Karen Kelsay’s “Lavender Song”, Fortunate Childe Publications, 2011

Oh, to live in a world where nasty modernism never took place: where rivers never flowed with dark undercurrents, where dragonflies never alighted flowering manzanitas, and where a bloody axe in the attic never found its way into a poem.  Such is the world we find in Lavender Song, the latest collection of verses by the California poet Karen Kelsay:

Among the Boughs
Tonight, the slow release of summer rain
sweeps through my pear tree.  Gentle is the sound,
the metronomic lullaby that rolls
across each limb and patters on the ground. 
Outside my room, traversing streamlets run
along the open pane—I try to count them all.
And leaves are soaked a darker green, while buds
appear to peek between the lattice wall.
The sent of blossoms filters through my screen.
I lie awake, yet, caught up in the romance
among the boughs, where whispers hum to me,
and all my evening thoughts have learned to dance.

Of course, this is a blue-haired projection, a neo-victorian poetry that prefers the well-kept garden to the overgrown forest, Eden to the fallen world, harmony to cacophony. 

Kelsey writes traditional verses that hearken back to the great poems of the late 19th century when iambic pentameter was the major mode of poetic expression. Although she often uses enjambments, rarely does she introduce substitutions into her verses. She prefers a pentameter line that is easily recognizable as such. Rarely, too, does she abandon the metronome by introducing variation in the stresses of her feet.
The poems in Lavender Song are like sturdy barquentines ready to set sail over the horizon towards the 22nd century.    

About Leo Yankevich

Leo Yankevich’s latest books are The Last Silesian (The Mandrake Press, 2005) and Tikkun Olam & Other Poems (Second Expanded Edition) (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2012). His poems have appeared in Amelia, American Jones Building & Maintenance, Artword Quarterly, Beauty for Ashes Poetry Review, Blue Unicorn, Candelabrum, Cedar Hill Review, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, CounterPunch, Disquieting Muses, Edge City Review, Electric Acorn, Envoi, FutureCycle Poetry, Harpstrings, Iambs & Trochees, Iota, Ironwood, Kimera, Lite: Baltimore's Literary Newspaper, Lucid Rhythms, Mr. Cogito, New Hope International, Nostoc, Parnassus Literary Journal, Pennine Platform, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Poetry Nottingham, Psychopoetica, Raintown Review, Riverrun, Romantics Quarterly, Ship of Fools, Snakeskin, Sonnet Scroll, Staple, Sulphur River Literary Review, Tennessee Quarterly, The Barefoot Muse, The East River Review, The Eclectic Muse, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, The London Magazine, The MacGuffin, The Monongahela Review, The Neovictorian/Cochlea, thehypertexts.com, The Pennsylvania Review, The Sarmatian Review, The Tennessee Review, Tucumcari Literary Review, Trinacria, Visions International, Weyfarers, Whelks Walk Review, Windsor Review, inter alia. He is editor of The New Formalist. More of his work can be found at Leo Yankevich.com.