#100 Abbey, 25th Anniversary Edition, 2004
Editor David Greisman
Reviewed by Felino A. Soriano
Abbey, as I hold this 118 pp issue, I am immediately fascinated by, not only the contents of amalgamated artistry, but, through the simplistic approach (black ink, white paper) of displaying each artistic intention in such a way that a formidable construction has been formed, and too, an enjoyable visual experience burgeons into posited understanding of each artist’s innate talents.
This journal is not the au courant display of brought-together examples of various poems, prose, artwork—that so commonly is found among mainstream and quotidian journals; this, happily, is a an atypical venture, one of collocating various notions and proclamations of authentic ventures into each of the above named forms of intellectual exhibitions.
With dozens of artists on display here, the difficulty in selecting which and who to add within this review has caused a symptom of unease, but therefore, I will adhere to intuitive existence, and delve into but a few of those within these pages who fit into both time constraints, and the valued articulation of unquestionable understanding of their excellent creations.
The poet, Carol Hamilton explains a conversational aspect of dialoguing with discovery:
You cannot come with me…
you are too distracted,
too unfocused. And you,
you turn fearful when the path
rises into opaque darkness.
Pale stars, vortexed into my long tube
of limits and lenses, strengthen.
There is a place, I swear it,
where darkest path
leads to perfect light.
Search, pg. 3
an interesting juxtaposition, that, becomes an emotional foundation of displeasure:
They threw dirt in
Mother’s lover’s face
she discovered the obituary
after he was covered.
His heart –
a battered toy.
(I won’t chain you to a dead man.)
from Mother’s Lover, pg. 18 —C. S. Fuqua
This apposition of varied existential moments: of self, of understanding, of knowing explanation within others, is a themed reality through this impressive collection; beyond, though, the earnest poetry found here, “Self-Interviews” take place, and are an enjoyable facet of retrieving information about various artists: D.E. Steward, who asks themselves:
Is writing easier than it looks?
“Yes”, Steward answers “and no, mostly no”. Also, George Longnecker asks himself:
Do you ever get frustrated?
Where he answers “Yes. Every day.” and adds “Poetry is an outlet for frustration. Write. Protest.”
Indeed, Mr. Longnecker is correct in that poetry can ease whatever subjective frustration is alive within one’s self and environmental relation(s). These self-interviews are indeed a favorite dynamic of #100 Abbey.
Finally, scattered throughout the journal is the pleasurable artwork of Wayne Hogan. Hogan’s drawings are demonstrative of awareness in their simplistic and angular articulations; they are, alone, worth the physical effort of delving into this journal. Becoming more aware of his work currently (this edition of Abbey was published in 2004), I see an artist who understands his surrounding to the aspectual point of being able to relay it through philosophical and political understanding.
This brief review covers but only a minute cultivation of excellence in art. I was truly excited to turn each page, and find what I did in the offering of authentic artistry. It was a fine experience becoming aware of writers that before, I had not known of their greatness.
Abbey is available by emailing GREISMAN at AOL.COM. Felino is a Guest Editor for Calliope Nerve and more info is available at: http://www.felinosoriano.com/.