Sharon Kessler: “I published my first poem in the 2nd grade, in the P.S. 207 newsletter, but then considered other callings: cryptographer, Mossad spy, chemist, and astronaut. Most of these required math, for which I had scant talent. I hid Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind inside my 11th grade math book. Poetry was like walking on the moon or breaking a code or having a secret identity or discovering a new element. I began writing it with a passion. I eventually moved to Israel and married a mathematician, with whom I coauthored three children. I was happy enough as a poet until, during a writer’s residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute, I accidentally stumbled upon a museum exhibit of old printing presses. Amazed by them, I spent the next few years learning to set type and print chapbooks on an antique press, scavenge old equipment, and smuggle related paraphernalia, unavailable in my adopted country, through TSA checkpoints. In my poem published here, the text in the ‘Time Line, Revision #15’ is taken verbatim from a map published in the investigation of the tragic crash of the Columbia space shuttle.” (website)
Suzanne Kessler (Police Officer): “I have always had a passion for writing and literature. As a small girl I was an avid reader and writer. Writing poetry has filtered in and out of my entire life. I wrote heavily in college and always shared my love of literature with my children (as an interesting aside: my daughter is a poet and my son a police officer). I made my way into law enforcement through a college required internship. I had never aspired to be in law enforcement, but fell into it while in school. I truly love my job, but still can’t resist my urge to write poetry.”
Stephen Kessler: “Pierre and I were student poets together at Bard in the late 1960s and our paths had crossed just once since then when we met again last fall in Las Vegas as translator colleagues at ALTA where he gave me a copy of his book A Nomad Poetics, to which ‘Homeboy Nomad’ is my response.” (web)
Stephen Kessler: “When I started writing poems in earnest, as a teenager, I had no use for free verse, but the formal structures and rhythms of English poetry—especially that of Wordsworth, Shelley and Keats—provided the models for my own earliest efforts. In time I became more ‘contemporary’ in my approach to form, opening up to more unpredictable lyric structures, but my ear had been trained to hear rhythm and rhyme in a way that continues to serve me more than 40 years later. These sonnets were written during what could be called a cool-off lap after translating about 70 sonnets by Borges for his complete sonnets, to be published in 2010 by Penguin. While they are not formal sonnets in the strictest sense, I think they are close enough to give an illusion of sonnetude.” (website)
Rattle is proud to announce the winner of the 2013 Rattle Poetry Prize:
“The Fire This Time”
by Roberto Ascalon Seattle, WA
“A Poem for Women Who Don’t Want Children” Chanel Brenner Santa Monica, CA
“My Mother Told Us Not to Have Children” Rebecca Gayle Howell Lubbock, TX
“Baby Love” Courtney Kampa New York, NY
“What He Must Have Seen” Stephen Kampa Daytona Beach, FL
“Man on Mad Anthony” Bea Opengart Cincinatti, OH
“Laundry List” Michelle Ornat Elma, NY
“Man on the Floor” Jack Powers Fairfield, CT
“Basic Standards Test” Danez Smith St. Paul, MN
“Who Breathed in Binders” Patricia Smith Howell, NJ
“Of You” Wendy Videlock Grand Junction, CO
These eleven poems will be published in the Winter issue of Rattle this December. Each of the Finalists are also eligible for the $1,000 Readers’ Choice Award, to be selected by entrant and subscriber vote (the voting period is December 1, 2013 – February 15, 2014).
Another nine poems were selected for standard publication, and offered a space in the open section of a future issue. These poets will be notified individually about details, but they are: Jacqueline Berger, Daniel Bohnhorst, Jackleen Holton, Sharon Kessler-Farchi, Michael Meyerhofer, Kathleen Nolan, Charlotte Pence, Sam Sax, and Timothy Schirmer.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the competition, which would not have been a success without your diverse and inspiring poems. We received a record 2,105 entries and well over 8,000 poems, and it was an honor to read each of them.
Releasing this June, Rattle #37 features a selection of poems by fourteen law enforcement officers. One might not expect any similarity between policing and poetry, but with reams of paperwork, plenty of drama, and a need for attention to fine detail, poets and cops do have much in common. And as retired police officer James Fleming explains in his introduction, “a sparse, carefully-written police report can evoke tears.”
Of course, the Law Enforcement tribute is only part of the issue. Rattle #37’s particularly rich open section features the work of a full 68 poets. And to cap off one of our most diverse issues yet, Alan Fox interviews the controversial political activist and poet Amiri Baraka, and former-Mennonite memoirist and poet Rhoda Janzen.
Rattle e.9 released in early September 2010, with a preview of six poems from Rattle #34’s Tribute to Mental Health Workers. The book feature focuses on frequent Rattle contributor Gary Lemons’ Bristol Bay and Other Poems, with an interview about his eclectic life in poetry and his years fishing off the Alaskan coast. Also in the issue, Stephen Kessler complains about our “touchy-feely” rejection letter, Art Beck wrestles with translating the idiom (illuminating a wealth of our own idioms in the process), and Dan Waber introduces us to the “nature” poems of John Martone. Artwork throughout by Charles Farrell.
Click the cover or here for the free download (1.2 MB pdf)