Mariah Voutilainen Reviews Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

Sudden Denouement’s Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective demonstrates divergence in a multitude of ways

In late 2017, not long after I had started my own poetry blog on Word Press, I came across an intriguing site.  Its black and white vintage photos and classic layout invited me in.  The poems I read on that particular day were uniquely honest, full of rich free verse and wonderfully chosen words, so I chanced a look at the submissions requirements.  Right at the top of the page, in neon lights: “Hell- -here” it greeted potentials; the “o” and “T” fizzled out.  I chuckled with anticipatory glee, for under the classic front, something mischievous and dark lay there.  And as I read more of the collective’s poetry and prose, I did indeed feel the pull of Sudden Denouement’s careful attention to what it calls “divergent literature,” although I had yet to clarify with certainty what that meant.

In SD’s Anthology Volume I:  Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective, I found the answer.  In fact, this book served as a literary map leading me through landscapes of the human experience not found in other poetry and prose that I had read elsewhere.  This is due in part to the curators’ attention to diversity of experience and culture.  I marveled at the harmony of voices, each speaking truth from its corner of the world.  Each writer here has a part that blends in with the others, yet each piece has a distinct melody, a siren song that demands attention.  Trust me when I say that this is an odyssey not for the faint of heart; there is no gentle introduction to that world.

On the contrary, the book opens strongly, challenging readers to question their own views about what beauty and meaning in literature should be, what being a writer is.  The founder of the Sudden Denouement Collective, Jasper Kerkau, exclaims his writer identity is “anointed by almighty forces…to stand in the shadows and pay the price for all the beauty and unhappiness in the world.” (“I am a F*cking Writer!”) “These words have no meaning, when they sit on your screen,” writes Matthew D. Eayre in his poem “Subjective”.  In “On Becoming a Writer,” Christine E. Ray bemoans the possible isolation and invisibility: “…she felt like she was calling out her truths/into an empty desert landscape.”  Erich James Michaels likens the origin story of the poet to purposeful self-mutilation and self-removal from mainstream society (“Genesis”).  All of these are fighting words in a battle to speak truths that may not be acceptable to the mainstream but are vitally human.  To write in this divergent community is to steel oneself against a societal imperative to be vanilla in a land of a multitude of hidden and strangely delicious flavors.

There is no safety net in this world, either, and it is exhilarating.  The first two-thirds of the anthology jump from birds pecking at veins and skin (Ra’ahe Khayat’s “birds & h e a r t s”) to the regret of a missed life (Mick Hugh’s “Dream catcher never understood the bus schedule”) to the irony of a world in which everyone is forced to achieve the American dream (David Lohrey’s “Glass Ceiling”).  There are dark and desperate things, too, experiences thrown like blood and sometimes entrails onto the pages.  Henna Sjöblom’s “Miscarriage” is hard to forget for its painful description of the loss of an unwanted baby “I thought I could make something beautiful/out of my shame”.  Georgia Park’s “Weekly Meetings” made me uncomfortable, an invisible voyeur at a very charged gathering of Overeaters Anonymous.  “Feel up my female…I quite like the emptiness settled in the pit of me” Kindra M. Austin taunts in “Because I’m A Whore Who Asked For It,” as she succinctly details disgusting things that are done to women under that blanket excuse. These three pieces are not the only ones that reminded me of the aspects of human existence about which we are usually discouraged from asking lest we appear too curious, too unaware, too privileged.

Throughout, form and function, captivating lyricism and masterful usage of poetic devices abound.  But these are not tricks:  The stunning repository of words used and construction of phrases seamlessly blended.  I was repeatedly awed by the stories told, wishing for nothing more than continued passage into the world laid bare within the pages.  And yes, I would be remiss if I did not mention that multiple forays are required if only to immerse oneself in the minds of S. K. Nicholas and Jimmi Campkin, both of whom write prose that manages to be both shockingly sordid and beautifully compelling.  To chuckle at the humor that partners discontent in Oldepunk’s poetry.  To breathe in the headiness of Aakriti Kuntal’s lush and captivating similes.  There are gems on each page that cannot be missed, and sometimes I found them as I let words wash over me without specifically searching for meaning.

By the time I began reading the final third of the Anthology, I wished for respite from the unearthing of discontent and the unforgiving barrage of reality, even as it was sometimes cloaked in fantastical imagery.  And a partial reprieve came in the form of odes to the seasons: “The Marigold of months has sure begun./Fling back the shutters and let down your Hair…” (Lois Linkens’ “the Yellow month”) and Spring has “a vessel/for the softest fragrance” (Iulia Halatz’s “Song of Spring”).  There are testaments to romance and even epic love like Eayre’s “Out of My Hands,” but little if any frivolous romanticism here, just reality painted in elegantly brash words and unique imagery.  Finally and fittingly, remembrances of death serve as the beginning of the end of the Anthology.  In those poems and prose, I saw the openness of heart and strength of spirit required to allow total strangers to see the pain of losing a loved one.

Sudden Denouement’s Anthology exposes and breaks many of the taboos of being truly and unashamedly human, giving us permission to look at and embrace them in the moment of reading. I was allowed a glimpse into the writers’ souls; comprehending their words was an exercise in the development of understanding human nature.  This is a world in which the heaviness of life weights everything down until it is distilled—frustration and hate, love and unfiltered sex, bodily urges, addictions, the complexity of human interactions.  Descriptions are brightly painful in some cases, transparently critical in others, but always smack of truth.  Divergent work demands that there are no holds barred; the writer reveals everything, and cuts close to the bone, even his or her own, in order to create a pulsating, living amalgamation of words.

