Mishigamaa by Robert Krantz

Krantz submitted to the first issue of The Magnolia Review. His poems are magnetic and show poetic mastery. His language builds strong and lasting images. His chosen language sounds a melodious music to read aloud, a rhythm that you have to play to completion.

In “Pearl,” the speaker begins with, “I remember the wheat fields / of Iowa and the photograph / of you I took with me, / and how neither ever really ended.” The speaker continues, “We ate and loved / much in that decade, / collided with stars, / authored myths / and stuffed our age-spotted hands / into denim pockets.” The image and sound carries through the lines, building to the final image of “The half shells we find on beaches / were once a thing joined together, / breathing, and grinding / new pearls into place.” The poem builds like a pearl, with the images stringing together into a cohesive piece.

Laundry can be boring. The speaker reflects on his fellow laundry-doers in “Load,” where “The bachelors in the laundromat / spill their words / like bleach / on black clothes, / speak of condos / and alimonies— / thick humidities turning.” The clothes transform into more, they are “damp thoughts” as they wash, and they “…breathe[s] / restless poems / into my blues and grays. / Soon this summer rain / will end, volume of water / striking pavement / will knob itself silent.” Krantz ends the poem with a moment that draws the reader back to the reality of the laundromat, “The cash machine, / against the flecked wall, / reminds me to change.”

The collection ends with “Pathfinder,” about a hatchet and its story. It shares the story of two boys cutting down a tree and of a sibling wrestling game gone awry.

Overall, Krantz’s poems are musical and full of images that inspire looking at mundane events in a new and interesting way. I look forward to reading more of Krantz’s work.

Check out Robert‘s work in Volume 1, Issue 1, and a review of Gargoyles in Volume 2, Issue 2.

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