Vocal Class


Southern Poetry Review, 45:1
Armstrong Atlantic State University

Southern Poetry Review is rather grand in its way, up North the poet tends his garden speaking out of ripe italics, here he does farming. Nance Van Winckel peeks “out from the flap / of a dog-eared page. // An old clock’s laid open on a dish / and I finger the tiny tools I’ve seen / all my life but have // no idea how to use.”

These are poets exercised by the presses, William M. Ramsey takes a similar guarded view of a trucker,

relieved to have for the next few hours

an empty rig, darkness, and Corinthians or Galatians

spoken aloud from his portable tape deck, the high hum

of tires rolling on and on, to some vanishing point ahead.

Philip Dacey’s “New York Postcard Sonnets” take the mickey out of the Public Library:

Brass lamps spread hominess in Bly’s “favorite

room in the world.” (From Robert, rare good sense.)

and Juilliard:

From a public vocal class: “Break their hearts

with pianissimo... Your best friends are vowels.”


The students here obviously work so hard

they remind me to. Thank you, Juilliard.

Matthew J. Spireng has in mind the grateful reader, “Remember, before we met / I always dreamed I was you.”

Tim Skeen goes to school in “Hokoku-an Zen Center” with a string of sayings and the student’s apt reply. Louis Phillips imagines a jailbreak and pursuit (“It Escapes Me”):

There must be an island somewhere

That humankind has overlooked.

We were, as you can well imagine,

No wiser than before.