The Logical Response – Stephen M Crow

The skyline illuminated
Bright razors against the night
Doing what cutters do
Finding humanity in pain
In emotional release

Pinballs crashing on the street
No eye contact to betray
Inch by inch we march
Hand in bitter hand
Into the belly of the beast

The wind picked up the message
Fall leaves blown asunder
Scrambled contrast across the moon
Throwing shadows
Signaling the end of peace

Burning our own homes in protest
Purpose with a side of death
Realizing we must tear it down
As we lay upon these flames
And go to sleep

[Stephen M Crow is a writer and musician who resides in Pasadena, Texas with his wife, Christy, and their children. Interests include cooking, watching horror movies, listening to music, and spending time with his family.]

Now Available: Nicole Lyons’ Blossom and Bone

Sudden Denouement Publishing is thrilled to announce that Nicole Lyons stunning third book of poetry, Blossom and Bone, has been officially released.

Praise for Blossom and Bone:

“A beautifully crafted work of art that will punch you in the
face with its gritty realism before soothing your wounds with
elegant prose, thought provoking lines, and sublime imagery.”
– Samuel Decker Thompson, author of Our Fucked Up Hearts

“Lyons is connecting on a primal level here, all the while brilliantly
splitting herself along dual lines. She draws an effortless
parallel between desire to live and acceptance she cannot beat
death.”
– Nicholas Gagnier, author of Leonard The Liar

“I knew from the first page that Blossom and Bone would rekindle
the love affair I had with ‘HUSH’ and ‘I am a World of
Uncertainties Disguised as a Girl’. Lyons words lasso and then
cajole your heart. Old or new fan, you will love how she rips you
apart, and then puts you back together again. This poetry book
needs to be on your bedside table, because I promise you, you
will reach for it again and again.”
– Alfa Holden, author of Abandoned Breaths

“Nicole Lyons is a writer of the now. She is a woman of the
now. Her pulse can be heard in every syllable in Blossom and
Bone. There is a kindling rage in her words, a don’t-you-dareturn-
away quality to the exorcism of her truths, she stares into
places others skip over, she disgorges the dirt like an excavator
of pain, and presents it as you would a film, blinking in front of
you, refusing to let you ignore it.”
– Candice Louisa Daquin, author of Pinch The Lock

Available at Amazon and other major online book retailers.

Meet Sudden Denouement Collective Member Georgia Park

 

The editors of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective know that our strength is our writers. We hope that you enjoy getting to know them through our new Writer Interview Series.

What name do you write under?

Georgia Park

In what part of the world do you live?

I live in Salem, MA, USA. I lived in South Korea for several years and saved up enough money while I was there that I could have started a life anywhere. I considered moving to Germany or Chicago afterwards, but Salem is my Ithaca. It’s a small, touristy town on the ocean with a community of artists, which includes some of my greatest friends and worst enemies. I need the friends to inspire me and the enemies to keep my competitive edge.

It also has a lot of little pockets of nature for hiking, fantastic diners, is close to NYC, Boston, and Vermont, and not too far from Canada (just in case). Finally, there is a sufficient amount of Korean food to be had here. I love it.

Please tell us about yourself.
I am finishing a master’s in writing and will pursue an MFA or doctorate next. I am so proud to be a part of Sudden Denouement and Whisper and the Roar. With encouragement from the editors at both of these collectives, I have gone on to publish a book, Quit Your Job and Become a Poet (Out of Spite), and I continue keep up my poetry blog obsessively. I do fictional and non-fictional, funny, playful, dark, morbid, Trump related and non Trump related poems, with or without an emphasis on travel.
I work just over full time as a report editor and then edit some more for fun in between writing my thesis and reviewing books, so although I do have at least two books coming out, I’m not sure when I’ll find the time to write them. Hopefully soon.

