but intentionally repetitive, and of a quiet atmosphere that looks closely at the world as it is. They’re dangerous because they’re hard to do right.
A good poem has to be saying something intimate to me, the reader, about life. It can say it through an image or a personal story or fragmentation or rhyme, but it has to be speaking to me. And “Effigy Mounds (A Poem of Breasts) is doing just that, even as it plays with the landscape offered here, of hills like breasts like effigies like breasts. The poem resists saying too much about the subject, and instead simply illuminates the moment, the ideas, the children running across the earth, the speaker and the loved one as they lie down in the sacred warmth of women’s curves. It hints and it offers images, and opens me up to ideas and sensations, all without tying it up in a neat little package. This unwrapped present is what I’ve been leaning toward when I read and write poems lately, and Menting offers us that opening here: that minute slowed down, the truth of an idea about bodies and the earth in a moment we can see. It doesn’t hurt that the poem found a home in The Ampersand Review, whose cool subtitle admits to being “the greatest literary project of all time.” I certainly hope to see more of her poetry published in all the greatest journals out there.