Anthology Volume I:  Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective is available through on Amazon.com and Amazon.com.uk.

 

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Just Released! Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

The Sudden Denoument Literary Collective is thrilled to announce the release of Anthology Volume I: Writings for the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective!  This long-awaited anthology is a thoughtfully curated compendium of the best writing published online by the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective from its launch in August of 2016 through April 2018. It includes 138 pieces of cutting-edge poetry, prose and short fiction written by 29 diverse writers from England, Romania, Japan, India, Finland, the United States and Canada. Thirty-one of the 138 pieces were written exclusively for the Anthology. This volume captures the astonishing raw power of these individual and united poetic voices.

Now available on Amazon.com and Amazon.com.uk

Circling the Drain-Erich Michaels

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Cracked sidewalks and faltering smiles

Abandoned houses are the rotten teeth

For a town always grinning

The horse has trampled the aimless young

Heroin today, gone tomorrow

Gravity wins again

You find stability in the stratum

Faulty suspended-animation

Where you do absolutely nothing

But the real world hisses in

And you slowly rot

Internal liquefaction

Your final thoughts are of immortality

You open your mouth

The surgical tube unravels

You…unravel

Seeping through the couch

The floorboards

Into the basement

And down the sewer drain

You’ve left a ring

This ring is the smile that will never falter


Erich Michaels describes himself as  “just trying to share the human experience.”  He has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, but find himself writing SOPs (lather, rinse, repeat) in order to make a living, which can be detrimental to the creative process.  You can find him on the road to recovery at Erich Michaels.  Every journey begins with a single step, right?

It’s the wait that gets me- Sarah Doughty

“It’s the wait that gets me.

Like our first kiss.”

I hear it again. That tick, tick, ticking of that incessant clock. That feeling of inevitability. The one you can feel, deep into your bones, that something is coming. Like a countdown to some unknown ending. And you can feel it in the air, like just before a storm on a hot and humid summer day. It’s that electricity, the uptick in the wind that carries just a little further. The kind of breeze that will make even the strongest of trees creak as they sway to a silent song only they can hear. And if I’m lucky, it’ll come before I lose my mind. Whatever it is that’s coming. Because it’s the wait that gets me. It’s that unknowing. The gnawing ache that will eat away at me until everything hits critical mass.

Whatever happens, I’ll be ready. And I’ve learned, over time, to assume the worst. That way, it might not hurt so bad. But every once in a while, I’ll let myself hope for something better. Like when we shared our first kiss. Or the night we first made love. Those moments were well worth the anticipation. Unfortunately, I won’t know about this one, until it actually happens.


Sarah Doughty is the tingling wonder-voice behind Heartstring Eulogies. She’s also the author of The Silence Between Moonbeams, her poetry chapbook, and the acclaimed novels and novellas of the Earthen Witch Universe. Good news, they’re all offered for free, right here! To learn more about how awesome Sarah is, check out her website, stalk her on Goodreads, or both.

Coming July 2018- ‘A Sparrow Stirs its Wings’ by Rachel Finch

Sudden Denouement Publishing is thrilled to announce the upcoming release of Rachel Finch’s book of poetry ‘A Sparrow Stirs its Wings.” Rachel is the powerhouse behind the Bruised But Not Broken community on Facebook, which provides support and healing for trauma survivors. She is also a Contributing Writer for Blood Into Ink and founder of Bruised But Not Broken on WordPress. She is a symbol of hope throughout the world and we are honored to see her vision come to life.

White Dress

Daffni Gingerich/Daffniblog

Daffniblog

Speaking to others just makes me down down and out. It brings me there like a hangover laced with hospital gowns. Churning stomach and acid in my chest. That smell of iodine and vomit, the hustle of silence. My lips don’t feel like my own and this body only a wonderland for his fantasies but I have no real interest in fantasy these days. I hung my white dress in the window but with this tunnel vision it’s a vase. The dress has pockets fit for buttercups, or quartz depending on my mood. The collar is elastic lace that grips my neck as a reminder this life and everything in it is temporary. The truth is it’s gunna itch but I tend to sacrifice comfort for beauty. I’ve showered and gotten into my underwear but I can’t find the dress. I’ve torn my room apart and flipped the bed. He…

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Child of Her Time

S. K. Nicholas/A Journal for Damned Lovers

S. K. Nicholas

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The hours run away. They slip and slide like the tiny feet of the ducks and swans that glide over the frozen lake in her lunchtime dreams. Behind those eyes of hers, the world blooms, and there’s no such thing as heartache and no such thing as pain, and life is this one long car ride towards a yellow sun that never sets. As she twitches her nose, she’s drifting through the aisles of a supermarket she hasn’t set foot in for the best part of several years. Helping herself to cubes of raw jelly and ice cream, she scoffs the lot before trying on several dresses in the clothing department, and as she waltzes around eyeing herself up in the mirrors, she smiles at her reflection and then just like that she’s skipping through those golden fields of corn as free as a gust of wind and as light…

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