Rave reviews:
“Park is a cabaret player for the page….Her poems are agile, improvisational, and pleasingly untidy.” -Zachary Bos, Pen and Anvil Press

“Georgia Park has a wonderful talent.” -Jasper Kerkau, Sudden Denouement

“Put on your seatbelts, because this poet has a tendency to take you places.”-Michelle La Poetica, Dencity

“Fresh, driven, surprising…” -J.D. Scrimgeour, Salem Writers

“…a natural voice. I feel the deep sense of loss, search, and emotion [in] ..the raw openness of your work.” -Jonathon Starke, Palooka

“[Georgia Park] carries complex emotion through swift, abrupt line breaks, creating a palpable and thoughtful sense of motion for the reader.” -Tethered by letters, F(r)iction

“…Shit.” -General murmur in the audience

“I will never eat spaghetti again.” -Unnamed slam poet

If you have a blog or website, please provide the name and the link.
Privatebadthoughts.com

When did you begin your blog/website, and what motivated you start it?
When I returned to America from South Korea, I suffered a bit of a nervous breakdown. I resurrected a blog I had when I was young after I had a falling out with the only person in town I knew, a local writer, who called me some very nasty names. I didn’t know anyone else and felt like I couldn’t join the local writing community after that, so I brought it to the web, where Jasper Kerkau (creator of Sudden Denouement) found me and left encouraging comments. I had a habit of deleting blogs and starting new ones under different names at the time, and Jasper always found me. It was his encouragement that first motivated me to continue on. He has been a huge support and inspiration, along with Christine Ray.

What inspires/motivates you to keep blogging on your site?
I’ve often said that my poetry is like piss, shit and vomit. It just keeps coming out. A more interesting question for me would be what inspires me to stop blogging on my site. Occasionally I get paranoid about who reads and privatize it or I’ll experience a lull. During the lulls in posting poetry on my blog, I am either reading or writing outside of poetry. Outside of poetry, I also write newspaper articles (not under my pseudonym) for the local paper, non-fiction, and fiction, which I tend not to post.

When did you join the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective?
A few months after coming home from Korea, in November of 2016.

Why/how did you join Sudden Denouement?
I eventually decided to research Jasper Kerkau, faithful commenter that he was, discovered Sudden Denouement, and asked to join. I felt completely alone before that. It really changed my life for the better in that I have found the courage to surrender to my dream and make writing my life, practical or not.

What does “Divergent Literature” mean to you?
Take a look at Sudden Denouement, and you’ll see it right away. The writers themselves are of all identities and walks of life, and their pieces are crafted with diverse techniques from wildly various subject matter.

I had a professor in college once assign us three poetry books, all by straight white males, all talking about their childhoods. With all the diversity that exists in the writing world, on all levels, I think that’s such a sin.

SD Founder Jasper Kerkau frequently talks about Sudden Denouement writers using the ‘secret language’. What is it?
Fdsk mone oi e.

What are your literary influences?
David Sedaris, Jack Keroauc (poetry), Jim Behrle, Laura Mullen, Jasper Kerkau, Christine Ray

Has any of your work been published in print? (books, literary magazines, etc.) How did that happen?
Yes, in the Sudden Denouement anthology, the Offbeat literary journal (I submitted through submittable), and Pen and Anvil Press made a bite-sized chapbook for me as well as included me in a bite sized breakfast themed chapbook. Pen and Anvil press accepted me because I went to a writer’s group in Boston and cried about how much I hate the writers in Salem and needed to show at least one of them how much better I was. In fact, most of my literary achievements have been born of spite or vengeance. Sudden Denouement and Whisper and the Roar are the only two that were born of love.
Speaking of which, I will also be featured in one of Sudden Denouement editor Nicholas Gagnier’s forthcoming anthologies, All the Lonely People.

I’ve also had a book published and wrote a couple articles for the local newspaper, if that counts.

Do you have writing goals? What are they?
I want to get into a fully funded MFA when I’m finished with my master’s, mostly because it will buy me more time to write. If that doesn’t happen, I may do some part time work for full time money overseas (I’m thinking teach college in China or Saudi Arabia). I really need more time to write.

I want to publish a second poetry book with Sudden Denouement. I want to be asked to do more readings. My third book will be nonfiction essays, ala David Sedaris. I am working on both now.

Which pieces of your own writing are your favorites? Please share a few links.
Crumpled Up Biographies
Late
I Just Got Back

What else would like to share about your writing, Sudden Denouement, or yourself?
The members of Sudden Denouement are not vicious or competitive, but completely supportive. This is a really special community that doesn’t exist in such a pure state elsewhere in the writing world. I am so proud to call the members of Sudden Denouement my friends. Together, we can take over the world.

Meet Sudden Denouement Collective Member Jonathan O’Farrell

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The editors of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective know that our strength is our writers. We hope that you enjoy getting to know them through our new Writer Interview Series.

