One of the first ambitious projects I undertook, as a young poet, was a sequence entitled Mythologies from Downriver. It consisted of classical myths reset Downriver, that is, in the poorer suburbs running along the Detroit river in Michigan, south of the city; it came to the number of four short lyrics and a long narrative poem.
"Hyacinth," actually third in the sequence, was my first published poem, and appeared, after years' delay, in the final issue of the fine and much missed Edge City Review. Dated 2003 or so, I am pretty sure the number actually appeared long after that. Some years later, Chronicles published a much revised version of "Lachesis on the Party Line," a poem in which I took much pleasure as it was my first one in terza rima and, further, I grew up with a party line at our summer cottage, hard though it is to believe. That was in 2014. This last spring, Jesus, the Imagination published "Zeus Gives Birth to Dionysus," the first of the sequence and one nicely set in a men's restroom in a bar in Taylor, Michigan.
Just this week, Measure published "Silenus and His Gang." This is my one poem in the accentual alliterative form. This is also Measure's penultimate print issue, and so evidently these poems are destined to come along at the end of many good things.
The last of the poems, a long narrative called "Memories of Apollo," contains some of my best early stanzas, but I have never tried to publish it. Someday, perhaps, once I can be sure the whole thing meets my present standard. My apprenticeship in poetry was a long one and it took a long time for me to see what works and what does not to constitute a tight and satisfactory meter in the age after free verse.
Because Measure is soon to convert to an all digital format and is in the process of creating a digital archive of its back issues, I thought it would do no harm to include here a copy of "Silenus and His Gang." Click the image of Silenus to read a copy of those printed pages.
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