Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lit mag love: "A Spade, A Spade" by Emily O'Neill, from Feb issue of decomp

We think we put out a pretty awesome lit mag every three months, but we aren't the only ones by far. Online journals consistently publish some of the most innovative and edgy writing out there, and we're big fans of much of it.

decomp is one of my fave online mags. In the most recent issue,
I read a poem by Emily O'Neill called "A Spade, A Spade" that I really liked. The rhythm of the poem made me want to read it over and over, and reminded me of that other dimension of good poetry--sound. The words and images, yes. The line, yes. The narrative or lyric, yes. But if you can beguile with sound as well, you have a winner.

The tension O'Neill creates with the drawing of cards heightens the drama of the narrative that unfolds, as do the enjambed lines--breaking after "kiss," "what my father meant," and "never."

"The summer we last spoke, you gave me a rope, / some chalk, a children's book of sharks. Spells / grip us by the ankles with less," O'Neill starkly closes her poem. She ends with "less" and makes us want more, reroutes us back to the beginning as if shuffling the cards to start over. Very nice.


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