What name do you write under?
Jonathan O’Farrell, but also to be somewhat developed and further adopted ‘ misterkaki ‘

In what part of the world do you live? Tell us about it.
I currently own a house near Leicester in the Midlands of England. But to be honest I have not actually stayed here more than a couple of months since November 2016.
It is a rather unlovely ex coal mining village, albeit it is surrounded by England’s biggest and longest term land regeneration project, The National Forest.

Please tell us about yourself.

Semi-nomad at the moment and in the moment, Creative life transitioner, blogger, photographer, tentative shamanic student and, apparently, poet.
Forthcoming, my first two photographically illustrated anthologies, 2018; ‘Trinity’ and ‘Seasoned in Time’. 2019; ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors, Fire!’.
As rich as the creative experience the current life is, exploring Portugal, France, Spain and later Ireland, by winter 2018 I hope to have ‘settled’, a ‘tiny house” or similar, with sufficient land. The vision; create an abundant garden, for lost souls, separated loved ones, under the sun. A meeting place, with coffee, inspiring books, poetry and healing, however it may arise.

If you have a blog or website, please provide the name and the link.

Misterkaki.wordpress.com

misterkaki-writer.substack.com

When did you begin your blog/website, and what motivated you start it?
I began on WordPress around the spring of 2017. When I started WordPress it was more for somewhere for me to record short ‘thought pieces’, a few travel tips and to some extent a minor showcase for my photography. Since then I have posted much more poetic content, as this has burgeoned. Substack is a new venture, taking over from my presence on Patreon. It will I hope be a platform for a monthly newsletter that can be subscribed to.

What inspires/motivates you to keep blogging on your site?
Of itself it is enough essentially to be a living archive of my writing and visual creativity. Of course the regular and supportive presence of a subscribing and most importantly, commenting readership is a big factor too.

When did you join the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective?
As I recall July 2017.
Why/how did you join Sudden Denouement?
I sent in a poem or two. I subsequently had a number of very enthusiastic online conversations and emails with Jasper Kerkau.

What does “Divergent Literature” mean to you?
In an overstimulated and seemingly homogenous world literature and other multimedia expression that authentically and without compromise cuts through this perceived predominancy.

SD Founder Jasper Kerkau frequently talks about Sudden Denouement writers using the ‘secret language’. What is it?
I perceive this as a brotherhood / sisterhood, even a cabal of writers that, even given our inherent divergence, essentially ‘get’ what the ‘otherness’ is saying.

What are your literary influences?
Ian Dury, soul / punk / funk wordsmith and songwriter. Chap had severe disabilities, but yet a big inspiration. More conventionally, in literary terms the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke is, I have to say, a fair influence in the genre of poems I might call ‘love letters in transit’. Also figuring W.B. Yeats, Rumi, Khali Gibran and our very own S.K. Nicholas. But to be honest, you are as likely to see me reading books on celtic shamanism at the moment. Let’s just say my influences are eclectic, divergent even!

Has any of your work been published in print? (books, literary magazines, etc.) How did that happen?
Published in: Harbinger Asylum: Winter 2017 Paperback – 22 Dec 2017 ISBN-13: 978-1981623723

I wrote to Dustin and submitted three poems and two were published.

Do you have writing goals? What are they?
Forthcoming, my first two photographically illustrated anthologies, 2018; ‘Trinity’ and ‘Seasoned in Time’. 2019; ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors, Fire!’.
More collaborative writing. Thus far I have done some poetry with Canadian author Mary Rodgers. They are in the process of being submitted to Enrealment Press.

Which pieces of your own writing are your favorites? Please share a few links.
Lucid Learning Moments

The Well of Presence

Ritual

and finally, because simply I am fascinated by time and try to live in a present, created afresh in the moment, this, my very latest and curiously, longest by far, poem:

those days

What else would like to share about your writing, Sudden Denouement, or yourself?

A bit of a reveal; as rich as the creative experience the current life is, exploring Portugal, France, Spain and later Ireland, by winter 2018 I hope to have ‘settled’, a ‘tiny house” or similar, with sufficient land. The vision; create an abundant garden, for lost souls, separated loved ones, under the sun. A meeting place, with coffee, inspiring books, poetry and healing, however it may arise.

You see, whilst my writing is my doing; my doing is my writing.

Finally, I must say how very encouraged I am by the latest SD developments, not only that, but by those who had the vision to initiate this divergent literary revolution in the first place. You have my gratitude.

 

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

If you find yourself hungry for the kind of words that walk boldly into the dark filled spaces of your poetic heart, be prepared to put your dancing shoes on.  This anthology is a collective kaleidoscope of fragmented and pulsing light from some of the most talented writers around the globe.  Having them intermingle, and rubbing shoulders against each other in one volume – is a gala for the senses.  Every page begins a new dance, and these writers have intricate and unashamed moves. Shake the dust off and spin that heart and soul around, because you are going to want to twirl all night long in arms of those who will look into your eyes with understanding, and delve into your misunderstood heart with compassion. The writers voices blend together in a satisfying gulp; Tasting one minute like jungle juice with bawdy friends on a Saturday night, and then powerfully like a time travel elixir that lets you relive all the parts of a past you thought were ashes on the moon.

Anthologies are wonderful eye openers because you are exposed to so many new writers and their own individual styles of writing.

Some standouts for me were:

Henna Sjoblom Her poem Miscarriage splayed me. Every word. So good.

Weekly Meetings by Georgia Park brought every insecurity I had out into the cold  and then blanketed them with every word  thereafter.

I found delicious comfort in every scar I quilted. Phenomenal.

These days when you have a daughter by Samantha Lucero lefts its mark because as a mother I found so much truth in her words.

Out of my hands by Matthew D. Eayre  The tears -both happy and sad, would not stop.

In Blues and Golds by Nicole Lyons proves she is a treasure under the sea in her exceptional craftmanship of imagery.

Lost Voice by Christine E. Ray left me spellbound. I felt every word. Like a willow tree shaking her hair after an afternoon romp.

Even now, with every step I feel the vibrations under my feet. I will carry these words with me.

There are so many more I could list, but suffice to say this anthology will be one I read time and time again.

It is an absolute must for every poetry lovers poetic library.

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


Learn more about Alfa at http://alfapoet.com/

Candice Louisa Daquin Reviews Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

Sudden Denouement (SD) is a writing collective started on WordPress (WP) among fledgling and established writers and poets who came together in mutual appreciation of the genre of writing poetry, specifically poems that are honest and express emotions without compromise or apology. In this sense, SD was unique among WP authors as being the first attempt to collectivize those specific voices and generate a mode by which writers could advance and gain exposure using a safe platform and not being judged for expressing themselves honestly. “We are stray smoke in hurricane water.” (Stray Smoke, by Mitch Green).

One may imagine this is common-place but even in the world of creative writing and poetry, there are standards and expectations and many poets who tended to write about emotions were labeled as being too self-involved and depressing. Poetry collectives often focus on publishing and highlighting poets who are studying for a MFA, using formal poetic mediums and methods such as Haiku, and following poetry prompts generated by more established poets. In other words, there is often an academic expectation behind any forms of writing and expression, even in the blogosphere. “when did you keep god under your tongue, / like / an uninvited pill” (All the beds are made, by Samantha Lucero).

When SD formed, the idea was to avoid such hierarchy and expectation and lend a voice to poets who wrote frankly about their struggles with mental illness and challenges in their lives. It was never intended to be purely a place to dump ones emotional baggage but soon the quality of poems demonstrated the need to promote less orthodox poets and allow their voices to gain equal traction with the main-stream. One might say, avoiding the typical ideas of what constitutes good poetry and showing that other forms have equal power, was an early goal of the collective. “Reach for the top shelf / My invitation got lost in the mail / Feelings aren’t allowed” (Purge, by Laurie Wise).

All this at a time when motivational and uplifting poetry was all the rage, where if you perused those authors highlighted on WP you may be led to believe anything less than positive was not popular. However, as the readership and popularity of SD demonstrated soon after its launch, there was clearly a need and genuine appreciation for authors who didn’t conform to the conventional norms and standards set by the majority. Whether they be poems of sadness, depression, passion, desire, anger, resentment or suffering, SD had tapped into a hungry audience who deeply appreciated reading pieces that they could personally relate to, that were not formal, sanitized or cautious in their rendering. “once we have / outlived / our bourn indignation / why must we trudge / through the crux / of man’s blunder” (Commonality, by Max Meunier).

After being online for a year SD began Sudden Denouement Publishing seeking to publish collections of the best work on their site from their frequent authors. This led to their first volume of poets Anthology I.  What you will find in this compendium of writings from the leading lights of SD is a diverse comprisement of poems, illustrating the powerful collective voice of a generation. “This city has us in its grinder. What are we doing here? Looking for dimes on the sidewalks, tallying our dollars and paying student debts to the bar. We’ve lost interest in the good life, ferris wheel of office jobs and part-time gigs. Counting days to eviction.” (Modern Heat by Mick Hugh) The creator of SD, Editor and Poet, Jasper Kerkau leads the charge with I Am A F*cking Writer! A lashing against the notion that writing must conform to a certain standard or avoid particular themes, he literally has; “A holy charge to record the divine misery … in collaboration with a silent minority.”

Max Meunier continues in Sentence Of Sentience when he states; “freedom reprieved / of sententious ideal / for what purpose plausible / peers within prisms / but spectacle / cradling consciences captious.” This is the core of SD’s mission, to break free of current ideals and restricting forms, whilst not compromising author’s liberty and to avoid the spectacle of convention that only pretends to have a conscious sense of itself. “Where, then, to deposit the porous clay figures of our / talks?” (N by Ian McCarthy).

Matt Eayre writes in his poem Subjective; “this is poetry, / this is not / this is good enough, / this is crap / you’re a good writer, / you’re a poet / you’re an imposter / and you know you don’t belong.” The theme of subjective versus an assumed idea of what constitutes ‘good’ poetry, is fought over to this day, where masters of fine art degrees and their institutions dictate what is passable, published and trending versus what is considered inferior. “then you drag me / onto the shore / and you fuck me / I see that the pelicans / are pretty / and they never scream” (Pelicans by Georgia Park).

“I don’t care, I want everything out of me, / the twitching / the turning / the hope of a new life / bleeds out on the floor / I thought I could make something beautiful / out of my shame.” (Miscarriage by Henna Sjöblom) The SD voices challenge these norms and institutionalized expectations for an alternative way of appreciating the genre of poetry. “Now that Anya’s / President everyone on earth can attend Harvard; they’ll / learn to turn their despair into / dread, like Franz Kafka. / The American dream is fulfilled; everyone’s a fool.” (Glass Ceiling, by David Lohrey).

 In On Becoming A Writer, Christine Ray advances this idea; “Waking up every morning / to unzip her chest, her gut / and bare her truths to the world / because like others of her kind / she was complex, messy, containing multiple truths, / not a singular one.” The idea being, it is an oxymoron for a poet to conform to a standard or restrict themselves, for the very art of poetry is extracting truth and presenting it, which by its nature, cannot be caged or a singular method, much as mainstream poetry would have us believe otherwise. “My hands weren’t yours to train. Not yours to be enjoyed like a lover’s caress. My body, not yours to educate.” (Never Yours, by Sarah Doughty).

Volume I becomes a collective of visions from these itching poets such as Erich James Michaels when he writes in his poem Genesis; “Something you can’t remember drives you. Not just in the need to remember, … You read your latest poem. / You describe the shadows that lurk in the recesses of your mind, / from former lives forgotten. / You are a poet. You are a writer without a past, who has found a new home.” The voices are interchangeably and at times starkly, male and female; “I quite like the emptiness settled in the pit of me— / The sharp taste on my tongue as I lick the edge of abyss.” (Because I’m A Whore Who Asked For It by Kindra M. Austin).

Reading through so many authors, some are bound to sit closer than others, you may find a few juvenile or lacking in comparison to the shattering earth pieces that will be immediately apparent (Inky Rivers by Ra’ache Khayat and These days when you have a daughter, by Samantha Lucero being two such examples) but that’s half the delight, for by tasting each voice, we go deeper into the veil and touch the source of its myriad faces. “let us know the purity of instinct / the purity of art / that transcends education, / memory or muse / you are scars and sculptures” (Upon realization that perhaps i am completely sure, by Lois Linkens).

If your expectation is a slim volume of precise poems according to a clever little theme, you’ll be deeply disappointed by SD’s offering. Poetry at SD isn’t nice and tidy, it isn’t precise or easily categorized, nor does it intend to leave you peaceful. As Julia Halatz says in her poem What Can I Give You? “Not by blindness / we can reorder colors / but by the painting of a soul.” There is absolutely nothing here that is calm or apologetic, nor will any writer be careful with your sensibilities and spare you the brunt of their truth. “Anything, anything at all / that would explain / these patterned nights, these long long pauses in daylight. / How life has blatantly refused to comply anymore.” (A picture of our torn up praise by Aakriti Kuntal).

If you imagine a group weaving a disharmonious double-jointed vision together, using their blood as dye, you may come close to revealing the proffered mouths of these voices. In Birds & H e a r t s, ra’ahe khayat writes; “we’re not humans without h e a r t s / but hearts without bodies, / being fed to strange birds.” In this simple statement they identify the drifters dilemma when exposing oneself to the elements, the risk of losing one’s skin is ever present and it is this risk we find the courage and horror of our fellow humans, though we may have long given up hope of being understood, we share as much through pain as joy, and are less alone and this is the beauty of poetry. “Every time I get sober, / someone else / dyes / black / my hair.” (Funeral Trumpets, by Kindra Austin).

Samantha Lucero in 1., describes this experience as; “i keep alive by milking goats. / some like lifelines, some like ulcers / the city streets are braided in my hair.” In Conflagration by Nathan McCool he says; “I’m society, some things are outside of it; / and gazes are always turned to those things / like the barrel of a gun. … But to be perfect is to have never burned. / Things that have not endured burning cannot / give light.” The terrible honesty of these visions is uncompromising, unrelenting, a raw shot in the gut for the reader, it’s not an easy read, but like anything worthwhile you’ll be taking it with you after you’ve finished and returning before you expected to.  “I liked the Mmmm of her, the way / it brought out the whites of her eyes, / and I wondered as they closed / if they were watching her thoughts / as closely as they watched mine. / And I wished to poke at them,” (The Mmm of Her, by Nicole Lyons).

It may be tempting to compare authors, highlight the influences, or homage to previous poets and yes, among this compendium there are shades of Bukowski, Billy Childish, Baudelaire, Plath, Sexton, Tracey Emin, but it would diminish the originality of this collection to simply contrast. Better then let the work speak for itself in its ferocious epoch. “Let’s dance with other people’s wives to bubblegum pop, not too close. Leave a void between, the façade of trust and happiness. The empty spaces where attraction used to fit. … can’t die lately, and it’s making me uncomfortable.” (Can’t by Pbbr). We may never ‘know’ these authors as we do, those we learn in English class, but there is something refreshing about reading them as a whole and finding understanding through today’s fractured lens. “I finally let go / tightly coiled control gasp with relief / as I finally unleash the darkness” (Raven, by Christine Ray).

One of the delights of this collection is the sheer diversity of voices, unconstrained, with differing syntax, forms, loss of form, deliberate omissions and styles, one moment you are reading a condensed prose-poem about the origin of life, the next a confessional bleeding rip from the heart about love and drugs. Nowhere else in modern collections have I found such a mélange of tongues, all begging questions, responses, emotions, some disgust, horror, desire. Volume 1 is a true kaleidoscope of the human experience, doused in realism and the phantasmagoric with absolutely no brake fluid.

S.K., Nicolas writes in Reflectors, that; “In schools, they preach hide the soul, and then work comes along and drills it in a little deeper. But art liberates, … But only God can make a tree, so who I am? My reflection and your reflection, so many reflections and all these reflections that keep on reflecting,” Poet, Oldepunk says in his poem Broken; “turning gold to lead, crack and peel / the Narcissist stone! / you do not understand / as the dead envy the living, so / do the broken hate the anointed,” And in Still, this defiance is continued by Mitch Green, as he writes; “to them we are nothing, but gravel / in the making of scars. / Still breathing, / breathing still.”

SD has kicked it out the ball park by locating and birthing a group of unique voices you are unlikely to find in big publisher collections owing in part to the nepotistic methods of author selection. It’s always thrilling to find those writers who aren’t pretty little packages awaiting their deal, but the tumbleweed and very fire in the desert, torn out and presented without respite and without apology, such is the art of SD for bringing together, an unforgettable divergence of talent we may otherwise have never found.

“let me open the door / help me to understand / when I’m engulfed in the blaze / no one will tell you why.”  Richard Crandall, Burning at the Stake

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

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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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